PhD in Public Health Sciences

UNC Charlotte

The focus of the PhD in Public Health Sciences is to train researchers and professionals with skills essential to address contemporary public health problems at the individual, community and population levels.

Drawing on the social-ecological framework, public health is an interdisciplinary field encompassing public health practice in the community; scientific research utilizing theoretical perspectives from disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, gerontology, medicine, nursing, psychology, and sociology; and 5 core areas of endeavor: environmental and occupational health, biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral health factors, and health policy and administration.

Additionally, students train to be well-rounded public health professionals: partnering with community agencies and stakeholders, learning how to disseminate research to diverse audiences, publishing in peer-reviewed formats, teaching in an academic environment, and conducting themselves with high ethical standards in all venues. Graduates are prepared to work in academia, conduct large-scale public health research projects, or work in government or health-related venues. The UNC Charlotte Public Health Sciences PhD Program strives to uphold the Department of Public Health Science’s vision of “Healthy communities partnered with responsive population health systems” by preparing public health professionals to realize our mission of “Advancing health equity and well-being in an urbanizing world”. The Public Health Sciences PhD program values collaboration, community engagement, diversity, innovation, professionalism, health equity, and social justice.

The Concentration in Behavioral Science

The concentration in Behavioral Sciences emphasizes investigation of health determinants related to the prevention and management of disease and disability among diverse and vulnerable populations. Working with the community in multidisciplinary teams to understand and develop programs that address the broad social-ecological factors that influence health behavior and thus health outcomes is the primary emphasis of this concentration.

Coursework for the PhD in Public Health Sciences with a concentration in behavioral sciences has a dual emphasis on qualitative and quantitative methods, and the development, application, and measurement of theory to understand the social and cultural factors that influence health behavior.

The PhD in Public Health Sciences with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences will:

  • prepare graduates with analytical skills to conduct research on social and behavioral factors in a variety of public health and community settings;
  • prepare graduates to design, conduct, and analyze behavioral science research relating to public health using advanced quantitative and qualitative methods;
  • prepare independent scientists and scholars with focused writing skills to obtain appropriate research funding and to write for publication;
  • prepare independent scientists and scholars with communication and methodological skills necessary to advance and disseminate behavioral science knowledge to community/lay, practitioner, academic, and scientific audiences; and
  • instill graduates with enthusiasm for interdisciplinary collaboration and solid principles necessary to engage in culturally competent and ethically sound research practices with all participants and colleagues.

The PhD program in Public Health Sciences is offered in person only.




Ahmed A. Arif, PhD
Professor, Director of PhD Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences
Department of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223
Phone: 704-687-8742