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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  May 29, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Ph.D.

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The Ph.D. program prepares graduates for leadership and skills in research, teaching, and professional service. The Ph.D. prepares graduates to assume leadership roles that emphasize research and teaching activities; these positions are often located in academic or other research settings. The degree requires 48 hours of post-masters course work (60 hours of post-baccalaureate course work), including 12 hours of dissertation preparation. Students may request transfer of a limited number of graduate courses not part of a completed degree program into the doctoral program of study. All doctoral students’ programs of study must meet the university and departmental requirements and are subject to approval by the student’s program advisory committee and the department’s Graduate Director. In addition, the following are required: a written qualifying examination, a written and oral comprehensive examination, and an oral defense of the dissertation. Experience as a member of a research team is also part of the program requirements.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to identify individual, organizational, community, and socio-cultural influences on health and health behavior.
  • Students will be able to develop, implement and evaluate interventions at multiple levels to promote health.
  • Students will be able to design and conduct rigorous and innovative social and behavioral science research relevant to public health.
  • Student will be able to exhibit professional skills including scientific writing, oral communication, grant-writing, teaching, scientific service, and collaboration.


 Admissions requirements follow those of The Graduate School and include:

  • a completed application
  • official transcripts from all post-secondary schools and colleges previously attended, including non-degree courses taken
  • evidence of academic performance at a B or better level on academic transcripts
  • satisfactory GRE scores. For the Ph.D. program, a minimum of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative) is required.
  • three letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources.
  • a letter of intent which describes research interests and professional goals.
  • satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam for applicants whose native language is not English. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 80 (Internet-based) or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5.
  • current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Doctoral applicants should be supported by at least two HPEB faculty members willing to serve as mentors in order to be admitted into the program.

Admissions process information and links can be found at the Arnold School of Public Health webpage:

Applications for the Ph.D. program in HPEB are made through the Schools of Public Health Application System (SOPHAS). Please go to for further details.

Only single program applications are accepted, so you may only apply to one program at a time (unless you are applying to a certificate program). Once received, your application and credentials are sent for review by the HPEB faculty. After reviewing your credentials, the department makes a recommendation to The Graduate School which officially grants admission. We will inform you of the department’s recommendation regarding admission, but official notice of admission comes from the USC Graduate School.

You are encouraged to review carefully the information provided on the above websites before beginning the application process. If you have further questions, you may contact:

Ken Watkins
HPEB Graduate Director
phone: 803-777-7603

Casey Goldston Giraudy
HPEB Academic Programs Coordinator
phone: 803-777-2966

Office of Student and Alumni Services
phone: 803-777-5031 

Degree Requirements (60 Post Baccalaureate Hours)

Research Methods (minimum of 12 hours, with at least one course from each of the following areas)

Cognate (minimum of 6 hours)

  • Classes reflecting defined content or topical areas.

Public Health (6 Hours)

Note: These requirements are met if student has previous MPH or similar graduate-level core PH coursework, in which case, six hours may be taken in research methods or cognate areas.



Dissertation (12 Hours or more)

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