Program overview

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Behavior Science and Promotion (HBSP) provides the training and experience necessary for students to become independent researchers and practitioners in the field. Students will gain skills in evaluating the health needs of diverse populations, and use empirical and theoretical methods to develop, implement, and evaluate health behavior and promotion approaches.

A nationally renowned and interdisciplinary program faculty conduct meaningful research in multiple health promotion venues such as schools, clinics and hospitals, community organizations, state health departments, and corporate settings. Examples of on-going research projects include:

A big-data examination of the relationship between sedentary behavior, sleep health, and cardio-metabolic outcomes;

  • Impact of health coaching on bariatric patient health behaviors;
  • Effects of Guided Exercise on Health and Independence of Adults with Intellectual Disability;
  • Integrating Mobile and Wearable Technology to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Sleep among Midlife Adults;
  • Promoting well-being in older adults and at-risk youth through intergenerational activities; and
  • Effects of a YMCA physical activity program on the health and wellbeing of cancer survivors.


The HBSP PhD is a 48-credit program designed to be completed in four years. The curriculum includes:

  • 15 credits of content expertise courses;
  • 15 credits of content expertise courses;
  • 15 credits of research methodology, quantitative and qualitative statistics courses;
  • A 3-credit elective course;• 6 credits of independent research;• Qualifying examinations; and
  • 9 credits of dissertation research.

Competitive graduate assistantships are available for full-time students. Part time study options are available for committed professionals. More details can be found on our program page.

Schedule a Meeting

Please contact the HBSP PhD program director, Freda Patterson at for more information.

See flyer for details.