Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
Columbia Campus    
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  May 19, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

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

Return to Programs A-Z Return to: Programs A-Z

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 60 hours of post-baccalaureate course work, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation. A maximum of 12 graduate credit hours may be transferred into the doctoral program, subject to the approval of the student’s program advisory committee. These 12 hours may be composed of:

  • Up to nine (9) hours from an existing masters program, excluding HPEB and Public Health core courses or equivalent courses from other programs, and/or
  • Graduate coursework taken outside of a completed program of study.

In exceptional circumstances, additional coursework from outside of a completed program of study may be used toward the doctoral degree. Such exceptions require the approval of the student’s program advisory committee and the HPEB faculty. 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
  • 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 new 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 (15-21 Hours)

Cognate (9-15 Hours)

  • Three to five classes reflecting defined content or topical areas.

Dissertation (12 or More Hours)

Return to Programs A-Z Return to: Programs A-Z