The goal of Health Behavior and Health Promotion is to enable people to increase control over and improve their health. The field of health promotion seeks to develop the capacity of communities, organizations, and individuals to establish conditions in which people can be healthy. Practitioners work with organizations in the development of programs, policies, and environments that enable health.
In the Health Behavior and Health Promotion division, our faculty study behaviors and health choices and the methods used to change behaviors at the individual and community level. Our research includes tobacco control and cessation, employment after cancer, childhood obesity, and family violence as a public health issue, to name a few.
The PhD degree requires a significant program of study and research that qualifies the recipient to work independently and contribute to the advancement of the field of knowledge. The emphasis is on mastery of the field and particularly on the acquisition of research skills as a basis for original work.
Program of Study
The PhD-Health Behavior and Health Promotion curriculum requires 80 semester credits or 50 semester credits beyond a master’s degree. Some of the specified courses may have been included in a prior master’s degree. A maximum of 30 semester credits of master’s degree work may be applied to PhD requirements if approved by the advisor. Requirements include:
1. Major field (31 credits)
2. Research methods (31 credits)
3. Minor field (12 credits)
4. Dissertation (6 credits minimum)
For detailed additional information about specific requirements, students are directed to the College of Public Health (CPH) Graduate Student Handbook and to the Ohio State University Graduate School Handbook.
Applicants should complete academic programs that allow them to develop good analytical and communication skills. Students are admitted from a wide variety of majors. Ideally, the applicant's record includes demonstrated excellence in the social and/or health sciences as well as coursework in quantitative methods. Applicants should also have work and/or volunteer experience that contributes to their career interest in health behavior and health promotion.
Typically, successful MPH applicants should demonstrate a record of good grades (GPA ≥ 3.2), GRE scores (>50th percentile in verbal and quantitative; ≥ 4 analytical writing), good recommendations and a strong personal statement. Successful PhD applicants would normally have an undergraduate GPA greater than a 3.4 on a 4-point scale, GRE quantitative and verbal scores above the 60th percentile and analytical writing score above 4.0, strong recommendations with people familiar with your academic potential, and a match with faculty research interests.
In general, HBHP requires the GRE for most applicants. The program will waive the GRE for students with a prior doctoral degree (MD, PhD). We accept alternate tests such as the MCAT and LSAT only for students who are applying to combined degree programs (MD/MPH and JD/MPH) and who have already been admitted to the other program (i.e. you are already in medical or law school). We will accept GRE scores older than 5 years (assuming the student has the appropriate documentation of the test scores) only for applicants who already have master’s degrees; however, please note that if you wish to be considered for a fellowship, a recent GRE is essential.
For information regarding application materials, test scores and codes, and decision timelines see our frequently asked questions page.