Related Certificate

The Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (CBHP) doctoral program is designed to train students in social and behavioral science aspects of public health research and intervention with a particular emphasis on the development of community-level interventions. Faculty interest areas include: maternal, infant, and child health; health disparities; obesity; nutrition; food security; HIV and STD prevention; adolescent health; violence prevention; substance abuse prevention; creating healthy environments; and promoting mental health. Students will prepare for public health leadership through their own original research.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


Applicants to the PhD program in Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics should have completed academic programs that facilitated development of solid analytical skills. Applicable baccalaureate programs include mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering. Baccalaureate degrees in related fields will be considered. A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (A=4.00) is required. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Each application will be evaluated individually primarily on the basis of academic achievement, although relevant work experience will also be considered.

Applicants to the PhD program in Public Health with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion should have completed academic programs that facilitated development of solid analytical and communication skills. Applicable baccalaureate programs include those in the social and behavioral sciences, health and health-related sciences, and biological sciences. Baccalaureate degrees in related fields will be considered. At least one statistics course is preferred for admission. A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (A=4.00) is preferred. While a completed master's degree in public health or the social and behavioral sciences is encouraged, a master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission. For those applicants without a master's degree in a relevant field, most successful candidates will have work, research and/or volunteer experiences that contribute to career development in community health and health promotion. Demonstrated communication and analytic skills are required. Applicants from diverse backgrounds with a strong interest in community health and health promotion are encouraged to apply. Each application will be evaluated individually on the basis of four key areas:

  1. Academic record/achievement.
  2. Work, research, and/or community experience.
  3. Commitment/interest/awareness of public health and community health promotion.
  4. Matching interest with current Community and Behavioral Promotion Health faculty.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from the general test (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) are required of all applicants. Submitted test scores must be from a test taken within 5 years of the date of application. While there is not a minimum GRE score requirement, strong quantitative, verbal and writing skills are critical to successfully completing the program.

Students must meet UWM Graduate School admission requirements. For international applicants whose native language is not English, the UW-Milwaukee Center for International Education Website provides English Language Proficiency Requirements including required TOEFL or IELTS scores. Students who attended an international university must also pay an additional fee for evaluation of international transcripts.

In addition, a personal statement, and at least three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's scholarship, research achievements, and/or academic potential are required for the application. The letters of recommendation should address the candidate’s potential for achievement in a graduate program from an academic as well as personal (e.g., commitment, integrity, ethical) standpoint. At least one letter must be from a university faculty member.

A select group of the most qualified candidates will be invited to participate in an interview process. In-person or internet-facilitated interviews (Skype, etc.) will be required for finalist candidates prior to admission.

Applicants may be admitted with course deficiencies at the discretion of the Zilber College of Public Health Graduate Program Committee. The student is expected to rectify these course deficiencies with a grade of B or better within three enrolled semesters. The academic program unit will monitor deficiencies. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree. For students entering with an advanced degree, the Admissions Committee can grant credit for relevant coursework at its discretion, but at least half of the graduate credits required for the PhD must be completed at UW-Milwaukee in doctoral status in accordance with Graduate School policy. Thesis, dissertation, and research credits must be completed at UW-Milwaukee.


A student who receives the Master of Public Heath degree must formally reapply to the Zilber College of Public Health to gain admission to the PhD program in Public Health before continuing studies toward the PhD.

Credits and Courses

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion Concentration 

A minimum of 72 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor’s level must be completed to earn the degree, at least 35 of which must be earned in residence at UW-Milwaukee. The course list consists of required common Ph.D. core courses, CBHP core courses, research and methods courses, and elective courses. Also, students will be required to complete three credits of supervised research under the tutelage of the primary advisor prior to the required dissertation research requirement. This is to ensure that all students obtain hands-on, supervised research training. After achieving dissertation status, students will enroll in three research credits per semester for at least two semesters.

Required Core PhD Courses
PH 704Principles and Methods of Epidemiology3
Select one of the following courses:3
Intermediate Biostatistics 1
Intro to Regression for Understanding the SDOH
Applied Multiple Regression Analysis
PH 801Seminar in Public Health Research3
PH 819Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health3
or PH 859 Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States
CBHP PhD Required Courses
PH 702Introduction to Biostatistics3
PH 725Theories and Models of Health Behavior3
PH 727Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health3
PH 728Program Evaluation in Public Health3
PH 729Survey Research Methods in Public Health3
PH 776Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy 23
PH 820Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice3
PH 823Applied Analysis of Binary Outcomes in Public Health Research3
PH 826Principles of Community Intervention Research3
PH 827Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion3
PH 831Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health3
PH 919Core Seminar in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion3
Required Advanced Quantitative Courses 3
Select one of the following courses:3
Structural Equation Modeling
Analysis of Cross-Classified Categorical Data
Applied Categorical Data
Applied Survival Analysis
Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis
Advanced Quantitative Analysis
Pre-Dissertation Research
Research and Dissertation (Doctoral Thesis)
Electives (see below)9
Total Credits72


Select three of the following courses:
ANTHRO 744Theories of Social Action: Theater, Ritual, Game3
ANTHRO 803Survey of Cultural Anthropology3
HS 917Seminar in Health Outcomes Assessment3
PH 752Public Health and Mental Health3
PH 758Social Epidemiology3
PH 768Cancer Epidemiology3
PH 769Critical Perspectives on Nutritional Epidemiology and the Food System3
SOC WRK 705Individual Behavior and Social Welfare3
SOCIOL 910The Sociology of Inequality3
SOCIOL 982Advanced Quantitative Analysis3
SOCIOL 715Systematic Sociological Theory3
Other courses as approved by advisor.

Prereq: PH 702 Introduction to Biostatistics or approval for equivalent course.


Or other qualitative analysis course approved by advisor.


Other advanced quantitative courses will be considered.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student's studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The entering student is assigned an advisor/major professor at admission based on fit and focus. The major professor serves as the student's research mentor and will guide the student in course selection, program planning, and research design. Students may change their advisor/major professor if the fit and focus change over time. Such changes will need approval of the graduate program committee. The major professor must have graduate faculty status.


The student must meet minimum Graduate School residence requirements.

Preliminary/Qualifying Exam Process

The qualifying exams must be successfully completed within five years of initial enrollment in the Ph.D. program.

The preliminary exam is designed to assess a student’s mastery of knowledge and skills to ensure adequate preparation for individual dissertation research. Students taking the preliminary exam are expected to demonstrate knowledge, competency and mastery of core public health concepts, issues and content relevant to the CBHP PhD Program. The preliminary exam consists of three sections: an open book integrative review, a closed book exam focusing on a case study, and an oral exam. (Please refer to the CBHP Qualifying Exam Policies and Procedures.) At the discretion of the examining committee, a student who fails the qualifying process may be allowed one additional attempt with all or part of the examination. After successful completion of the qualifying process, the student will concentrate on the development of the dissertation.

Time Limit

The student must complete all requirements for the degree within 10 years of the date of initial enrollment in the program.