Program Update

Thank you for your interest in the Behavioral Health concentration. The concentration is on pause for fall 2024, but please consider these other Public Health concentrations:

What is Behavioral Health?

The MPH Behavioral Health concentration prepares graduates to address behavioral health issues in local and global communities within a public health framework, using evidence-based, theory-informed, integrated and holistic, social justice approaches. This concentration provides training in behavioral health, health promotion, and integrated service delivery for vulnerable populations.

At USF we think of behavioral health broadly. We use the term “behavioral health” to refer to connected areas of health within a health education and promotion framework. Mental health, physical health, and health behavior are interconnected and require diverse knowledge and skills to promote holistic behavioral health. Coursework in the Behavioral Health concentration involves analyzing and understanding how human behavior is influenced by social, physical, and mental factors and how human behavior, in turn, impacts physical well-being, empowerment, and engagement in all aspects of care.

Located in San Francisco, this two-year program affords students with a unique and exceptional skill set to build and deliver behavioral health programs and address disparities in the current health care delivery system. The program has a substantive focus on how to develop evidence-based interventions that have a high likelihood of success – using behavior change theory and holistic models and frameworks, and based on community needs and assessment. Through interdisciplinary classes, fieldwork experiences, and a capstone project, you will learn about psychosocial and health education and promotion interventions, and gain knowledge and skills for planning, managing and evaluating community-based programs and services and using social media for health education.

Students in this concentration will also be prepared and eligible to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam, which is a nationally recognized credential for leaders and practitioners of health education and promotion.

Learning Outcomes & Degree Requirements

Program Highlights

  • Open to students with a Baccalaureate degree in any field from an accredited institution.
  • The MPH Behavioral Health concentration requires 45 credits to graduate (26 credits of core courses + 16 credits of Behavioral Health concentration courses).
  • Courses are offered in person year round one evening per week over the course of two years. Courses meet in person one week and online the alternating week. Off-site assignments are conducted during the weeks that you're not attending class in person.
  • Interprofessionalism and Applied Practice Experience: Students complete 250 fieldwork hours in a public health setting focused on a behavioral health topic. In close collaboration with USF Health Promotion Services, students complete 50 of their fieldwork hours conducting health education and promotion workshops and one-on-one health education counseling with the USF community.
  • Behavioral health learning and employment opportunities to work with cutting-edge, innovative organizations tackling complex problems with real-world solutions.

Ideal Candidates for the Program are Interested In

  • Creating and delivering health education and health promotion programs for diverse audiences in a range of settings, including community, school, and health care settings.
  • Working as a member of a behavioral health or integrated health care team, with a focus on health education, promotion, and prevention of chronic conditions including mental health and substance abuse.
  • Pursuing doctoral-level training in public health, health and community psychology, behavioral health, or sociology; or medical training.

Concentration Competencies

  • Plan a health education training, curriculum, or workshop including stakeholder identification, resource planning and timeline, volunteer recruitment and marketing, strategy selection, and monitoring process.
  • Effectively deliver evidence-based health education and behavior change intervention skills such as motivational interviewing, health coaching, peer education, mindfulness, or social media messages to individuals or groups.
  • Analyze the impact of chronic conditions and propose strategies to address prevention and management across all levels of the Socioecological Model.
  • Formulate strategies for mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment in community settings.
  • Develop a data collection and analysis plan including measures and methods for research on behavioral health.
  • Create a professional development plan that outlines goals and strategies for becoming a highly skilled health education specialist and leader in health promotion.

Offered in Main Campus.