Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Health Behavior

Students are trained to lead research that will advance understanding of health-related behaviors and their determinants at all social levels as they contribute to critical public health problems. Doctoral students gain skills and knowledge in the empirical, conceptual and theoretical foundations of the field, research methods, intervention development and evaluation, and professional development topics. Graduates apply their training to research focused on domestic and global public health problems.

General Information

Minimum Credit Hours

46 Includes any required electives, but no dissertation credit hours.

Expected Duration

5 yrs

Learning Environment

Residential

Dual Degree Options Available

No

Application Cycle

Fall See application details page for more info.

Application Deadline 1

December 1, 2018 See application details page for more info.

Application Deadline 2

December 12, 2018 Deadlines vary - see "Application Details" for more information

Applicant Information

Who Should Apply

Persons planning a career as public health researchers in the discipline of health behavior.

Enrolled Student Demographics

  • Total Enrollment 1620
  • Female 72%, Male 28%
  • Underrepresented Minority Students 16.3%
  • International 11%

Program Costs & Funding

Admissions Information

Prior Degree Required

Graduate-level degree (master's)

Standardized Test(s) Accepted

GRE Standardized test scores are one of many factors we consider in making admissions decisions.

Standardized Test(s) Scores

Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary education and graduate education (including community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs) are required to be uploaded in the application.

Letters of Recommendation Required

3 (academic and/or professional)

Faculty-Student Match Required

Student/faculty match determined (by department) at time of application review.

Interviews Required

Not required

Work Experience Required

Yes Preference is given to applicants with independent research experience.

Visit Opportunities

Learn about opportunities to come to UNC Gillings to meet faculty, staff, and current students. If you are unable to come to campus – don’t worry – our representatives attend a variety of recruitment events around the United States as well as host virtual fairs and webinars.

During the Program

Required Courses

For a detailed description of all the requirements for this degree program please click here for the Student Handbook.

Comprehensive Exam Type(s)

Comprehensive written exam to be completed the summer after 4th semester

Capstone, Thesis or Dissertation

Dissertation

Practicum, Internships & Fieldwork

400-hour primary and 200-hour secondary doctoral practicum (

  • HBEH 842 Primary Practicum for Doctoral Students
  • HBEH 843 Secondary Practicum for Doctoral Students
).

Global Options Available

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health strives to integrate global content and approaches across the School’s courses, programs and degrees. We believe that every student should emerge from our School with an understanding of global health issues. Some courses are focused largely on global issues, others are designed so that global and local issues are intertwined and some still are evolving. Learn more about these options.

Many enrolled students will have the opportunity to pursue our graduate global health certificate, while others may choose global health courses, internships or independent study with global focus.

After the Program

Employment Opportunities

Professor in colleges and universities; senior research scientist at research houses

Example Job Responsibilities

Lead behavioral and social science research efforts focused on public health problems, including obesity reduction and prevention, injury prevention, women's health, health disparities.

This is a two-step process.
(You will need to complete two applications (and pay related fees) to both SOPHAS and UNC ApplyYourself.)
  1. Complete online SOPHAS application
    More +
    Less -
    • Application Deadline: December 1, 2018
    • Fee: 135.00+
    • Step Link

    1. IMPORTANT NOTE(S):

      See program details in GPS for requirements such as prequisites, prior degree, work experience, any test score waivers, as well as a tuition estimate and program overview.

      • Application to UNC is a two-step process. Please apply separately to (1) SOPHAS and (2) UNC-Chapel Hill (via the Graduate School application). See SOPHAS website for complete checklist of SOPHAS steps as not all are listed here.
        Once your application is submitted, it will be verified by SOPHAS. You will receive an email from UNC soon thereafter prompting you to complete the Graduate School application. Components of the SOPHAS application will be exported to the Graduate School application system, but you will still be asked to answer residency and honor code questions, and upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s). UNC will have access to your SOPHAS application at the time you submit. However your application will not be reviewed until you've completed both SOPHAS and Graduate School applications.
    2. Applicants will need to enter all coursework information into SOPHAS and submit an official transcript to SOPHAS.

      • If you are admitted and choose to enroll at UNC Gillings, you will be asked for an official transcript showing degree awarded. International applicants need to have a WES-evaluated transcript for upload via SOPHAS, but a WES-evaluated transcript is not an acceptable substitute for an official transcript according to UNC.
    3. Upload your personal statement.

      • Please upload a double-spaced statement of purpose of up to 1500 words. Some applicants find it useful to draft the statement in a word processing program. The essay should address the following:
        • Explain how your academic and personal background contribute to your understanding of the science of health behavior to promote public health.
        • Describe your research experience in health behavior or other fields related to public health. Indicate your role in conducting research and any research products such as papers and conference presentations. Describe any other experience in public health, health behavioral science or related fields you believe is relevant.
        • Tell us about research interests you would like to pursue during your doctoral studies. Also, indicate faculty members you would be interested in working with and why. Our faculty's research interests are summarized here: https://sph.unc.edu/hb/research-8/faculty-research-interests/.

