Behavioral Science and Health Education, M.P.H.

As a Master of Public Health-trained health educator, you can improve public health by developing, promoting and researching community-wide initiatives encouraging healthy living practices to prevent disease and injury.

In Saint Louis University's behavioral science and health education M.P.H. concentration, we couple a team-based experience with additional learning experiences beyond the classroom, all tailored to your interests by professors who know you by your name.

Behavioral science and health education concentration students at SLU study why people behave the way they do related to their health and wellness.  After you graduate from SLU’s nationally recognized, competencies-based M.P.H. program you will be able to:

  • Apply conceptual models and theories at multiple ecological levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community and policy).
  • Examine risk factors and determinants of specific health threats at multiple ecological levels.
  • Assess needs, assets, resources and capacity for social and behavioral science interventions at multiple levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community and policy).
  • Plan theory and evidence-based interventions (program/policy/environmental change) to improve health.
  • Collaborate to implement public health-related programs, policies, and environmental changes.
  • Develop programs, policies and environmental strategies that address social determinants.
  • Conduct evaluations (process, impact, and outcome) of public health related interventions using multiple methods.

Curriculum Overview

Learn to design and evaluate interventions that promote healthy lifestyles and prevent illness and injuries. Students in the behavioral science and health education concentration develop the skills to understand, research and address social, cultural, behavioral and environmental determinants of disease and injury. 

A joint concentration with epidemiology is also available for just an additional six credits (for a total of 54) and can still be completed in two years.

Behavioral scientists and health educators can use their advanced epidemiological skills to recognize and understand important health research and trends in their work, making you much more valuable to your employers in this data-driven era.  A joint concentration in epidemiology provides the additional skills that future employers will value and the flexibility to do more with your career.

With a joint concentration in behavioral science and epidemiology, you will be able to:

  • Accurately interpret epidemiologic data
  • Appropriately communicate epidemiologic findings
  • Use data to describe the health of populations
  • Critically analyze the epidemiologic literature

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

As a master of public health student at SLU, you will be required to complete an internship, referred to as the Applied Practice Experience, or APEx, with an approved organization and preceptor. This valuable experience is designed to enhance your educational experience and to develop professional competencies in behavioral science and health education.

Students work with the M.P.H internship coordinator and their faculty advisor to identify an appropriate internship in St. Louis, nationally, or across the globe. Students who choose to concentrate in behavioral science and health education have engaged in practice experiences at many organizations including American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes Missouri Chapter, Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI), St. Louis Area Foodbank and the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition.

The M.P.H. program is designed to give students the practical skills needed for any public health career. Over 50% of M.P.H. students work on research projects with faculty outside of a class requirement.

Careers

With a concentration in behavioral science and health education, you can work in a variety of public, private and nonprofit settings to:

  • Assess and implement health promotion interventions, such as smoking cessation programs.
  • Develop programs and effective communications strategies to help young people avoid alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Help curb the spread of STDs, such cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Identify and promote health literacy and health communications strategies through the improved translation and dissemination of health discoveries.
  • Improve the quality of life for the growing population of senior citizens.
  • Reduce obesity and chronic health problems in youth and adult populations and in underserved urban or rural communities.
  • Research complex health issues so communities can improve access to important resources and services.

SLU’s public health graduates are employed at federal, state and local health agencies; consulting firms; consumer advocacy organizations; community-based organizations and health care centers; hospitals; research centers; and universities.

Within the first year of graduation, the vast majority of M.P.H. graduates are beginning their careers, participating in fellowships, or furthering their graduate education.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The College for Public Health and Social Justice offers several ways to help finance graduate education.  Opportunities include a limited number of merit-based scholarships and graduate research assistantships.  Awards are made to applicants with the highest combinations of GPAs and test scores who complete their applications by the priority deadlines.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at http://finaid.slu.edu.

Accreditation

The College for Public Health and Social Justice is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). 

CEPH-Seal

View a PDF of the Most Recent CEPH Self-Study (July 2016)  

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
  • Graduates will be able to apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice.
  • Graduates will be able to select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
  • Graduates will be able to analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate.
  • Graduates will be able to interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice.
Public Health and Health Care Systems
  • Graduates will be able to compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
  • Graduates will be able to discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels.
Planning and Management to Promote Health
  • Graduates will be able to assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health.
  • Graduates will be able to apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
  • Graduates will be able to design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention.
  • Graduates will be able to explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
  • Graduates will be able to select methods to evaluate public health programs.
Policy in Public Health
  • Graduates will be able to discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
  • Graduates will be able to propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
  • Graduates will be able to advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
  • Graduates will be able to evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.
Leadership
  • Graduates will be able to apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making.
  • Graduates will be able to apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community.
Communication
  • Graduates will be able to select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
  • Graduates will be able to describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.
Interprofessional Practice
  • Graduates will be able to perform effectively on interprofessional teams.
Systems Thinking
  • Graduates will be able to apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in a social science, biomedical science or a closely-related field, but other majors will certainly be considered, preferably with a 3.00 grade point average.  Professional experience in a health-related field is highly valued.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full. Apply using the centralized application service SOPHAS

Review Process

All applicants are considered using a holistic application review process, including in-person, phone or Zoom interviews with faculty members in their intended concentration areas.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé/curriculum vitae
  • Professional goal statement

Apply using the centralized application service SOPHAS.

