Doctor of Philosophy in Health Education and Health Promotion (HEP) 2015-16

The PhD program in health education/promotion provides students with instruction and research experience to become practitioners and scientists in health education and health promotion. The program combines the resources of academic units from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, UAB School of Education, Department of Human Studies), and the University of Alabama (UA) College of Human Environmental Sciences, Department of Health Science.

The specific objectives of the Health Behavior program are to enable the students to:

  • Develop the skills to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate intervention programs for promoting health and preventing disease;
  • Develop theoretical knowledge from social and behavior sciences;
  • Develop the knowledge and skills to become independent researchers;
  • Complete a substantive research experience integrating the first three objectives.

Health Behavior students learn to use theories and methods from the social and behavioral sciences to develop programs that encourage healthy behaviors.  They learn state-of-the-art techniques and methods for research and program evaluation. Health Behavior doctoral students study these topics in depth as they apply their knowledge and skills to conducting research and writing proposals and manuscripts.  Health behavior students have opportunities to become involved in faculty research projects on a broad range of health issues such as obesity prevention including lifestyle interventions, family and adolescent health issues, prevention and control of addictive behaviors, sexual health risks including HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, community based health promotion, health communication, and dissemination and implementation science.

The PhD program requires completion of a minimum of 73 hours of graduate credit, satisfactory performance on comprehensive exams, and completion of a doctoral dissertation.



Credit Hours

Health Education/Promotion Core Courses


HB 724 Advanced Social & Behavioral Science Theory for Doctoral Candidates 3
HB 740 Advanced Health Program Evaluation 3
HB 760/ HE 710 Planning & Administration of Health Education & Promotion 3
HB 771 Doctoral Studies Seminar I 1
HB 772 Doctoral Studies Seminar II 1
HB 773 Doctoral Studies Seminar III  1

Advanced Research and Statistical Methods Courses


BST 611 * Intermediate Statistical Analysis I  (or) 3
EPR 609 ** Statistical Methods and Research in Education 3
BST 612 Intermediate Statistical Analysis II (or) 3
EPR 710 Computer Applications and Advanced Statistical Methods 3
Qualitative or Mixed Methods Research Student will discuss with his/her advisor 3
EPI 610 Principles of Epidemiologic Research 4
HB 741 Clinical Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences 3

Departmental Requirements


HB 703 Writing for the Behavioral Sciences 3
GRD 717 or HCO 670 Responsible Conduct of Research course 3

Evaluation/ Research Methods/Statistics Electives


Social and Behavioral Sciences Electives


Directed Research

Minimum 12

HB 798 Doctoral Directed Research 12

Dissertation Research

Minimum 12

HB 799 Doctoral Dissertation Research 12

PhD Program

Total 73

* BST 611 is the prerequisite for BST 612
** EPR 609 is the prerequisite for EPR 710

Specific courses needed for completion of the advanced research and statistical methods requirement may vary and require approval by the student's academic advisor.  Specific courses for the social science concentration are selected by the student and his/her academic advisor.  Students may transfer a minimum of 12 credits from comparable graduate courses completed previously if those courses were not used to complete another degree, are graduate level, and a grade of at least a B.

Directed Research   

Students are required to complete at least twelve directed research credit hours.  The goals are to provide experience in planning, conducting, and reporting behavioral science  research under the mentoring of a faculty member or a researcher employed by an agency such as the CDC, NIH, or  health department;  to provide opportunities to develop manuscripts for publication, conference paper presentations, grant submissions or other “research products”; and  to help prepare for dissertation work.

Comprehensive Exam  

Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive examination before proposing a dissertation. At a minimum, the exam cover the scientific and theoretical basis of health education and health promotion, the design and evaluation of health promotion programs and research methods in health promotion. Prior to taking the comprehensive exams, the student must have completed the Health Education/Promotion Core Courses and at least 75% of their course work.


Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation requirement provides students with a comprehensive and original research experience. Students conducting dissertation research must complete of a minimum of 12 dissertation credit hours.  Students complete credits for the dissertation after completing coursework and comprehensive exams, and being admitted to candidacy.  Students must be enrolled full time for at least two consecutive semesters before defending the dissertation. 

All PhD students must meet the graduation requirements of their department and the Graduate School.