PhD in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research

The PhD in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research is offered through the Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health. The mission of the PhD program is to provide students with the training necessary to become skilled research scientists who will have a significant impact on the health of the population by thinking critically and integratively about complex public health problems and applying scientific rigor to the design and evaluation of health promotion and disease prevention research and programs.

Research in the Department involves epidemiological, intervention, evaluation, and dissemination studies, using qualitative, quantitative, and/or systems tools. The faculty of the Department perform health promotion research and training in a broad spectrum of public health issues including adolescent health, chronic diseases, cross-cultural health and health inequities, maternal and child health, nutrition, obesity prevention and control, physical activity and inactivity, social marketing, and tobacco control.

Graduates of the program will be prepared for careers as scientists in government and private research agencies, as faculty in colleges and universities, and as leaders in public health agencies in Nebraska, nationally, and internationally.

Program Requirements

The program requires 48 hours of coursework, a comprehensive exam, 12 hours of dissertation credits, and a dissertation. Detailed information about each of these requirements is provided in the Student Handbook

Admission Requirements

Any applicant desiring admission into the PhD program must submit a fully completed application by April 1. Applicants are required to complete the online Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) applicationAll application materials need to be submitted through SOPHAS.

Must hold a Master’s degree or other advanced degrees in a field related to health promotion and disease prevention from a recognized college or university. Exceptional students with a Bachelor's degree will also be considered.

Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities demonstrating a minimum GPA of 3.50 on a 4.00 scale GPA for all graduate coursework.

Domestic or US Transcripts
Must be sent from the institution's Registrar’s Office directly to SOPHAS at the following address:

SOPHAS Mailing and Contact Information
SOPHAS | P.O. Box 9111 | Watertown, MA 02471
617-612-2090 | Email | Website

International Transcripts
All non-US transcripts must be evaluated by the World Education Service (WES) using their ICAP Course-by-course evaluation service.  For further instructions, you may visit

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation. At least two letters should be from faculty members in the applicant's previous academic program. The remaining letter can be from an academic or professional reference.

Statement of Intent
A 500-700 word statement of intent which supports interest areas, career goals, and preferred faculty sponsor who will serve as your mentor.

Faculty Sponsor
An identified faculty sponsor from the UNMC Health Promotion Department.

Resume or CV
A resume or curriculum vitae.


Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS scores are required of all applicants whose primary language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from a college or university outside of the United States. There is no waiver of the TOEFL.

Official IELTS scores should be sent directly to the UNMC College of Public Health. The minimum score requirement is 7.
UNMC College of Public Health Admissions
984355 Nebraska Medical Center 
Omaha, NE 68198-4359

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Members of the Graduate Program Committee

The Graduate Program Committee proposes policies, addresses student issues, and reviews admission applications. Members include:

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For additional information

UNMC College of Public Health
984359 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE. 68198-4359
Phone: 402-552-9867

Department of Health Promotion
Melissa Tibbits, PhD
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
Phone: 402-559-9447

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