Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

The MPH program prepares students for an applied public health career. Students learn community-engaged strategies, social and behavioral concepts to assess the health status of populations, apply social/behavioral theory, use social/behavioral science research methods to evaluate health promotion programs as well as develop programmatic and policy recommendations for improvement, and communicate with other researchers, communities, and policymakers. The emphasis is on student learning and practicing assessment and research skills in the context of social and behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.


Graduates assume positions in a variety of public health and related organizations. A number of graduates have taken on leadership roles in the global health arena.

Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Preparedness training and exercise coordinator for a county health department
  • Director of a statewide HIV/AIDS education program
  • Program director with an international relief agency
  • Health coach for a national health insurance and medical provider
  • Evaluation and research director for a regional reproductive health program
  • Program officer for a local philanthropic foundation
  • Research associate with a university-based applied research team
  • Health promotion/education coordinator for the local office of a national prevention and advocacy organization
  • Director of a center for rural health
  • Patient services manager at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Research and evaluation specialist for a large urban school district

Recent Essay and Thesis Titles

  • Labor doula care for survivors of sexual violence
  • Inspiring students to pursue science: a program evaluation of Pitt summer science outreach
  • Exploring the association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reducing chronic diseases: a critical literature synthesis
  • Components and experiences of doulas working with disadvantaged mothers
  • Previously incarcerated transgender women: experiences, needs, and resiliencies
  • Effects of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education on mental health and experiences of bullying among U.S. high school students
  • Evaluation of Public Health Nursing Recruitment and Retention at a Local Health Department


Graduates will be able to...

  • Identify strategies for engaging communities and systems in advancing research and improving health through collaboration, partnerships and strengths-based approaches;
  • Synthesize and apply established and novel social and behavioral methods and tools to advance research and improve population health;
  • Apply health education and health promotion theories to the development of programs that take into account the context in which they will be implemented;
  • Develop a mechanism-based causal framework that applies a systems science approach and integraes relevant theory; and
  • Apply modeling and simulation to social processes.

All graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.


  • 45 credits, including coursework, practicum experience, and thesis/essay
  • Foundational public health courses
  • Advanced courses in health communications, program planning, and health education/health promotion theories
  • On-site 200-hours public health practicum experience
  • Thesis or essay research in an area of specialization

Full program information

MPH Student Handbook
Community Practicum Handbook
MPH Checklist
Thesis and Essay Checklist



Martha Ann Terry
Director, MPH program
6137 Public Health
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Paul J. Markgraf
Academic administrator
6104A Public Health
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

MPH Student News


Burke and O'Malley help National Domestic Violence Hotline 

Burke and O'Malley help National Domestic Violence Hotline

Professor Jessica Burke and student Teagan O'Malley (BCHS '12 '19) developed a framework for evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which responds to over 1000 calls for help each day. Burke and O'Malley engaged multiple stakeholders including service ... (08/13/2019)

Meet joint-degree student Alyssa Amendola (BCHS/GSPIA), Coverdell Fellow 

Meet joint-degree student Alyssa Amendola (BCHS/GSPIA), Coverdell Fellow

The Peace Corps showed Alyssa Amendola that she wanted to pursue public health. She chose Pitt because of our focus on global health, eclectic research interests, and strong faculty. Her time in the Peace Corps also helped prepare her for graduate school. "I gained a new perspective that I would no... (06/20/2019)

Meet joint-degree student Laurenia Mangum (BCHS/SocWk), Coverdell Fellow 

Meet joint-degree student Laurenia Mangum (BCHS/SocWk), Coverdell Fellow

Laurenia Mangum worked within the children, youth, and family sector in the Philippines while in the Peace Corps. “The BCHS program compliments my social work background and serves as a great transition from the Peace Corps. It meets my needs without compartmentalizing the studies into one particul... (05/01/2019)

Pittsburgh analysis: recommendations to reduce recidivism in Allegheny County transgender women 

Pittsburgh analysis: recommendations to reduce recidivism in Allegheny County transgender women

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - As part of her master’s thesis work, Stephanie Creasy (BCHS '17) performed a mixed-methods analysis that involved in-depth interviews with transgender women living in Allegheny County who had been previously incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, coupled with geospatial mapping o... (11/30/2018)

Platt included in What's Next: Politics 

Platt included in What's Next: Politics

THE INCLINE - Julie Platt (BCHS/MSW '19) has been selected as one of 25 Pittsburghers making a difference in the third class of What's Next: Politics. Platt was one of the first to join Emily Skopov’s campaign to challenge Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai for Pa. House District 28. Platt recruited vol... (11/24/2018)

Creasy's study provides recommendations to reduce recidivism in transgender women 

Creasy's study provides recommendations to reduce recidivism in transgender women

MEDICAL XPRESS - Previously incarcerated transgender women can find themselves caught in a cycle that leads to repeat jail time. A new analysis of Allegheny County identifies potential solutions that could lead to transgender women being more successfully reintegrated into society. "I think we are ... (11/16/2018)
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