The Gillings School's Health Behavior concentration 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.

What You’ll Learn

The Master of Public Health (MPH) concentration in Health Behavior is hosted by the Gillings School’s Department of Health Behavior. Through in-depth coursework and a year-long, community-led, group service-learning project, you will develop skills in:

  • Qualitative research methods;
  • Quantitative research methods;
  • Program planning and evaluation;
  • Intervention design, adaptation and implementation;
  • Community engagement; and
  • Project management.

Career Information

Our health behavior department has trained public health professionals in community-engaged scholarship for more than 75 years. The knowledge and skills you will acquire though our training program will empower you to pursue a dazzling number of highly rewarding career paths within:

  • Federal, state and local health agencies;
  • Nonprofit organizations;
  • Academic institutions;
  • Health care organizations;
  • The private sector; and
  • Global public health agencies.

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

Required Courses

In addition to the interdisciplinary, 14-credit Gillings MPH Core, you will take:

  • HBEH 730: Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior
  • HBEH 746: Community-led Capstone Project, Part I
  • HBEH 750: Interpreting Health Behavior Research
  • HBEH 752: Health Behavior Survey Methods
  • HBEH 753: Qualitative Methods in Health Behavior
  • HBEH 772: Planning, Implementing, & Evaluating Health Behavior Interventions
  • HBEH 992: Community-led Capstone Project, Part II (MPH Culminating Experience)

*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.

Concentration Competencies

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.

Requirements and Sample Plan of Study

Health Behavior Degree Requirements and Study Plan (PDF)

Ready to Apply? Visit our Apply page for more information.


Want to learn more?

William Gillison202B Rosenau

Download the Health Behavior Concentration Quick Guide (pdf)

Concentration Leaders

Primary Contact
Liz Chen, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior

Beth Moracco, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Health Behavior