UWM public health student at the Urban Ecology Center.

The community and behavioral health master’s program at UWM focuses preparing its students through innovative approaches to community engagement and collaborative practice.

Community and behavioral health master’s students apply a social justice and equity-centered approach to public health training and practice. Methodical approaches address quantitative, qualitative and community-engaged techniques.

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus

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Alumni Spotlight

“I am a program manager at MCW for the Collaborative for Healthcare Delivery Science. We focus on the intersection of health services research and clinical operations and innovation to design, implement, and engage in rapid-cycle, testing and evaluation of interventions deployed for improvement purposes in the clinical enterprise (Froedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin).

“I manage the entirety of the program, including the budget and finance pieces, administration and the education components we support, but my main responsibilities are managing the projects we take on and assisting with results dissemination.”

Annie Penlesky, MPH – Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Annie Penlesky, MPH – Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Our community and behavioral health master’s coursework addresses topics and materials such as:

  • Theories and frameworks in social and behavioral science
  • Evidence-based methods for program planning, implementation and evaluation

MPH Community & Behavioral Health Promotion (48-49 credits)

All students enrolled in the MPH program take a common set of core classes designed to give basic skills and knowledge of public health concepts. The core curriculum consists of at least 24-25 credit hours, including four credits for the Field Experience (3 credits) and Leadership in Public Health (1 credit) courses and a two-credit capstone seminar. In addition to the common core, students complete the required coursework in one of six specialization tracks (total program credits in parentheses): Biostatistics (46 credits), Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (48-49 credits), Environmental Health Sciences (45 credits), Epidemiology (49 credits), Public Health Policy (48 credits) or Nutrition and Dietetics (64 credits). Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to progress through the program.

MPH Required Common Core Courses (at least 24-25 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics3
PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences3
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology3
PH 705: Principles of Public Health Policy and Administration3
PH 706: Perspectives on Community and Behavioral Health3
PH 708: Health Systems and Population Health3
PH 733: Overview of Qualitative Methods for Public Health 1
PH 790: Field Experience in Public Health3
PH 791: Leadership in Public Health 1
PH 800: Capstone in Public Health2

Required Courses (15 credits)

PH 700: Structures of Inequality and Population Health3
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior3
PH 726: Community Health Assessment 3
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health3
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health3

Electives – choose two (Six credits minimum)

PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health3
PH 776: Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration3
PH 831: Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health3

Electives — Choose one (Three credits minimum)

PH 719: Social Justice in Public Health3
PH 730: Overview of Children with Special Health Care Needs3
PH 740: Special Topics in Public Health3
PH 752: Public Health and Mental Health3
PH 820: Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice3
PH 999: Independent Study1-3
Other classes as approved by advisor.

Please note: All courses are subject to change. Please consult the Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

Community & Behavioral Health Promotion track competencies

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of community and behavioral health theories and their application to health promotion and prevention.
  2. Apply relevant theories, concepts, and models from the social and behavioral sciences to public health research and practice.
  3. Design public health programs, including their implementation and evaluation components.   
  4. Design a plan to assess community-level public health needs and assets.   
  5. Assess social and behavioral factors influencing the health of individuals and communities.
  6. Apply qualitative and quantitative methods to the assessment of public health problems, the articulation of community strengths, and the evaluation of prevention and intervention programs.
  7. Identify and apply evidence-based approaches to the development and implementation of social and behavioral science interventions.
  8. Demonstrate the capacity to effectively explain and discuss planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs. 

Careers in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

Graduates with community and behavioral health master’s degrees work for health nonprofits, community research organizations, hospitals and other jobs with a health education or health programming component. Job growth for health educators, community health workers and health services managers is higher than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Young Cho
  • Associate Professor, Community & Behavioral Health Promotion
Paul Florsheim
  • Professor and Program Lead, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Amy Harley
  • Interim Dean and Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Rose Hennessey Garza
  • Assistant Visiting Professor
Emmanuel Ngui
  • Associate Professor and MPH Director
Lance Weinhardt
  • Associate Dean for Research. Professor, Community & Behavioral Health Promotion
Musa Yahaya
  • Teaching Faculty II

Faculty Research Interests

  • Substance abuse risk factors among minority populations.
  • Effective substance abuse intervention and treatment programs.
  • Public health issues relevant to high-risk adolescents.
  • Interpersonal developmental processes related to health and mental health across the lifespan.
  • Physical activity participation, healthy food consumption and subsequently chronic disease prevalence in low-income and racial/ethnic minority communities.
  • Health inequalities in maternal and child health populations.
  • Disparities in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a focus on the role of social determinants of health.
  • Disparities in the neighborhood food environment and in access to healthy and nutritious foods.
  • Developing effective primary and secondary HIV-prevention interventions for resource-poor settings.