San Diego State University

MPH – Health Promotion & Behavioral Science




The Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science is one of the graduate divisions within the SDSU Graduate School of Public Health.  It offers a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with concentration in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science.

The MPH program in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science provides pre- and post-doctoral instruction in behav­ioral and social sciences. The curriculum examines socio-ecological factors responsible for health-related behaviors that lead to morbidity, premature mortality and health disparities. Research and evaluation techniques appropriate for health behavior and community health research are taught. Graduates will be able to design, manage, and evaluate health promotion programs in a variety of settings, including schools, work sites, health care facilities, and community organizations. Emphasis is placed on the study of disease prevention and health promotion in both large populations and small groups. Extensive faculty/student collaboration is employed so that students can apply health behavior change principles in research and practice.



See also…

Required Courses

The 51 unit program is listed below and is typically completed in two years by full-time students:

  • Public Health Core Classes (15 units)
    • PH 601 Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 602 Biostatistics (3)
    • PH 604 Environmental determinants of Human Health (3)
    • PH 605 Health Services Administration (3)
    • PH 661 Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion (3)
  • Health Promotion Concentration Courses (12 units)
    • PH 662 Motivating Health Behavior (3)
    • PH 663 Health Communication (3)
    • PH 666 Health Promotion Program Planning and Assessment (3)
    • PH 607 Research Methods (3)
  • Supervised Field Placement (3-12 units)
    • PH 650R Required Community Field Practice (3) Cr/NC
    • Students may take an additional 3 units of PH 650 and 6 units of PH 750
  • Prescribed Electives (6 units) – A minimum of six additional units selected with the approval of advisor from:
    • PH 664 Health, Society, and Human Behavior (3)
    • PH 667 Prevention and Control of Chronic Illness (3)
    • PH 668 Seminar in Health Promotion Research: Thesis Production
    • PH 700F Seminar in Public Health: Health Promotion (3)
    • PH 700G Seminar in Public Health: Health Promotion (3)
    • PH 762 Behavioral Medicine (3)
    • PH 797 Research for Graduate Students (3)
  • Additional Electives (6 units)
    • Six units selected with approval of concentration faculty from any graduate level public health course
  • Capstone Experience (3 units) *
    • PH 799A Thesis or Project (3) Cr/NC OR PH 798 Special Study (3) Cr/NC

See the SDSU Graduate Bulletin for descriptions and prerequisites for these courses.


Plan of Study

Students seeking a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science are required to file a formal Official Program of Study (which lists all classes that will be taken to fulfill degree requirements) after completing at least 12 units of study and before completing the last 9 units. The Official Program of Study must be approved by the Graduate Adviser of the Graduate School of Public Health.

*Thesis or Directed Readings

Students can complete their degree in the Health Promotion concentration by choosing either Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Manuscript or Comprehensive review). If students select Plan A, PH 799A is required for completion of their degree, accompanied by a final defense of their thesis. If students select Plan B, PH 798 (Special Study) is required, and a scientific manuscript based on their research must be prepared and defended for completion of the degree.

Time Limitation

The school expects a student to complete the degree within seven years. Failure to complete the degree requirements within seven years will result in dismissal from the program.







last updated: 2/23/2015