Health Education & Promotion PhD named in the top 15

Iris Stone

Ranking the 15 Best Health Promotion PhD Programs

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Education & Health Promotion

The University of Alabama’s Health Education and Health Promotion program features a well-balanced, research-focused curriculum that puts equal weight on academic and promotional topics. By combining the resources of multiple departments (including the Schools of Public Health and Education and the Departments of Health Behavior and Human Studies) UAB is able to provide students with more course options in more subjects – as well as more research opportunities. In fact, this affordable doctorate in health education degree program devotes 24 credits – a third of the total – to “directed” (with a faculty member) and “dissertation” (original) research experience.

In ranking the top PhD degrees in this field, we only considered programs at public and private non-profit colleges. We ranked each eligible program in the following three categories:

Public Health Accreditation
There is no specific accrediting agency for health education graduate programs. However, many degrees in this field are either embedded within a public health program or are closely associated with one. As such, we used CEPH (Council on Education for Public Health) accreditation as one indication of academic quality. We awarded the most points to universities that have an entire department/college of public health that is CEPH-accredited and offer a PhD in Health Promotion and Education within that department. Schools that meet the first condition (but offer their doctorate in health promotion through a different academic division) or offer other CEPH-accredited programs in related areas earned fewer points.

Concentrations and Areas of Research
Research is perhaps the single most important aspect of any PhD program. Therefore, we sought to identify the colleges that (1) clearly indicate which area(s) of health education/promotion research they specialize in and (2) include some sort of concentration, “depth,” or minor (sometimes called a “cognate”) requirement within their curriculum. We awarded the most points to universities that meet both of these conditions. Programs that feature a concentration component to their curriculum, but do not list specific areas of interest, or do not clearly identify their primary research areas, earned fewer points.

Funding Support
Most people who earn a PhD do not expect to pay the full cost of tuition at the school they attend. That is because – especially for research-oriented programs – colleges often provide funding (which typically includes free tuition plus a monthly stipend) through graduate teaching and research assistantships. Schools that guarantee funding for all doctoral candidates earned the most points on this ranking. We awarded fewer points to colleges that provide funding to some students, and we provided a bonus to programs that state the actual dollar amount of the stipend they provide.

As an extra piece of information, we included each school’s average annual tuition for graduate students (as reported on College Navigator) with the descriptions below. However, these values did not factor into our methodology.


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