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Doctoral and Masters Program - Health Promotion Sciences

Are you looking for an interdisciplinary doctoral program to prepare you for a career in health-related research?

The PhD and Masters program in Health Promotion Sciencs at the University of Connecticut is an innovative program that trains students to conduct research on a wide range of health-related issues in both academic and applied settings, including industry, public health, healthcare, and non-profit organizations.

PhD students will learn how to apply rigorous research methods to advance understanding of determinants of health and evaluate soluations for current and emerging health challenges. Masters students work closely with faculty to learn research as well as maybe involve with professional development and credentialed and accredited programs (e.g. Dietetics Program coordinated with graduate work in Health Promotion Sciences).

Students learn from and work closely with graduate faculty, including leading experts in:
•  Health behavior change interventions at the individual, community, social and policy levels
•  Promotion of healthy diet and physical activity across the lifespan
•  Application of cuttingn-edge genetics and genomics research to healthcare issues
•  Utilizing mobile and other new technologies, social media and web-based interventions to modify health behaviors.
•  Varied quantitative and qualitative research methods, including statistical modeling, randomized trials, meta-analyses, and epidemiology

The program provides student with the flexibility to design and plan of study with their masters or doctoral committe that is uniquely suited to their interests and career objectives.

Graduate Research Assistantships and/or Teaching Assistantships that provide a stipend, tuition waiver, and health benefits are available at a competitive basis.

Program of Study - PhD in Health Promotion Science

The four-year PhD in Health Promotion Sciences is an advanced, applied and research-oriented degree based on synergy between major areas—behavioral and environmental change interventions, diet and physical activity across the lifespan, genetics/diagnostics and statistical modeling sciences—to promote health and prevent diseases in a variety of settings and for diverse individuals. Doctoral students in this program acquire the knowledge and skills to advance our understanding of the role of behavioral, social and environmental influences in chronic diseases and conditions and to apply the principles and practices of health promotion and health behavior to create innovative solutions for current and emerging health challenges.

The PhD in Health Promotion Sciences is appropriate for students who wish to prepare themselves for high-level careers in research, teaching/mentoring, consulting, policy development, or other leadership roles primarily focused on the behavioral determinants of health, the promotion of health, and the prevention of premature disease and disability. The graduate can develop a career in the following settings—university, local/state/national/ international health promotion agencies, health care systems and services organizations, and private industry. The core components of the program aim to empower students to: (a) produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge; (b) demonstrate mastery of subject material; and (c) be able to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner.

1. Health Promotion Core (15 credits minimum):

AH 6324 - Critical Issues in Health Promotion, Disease and Disability Prevention—An in-depth study of health promotion, disease and disability prevention policies, programs and strategies. (3 credits)
AH 6421 - Design and Implementing Health Promotion Programs—Designed to assist students with the skill development necessary to design and implement health promotion programs via a settings approach.  Various program development models will be presented.  Experts from the field will be integrated into the course from various programmatic settings. (3 credits)
AH 6305 - Program Planning and Evaluation for Health Professionals— A theoretical and practical introduction to program evaluation for health professionals who deliver health care services, manage departments and personnel, or provide training and continuing educational opportunities. Students apply the practical program evaluation framework for health-related intervention programs and document the impact of interventions within health promotion and disease and disability prevention programs. Skill development is facilitated. (3 credits)
AH 6181 - Experiential Learning in Health Promotion Research— This course involves mentored research experiences on and/or off-campus to increase doctoral student’s breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and competence in health promotion science. The credit is variable (42 hours per semester per credit), repeatable to a maximum of six credits, with hours by arrangement. Instructor consent is required; open only to doctoral students after successful completion of their first semester of doctoral work. Pre-requisite: AH 6324 Critical Issues in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and a graduate statistics course. The course is graded.  Students must pay a malpractice fee. (4 credits)   
AH 5700 - Ethical considerations in genetics research and testing—Recommended preparation: a course in human genetics. Conceptual and philosophical analysis of ethical issues specific and special to genetic testing and research.  Presentations, case-studies and readings will cover topics such as world wide web genomics, access to genetic information, privacy and confidentiality, ownership, personal and societal perceptions, reproduction, utility and limitations of genetic data, education of physicians and patients, treatment versus enhancement, regulation and reimbursement, and other time-relevant issues. (2 credits)

2. Courses in Methodology and Statistics (9 credits minimum). A minimum of 2 courses must be of a statistical nature. Courses in advanced research methods are required in quantitative and qualitative research.

