About the Health Behavior Concentration
The Master of Public Health (MPH) concentration in Health Behavior is hosted by the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior and prepares students for leadership positions in public health practice. You will learn to use social and behavioral science to develop, adapt, implement and evaluate programs and policies that promote health, prevent disease and injury, foster social justice and reduce health inequities at all levels of the social ecological framework – from the individual to organizations; from communities to macro-structures and policies.

In the Health Behavior concentration, master’s students gain practical, career-relevant, on-the-ground experience through a mentored summer practicum and a capstone group project working with a local organization.

What You'll Learn

Through in-depth coursework and a year-long, community-led, group service-learning project, you will develop skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods, program planning and evaluation, intervention design, adaptation and implementation, community engagement and project management.

This program will empower you with the knowledge and skills to achieve the following core competencies:

Identify health behavior and social science theories, integrate constructs across levels of a social ecological framework and apply conceptual models to public health practice.

Evaluate critically the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative research findings and their relevance to health behavior practice.

Develop qualitative data collection and analysis skills for health behavior practice.

Identify, adapt and develop instruments and methods to accurately assess health behavior programs.

Develop, adapt and evaluate health behavior programs and policies and scale them up using implementation science.

Engage with communities using participatory strategies and principles of effective partnerships to plan, implement, evaluate and disseminate health behavior programs.

Required Courses & Sample Plan of Study

In addition to the interdisciplinary, 14-credit Gillings MPH Core, you will take seven concentration-specific class covering topics such as survey methods, quantitative methods and qualitative methods in health behavior and complete a community-based capstone project. 

HBEH 730: Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior

HBEH 746: Community-led Capstone Project, Part I

HBEH 750: Quantitative Methods in Health Behavior

HBEH 752: Health Behavior Survey Methods

HBEH 753: Qualitative Methods in Health Behavior

HBEH 772: Implementing and Evaluating Health Behavior Interventions

HBEH 992: Community-led Capstone Project, Part II (MPH Culminating Experience)

Health Behavior Degree Requirements and Study Plan (PDF)

*This concentration has a $600 field fee to cover a portion of the expenses associated with required fieldwork that are not covered by state dollars paid through tuition. For administrative purposes, this fee is tagged to HBEH 746.


Beth Moracco, PhD

Associate Professor Dr. Beth Moracco received the 2021 Edward Kidder Graham Award, which recognizes distinguished service by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty member that benefits the University, North Carolina and the United States. Dr. Moracco is a nationally recognized expert on gender-based violence, and her research focuses on evaluating violence prevention programs and policies as well as building the ability of the community to design and evaluate their own interventions.

Our health behavior department has trained public health professionals in community-engaged scholarship for more than 80 years.

Career Opportunities

Our Graduates Work As...
Mental Health Research Scientist
Program Coordinator/Manager Education
Consultant Health Educator
Outreach Coordinator
Research Evaluator
Public Health Advisor
Our Graduates Work With...
Government agencies
Nonprofit organizations
Community mental health centers
Local health departments
Research and development firms

99% of Gillings graduates have a job or continue their education within one year of graduating. 

Learn more about the opportunities that await you with an MPH from the Gillings School.

Promoting healthy behaviors, engaging communities, shaping policy.
Ready to apply?

Academic Coordinator
Melonie Clarke
Rosenau Hall 359E

Concentration Leaders
Primary Contact: Liz Chen, PhD, MPH
Contact: Beth Moracco, PhD