A PhD in Health Promotion and community health promotion allows public health professionals to take on positions of authority and influence. The global coronavirus pandemic of 2020 brightly placed a spotlight on public health education and disease prevention. From the Center for Disease Control to local, community health departments, the public looked for guidance in coping with a rapidly spreading infection. With a community health promotion PhD, you could be one of those guiding lights.
It’s little wonder that the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers this field to have a robust job outlook of 11% over 10 years, which is much faster than other fields. Public health professionals with a doctoral degree will enhance career prospects that can include college professorships and public health agencies’ leadership.
Best Health Degrees looked at several doctoral-level Community Health Promotion and Education programs and has provided 25 of the ones we think are the most well rounded.
Our Method: Ranking the 25 Best PhD Community Health Programs
To rank the 25 Best Community Health Promotion and Education PhDs Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
1. University of Texas Health Science Center
Considered one of the top Public Health programs in the country, you can earn a DrPh in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.
You’ll study best evidence-based practice methods and conduct advanced research in public health. The PhD program requires 48 credit hours. However, more hours may be required in prerequisites. And the program covers community lead public health programs with a focus on social inequity.
Courses include Working with Diverse Communities, Epidemiology, Ethics and Policy, Public Health Advocacy, Legal Issues in Healthcare, Principles of Adult and Community Education for Public Health Educators, Practice Based Methods and Design, Program Evaluation, Health Survey Design, and also a dissertation.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree with a recommended 3.0 GPA, GRE or MCAT scores, three recommendation letters, and other documents are required for admission to this program. The DrPh is administered by the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health (MPACH). Tuition estimates are between $7,729-$30,787.
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks this the #23 Public Health program in the country
This prestigious school offers a PhD in Community Health Sciences if you’re interested in public health research and prepares you to identify, plan, and evaluate community public health.
You’ll take 48 credit hours of coursework in this program which culminates with two written exams, research proposal and defense, dissertation research completion, and oral dissertation defense. Classwork will include studies in Global Health Problems, Population Models and Dynamics, Introduction to Demographic Methods, Community Health Sciences, Racism and Public Health: Social Epidemiologic Approaches, and more.
A master’s degree in public health, initial acceptance by a department doctoral advisor, and (although not required) work experience in the field are necessary for admission. Tuition cost for this PhD in health promotion sciences program is estimated at $11,442-$26,544 per academic year, depending on residency status.
Fast Fact: UCLA is considered #1 Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report
3. University of Michigan
If you hold a relevant master’s degree, you may want to explore the doctoral program in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The goal of this degree is to prepare you for a variety of public health disciplines, in research, teaching, public health service, and positions of public health leadership. You can expect to take up to 68 credits (including dissertation work) in classes such as foundations in public health, epidemiology, health behavior and education, influences on social and health behaviors, research methods, and dissertation requirements. Nine credit hours are expected in a cognate area in studies such as Public Policy, Women’s Studies, Business Administration, etc.
Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA), Training Grants and Fellowships are available for qualified students. Academic year cost for this degree runs from $24,772-$49,548 depending on your residency status.
Fast Fact: Money Magazine ranked UM #8 in its 2019 Best Colleges for Your Money and U.S. News and World Report considers it #3 of its Top Public Schools ratings
4. Claremont Graduate University
This PhD in Health Promotion Science from California’s Claremont Graduate University may be perfect if you want broad training in a range of fields involving public health.
Classes include Biostatistics, Advanced Theoretical Foundations in Health Education & Promotion, Advanced Statistical Methods, Data Analysis, Research Methods, Foundations of Inclusive Pedagogy and Course Design, and more. The intent is to prepare you to identify and develop unique approaches for disease prevention as well as health promotion. Faculty for this PhD in health promotion sciences program include professors with real public health experience as well as National Institute of Health grant recipients.
This program’s total cost is estimated at $142,560 and there’s no residency requirement. Department Fellowships are available and the school offers Military Fellowships as well.
Fast Fact: Rated in the Top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Public Health Schools
5. University of Illinois
If you’re looking for a program that will help you develop health related research methods and innovative approaches to solving Community Health issues, this program is worth a look.
This PhD provides five areas of research from which to choose. You can pick an area of study in Health Promotion and Behavioral Research, Health Technology from Design to Implementation, Health Disparity, Rehabilitation, Disability and Chronic Illness, and Applied Health Data Analytics. The program is 64 credit hours in length with studies in coursework such as Advanced Research Methods/Statistics, Seminar, and Thesis Research.
