The primary objective of the Doctoral Program in Health Promotion, administrated by the College’s Department of Health Promotion and Behavior,  is to prepare researchers and leaders in the field by fostering research and development in the field of health promotion. Programs of study are interdisciplinary, recognizing that the sophisticated study of health behavior requires theories, information, and expertise from many fields.

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Degree Competencies

Through coursework and research experiences, Ph.D. graduates will meet the following competencies:

  • Analyze and interpret research results and epidemiological data to identify research questions, knowledge gaps, and methodological shortcomings that if addressed, hold potential for advancing our understanding of public health problems.
  • Design research studies based on theories of behavior and social change that address important empirical questions related to health behavior, disease, and injury prevention.
  • Utilize appropriate research designs, data collection strategies, and quantitative and qualitative analytic methods to conduct research on health behavior and disease and injury prevention.
  • Choose appropriate scholarly communication channels to share research results, disseminate evidence-based strategies and approaches, and otherwise share in the critical exchange of ideas and solutions pertinent to health behavior and disease and injury prevention.
  • Collaborate with other public health researchers and professionals through team-based project work or through processes of peer review and feedback.
  • Integrate principles of good ethical practice and cultural sensitivity in all aspects of research, teaching, and professional practice.
  • Prepare research proposals that are guided by behavioral theory and include appropriate research methodology.

Each program of study must meet the requirements of the Graduate School and the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior.

Doctoral students must demonstrate competency in the core master level health promotion courses and basic research methods, by taking the courses at UGA or by demonstrating prior equivalent coursework.

Master Level Competencies: up to 12 credit hours

HPRB 7010 Social and Behavioral Foundations of Health
EPID 7010 Intro to Epidemiology I
HPRB 7920 Theories of Health Behavior
HPRB 7470 Program Evaluation in Health Promotion and Health Education

Basic Research Competencies: 6 credit hours

BIOS 7010 Biostatistics I
BIOS 7020 Biostatistics II
ERSH 8310 Applied Analysis of Variance
ERSH 8320 Applied Correlation and Regression

All doctoral students will take the doctoral level Health Promotion core courses, cognate courses, advance research methods, research seminar, and doctoral dissertation

Health Behavior Core Requirements:

HPRB 8510 Research Methods
HPRB 8520 Research Methods
HPRB 8420 Theory and Research in Health Behavior
HPRB 8430 Intervention and Evaluation of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
HPRB 9630 Critique of Literature in Health Promotion and Behavior

Cognate Area Requirements: 12 credit hours

The cognates serve to enhance the student’s content background and research competencies. Students will work directly with their major professor to determine the most appropriate classes for their area of interest.

Advanced Research Methods: 9-12 credit hours 

Students must successfully complete a plan sequence of 9-12 hours in advanced methods courses. This sequence should be planned in consultation with the Major Professor and approved by the advisory committee, and should be of sufficient depth and focus to fully support the planned dissertation work. The 9-12 hours should emphasize quantitative or qualitative methods courses.

Doctoral Research Seminar: 4 credit hours

Students will complete 4 hours of doctoral seminar by enrolling in 2 hours of HPRB 8990 for the Spring Semester of their third year and the Fall Semester of their fourth year.  The purpose of this seminar is to provide students with personal and professional development pertaining to post-doctoral employment and career planning.  Students must have passed written and oral comprehensive exams prior to enrolling in this seminar.

Doctoral Dissertation (HPRB 9000 and HPRB 9300): 3 to 30 credit hours

How to Apply

In general, the following minimum admissions criteria are recommended:  A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Minimum GRE scores of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative). GRE Scores must be within the last five years. GRE Scores must be submitted to the University of Georgia Graduate School, not SOPHAS.  The GRE is required for admissions. There are no exceptions.

Applications are considered in their entirety before making admission decisions.

The application process requires two steps:

Step 1 – A completed application to the University of Georgia Graduate School. This application must be completed online. No paper materials will be provided.

Brief summary of required UGA Graduate School application materials:

  • UGA Graduate School online application
  • UGA graduate application processing fee
  • Applicants should submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Unofficial transcripts not submitted as part of the online application can be emailed to [email protected]. Official transcripts are not required during the review process and will only be required for applicants who are offered admission. Once a student is offered admission they must mail two copies of their official transcript to the graduate school. (International applicants: two sets of official academic records and proof of degrees)
  • Official GRE scores sent by the testing agency (UGA institutional code for ETS reporting: 5813)
  • Three letters of recommendation (part of the online application)
  • Application for Georgia residence status (if claiming legal residence in Georgia)
  • Statement of Purpose

International Applicants – addition information needed:

  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent by testing agency
  • Certificate of Finances (COF) form
  • Visa Information

Step 2 – A completed application to the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior  The following materials need to be sent to the department. NOTE: SOPHAS applications are not accepted for the PhD program.  You must complete the departmental application.

Application Deadlines and Admission Decisions: 

The Graduate School application and the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior application must be received by December 1, 2023 for Fall 2024 admission.

All application materials must be in by the deadline to be considered for an assistantship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I stop by to meet with someone about the program?

If you are interested in speaking with a faculty member in the department, please email them to schedule a time for a meeting or phone conversation.

Is it possible to speak with current students before applying?

If you would like to speak with current students in the Health Promotion and Behavior Program please email the request to [email protected] and we can connect you with some of our current students.

Is an MPH required for admission to the Ph.D. program?

An MPH is not required. However, if you are accepted and you do not have an MPH degree, some master’s level courses may be required before beginning your doctoral classes.

What official transcripts do I need to send?

Applicants should submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application.  Official transcripts are not required during the review process and will only be required for applicants who are offered admission.  For information about international credentials and what is considered by us to be official, please visit the UGA Graduate School’s Country-Specific Academic Credentials and Requirements page.

Does the department offer graduate/research assistantships?

While we try to offer assistantships to each accepted student, it is not always possible.  Assistantships are very competitive and are awarded based on the applicant pool. To be fully considered, you must have all application materials submitted by the priority deadline listed on the website.

Is there an interview process?

Yes. Leading candidates are interviewed to determine fit to program and faculty mentors.

What are the tuition and fees?

Up-to-date tuition and fee information can be found at the UGA Bursar Office website.

What semesters do you currently enroll students for the Ph.D. program?

The Department of Health Promotion and Behavior accepts applications for the Fall semester only.

What is the typical time to complete the program?

It varies from student to student, but typically full-time students complete the program in 4 years.

Is this an online program?

No, the majority of required courses are offered in-class only.

Do you accept part-time students?

Yes, we do accept part-time students, but all classes are located in Athens and offered during the day. Students must have a flexible schedule in order to attend classes and complete the program in a reasonable time frame.

What are the minimum requirements for GRE scores?

300 on the new scale.

Are there any criteria considered over others when reviewing applicants?

We take into account GRE scores, GPA, Letters of Recommendation, personal statement, CV, prior work experience, and program fit.  These are all considered when deciding if an applicant is an acceptable candidate for our program. We consider all applicant materials and do not necessarily weigh one over the other.