        • Outline your long-term career goals and how receiving training in our doctoral program could advance them.
    4. Enter names of recommenders. SOPHAS will then send them an email with instructions for submitting a letter on your behalf.

        • 3 (academic and/or professional)
    5. Report test scores to SOPHAS.

      (GRE code 0311 routes to both SOPHAS and UNC. You will need to make two requests for TOEFL/IELTS scores to be sent to SOPHAS and UNC. Code 5688 routes to SOPHAS only,  and code 5816 routes to UNC.)

      GRE test scores must be official and reported directly by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). By selecting the UNC-Chapel Hill SOPHAS code, your GRE scores will be transmitted to SOPHAS and UNC. They must be no more than five years old (to the month) at time of request, or ETS will not send. TOEFL/IELTS scores must be no more than two years old.

    6. Mail official transcripts (from each institution you have attended) directly to SOPHAS. Do not mail these to UNC. If admitted, you will be asked by UNC for an official transcript.

    7. Check SOPHAS portal to track progress.

      Applicants should check the SOPHAS portal to ensure that all required documents have been received by SOPHAS.

    8. Do NOT apply to UNC Gillings via the Graduate School application until you've received an email with instructions.

    9. Note: Time-to-decision varies from program to program at UNC Gillings. UNC will not render a decision unless you have completed both a SOPHAS and a UNC Gillings Graduate School application.

  2. Complete online application
    More +
    Less -
    • Application Deadline: December 12, 2018
    • Fee: 90.00
    • Step Link

    (The Graduate School Application is a common application system for UNC-Chapel Hill programs.)

    1. IMPORTANT NOTE(S):

      See program details in GPS for requirements such as prequisites, prior degree, work experience, any test score waivers, as well as a tuition estimate and program overview.

      • All UNC Gillings applications for graduate-level programs fall under the purview of the UNC Graduate School. Accordingly, you will apply to UNC Gillings via the Graduate School Application, and UNC Gillings programs will make admissions recommendations to the UNC Graduate School for final approval.
        Once a recommendation is finalized, you will receive notice via email from the UNC Graduate School. Throughout the process, most of your questions can be answered by your program contact.
      • NOTE: To be considered for UNC Graduate School scholarships, apply before priority deadline.

    2. Once your SOPHAS application has been received by UNC, you will receive an email with instructions for completing the Graduate School application.

      Although the Graduate School application will import some information from SOPHAS, you will be asked to answer residency and honor code questions, upload a copy of your transcript(s) and pay the application fee. Please only enter required information, and do not change the program/degree information. We estimate that this application should take you less than 30 minutes to complete.

    3. Faculty interest(s)/mentor(s)

      • Indicate up to three faculty members with whom you would like to work.
    4. Applicant information,  including North Carolina residency information.

    5. Area(s) of interest

    6. Educational history

      • Please upload a copy of your most recent transcript(s), including your current term grades, if applicable. (If grades are not yet available, send them to the UNC Gillings program contact as soon as they become available.) Be sure the transcript reflects the name of the institution and any degrees you received.
    7. Community standards

      You will be asked about honor code, crime, academic sanction, military discharge, etc.

    8. Because you already applied via SOPHAS, you do NOT need to enter recommender information, upload a resume or add a personal statement.

  3. FYI: costs and funding (separate from the admissions process)
    More +
    Less -

    1. Check out our Costs and Funding page.

    2. Note priority deadline to be eligible for UNC Graduate School scholarships and fellowships. Departments will decide which applicants to nominate. No additional application required.

    3. Apply for FEDERAL financial aid by March 1, 2018 (please verify this date via FAFSA) via FAFSA. If you've been admitted and completed the FAFSA form by their deadline, the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will create a financial aid package for you.

    4. Department funding

      • Our department contacts incoming students regarding funding opportunities.
      • We consider all applicants for funding.
  4. FYI: application review process
    More +
    Less -

    1. SPH application review:

      • Interview
        • No interview required.
      • Department recommendation will be sent to the Graduate School for final approval.
        UNC Gillings will not render a decision unless you have completed BOTH the SOPHAS and UNC Graduate School applications.
    2. UNC Graduate School application review and final decision:

      • The UNC Graduate School reviews all admissions recommendations made by programs. Once final decisions have been made, the Graduate School will send you an email instructing login to the Graduate School application portal to see the decision letter.
    3. NOTE: Financial aid is separate from the admissions process. For more information, please refer to our School's Costs and Funding page and/or UNC-Chapel Hill's Office of Scholarships and Student Aid (OSSA) website.

The Gillings Program Search is a tool for exploring academic programs at the School. It is a prospectus for the current year to be used in consultation with an academic adviser and does not constitute the complete degree or program requirements for graduation or program completion.

Department:
Health Behavior
Credit Hours:
46
Questions?