Concentration in Social & Behavioral Sciences

The Department of Community Health Sciences offers a concentration in social & behavioral sciences that focuses on identifying and analyzing the social determinants and behavioral risk factors that are associated with public health problems, and using this knowledge to understand and promote healthy behavior within communities.

Contemporary public health issues addressed by the social and behavioral sciences include the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco control, injury control, mental health, domestic violence, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, adolescent health, communications, and grassroots political and community organizing.

Effective solutions to widespread public health problems require the ability to plan, implement and administer programs that take into account the actual factors that influence individual behaviors and reduce existing disparities. Both quantitative and qualitative research is used to inform program planning and evaluation.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn how to access and analyze archival and other data to assess a public health problem for a specific place and population; apply social and behavioral theories and quantitative and qualitative methods to the development of innovative and effective public health intervention programs; develop rigorous evaluation trials to assess the efficacy of public health interventions; communicate findings to the public and to policy-makers; and advocate for the institutionalization of evidence-based public health programs.

Students may focus their studies on the following areas:

  • health communications
  • health disparities
  • intervention planning

Career Pathways

Career possibilities span a variety of settings, from public agencies to private organizations and academic institutions. Graduates are health educators for hospitals and nonprofit agencies, wellness-promotion specialists for managed care organizations and health insurance companies, program directors for departments of public health, evaluation specialists, associates in health communications firms, directors of college wellness centers, and intervention researchers. They may specialize in areas such as AIDS, substance abuse, violence and injury prevention, tobacco cessation, and behaviors that prevent chronic disease.