You’ll need an approved Master’s degree, a 3.50 GPA, GRE scores, as well as recommendations to be considered for admission to this PhD program. Estimated tuition charges are $8,088-$15,732 depending on your residency status.
Fast Fact: This Urbana-Champaign university boasts 24 Nobel Prize winners
6. The University of Texas at Austin
Requiring 63 credit hours, you’ll take core courses in epidemiology, health behavior theories, and development and planning of health promotion opportunities. Other courses offered include Human Sexuality, Adult Development, Aging and Health, Social Determinants of Health, Impact of Marketing on Public Health, Child and Adolescent Health Psychology, and Statistics and Research Methods. The program requires Outside Supporting Work as well as Student Research. Finalizing the degree will require you to present empirical health related research at a conference on the local, state, or national level.
Tuition is estimated at $11,998 per academic year for Texas residents and $22,966 for non-residents.
Fast Fact: UT at Austin is ranked #12 in Most Innovative Schools and #14 in Top Public Schools according to U.S. News and World Report
Interesting? Click here for more information on the community health promotion PhD!
7. University of Maryland
This PhD in Behavioral and Community Health is offered at UM’s College Park campus and will allow you to develop necessary skills to contribute to professional and scientific foundations in behavioral and community health.
You can enroll full-time or part-time for this doctorate and classes typically begin at 4-4:30 pm. The program requires 37 credit hours in core courses such as epidemiology, public health foundations, health systems introduction, public health or research ethics, data management of public health information, and more. You’ll also study quantitative research methods and applied research methods. Successful completion of a dissertation will finalize the program total of 82 credit hours.
Among admission requirements are a 3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, resume or CV, and letter of goals and independent research interests. You’ll also need to complete 6 credit hours in Psychology or Sociology or Anthropology. Tuition costs per credit hour for Maryland residents is $731 and $1,625 per hour for non-residents.
Fast Fact: Niche rates UM at #21 of 163 for Best Colleges for Public Health in America
8. The Ohio State University
If you’re looking for a program that will give you the foundation to direct community, individual, or organizational health, you’ll want to explore the PhD in Health Behavior and Health Promotion at OSU.
This is a Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited, 50 credit hour doctoral program which covers topics in the role of behavior in individual and community health, prevention of disease and the role of behavioral science in promoting health, assessment tools, program planning and implementation, and health programs evaluation. You’ll also learn about health issues in specialized groups, substance abuse prevention, adolescent health, obesity, and more. You’ll be taught by faculty active in public health research projects.
The GRE is required for admission and applicants apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) or Health Administration, Management & Policy Centralized Application Service (HAMPCAS). OSU offers graduate fellowships in teaching or research, along with external funding possibilities. According to NCES, tuition for the 2019-20 academic year is $11,560 for Ohio residents and $35,144 for non-residents.
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks OSU at #17 in its Top Public Schools rating
9. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida has an excellent PhD in Public Health with a Concentration in Community and Family Health. On completing this degree, you’ll be able to identify community health issues and develop appropriate educational programs to address those concerns. Additionally, you’ll learn techniques to assess and evaluate appropriate methods to train and educate communities. You’ll be trained in implementation techniques for communities and conduct research projects to develop public health programs to address concerns. This degree will also qualify you to teach in a university setting.
In-state graduate tuition per academic year is estimated at $8,350 and $19,048 for out-of-state residents. This program is CEPH accredited.
Fast Fact: USF ranks #17 of 163 schools in Niche’s Best Colleges for Public Health
Interesting? Click here for more information on the community health promotion PhD!
10. University of Nebraska Medical Center
UNMC offers a PhD in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research degree which can prepare you to join college or university faculties, become a community health leader or conduct independent research.
Among the courses you’ll take are Advanced Theories in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Directed Readings and Research, Complex Systems Thinking, Implementation Science Models and Methods, Biostatistics, Social Epidemiology, Design of Medical Health Studies, and also a dissertation. The curriculum is designed to think critically and evaluate community health and disease prevention needs, program development, and assessment.
You’ll need a master’s or advanced degree, a minimum 3.5 GPA, and three recommendation letters for admission. Additionally, admission requires you to name a potential faculty sponsor in your letter of intent. Graduate tuition for Nebraska residents is $341 per credit hour with out-of-state students charged $977 per credit hour.