AH 6306 - Research Methods in Allied Health —An inquiry into the nature of research with emphasis on the spirit, logic, and components of the scientific method. Health related research literature is used to aid the student in learning to read, understand, and critically analyze published materials. The preparation of research proposals and reports is emphasized.
AH 5005 - Biostatistics for Health Professions—This course will present basic statistical methods to a broad range of medical or public health problems. The course will emphasize the use of these methods and the interpretation of results using biomedical and health sciences applications.
AH 6005 - Multilevel Mediation-Moderation Modeling for Health Sciences—This course present advanced multivariate statistical methods focusing on statistical techniques commonly used in empirical research under a latent-variable approach This course will teach the students multilevel mediation-moderation techniques in order to analyze complex or multilevel databases. At the end of the course, students will understand how to analyze multivariate data using multilevel mediation-moderation concepts to test a variety of health-related research hypotheses. Knowledge of linear models is needed for participants enrolling in this course.

3. Cognate courses supportive of knowledge/skills and dissertation – 9 credits

4. Developing research and academic teaching skills and competence – 6 credits

AH 6184 - Graduate Seminar in Health Promotion Research (5 credits) – 1 credit per semester with major topics of attending seminars, giving a seminar, research professional skills (reviewing, abstracts, posters, attending meetings, ethics and research compliance), writing and college-level teaching. Throughout the student’s involvement with the seminar, they must complete a research manuscript of publishable quality.
AH 6422 - Writing Successful Grant Proposal (1 credit) - Designed for the advanced graduate student in a health field to obtain experience writing a scientific research proposal.  Students will be expected to enter the course with both a fairly well developed research topic and an actual Request for Proposal in hand. The final outcome from this class will be a grant proposal that is suitable for submission to a funding agency.

5. Doctoral general examination:
The goal of the general examination is to assure that all students have acquired and can effectively communicate the breadth and depth of the field.  The exam challenges students to think critically, creatively and interdisciplinary about areas of health promotion sciences.  Completion of the examination acknowledges that the student has become a candidate with growing expertise in the field of health promotion sciences.  Completion of the general examination allows the student to become a doctoral candidate and commence intense work on
the doctoral dissertation and scholarly output associated with the doctoral dissertation work.
6. Dissertation Preparation – 15 credits

Program of Study - Master of Science in Health Promotion Science

Students are able to develop individualized plans of study in conjunction with their major advisor and advisory committee to meet their professional, educational, and scholarly goals. These plans include the following required components:

  1. Health Promotion (9 credits): Three courses in health promotion are encouraged to assist the student in achieving their professional, educational, and scholarly goals. This menu of AH courses includes AH 6324 (Critical Issues in Health Promotion Disease and Disability Prevention), AH 5319 (Health Education for At Risk Population) and AH 6305 (Health Program Planning and Evaluation).
  2. Research (9 credits): Students are expected to complete AH 6306 (Research Methods), AH 5005 (Biostatistics for Health Professions), AH 6005 (Multi-level Mediation-Moderation Modeling for Health Sciences). The three courses selected to fulfill this category will equip the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete their graduate work.
  3. Electives: Students have the option of selecting one or more electives from courses offered in the AH or in other schools or colleges across campus in consultation with their advisory committee.  Students may use these electives to develop depth in an area of health promotion sciences, such as statistical modeling/evidence-analysis, behavioral & environment change interventions, and genetics and diagnostics.

The Master's of Science degree in Health Promotion Sciences may be earned under either of two plans, as determined by the advisory committee

Plan A (Thesis Tract *)

Plan A (Thesis Tract *) The department strongly advocates research and encourages students to enroll in the Plan A program, which requires the completion of a research project, submission of a thesis, and satisfactory completion of a cohesive curriculum. Students in this option are responsible for a minimum of 30 credits of advanced course work including the completion of a 9-credit research project.

Master's degree research projects span a wide range of interests.

Plan B (Project and Practicum Tract *)

Plan B (Project and Practicum Tract *) The Plan B Master’s Degree Program requires the student to attain a comprehensive understanding in health promotion, health education and behavior change, primarily through the completion of formal coursework. Independent studies are not part of the formal coursework credits. The specific requirements for the project and practicum of the Plan B program are outlined in the Guidelines for Projects and Practicum. Students are encouraged to follow the guidelines and obtain approval from their graduate advisory committee before starting the project and practicum. Projects and practicum are taken for credits and will be graded by the student’s major advisor. Plan B students are responsible for a minimum of 32 credits of advanced course work including the completion of 8 credits of applied scholarly work (project or practicum).


For More Information Contact:

Valerie B. Duffy, PhD, RD, Professor Department of Allied Health Sciences

College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources

The University of Connecticut - UCONN

358 Mansfield Road, Box U1101 Storrs, CT 06269-2101

860-486-1997 / 860-486-5375 Fax

about AHS
There has consistently been a high demand for graduates of the DGS Program and job opportunities are expected to remain excellent.

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Department of Allied Health Sciences
College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources
358 Mansfield Road, Unit 1101
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1101
Telephone: (860) 486-2834
Fax: (860) 486-5375