PhD in Health Behavior

Our doctoral program in health behavior trains students to conduct rigorous research to address today’s most pressing public health issues. Students take coursework in health behavior, quantitative and/or qualitative research methods, and a minor area outside of our department. Most importantly, PhD students work closely with a faculty advisor to design a program of study and conduct independent research including the dissertation. The faculty members available to advise new doctoral students are listed below. Prospective students are encouraged to communicate with a potential advisor to confirm a match of research interests before applying.

Faculty Members Available to Advise New Health Behavior PhD Students

Priscilla Barnes (Public health system partnerships; Community engagement, health and wellness)

Andrew Brown (Meta-research, Nutrition, Obesity)

Angela Chow (Mental health and well-being, Lifespan development, Motivational development)

Brian Dodge (Bisexuality, sexual and gender minority health)

Alyce Fly (Nutrition sciences)

Lucia Guerra-Reyes (Sexual and reproductive health, Reproductive decisions, Zika)

Debby Herbenick (Sexual health and behavior; Maternal and reproductive health (pregnancy, postpartum))

Hsien-Chang Lin (Substance use; Presecription drug misuse; Health policy; Health services and outcomes)

David Lohrmann (Child and adolescent health; School health education and promotion; Obesity, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, HIV/STI prevention)

Jon Macy (Public health policy; Tobacco prevention and cessation)

Laura McCloskey (Violence; Mental health; Adolescent sexual health; Families and health)

Beth Meyerson (Health policy and systems; Harm reduction (syringe access, PrEP, naloxone); HIV/STI)

Patrick Quinn (Substance use, Mental health, Pharmacoepidemiology, Behavioral genetics)

Dong-Chul Seo (Addictive behaviors; Mental health; Substance use; Obesity)

Todd Smith (Worker safety, health and wellbeing; Total worker health; Occupational health psychology)

Mohammad Torabi (Tobacco prevention, education, and policy; Measurement and evaluation in public health education)

William Yarber (Sexual health)

Tips for your Application

  • Our PhD application deadline is January 15.
  • A master's degree and the GRE are required for admission.
  • In your research statement, clearly articulate your area of research interest, any research experience you have, what research questions you would like to pursue as a doctoral student, which faculty member you have identified and communicated with as a potential doctoral advisor, and your plans after completion of the degree.
  • Make sure that your recommendation letters speak to your potential to conduct research.
  • If you have one, include a writing sample that demonstrates any research experience or skills that you have.
  • Applicants are required to complete both a SOPHAS ( and Indiana University ( application.

Funding for PhD Students

Our PhD students receive a funding package that includes a stipend, student health insurance, and tuition remission. First year PhD studenst are appointed as Research Assistants and work with their advisor on research projects. Starting in the second year, our students gain valuable teaching experience as Associate Instructors after taking a pedagogy course during their first semester. Click on this link to apply for a Student Academic Appointment:

PhD Course Sequence

Although there is a lot of flexibility in the courses that PhD students can choose to take, most students take the following sequence of core doctoral level courses:

Year 1: Methods for public health research, Advanced health behavior theory, Quantitative methods

Year 2: Advanced evaluation research in public health, Pedagogy in health behavior, Acquiring external funds for research, Qualitative methods