The PhD in behavioral, social, and health education sciences (BSHES) is offered through Emory's Laney Graduate School. This program trains students to identify, analyze, and intervene on today's most pressing public health issues.
PhD in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences
The Fall 2023 application is now open! You can apply here.
Contact the department with questions, or fill out this form for more information. Please note, applications are processed through the Laney Graduate School (not SOPHAS).
2nd-year BSHES doctoral student
What You'll Learn
As a PhD student, you will learn how to:
- Conduct original research on identifying individual and societal determinants of health behaviors, illness, and disease
- Design, implement, and evaluate behavioral and structural interventions to prevent disease, reduce health risks, and improve quality of life
- Translate knowledge derived from research to promote public health
Click here to learn more about our current doctoral students and alumni. Here is a list of our current doctoral students' publications for the 2020-2021 academic year. View the competencies for this program here.
- A master's degree in public health, or a related field, is required. If you have a master's degree in a field outside of public health, you may need to take some core master's-level coursework in the field.
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
- Application + $75 application fee
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Statement of Purpose (2-3 single-spaced pages)
- Transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended (should be uploaded through the online application, not mailed). Unofficial transcripts issued by the Registrar to you (the student) are acceptable.
- You will be asked to select up to three faculty advisors in the application.
Submitting a writing sample is optional. The sample can be a journal article, paper, essay, or any other type of work that has been written by the applicant.
A small number of applicants will be invited to interview and visit the campus in late winter at no cost to the applicant.
In addition to these requirements, all departments require international students to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.
TOEFL scores should be at least 560 on the paper-based test or a 100 or higher on the Internet-based test. Students who earned a degree from an institution within the United States are waived from the TOEFL requirement.
Paying for your PhD
All full-time Emory PhD students receive merit-based support packages consisting of full tuition scholarships each year and annual living stipends for two years. The awards are renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance. Beginning September 1, 2019, doctoral students will receive annual stipends of approximately $31,000 for the initial two years and will be supported by research projects, fellowships and/or grants for the following years. You may also choose to work as a research assistant or in other activities related to your professional development during the summer months for additional income.
The program is designed for full-time students and typically takes four years to complete. During your first two years, you'll take all required course work, gain teaching experience, and work as a research assistant before developing your own research project. During your third and fourth years, you'll develop, complete, and defend your dissertation.
Please see the most recent Student Handbook, which describes all degree requirements in depth. You can also consult this data that the Laney Graduate School keeps on students and graduates of our program.
All PhD students must participate in the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunities (TATTO) program. You will receive an orientation to effective teaching and a course on teaching techniques in the field and gain experience working with students as supervised teaching assistants and/or classroom instructors or co-instructors. More about TATTO
After completing all required 48 credit hours of coursework, with a B average or greater, you will take a comprehensive exam. The exam evaluates your abilities in the application of theory, research methods, and analysis to important public health topics. After passing the exam, you are encouraged to select a doctoral dissertation committee.
Starting with your first semester, all BSHES PhD students participate in two, unpaid research rotations, which require approximately 10-12 hours of work per week.
Jones Program in Ethics
You will also need to complete the Jones Program in Ethics. This program provides students with a foundational, cross-disciplinary introduction to the question of ethics for their research, training, and careers.
All PhD students are required to complete and defend a dissertation. Students are encouraged to begin exploring potential research topics as soon as they enter the program by meeting with faculty advisors.
