Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD

Research the vital, expanding field of social and behavioral health with the Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD in Temple’s College of Public Health. This program is designed to develop public health scientists and academics who reduce health disparities and promote positive health outcomes in vulnerable populations. Collaborate with renowned faculty and and learn to develop and evaluate community-based social and behavioral health programs. Faculty mentors manage funded projects that focus on community-based and systems research in areas including addictions, cancer control, chronic disease treatment and prevention, health communications, HIV, maternal and child health, obesity, and organ transplant promotion.

Faculty and doctoral students in the Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD program are engaged in extensive evidence-based research to improve public health outcomes, particularly for vulnerable populations, such as children, those with chronic illnesses, and people living in poverty. PhD students will develop skills in grant writing, scholarship and teaching and become active members of an academic culture that promotes professional values and ethics in public health research and education.

Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD students work closely with faculty mentors on research studies and scholarship activities to build your curriculum vita. In addition to their courses, PhD students participate  in conferences, departmental colloquia and professional development opportunities.

Classes & Curriculum

Study full time on Main Campus and set up your primary workstation in your faculty mentor’s laboratory to maximize your ability to participate in research and form close collegial bonds with faculty and fellow doctoral students.

You’ll take 45 credits to graduate, including a possible nine credits of advanced standing from previous coursework. The core curriculum includes essential courses in social and behavioral sciences, such as health communication, health psychology and program planning, and emphasizes training in biostatistics, grant writing, research methodology and teaching in higher education. Some Social and Behavioral Science courses include

  • Health Communication,  
  • Health Psychology and
  • Public Health Program Planning.

A specialty elective allows you to focus on a particular interest with courses like

  • Understanding Stress and Change,
  • Health Promotion in Vulnerable Populations and
  • Obesity: Genes to Junkfood.

Take a look at the full list of courses for the Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD.


The department offers all students accepted to the Social and Behavioral Health Sciences PhD program a competitive level of support, including tuition, stipend and health insurance, for four years.

Graduate assistantships sponsored by the College of Public Health include

  • research assistants (RAs), who perform supervised research activities. Research assistantships are frequently supported by faculty grant funding, and RAs are expected to work with faculty on grant proposals and develop both research and grant-writing competencies.
  • teaching assistants (TAs) could be assigned to assist in teaching courses, including grading exams and papers or teaching lab sections. TAs learn current pedagogies that prepare them for academic teaching careers and can receive certification in higher education teaching.

Highly qualified candidates will be nominated for university fellowships, and minority candidates will be nominated for Temple’s Future Faculty Fellows program.


Additional Program Information