Social and Behavioral Sciences

social and behavioral sciences


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).

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.

If you are interested in the Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration, please contact Dr. Mark Hart at

Social and Behavioral Sciences Curricula

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

The online Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration is currently available in four tracks. Below are the individual SBS concentration curriculum tracks.

Social and Behavioral Sciences Competencies

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

Social and Behavioral Sciences Core Courses

Concentration Core Courses

  • PHC 6146 Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation
  • PHC 6195 Health Information for Diverse Populations: Theory & Methods
  • PHC 6251 Assessment and Surveillance in Public Health
  • PHC 6405 Theoretical Foundations of Public Health
  • PHC 6700 Social and Behavioral Research Methods


For the purposes of the MPH internship and special project for social and behavioral sciences (SBS), students are to: (1) apply the skills learned across the MPH curriculum and within SBS specifically; (2) advance the student’s understanding of SBS theories, methods, and approaches in a real-world application and setting; and (3) promote within students an appreciation for how public health professionals interact with and affect the well-being of individuals and communities. Typically, SBS MPH students should seek an internship that will provide a foundation for future educational endeavors (e.g., PhD, MD) or employment within national and international organizations including government, non-profit foundations and companies, and for-profit companies. Based on students’ goals, the internship will be in a setting (e.g., public health agency, community based organization, federal agency) and focus on a specific content area (e.g., chronic disease, infectious disease, health behavior) that will prepare them for the next step in their careers.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Students starting the program in or after Fall 2019 will have different requirements due to CEPH accreditation changes. In place of the Public Health Internship, students will complete 3-6 credits of Applied Practice Experience. APE involves internship hours and community service hours.
    • For online students: 48-credit SBS students will complete 6 credits of Applied Practice Experience. While APE is intended to mostly serve as an internship for online students, there are some slight differences. Please view this document for more details.

Special Project

Within each internship experience, students must complete a special project that demonstrates their ability to define an issue, apply methods appropriate to their concentration, and produce results. The special project serves as the basis for a final written report and either an oral or poster presentation. These final activities of the MPH program are intended to encourage students to understand their projects in the larger context of public health as a cross-disciplinary field and in relation to the competencies expected of all MPH graduates. Student presentations are scheduled on one or two Public Health Days near the end of fall, spring and summer semesters. DVM/MPH students typically present in the summer or fall of their senior year.