Fast Fact: UNMC conducted the first clinical trial in the use of Remdesivir in hospitalized COVID-19 patients
11. University of Arkansas for Medical Services
This PhD in Health Promotion and Prevention Research is offered through the nationally recognized Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.
The program is CEPH accredited and you’ll take courses in topics in Advanced Integration of Epidemiologic Concepts and Methods, Observational Study Designs, Introduction to Mixed Methods Research Design, Management of Healthcare Organizations, FDA Regulations, and others. You’ll develop skills in communication, the evaluation of health education and behavior, and the ability to incorporate theory with practice.
During 2019-2020, Arkansas students paid $7,737 in tuition and out-of-state students paid $15,918 for the academic year.
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report rates the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health in the nation’s top 100 programs
12. University at Buffalo
The PhD in Community Health and Health Behavior at this New York school will help you advance your career in the field of education as well as in community or government agencies.
The 72 credit hours of coursework, dissertation, and research will focus on the principles of public health and health behavior. You’ll take such courses as Principles of Community Health and Health Behavior, Basic Research Methods for Community Health and Health Behavior, Seminar in Community Health and Health Behavior, A Public Health Approach to Understanding and Reducing Sexual Risk Behaviors, Creating Media for Public Health, and more. In addition to the core courses required, you’ll work with a faculty advisor to develop a personalized program, conduct research, and complete a dissertation.
This program highlights mentor-student relationships and lets you choose from faculty members with similar research interests. In-state residents pay an estimated $5,655 per academic year and $11,550 for out-of-state students.
Fast Fact: University at Buffalo’s Public Health program ranks in the top 40 of U.S. News and World Report
13. Louisiana State University
Located in New Orleans, this PhD in Community Health Sciences will give you a solid foundation in health education, community health promotion, research, intervention, and more.
This is a 60 credit hour program that will include studies in Advanced Community Analysis, Ecology, And Health Disparities, Health Behavior Change, Biostatistical Methods, Fundamentals of Multi-Level Design and Analysis, Fundamentals of Public Health Ethics, etc. Elective courses are available in areas such as epidemiology, health advocacy, chronic disease prevention and management, and others. This CEPH accredited program also has a teaching practicum as part of its core requirements.
The college offers assistantships and fellowships for full-time PhD students, requiring up to 20 hours per week in teaching or faculty-supervised research. Academic year tuition ranges from $11,835-$24,108, depending on residency status.
Fast Fact: LSU’s School of Medicine established the Public Health Department in 1931
14. University of Georgia
UG provides a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) with an emphasis on academia or research.
You’ll need an MPH or MSPH for admission and at least three years in public health experience. This program has prerequisite requirements in epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health policy, and social and behavioral public health. Core subjects for this program include data and analysis, policy and programs, education and workforce development, and leadership and management. You’ll be expected to complete a residency experience with this degree. The program takes approximately four years to complete.
Georgia residents pay approximately $28,400 per academic year and out-of-state students pay about $45,054. This program is accredited by CEPH and boasts a 98% placement rate for 2019 and has 123 doctoral students.
Fast Fact: This program is ranked in the top 50 of U.S. News and World Report‘s Public Health ratings
15. University of Massachusetts Amherst
You may want to consider the PhD in Community Health Education (PhD-CHE) offered at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
An MS or MPH degree (or equivalent) is required for admission. The program calls for the completion of 57 credit hours and concentrates on the behavioral and social aspects of public health. Additionally, the program focuses on community health education utilizing traditional research methods while exploring innovative methods as well. The broad curriculum includes studies in ethics, communication theory, studies in the U.S. health system, leadership topics, research methods, application of public health theories in intervention, a capstone project, practicum experience, and culminates with a dissertation.
Tuition is estimated between $2,081-$4,043 per credit hour and depending on your residency status. Fellowships are available. CEPH accredits this doctoral degree.
Fast Fact: Niche rates UMass Amherst #24/163 Best Colleges for Public Health in America
16. University of Alabama Birmingham
UAB’s School of Education provides a PhD in Health Education and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
This degree is designed around theories and research methods that influence community health and the development of community social and behavioral programs. The curriculum aligns with the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) standards and will prepare you to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Among the topics you’ll study are planning, implementation, and evaluation of health education programs, survey methods, educational research, as well as a research internship and dissertation. The degree requires 72 semester hours for completion.