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Program Requirements

Required Core Courses
BSH 5400Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I3
HCE 5020Ethical Issues in Public Health1 or 2
PUBH 5010Mission and Practice of Global Public Health2
PUBH 5030Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health3
PUBH 5040Generating Evidence from Public Health Data3
PUBH 5050Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice3
PUBH 5060Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health3
PUBH 5910Practice Experience in Public Health0 or 3
PUBH 5950Special Study for Examinations0
PUBH 5960Capstone in Public Health Practice3
Concentrations
Select one of the following:24-30
Total Credits45-55

Behavioral Science and Health Education Concentration

Required core courses listed above and the following:
BSH 5000Behavioral Science and Public Health3
BSH 5200Social Ecology of Public Health3
BSH 5310Health Communication3
BSH 5410Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation II3
BSH 5450Introduction to Qualitative Methods3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor6
ElectiveMethods Elective chosen in consultation with mentor3
Total Credits24

Behavioral Science and Health Education / Epidemiology Joint Concentration

Required core courses listed above and the following:
BSH 5000Behavioral Science and Public Health3
BSH 5200Social Ecology of Public Health3
BSH 5310Health Communication3
BSH 5410Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation II3
BSH 5450Introduction to Qualitative Methods3
BST 5100Introduction to General Linear Modeling3
EPI 5020Epidemiology Methods II3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor6
ElectiveMethods Elective chosen in consultation with mentor3
Total Credits30

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Behavioral Science and Health Education Concentration

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  BSH 5000 Behavioral Science and Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5400 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5010 Mission and Practice of Global Public Health 2
Critical course:  PUBH 5030 Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5060 Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits14
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5200 Social Ecology of Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5410 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation II 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5040 Generating Evidence from Public Health Data 3
Critical course:  HCE 5020 Ethical Issues in Public Health 2
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits11
Summer
Critical course:  PUBH 5910 Practice Experience in Public Health 3
 Credits3
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  BSH 5310 Health Communication 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5050 Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice 3
ElectiveMethods elective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits12
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5450 Introduction to Qualitative Methods 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5950 Special Study for Examinations 0
Critical course:  PUBH 5960 Capstone in Public Health Practice 3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits9
 Total Credits49

Behavioral Science and Health Education (Part-Time)

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  BSH 5000 Behavioral Science and Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5400 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1 or 2 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5200 Social Ecology of Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5410 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation II 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 4 sessions required during Year 1 or 2 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits6
Summer
Critical course:  PUBH 5010 Mission and Practice of Global Public Health 2
Critical course:  PUBH 5040 Generating Evidence from Public Health Data 3
 Credits5
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  BSH 5310 Health Communication 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5030 Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health 3
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  PUBH 5060 Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health 3
ElectiveMethods Elective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits6
Summer
Critical course:  HCE 5020 Ethical Issues in Public Health 2
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits5
Year Three
Fall
Critical course:  PUBH 5050 Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice 3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits6
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5450 Introduction to Qualitative Methods 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5950 Special Study for Examinations 0
Critical course:  PUBH 5960 Capstone in Public Health Practice 3
 Credits6
Summer
PUBH 5910 Practice Experience in Public Health 3
 Credits3
 Total Credits49

Behavioral Science and Health Education / Epidemiology Joint Concentration

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Critical course:  BSH 5000 Behavioral Science and Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5400 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5010 Mission and Practice of Global Public Health 2
Critical course:  PUBH 5030 Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5040 Generating Evidence from Public Health Data 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits14
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5200 Social Ecology of Public Health 3
Critical course:  BSH 5410 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation II 3
Critical course:  BST 5100 Introduction to General Linear Modeling 3
Critical course:  EPI 5020 Epidemiology Methods II 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 4 sessions required during Year 1 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
 Credits12
Summer
Critical course:  HCE 5020 Ethical Issues in Public Health 2
Critical course:  PUBH 5910 Practice Experience in Public Health 3
 Credits5
Year Two
Fall
Critical course:  BSH 5310 Health Communication 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5050 Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5060 Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health 3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
ElectiveMethods elective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits15
Spring
Critical course:  BSH 5450 Introduction to Qualitative Methods 3
Critical course:  PUBH 5950 Special Study for Examinations 0
PUBH 5960 Capstone in Public Health Practice 3
ElectiveElective chosen in consultation with mentor 3
 Credits9
 Total Credits55

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Bernie Backer
Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions 
bernard.backer@slu.edu 
314-977-8144