The MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences program prepares students for an applied public health career. Students learn community-engaged strategies, social and behavioral concepts to assess the health status of populations, apply social/behavioral theory, use social/behavioral science research methods to evaluate health promotion programs as well as develop programmatic and policy recommendations for improvement, and communicate with other researchers, communities, and policymakers. The emphasis is on student learning and practicing assessment and research skills in the context of social and behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.


Graduates assume positions in a variety of public health and related organizations. A number of graduates have taken on leadership roles in the global health arena.

Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Preparedness training and exercise coordinator for a county health department
  • Director of a statewide HIV/AIDS education program
  • Program director with an international relief agency
  • Health coach for a national health insurance and medical provider
  • Evaluation and research director for a regional reproductive health program
  • Program officer for a local philanthropic foundation
  • Research associate with a university-based applied research team
  • Health promotion/education coordinator for the local office of a national prevention and advocacy organization
  • Director of a center for rural health
  • Patient services manager at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Research and evaluation specialist for a large urban school district

Recent Essay and Thesis Titles

  • Labor doula care for survivors of sexual violence
  • Inspiring students to pursue science: a program evaluation of Pitt summer science outreach
  • Exploring the association between eating a whole food plant-based diet and reducing chronic diseases: a critical literature synthesis
  • Components and experiences of doulas working with disadvantaged mothers
  • Previously incarcerated transgender women: experiences, needs, and resiliencies
  • Effects of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education on mental health and experiences of bullying among U.S. high school students
  • Evaluation of Public Health Nursing Recruitment and Retention at a Local Health Department


Graduates will be able to:

  • Describe strategies for engaging communities and systems in advancing research and improving health through collaboration, partnerships and strengths-based approaches;
  • Synthesize and apply established and novel social and behavioral methods and tools to advance research and improve population health;
  • Apply health education and health promotion theories to the development of programs that take into account the context in which they will be implemented;
  • Develop a mechanism-based causal framework that applies a systems science approach and integrates relevant theory; and
  • Apply modeling and simulation to social processes.

All graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.


  • 45 credits, including coursework, practicum experience, and thesis/essay
  • Foundational public health courses
  • Advanced courses in health communications, program planning, and health education/health promotion theories
  • On-site 200-hours public health practicum experience
  • Thesis or essay research in an area of specialization

Full Program Information