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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social and Behavioral Interventions

Offered By: Department of International Health

Onsite | Full-Time | 4 years

About This Program

The SBI program offers multidisciplinary training for researchers and public health practitioners who wish to use the social sciences in the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, particularly community-based interventions. The combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods is a defining characteristic of the program.

Program Highlights

Students are trained in survey research methods, in-depth open ended interviewing, focus group discussions, observation methods, social and environmental mapping, and computer-aided management and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Students are also given insight into factors related to gender and health, community participation in health programs, and cultural and environmental factors that affect global health.


non-thesis research project


comprehensive exam


oral exams



What Can You Do With This Degree?

Graduates are able to provide technical assistance in assessing the socio-cultural context surrounding public health interventions, and in the development, implementation and evaluation of social and behavior change programs to improve the health of underserved communities in a variety of settings.


Through multiple practicum opportunities, the program offers students an extensive hands-on exposure to the development and implementation of social and behavioral interventions globally or locally.

Browse an overview of this program's requirements in the JHU Academic Catalogue, explore all course offerings in the Bloomberg School Course Directory, and find many more details in the program's Academic Guides.

Areas of Interest

  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Behavior change
  • Community mobilization
  • Maternal and child health
  • Anthropology
  • Social epidemiology
  • Behavioral psychology
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Mental health
  • Indigenous health

Admissions Requirements

For general admissions requirements, please visit the How to Apply page. This specific program also requires:

Prior Graduate Degree

Master's degree in related field

Prior Work Experience

Not required but highly desirable

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores (GRE) are optional for this program. The admissions committee will make no assumptions if a standardized test score is omitted from an application, but will require evidence of quantitative/analytical ability through other application components such as academic transcripts and/or supplemental questions. Applications will be reviewed holistically based on all application components.

Program Faculty Spotlight

Victoria O'Keefe
Assistant Professor
International Health

Victoria M. O’Keefe, PhD, MS, works to achieve strengths-based and culturally informed suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and wellness among Indigenous communities.

Melissa Walls
Associate Professor
International Health

Melissa Walls, PhD, MA, is an Indigenous researcher who works with American Indian and First Nations communities to promote health equity through culturally centered projects.

Caitlin Kennedy
Associate Professor
International Health

Caitlin Kennedy PhD ’09, MPH ’04, is a social and behavioral scientist with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, and resource-limited settings.

Julie Denison
Associate Professor
International Health

Julie Denison, PhD '06, MHS '99, develops interventions for youth living with HIV, with a focus on the role of family and environmental and structural determinants of health.

Tuition and Funding

All full-time PhD students will receive the following support for the first four years of the program either through endowments, grants, or research projects: full tuition, individual health insurance, University Health Services clinic fee, vision insurance, and dental insurance.

Contact Us

Questions about the program? We're happy to help.

Elisabeth Simmons, MEd
Academic Program Administrator