Social and Behavioral Sciences


The Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) area of study, also known as the Health and Social Behavior (HSB) field of study in the MPH Program, is focused heavily on research to illuminate and to act upon basic social and behavioral determinants of health. SBS can be completed with four different degree paths, providing students with the skills they need to understand social determinants of health, develop and evaluate policies and programs to reduce health inequities and disseminate population health interventions. 

Department overview

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences trains scholars and practitioners to understand and intervene on social determinants of health and health equity identified through research. 

Degree programs

Student interests

Students who choose Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) are passionate about social justice and committed to improving population health. They are focused on research and quantitative methods as a means to create social change within public health. 

Depending on prior experience and education, students incorporate the social and behavioral sciences into their degree programs in different ways. Students in the SM-42.5 or PhD programs are dedicated to public health research, while MPH students are focused on public health practice. 

Career outcomes 

SBS-focused practitioners graduate with the skills required to evaluate, research, design, and implement health-enhancing interventions. 

Among multiple career choices, graduates of the Master of Public Health (MPH) programs have found employment as: 

  • Research analysts at consulting firms and government agencies 
  • Project directors at city, state, and federal health commissions 
  • Leadership positions at non-profit organizations 

For individuals in the MPH-65 HSB, the summer practicum experience often opens up career opportunities with a range of organizations. 

Among multiple career choices, graduates of the PhD program have found employment in: 

  • Postdoctoral positions 
  • Tenure-track faculty positions 
  • Management/research positions at government agencies