Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

The Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) area of study focuses on research in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention by examining related psychological, social, emotional and behavioral factors in physical and mental health. 

This area of study includes a strong emphasis on research in social conditions such as cultural influences, family relationships and social support.  Areas of interest include health systems and services, health policy and community based research and services.

Completion of the Ph.D. in Health Psychology Behavioral and Community Health Sciences area of study requires 75 credit hours.  This includes 51 credit hours of core courses (including thesis and dissertation credits), 24 credit hours in the community health science area (including 3 credits of community health psychology practica). 

BCHS Curriculum

Graduates of the program are expected to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Conduct psychological, behavioral and community research to advance the understanding of behavioral and physiological response to illness, healthy attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to wellness (in areas such as HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular health, obesity, stress and coping, diabetes, etc.)
  • Analyze social/ behavioral and public health theory, concepts and methods to conduct complex health programs
  • Develop and implement community-based research and interventions based on community needs
  • Build coalitions in a variety of community and academic settings
  • Analyze current policy needs and legislative processes as a tool to advancing programs, health interventions, and positive health outcomes
  • Develop individual, community and structural collaborative efforts for health interventions at multiple tiers
  • Assess community needs, services and considerations for professional health services
  • Provide services to local communities, including cost-effectiveness studies, evaluation methods, and other needed assistance and expertise