Doctoral Program

PhD in Public Health: (Social and Behavioral Science Track)

The Department of Behavioral Science & Community Health (BSCH) is one of nine academic departments housed in the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. This department offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree (SBS track).

Mission Statement

The PhD in Public Health -Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Track is targeted to individuals who wish to develop advanced knowledge and skills in the social and behavioral sciences theories and methods used in public health. Training is designed for those who desire public health careers in research, academics, government, or related health organizations. A prior graduate degree in public health or a related field is strongly preferred.

The program is focused upon the assumption that health and health behavior are impacted by multiple psychological, behavioral, social, and cultural factors. Central to addressing health problems and eliminating health disparities and inequalities, these factors must be understood and addressed at multiple social-ecological levels (individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and population).
PhD students who concentrate in social and behavioral sciences explore the unique issues faced by diverse groups and populations and acquire skills to achieve social and behavioral change.


Graduates of the PhD Program will be able to:

  • Explain the contributions of the different core areas to public health research and practice
  • Apply public health principles learned in core courses to a focused area of study
  • Demonstrate understanding of methodological issues applied to public health problems
  • Demonstrate appropriate research design and use of methods
  • Demonstrate competency in quality assurance/quality control methods
  • Demonstrate skills necessary to assess the soundness of assessment and intervention tools used to measure public health concerns
  • Apply basic univariate statistics to a dataset (e.g., mean, median, standard deviation, skew) using statistical software such as SPSS
  • Apply basic multivariate statistics to a dataset (e.g., multiple regression, logistic regression; hierarchical regression) using statistical software such as SPSS
  • Describe ethical challenges in conducting public health research and possible solution
  • Develop a full draft of a grant proposal using the NIH format
  • Critically evaluate public health research
  • Develop a syllabus and evaluation plan for a public health course
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of public health issues/problem solving approaches in a core public health concentration and specialization
  • Develop concentration-specific expertise to successfully conduct research and teach in that area
  • Perform key research tasks (e.g., literature search; literature review; database development; data collection; data analysis; dissemination of findings)
  • Participate productively as a member of a research team
  • Effectively deliver course material, organize and lead group learning activities/discussions
  • Appropriately interact with students
  • Provide and receive constructive feedback concerning teaching skills
  • Independently craft a research question suitable for a doctoral dissertation
  • Independently develop a research procedure suitable for a doctoral dissertation
  • Design and submit an IRB application appropriate to the dissertation research project
  • Independently carry out a dissertation research project
  • Independently analyze dissertation data
  • Independently communicate, verbally and in writing, the results of the doctoral dissertation


Mark Hart, EdD, MALS, Clinical Associate Professor
Director, PhD in Public Health Social & Behavioral Sciences concentration
Department of Epidemiology
College of Public Health and Health Professions
College of Medicine
University of Florida
PO Box 100231
2004 Mowry Road
Gainesville, FL 32610-0231
352-273-8545 (p)
352-273-6199 (f)

Admission Deadlines