PhD in Public Health - Health Promotion and Socio-behavioural Sciences
This area of specialization is designed to provide PhD students with advanced training and research experience with social and behavioural factors that promote individual and population health.
Students can pursue etiologic or intervention-oriented research and draw on any number of theoretical perspectives from a variety of disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, political science, education, geography and/or anthropology).
Faculty members’ research interests include chronic disease, addictions and mental health, physical activity, human geography, nutrition, Aboriginal studies and public health policy.
A variety of career opportunities are open to graduates including positions in academic settings, government departments, health related institutions or community agencies.
PHS 603 Scientific Communication in Public Health (*3)
PHS 604 Advanced Theory and Research Methods in Public Health (*3)
PHS 607 - Introduction to Engaged Scholarship (*1.5)
- Applied Engaged Scholarship: Principle to specific research projects (*1.5)
HPS 602 Population Health Intervention Research (*3)
HPS 608 Psychosocial Perspectives on Health (*3)
Additional courses must be approved by the student's supervisor.
The candidacy examination is typically planned for sometime after the first year of program, once all course work is completed. It is generally recommended that the candidacy examination occur by the end of the second year of the PhD program.
See Additional PhD Requirements.
Thesis Research Proposal
It is expected that the thesis research proposal will be developed by the student in consultation with their supervisory committee. The candidacy examination is the mechanism to evaluate the quality of the research proposal and the ability of the student to conduct the proposed research. As such, the evaluation of the research proposal by the external examiners is an important quality assurance mechanism to enhance the quality of thesis research and doctoral training provided within the School of Public Health.
(*12 minimum; *3, *6, or *9 per term as required)
Students are required to present the results of their thesis at a student seminar prior to the defense.
PhD students will successfully complete and defend a thesis on a research topic in an area defined in consultation with the student's supervisory committee. The scope and quality of the doctoral thesis should form the basis for a unique contribution to the student’s discipline. This may be represented by a number of scholarly contributions, such as multiple peer-reviewed publications describing the methodology and results of the research.
An increasingly common format for doctoral research training is a “papers based” thesis, consisting of three or four research papers, suitable for submission for peer review, each addressing a distinct research question, but addressing a common research theme. In such cases, introductory and culminating final chapters are also prepared, establishing the purpose and rationale for the research theme and tying together findings across the conducted studies.
The minimum residency requirement for PhD programs is two consecutive years of full-time registration. The objective of the residency requirement is to broaden student interactions within the research environment in the School of Public Health and the University community.
The residency period will facilitate frequent and close interactions with the supervisor and supervisory committee, provide opportunities to present and defend ideas, foster progressive development of the student’s research program, and allow for easy access to lectures, presentations and student or faculty research seminars.
Length of Program
Doctoral students have six (6) years from their first term of registration to complete all degree requirements, with an expected four-year minimum duration for full-time students from the bachelor's level.
Approximately one to two years of course work is followed by two to three years of full-time thesis research. The thesis research can be spread over four years as a part-time student providing that the two years of course work has fulfilled the residency requirement for the PhD degree.
Additional PhD Program Requirements
You are encouraged to read about our additional PhD program requirements.