Doctor of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

The DrPH in behavioral and community health sciences prepares students for a variety of leadership positions in the social and behavioral sciences areas of public health practice by focusing on conceptual and evaluation skills. This advanced professional degree prepares students to apply theory and research methods in management roles or while conducting applied research.

Specific areas of training as delineated by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) include professional leadership, administration, evaluation, and advocacy. Graduates are well equipped to analyze and solve complex public health problems in the behavioral and community health sciences.

Compare the PhD and DrPH programs


Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Deputy director, Community Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Allegheny County Health Department
  • Assistant professor, social and behavioral sciences, Kent State University
  • Senior program officer at the Highmark Foundation
  • Public health analyst at RTI International
  • Vice president, The Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania
  • Senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute
  • Director, special donation initiatives at HHS/HRSA
  • Associate director, Cancer Control Services, UPMC

Recent Dissertation Titles

  • A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Fall Prevention Program at a Continuing Care Retirement Community
  • Concordance of Race/Ethnicity of Interventionists and Caregivers of Dementia Patients: Relationship to Study Outcomes
  • Cognitive Interference in Response to Weight Loss Stimuli in Individuals Participating in a Structured Weight Loss Program
  • Financial Distress and Depressive Symptoms among African American Women: Exploring the Role of Religious Coping and Social Support
  • Evaluation of a Community Developed Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk Among African American Women

Browse titles in D-Scholarship, the institutional repository for research output at the University of Pittsburgh


Graduates will be able to...

  • Integrate the social and behavioral sciences with management, advocacy, leadership, ethics and communication skills within an area of concentration.
  • Utilize social ecological frameworks to design, implement and manage public health programs that translate research into practice;
  • Utilize social ecological frameworks to conduct applied research to evaluate public health programs and policies using qualitative and quantitative methodologies;
  • Develop partnerships and conduct collaborative projects with diverse communities, community organizations and public health organizations;
  • Develop strategies to communicate effectively with diverse constituencies including policy-makers, researchers, public health practitioners and the general public in order to conduct advocacy for change and disseminate evidence-based research results.


  • 72 credits
  • Coursework in the integration of public health research and practice
  • Coursework in community cultural orientation and critical analysis
  • Advanced coursework in evaluation, statistics, communication, and management
  • Specialty elective areas include leadership, advocacy or professionalism and ethics
  • Executive management practicum
  • Advanced dissertation research and coursework in an area of specialization

Full program information

DrPH-PhD Student Handbook 2017–18
DrPH checklist


Patricia I. Documet, MD, DrPH 
Associate Professor, Director of doctoral programs
6133 Public Health
Pittsburgh, PA 15261