Health Behavior

Working with the N.CHarm Reduction Coalition in 2013, a Capstone Team advocated and educated for passage of N.C's Samaritan/Naloxone Access Act. The legislation passed, in part due to their work. Read Capstone Project Stories
For Prospective Students
Message from the Chair
This is the most invigorating time of the school year for me as traffic picks up in the halls of Rosenau. The students are back! Possibility is in the air! Read more
Leslie Lytle, PhD
Professor and Chair

Welcome new students!

The health behavior department combines the social and behavioral sciences with health education to deliver practical research and solutions that improve the health of individuals and communities. Established in 1942, we were the first Department of Public Health Education created in the U.S.

We offer the MPH and PhD degrees and a dual-degree program with the Department of City and Regional Planning. Our programs offer students pursuing an MPH degree the core education and practical experience they need to be successful public health professionals. Our doctoral students leave well prepared to lead and conduct research.


Research strengths and faculty research interests 

Faculty of the Department conduct research to answer the questions that help us understand what we can do to reduce health risks, to promote healthy lives, and to increase the number of individuals who are able to benefit from known and emerging medical science. Read about our research strenghts, interests and faculty with the link in the headline.

Health Behavior Matters

Visit Health Behavior Matters, a rolling roundup of recent research from our faculty and students. We post new publications as soon as the abstracts are available, several times a week. Scroll the list, click to access abstracts on PubMed or similar resources, leave a comment.

Health Behavior by the Numbers
  • 56 Doctoral
  • 94 MPH
  • 2 Degrees
  • 10 Certificates
  • 43 Courses
  • 1 Practicum for MPH students
  • 1 Capstone project (yearlong) for MPH students
  • 2 Practica for PhD students
  • 31 Core
  • 60 Adjunct
Average Class Size
  • 58 in MPH classes
  • 12 in Doctoral classes
  • 2,000 and counting
  • (Data as of July 2015)
Our students

In our midst are social scientists, Peace Corps volunteers, clinicians, activists, educators, entrepreneurs and researchers. Our students come from across North Carolina and around the world and they range from millennial to mid-career.

In Our MPH program, all students complete a practicum and a Capstone project 

Every MPH student completes a 240-hour-long summer practicum and a year-long Capstone Project that prepares students for the jobs they want. Hands-on practice that builds on coursework is a hallmark of our program. This requirement makes the program unique among schools of public health, and the mentoring and relationships built with our partners through the practicum and Capstone Project are highly valued by our students. It’s a win-win where our students and our partners in the practicum sites both benefit from the experience.

Our doctoral students learn research skills from renowned faculty

Doctoral students work with our remarkable faculty to design, conduct, analyze and publish research that pushes the field of public health forward. Our alumni lead research projects and guide the work of organizations that improve the health of individuals and communities through research, policy, health systems, advocacy, and service.

Our MSPH-to-PhD students develop core and research skills

The MSPH-to-PhD program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who want to pursue a doctoral degree and career in research.

MPH/MCRP dual-degree

Students earn credentials in public health and City and Regional Planning. They learn to apply social and behavioral science methods to shape the social and physical environment in ways that promote public health, safety and livability in communities.

We are always interested in talking with prospective students or potential community partners and hearing from our alumni. Find us on Twitter and Facebook.

What our students say

Choosing a graduate program is a big decision

We asked our students what factors played a role in making the decision to enroll in the Department of Health Behavior in our annual student survey in spring 2015.  83 MPH students and 40 doctoral students responded to that question and  here’s what they said

Dates and Deadlines

Application for all programs will be live online

  • September 1, 2015

PHD Applicants

  • December 1, 2015: SOPHAS
  • December 15, 2015: Apply Yourself

   MSPH-to-PhD Applicants

  • December 1, 2015: SOPHAS
  • December 15, 2015: Apply Yourself

MPH Applicants
Deadline for priority funding consideration for MPH students

  • December 1, 2015: SOPHAS
  • December 15, 2015: SOPHAS

Final deadlines for MPH students

  • January 2, 2015: SOPHAS
  • January 12, 2016: Apply Yourself