You can enter the program with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public health. The program’s internship can be completed at UA College of Human Environmental Sciences, UAB School of Public Health, or UAB School of Public Health. Other internship opportunities are available as well. Tuition ranges from $465-$1,098.
Fast Fact: Public Health studies rank in the top 20 of U.S. News and World Report’s rating
Interesting? Click here for more information on the community health promotion PhD!
17. University of Arizona
The Mel & Enid Zuckerman School of Public Health at UA has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior Health Promotion degree.
This school is CEPH accredited and this program concentrates on the social, behavioral, and cultural aspects of public health. The curriculum includes studies in biostatistics, public health fundamentals, multicultural beliefs, public health communication, epidemiology, methods to decrease health disparity in communities, planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health initiatives, as well as a dissertation. The PhD requires 63 credit hours for completion. (Note: If you don’t have a master’s degree, you can enter UA’s Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) / PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion program. See website for details).
If you’re an Arizona resident, tuition runs about $853 per credit hour and non-residents will pay around $1,781 per hour. Scholarships, fellowships, and teaching assistantships are available. To be considered, you’ll need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Fast Fact: This is Arizona’s only accredited Public Health college and ranks in the top 35 of U.S. News and World Report’s Public Health programs
18. Saint Louis University
The Public Health Studies PhD at this Missouri university offers four concentrations, one of which is the Behavioral Science and Health Education study. This degree is offered through the College for Public Health and Social Justice.
You’ll study social and behavioral science as it impacts a variety of organizational, individual, or community/societal level. The curriculum calls for 72 credit hours and includes topics in the science and theory of public health, methodology to understand populations, quantitive methods, and a dissertation. The school focuses on improving your competencies in areas such as communication, analytical skills, leadership, ethics, and also professionalism.
Tuition runs around $1,190 per credit hour. Merit-based scholarships and graduate research assistantships are available.
Fast Fact: Niche rates the school #22/163 as Best Colleges for Public Health in America
19. University of Alabama
You may want to explore the PhD in Health Education and Promotion offered at the University of Alabama.
This is a joint community health promotion PhD program offered by the university’s College of Human Environmental Sciences, School of Education, and School of Public Health. The 72-hour curriculum is designed to prepare you for faculty positions or community leadership roles. Courses include studies in health education, health promotion, planning and administration in health education and promotion, data management, evaluation and assessment, research methods, a research internship, and a dissertation.
The Graduate School offers financial assistance in teaching or research fellowships for exceptional applicants, and the department may have additional assistance. The 2020-21 tuition ranges from $5,390 to $15,125 a semester, depending on your residency status.
Fast Fact: Forbes considered UA as one of America’s Top Colleges in 2019
20. University of Connecticut
UConn, located in Storrs, Connecticut, has a PhD in Health Promotion Sciences that will help you develop not only public health education programs but contribute to scholarly research as well.
Requiring 48 credit hours, this PhD coursework will expose you to program planning and evaluation, current and critical issues in health promotion, disability, and disease prevention, program design and implementation, grant writing, biostatistics, experiential learning, and electives chosen from allied health or other university departments. You’ll also be required to complete a doctoral exam (written and oral) and the completion of a dissertation.
Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships are limited but available. Be sure to check with the department to determine what’s required for consideration. 2019-2020 academic year tuition costs are published at $8,150-$19,106 determined by your residency status.
Fast Fact: UConn is ranked in the top 25 Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report
21. University of South Carolina
This PhD program could make you a triple threat in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior.
Offered through USC’s Arnold School of Public Health, you can choose between a post-baccalaureate or post-master’s doctorate. This PhD will prepare you to teach, provide leadership, and/or conduct research in public health. The post-master’s PhD is a 36 credit hour curriculum that includes studies in the social and cultural aspects of public health, evaluation of public health needs and requirements, public health leadership, advocacy, and others. The post-baccalaureate requires 48 credit hours and includes individual subject matter studies in areas such as environmental health, advocacy and policy, biometrics, etc. Both require a dissertation.
The department holds CEPH accreditation with academic year tuition of $6,867-$14,880 continent on residency. You’ll want to check with the department for assistantship or fellowship opportunities.
Fast Fact: USC’s graduate public health program ranks in the top 25 of Public Health Schools by U.S. News and World Report
22. University of Miami
You’ll want to check out the University of Miami’s, CEPH accredited, PhD in Prevention Science and Community Health.