The doctoral dissertation must meet the requirements of both the department and Laney Graduate School. In particular, the dissertation must make a new contribution to the student’s field of study, or present a unique new interpretation on existing knowledge. Students are required to pass an oral defense of the dissertation proposal.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment: How TANF Generosity Affects Family Violence
Understanding Capacity-building Efforts to Address Environmental Justice Concerns
Exploring the role of acculturation on mammography utilization among Hispanic women in the United States
Leaving the food desert: An activity space approach to understanding how community food environments affect health
Tobacco Use among Sexual Minority Men and Women in the United States and China
Examining multilevel socioenvironmental factors associated with pursuit of kidney transplant among predominantly African American end stage renal disease patients undergoing dialysis
Evaluating the Implementation and Impacts of Integrated Depression and Diabetes Treatment in India: A Process Evaluation of the INDEPENDENT Study
Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer, CDC
Data Services Specialist, Assistant Professor; Georgia State University
|Caitlin Allen||2021||Assistant Professor; Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine|
|Rachael Spencer||2021||Postdoctoral Fellow; Emory University; Department of Global Health|
|Ha Ngan (Milkie) Vu||2021||Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University|
|Dana Robinson Williamson||2020||ASPPH Research Fellow; US EPA Office of Research and Development|
|Anna Newton-Levinson||2020||FIRST Postdoctoral Fellowship; Rollins School of Public Health|
|Sara Redd||2020||Postdoctoral Fellow; Emory University; HPM|
|Juan Rodriguez||2020||Epidemiologist, Program Director; Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC|
|Shauna St. Clair Flemming||2019||Research Scientist; NORC, University of Chicago|
|Casey Hall||2019||Postdoctoral Fellow; Northwestern University|
|Jingjing Li||2019||Postdoctoral Fellow; CDC|
|Ilana Raskind||2019||Senior Research Scientist; Health Resources in Action|
|Leslie Johnson||2018||Assistant Professor; Emory University School of Medicine|
|Kathleen Krause||2018||Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer; CDC|
|Sasha Mital||2018||Epidemiologist; CDC, Heroin Response Strategy, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention|
|Riley Steiner||2018||Health Scientist; CDC, Division of Adolescent and School Health|
|Rebecca Woodruff||2018||Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer; CDC, Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention|
|Robin McGee||2017||Assistant Teaching Professor; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences|
|Nancy DeSousa Williams||2017||Assistant Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs; Emory University School of Medicine|
|Umedjon Ibragimov||2017||Research Assistant Professor; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences|
|Daniel Murdock||2016||Recruiter Consultant; Decision Information Resources|
|Danielle Haley||2016||Assistant Professor; Northeastern University, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Department of Health Sciences|
|Yen-Tyng Chen||2016||Assistant Professor; William Patterson University, School of Public Health|
Assistant Professor; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
|Aaron Vissman||2015||Associate Director; Talbert House|
|Gillian L. Schauer||2015||
Executive Director at the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA)
|Rebecca Fielding-Miller||2015||Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease and Global Health; UC San Diego School of Medicine|
|Lisa Oakley||2015||Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer; Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, Office of Research and Evaluation|
|Amanda Garcia Williams||2015||
Behavioral Scientist; CDC, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
|Erica Smearman||2015||Plastic Surgery Resident; Emory University|
|Emily Dauria-Russell||2014||Assistant Professor; University of California, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences|
|Li Sun||2014||Associate Chief Physician; Sichuan Provincial CDC in China|
|Liz Walker||2013||Associate Teaching Professor/Director of Evidence-based Learning; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences|
|April Young||2013||Associate Professor, University of Kentucky, College of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology|
|Nicola Christofides||2012||Associate Professor; University of the Witwatersrand, School of Public Health|
|Sara Head||2012||Health Scientist, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration|
|Michelle Hynes||2012||Data analyst; CDC NCCDPHP|
|Shilpa Patel||2012||Senior Evaluation Scientist; ICF Macro|
|Amy Patterson||2012||Associate Professor/Chair; Agnes Scott College, Linda Lentz Hubert School of Public Health|
|Aaron Siegler||2012||Associate Professor; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Healh, EPI|
Assistant Professor; Agnes Scott College, Linda Lentz Hubert School of Public Health
Learning and Development Consultant; MavenTree Consulting
|Laura Lessard||2011||Assistant Professor; University of Delaware, Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition
Evaluation Director, Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)
|Lara DePadilla||2010||Behavioral Scientist; CDC Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention|
|Kathy Hageman||2010||Branch Chief of Strategic Information; CDC Tanzania|
|Julia Painter||2010||Senior Epidemiologist; Fairfax County Health Department|
|Christina Borba||2009||Director of Research; Boston Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry|
|Darren Mays||2009||Associate Professor; Ohio State University, Comprehensive Cancer Center|
|Ashli Owen-Smith||2009||Assistant Professor of Public Health; Georgia State University|