Public Health PhD: Community and Behavioral Health


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.

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.

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The deadline to apply for Fall 2017 is January 6, 2017. All applicants must complete the required online application using the School of Public Health Application System (SOPHAS). Applicants must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following program requirements to be considered for admission:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in a related field. At least one statistics course is preferred for admission. A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (A=4.00) preferred.
    *While a completed master’s degree in public health or the social and behavioral sciences is encouraged, a master’s degree is not a prerequisite for admission. For those applicants without a master’s degree in a relevant field, most successful candidates will have work, research and/or volunteer experiences that contribute to career development in community health and health promotion.
  2. Submission of scores on the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination; test taken within last five years. Submit scores to, code 1780.
    *While there is no minimum GRE score requirement, strong quantitative, verbal and writing skills are critical to successfully completing the program. Admitted candidates will typically score above 500 (153 revised test) in verbal reasoning, 600 (148 revised test) in quantitative reasoning and 4.5 in analytical writing.
  3. Three letters of recommendation, which should address potential for achievement in a graduate program in public health from an academic as well as personal standpoint.
    *At least one letter must be from a university faculty member.
  4. Submission of a writing sample and a current resume.

Applicants may request a GRE waiver or substitution in the following situations:

  • Holding a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, JD, PharmD, MD); please note that terminal degrees from foreign institutions must be post-baccalaureate
  • Completion of an alternative standardized test (e.g., MCAT, LSAT, GMAT)

Note that a waiver must be requested and granted by admissions staff at the Zilber School of Public Health. Contact regarding GRE waivers and substitutions.”

Applicants are encouraged to review the research interests of the faculty and contact those who are of interest.

For international applicants whose native language is not English, the Center for International Education provides English Language Proficiency Requirements including required TOEFL or IELTS scores, and students who attended an international university must also pay an additional fee for evaluation of international transcripts.

A select group of the most qualified candidates will be invited to participate in an interview process. In person interviews or internet-facilitated interviews (Skype, etc.) will be required for finalist candidates prior to admission.


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.


Common Required Ph.D Courses (12 cr.):

PH 702 Introduction to Biostatistics, 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

Common Core Required Courses (12 credits):

PH 702 Introduction to Biostatistics, 3 cr
PH 711 Intermediate Biostatistics, 3 cr
SOC WRK 962 Applied Multiple Regression Analysis, 3 cr
PH 759 Applied Quantitative Methods for Studying Pop. Health & Disparities, 3 cr

Required CBHP PhD Core Courses (18 credits)

PH 725 Theories and Models of Health Behavior, 3 cr
PH 727 Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health, 3 cr
PH 820 Maternal & Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice, 3 cr
PH 826 Principles of Community Intervention Research, 3 cr
PH 831 Community Engagement and Participatory Research, 3 cr
PH 919 Core Seminar in Community and Behavioral Health, 3 cr

Research and Methods Required Courses (12 credits)

PH 728 Program Evaluation in Public Health
PH 729 Survey Research Methods in Public Health
PH 736 Advanced Qualitative Methods
PH 827 Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health

Two Research and Method “S” Electives (6 credits)

CBHP Elective Courses: Choose at least 3 (total of at least 9 credits)

Research (total of 12 credits)

PH 990 Pre-dissertation Research, 3 cr
PH 990 Doctoral Thesis, 9 cr


Current Faculty

Name Title PhD Degree Program of Study Research Area
Young Cho, PhD Associate Professor Sociology of Health Substance Abuse; Minority Health; Program Evaluation; Research Design
Paul Florsheim, PhD Associate Professor Clinical Psychology Adolescent Mental Health; Prevention Program Development for At Risk Youth; Pregnant/Parenting Adolescent Health
Amy Harley, PhD, MPH, DrPH Assistant Professor Public Health: Community Health Education Physical Activity; Healthy Eating; Health Disparities; Behavior Change; Community Engaged Research
Emmanuel Ngui, DrPH Assistant Professor Public Health: Maternal and Child Health Health Disparities and Health Equity; Birth Outcomes; Male Engagement; Social Determinants of Health
Renee Walker, DrPH Assistant Professor Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Obesity; food deserts; health disparities; social determinants of health
Lance Weinhardt, PhD Professor Clinical Psychology HIV/AIDS Prevention; Health Behavior
Alice Yan, PhD Assistant Professor Public and Community Health Adolescent Health; Built Environment (GIS); Chronic Disease; Health Communication

View the profiles of other Zilber School of Public Health faculty, affiliated faculty and adjunct faculty.