The broad curriculum includes topics in behavior health theories, community participatory research, identification, development and evaluation of public health interventions, health disparities across the lifespan, promotion and disease prevention, community well-being and change, professional development, etc. This degree can be completed in 4-5 years.
According to the school website, the school offers financial assistance to students admitted to the PhD program in good standing. Such students are eligible for fully paid tuition, a $30,000 annual stipend, and student health insurance. Assistantships and fellowships are also offered.
Fast Fact: Niche ranks UM #74 out of 1,626 in its Best Colleges in America ranking
23. CUNY School of Public Health
The City University of New York offers a PhD in Community Health and Health Policy which will prepare you to teach, conduct research, and develop public health policy.
Core coursework will include public health perspectives, social and behavioral health theory, community health interventions, public health knowledge, public health economics, health policy, research methods, epidemiology methods, research methods in relationship to urban health application, etc. This program also includes a teaching experience in addition to a dissertation. You’ll complete 42 total credit hours for this CEPH approved program.
A SOPHAS application is required for admission as well as GRE scores. You also need a Master’s in Public Health (if your master’s is in another field, you’ll be required to take core, prerequisite courses). Tuition ranges from $678-$2,569 per credit hour depending on residency and doctoral level.
Fast Fact: Ranked #23 in the nation for its Graduate School of Public Health by U.S. News and World Report
24. Oregon State University
If you want a program that will prepare you for a range of public health careers, you may want to examine the PhD in Public Health degree.
This program offers five concentrations, one of which is in Health Promotion and Health Behavior. You’ll study methods for evaluating public health problems across a broad spectrum of contexts and develop ways to educate communities and provide cultural and societal interventions. Coursework for this discipline includes studies in Foundational Public Health Knowledge, Methodology and Statistics, Advanced Theories of Health Behavior, Development of Health Behavior Interventions, Measurement in Health Behavior Concept, research practicum, and a dissertation.
Oregon residents’ tuition is estimated at $558 and non-resident tuition is set at $1,072 per credit hour. The CEPH accredited PhD program requires 109 credit hours which includes 36 hours of dissertation preparation. The school provides detailed program information including competency requirements, detailed coursework, and more.
Fast Fact: Niche ranks OSU as #38/163 Best Colleges for Public Health in America
25. University of Kentucky
The flagship university of Kentucky has an Ed.D in Health Promotion, offered through the College of Education, which explores the foundations of health promotion.
Accredited by CEPH, the curriculum for this doctorate includes studies in Health Promotion and Behavior Change, Planning Health Promotion Programs, Topics and Methods of Evaluation, Gathering, Analyzing, and Using Educational Data, Research Design and Analysis in Education, College Teaching, Public Health and Disease Prevention, and more. You can also pursue certification in a variety of areas such as Health Communication, College Teaching and Learning, and other disciplines. The curriculum requires a minimum of 42 credit hours with electives available in UK departments such as the College of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, College of Medicine, College of Education, etc.
Teaching assistantships are available and tuition ranges from $6,769 to $16,608 contingent on residency status.
Fast Fact: UK is ranked #60 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report
Why Should I Get a Doctorate in Community Health Promotion and Education?
As with most health careers, the more education you have, the better. In the field of Community Health Promotion and Education, a doctoral program will provide you with the skills needed to develop effective public health programs as well as community education programs.
There are different doctorate degrees in Community Health Promotion and Education, depending on your career goals. Advanced PhD, DrPH, or EdD degrees will provide you the training to conduct research, analyze data, develop and direct programs, and promote healthcare choices and options.
Employment with a doctoral degree can include opportunities as a faculty member at a college or university, director of corporate wellness programs, director of government health agencies, and more.
Advanced health educator degrees can also improve your salary expectations. PayScale reports a doctorate degree can bring you between $60,000 to $100,000 yearly, depending on your location and employer.
How Do I Choose a Community Health Promotion PhD Program?
You should look for programs that cover a broad range of Community Health Promotion and Education topics.
Courses in behavioral and social sciences, statistics, research methodology, analytics, economics, and epidemiology are components of a well rounded doctorate in this field. Look for public health and disease prevention classes in a program. Communication courses are helpful in this field as well.
Programs that offer internships will provide you with a platform to assess, measure, and analyze health education programs. Capstone projects will let you identify an issue and, using the information you’ve learned, develop solutions to real world issues.
You’ll also want to seek programs that offer dissertation courses that will help you develop your thesis and guide you in creating a publication ready document.