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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Welcome to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration

The Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Concentration is based on the assumption that health and health behavior are impacted by multiple psychological, behavioral, social, and cultural factors. Central to addressing health problems and eliminating health disparities and inequalities, these factors must be understood and addressed at multiple social-ecological levels (individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and population). Through classroom instruction, research, and field practice, MPH students who concentrate in social and behavioral sciences explore the unique issues faced by diverse groups and populations and acquire skills to achieve social and behavioral change.


Those who seek a concentration in social and behavioral sciences come from a variety of undergraduate and professional backgrounds. Undergraduate majors in sociology, anthropology, psychology and health education provide strong foundations for this concentration. However, it is also sought out by individuals with backgrounds in bench science, health professions, and other professions, such as journalism, to provide a multi-layered perspective on the determinants of and solutions to health problems. MPH graduates with concentrations in social and behavioral sciences are employed in health agencies at all levels and sectors. They are usually involved in creative aspects of community assessment, program development and evaluation, and research. Just a few examples of current jobs held by our alumni include research positions at NIH and CDC, program directors at the Alachua County Health Department and the North Florida Healthy Start coalition, and tobacco specialist with the local AHEC.


Faculty in the Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, teach courses and advise students in the social and behavioral science concentration. The curriculum is designed to enable students to develop competence in very specific social and behavioral science skills. In addition to the 16 credits of public health core courses, students are required to take 15 credits of social and behavioral science core courses. The SBS core courses enable students to acquire and apply new knowledge and tools in social and behavioral theory, research methods, health communication, need and asset assessment and surveillance, and ultimately program planning and evaluation. Students also take 6-9 credits in SBS-specific electives that provide opportunities for exploring substantive areas deemed public health priorities, including gender, sexuality and health; international health; and health disparities. In addition, students are able to choose up to 6 credits of elective courses that allow them to tailor their education to meet their specific substantive interests and career goals. Electives may be additional epidemiology, biostatistics, public health management and policy, and environmental health courses or other graduate level Health Science Center courses. With their advisors’ approval, students may also take graduate level courses outside the Health Science Center, and/or pursue mentored practicum and research experiences. Finally, students are given the opportunity to apply their new understanding and skills to a real-world experience through participation in a mentored organizational or community-based public health internship or research project.


Click below to view full criteria for the 48-credit and accelerated 42-credit MPH programs.

Click here to review the competencies expected of graduates of the SBS concentration and the courses that contribute to them.

Click below for descriptions of the SBS concentration core and elective courses.