Health Behavior and Health Promotion - PhD

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.

Trevor Moffitt outside on campusMy hope for the future of public health, specifically for health behavior and health promotion, is more ownership and involvement for community groups and members ... This approach builds trust with the populations we serve and produces better interventions.

Trevor Moffitt, PhD Student, Health Behavior and Health Promotion

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)

View sample curriculum

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.

Recommended Preparation

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.

Successful PhD applicants would normally have an undergraduate GPA greater than a 3.4 on a 4-point scale, strong recommendations with people familiar with your academic potential, and a match with faculty research interests.

For information regarding application materials, test scores and codes, and decision timelines see our frequently asked questions page.