Public Health PhD: Community and Behavioral Health Promotion


Why study Community and Behavioral Health Promotion?

Students entering the program will be trained at the graduate level in health promotion and behavior change from a public health perspective. Focus areas of coursework and research include maternal, infant, and child health, adolescent health, teen parents, health disparities, obesity, nutrition, food security, HIV and STDs, adolescent health, substance abuse, mental health, and built environment. Students will also have exposure to other key areas of public health (environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and policy and administration), which allows them to be integrated into the broader public health profession upon graduation.


Public Health PhD: Concentration in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

A minimum of 72 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor’s level must be completed to earn the degree, at least 32 of which must be earned in residence at UW-Milwaukee.


Required Core PhD Courses (12 credits)

PH 711: Intermediate Biostatistics 1, 3 cr
PH 759: Intro to Regression for Understanding the SDOH, 3 cr
SOC WRK 962: Applied Multiple Regression Analysis, 3 cr
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology, 3 cr
PH 801: Seminar in Public Health Research, 3 cr
PH 819: Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 859: Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States, 3 cr

CBHP PhD Required Courses (36 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics , 3 cr
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior, 3 cr
PH 727: Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 776: Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration, 3 cr
PH 820: Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice, 3 cr
PH 823: Applied Analysis of Binary Outcomes in Public Health Research 2, 3 cr
PH 826: Principles of Community Intervention Research, 3 cr
PH 827: Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, 3 cr
PH 831: Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 919: Core Seminar in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, 3 cr

Required Advanced Quantitative Courses (3 credits)

PH 715: Applied Categorical Data, 3 cr
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis, 3 cr
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis, 3 cr
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis, 3 cr
ED PSY 823: Structural Equation Modeling, 3 cr
ED PSY 826: Analysis of Cross-Classified Categorical Data, 3 cr

CBHP Elective Courses (9 credits)

ANTHRO 803: Survey of Cultural Anthropology, 3 cr
ANTHRO 744: Theories of Social Action: Understanding Agency & Social Structure, 3 cr
PH 752: Public Health and Mental Health, 3 cr
PH 758: Social Epidemiology, 3 cr
PH 768: Cancer Epidemiology, 3 cr
PH 769: Critical Perspectives on Nutritional Epidemiology and the Food System, 3 cr
HS 971: Seminar in Health Outcomes Assessment, 3cr
SOCIOL 910: The Sociology of Inequality, 3cr
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis, 3 cr
SOCIOL 715: Systematic Sociological Theory, 3 cr
GEOG 834: GIS and Society, 3 cr
GEOG 926: Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling, 3cr
SOC WRK 705: Individual Behavior and Social Welfare, 3 cr
ED POl 711: Community Change and Engagement Strategies, 3 cr
KIN 732: Physical Activity and Health Across the Lifespan, 3 cr

Pre-Dissertation Research (3 credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation

Doctoral Thesis (9 credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation

Total Credits (72) Please note: All courses subject to change. Please consult the Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion Competencies

  1. Formulate and test a hypothesis using basic statistical methods.
  2. Apply statistical inference to guide research decision-making relevant to public health problems and issues.
  3. Critically evaluate scientific literature and identify how epidemiological and population health data can be used to answer research questions and inform program development and policy decisions aimed at promoting health equity.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking skills necessary for formulating research questions, identifying theory to frame research questions, and identify and employ appropriate methodologies for addressing a public health research question.
  5. Apply social and environmental justice framework when asking and addressing research questions impacting the public’s health.
  6. Identify individual, organizational, community, and societal influences on health, health behaviors, disease, injury, illness, and disability
  • Understand and critically evaluate the literature examining the social and psychological influences on health and health behavior
  • Use ecological and other theoretical models of health and health behavior to organize identification of causal factors
  • Be able to identify, operationalize, and contribute to the development of appropriate theories pertaining to behavior and behavior change.
  1. Develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral and structural interventions to prevent disease and injury, alleviate illness and disability, improve the quality of life, and reduce health disparities
    • Understand and critically evaluate existing behavioral interventions
      Conduct theory-based needs assessments and intervention research
    • Appropriately utilize community input and community mobilization for intervention research
    • Determine and utilize methods and behavioral strategies appropriate for diverse populations
    • Identify and utilize appropriate health education, health communication, and health promotion methods and strategies
    • Design behavior and structural change intervention trials
    • Foster the translation of effective strategies to practice and policy
  1. Conduct and disseminate rigorous and innovative social and behavioral science research of relevance to public health
  • Identify cutting edge research questions and methods in chosen area(s) of interest
  • Utilize rigorous study designs, methods, and statistical analyses to examine social and psychological influences on health and health behavior
  • Conduct research in accordance with ethical standards and in compliance with federal regulations
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication
  1. Serve as an expert social and behavioral scientist on a collaborative team of public health investigators
  • Communicate effectively with those of other disciplines with a common interest in public health
  1. Advocate on behalf of behavioral sciences in public health research and practice. Appreciate the history and philosophy of public health, health behavior, health education, and health communication as well as understand similarities and differences of these disciplines from other social science disciplines
  • Interpret concepts, purposes and theories of health education, health communication, and health behavior
  • Interpret concepts, purposes, and theories of the social science disciplines
  • Interpret concepts, purposes and theories of public health


Studying public health at UW-Milwaukee will allow for opportunities to apply doctoral research to real-world settings. CBHP PhD graduates will be well-prepared scientist-practitioners, able to lead interdisciplinary research and work with a range of communities on our most pressing population health issues. Demand for public health professionals is high in local, state, and federal government, academia, and within non-governmental and community-based organizations across the United States and around the world. This PhD program will prepare students to work in these sectors and more.



Faculty expertise in: 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; and developing effective primary and secondary HIV-prevention interventions for resource-poor settings.

Learn more about our research here.

Become a leader for the public’s health.