MPH - Behavioral Health Concentration

The goal of the Behavioral Health concentration in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program is to prepare 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. The concentration courses provide training in behavioral health, health promotion, and integrated service delivery for vulnerable populations. Students in this concentration also will 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.

What is Behavioral Health?

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 (2) 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. As a student in our program, you will examine the intersection of social, physical, and psychological factors that impact health and well-being. 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.

Program Highlights

The Behavioral Health concentration in the MPH program will prepare future leaders 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. Students in this concentration also will be prepared and eligible to take the Certified Health Specialist (CHES) exam.

  • Open to students with a Baccalaureate degree in any field from an accredited institution. View Admission requirements »
  • The MPH-Behavioral Health concentration requires 45 credits to graduate (26 credits of core courses + 16 credits of Behavioral Health concentration courses.
  • Program starts in the Fall of each year. Courses are offered year round one (1) evening per week over the course of two (2) years at our San Francisco Campus. Courses meet in class one week and online the alternating week. Off-site assignments are conducted during the weeks that you're not attending class in person. View Deadlines and Start your Application »
  • Inter-professionalism and Applied Practice Experience Preparation: Students complete 250 fieldwork hours in a public health setting focused on a behavioral health topic.

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

Curriculum - MPH Core Classes

  • MPH 609 Global Perspectives on Public Health
  • MPH 612 Biostatistics
  • MPH 621 Epidemiology
  • MPH 622 Communicating for Healthy Behavior and Social Change
  • MPH 635 Health Policy and Ethics
  • MPH 636 Program Planning, Management and Evaluation
  • MPH 640 Leadership & Collaboration

Behavioral Health Concentration Classes

  • MPH 670 Health Education and Promotion Planning
  • MPH 671 Health Education and Promotion Lab
  • MPH 672 Professionalism in Health Educ and Promotion
  • MPH 674 Chronic Conditions 
  • BH 603 Applied Research Methods 
  • PsyD 728 Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care