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M.P.H. Concentration: Behavioral Science and Health Education

As an M.P.H. trained health educator, you can improve public health by developing, promoting and researching community-wide initiatives encouraging healthy living practices to prevent disease and injury.

Students organize diapers into packets to be distributed in the St. Louis region.

Students sort diapers at the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank during the College's 2016 Public Health Service Day.

In this program, we couple a team-based experience with additional learning experiences beyond the classroom, all tailored to your interests by professors who know you by your name.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

In addition to the admission criteria for all Master of Public Health programs at SLU, the following is needed for admission to the behavioral science and health education program:

  • A bachelor's degree in a social science, biomedical science or a closely-related field is preferred, but other majors will be considered.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full.  No GRE is required.  Applications are reviewed holistically and are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full.  Apply using the centralized application service

All applicants are considered using a holistic application review process, including in-person or phone interviews with faculty members in their intended concentration areas.

Joint Concentration Options

Behavioral Science and Health Education / Epidemiology 

SLU’s unique joint concentration in behavioral science and epidemiology is highly attractive to your future employers. It requires just six additional credit hours (for a total of 54) and can still be completed in two years.

Behavioral scientists and health educators can use their advanced epidemiological skills to recognize and understand important health research and trends in their work, making you much more valuable to your employers in this data-driven era.  A joint concentration in epidemiology provides the additional skills that future employers will value and the flexibility to do more with your career.

With a joint concentration in behavioral science and epidemiology, you will be able to:

  • Accurately interpret epidemiologic data
  • Appropriately communicate epidemiologic findings
  • Use data to describe the health of populations
  • Critically analyze the epidemiologic literature
Concentration Competencies

In Behavioral Science and Health Education you will study why people behave the way they do related to their health and wellness.  After you graduate from SLU’s nationally recognized, competencies-based program you will be able to:

  • Apply conceptual models and theories at multiple ecological levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community and policy).
  • Examine risk factors and determinants of specific health threats at multiple ecological levels.
  • Assess needs, assets, resources and capacity for social and behavioral science interventions at multiple levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community and policy).
  • Plan theory and evidence-based interventions (program/policy/environmental change) to improve health.
  • Collaborate to implement public health related programs, policies, and environmental changes.
  • Develop programs, policies and environmental strategies that address social determinants.
  • Conduct evaluations (process, impact, and outcome) of public health related interventions using multiple methods.

What Our Faculty Investigate

Faculty in Saint Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice conduct innovative research in diverse fields. We are united by our Jesuit and social justice mission to improve lives.  Most our grants involve community partnerships at the local, regional, national and international levels.  Students are involved in most faculty members’ research. Below is a list of noteworthy research in this area:

  • Adolescent health
  • Cancer prevention
  • Community development
  • Health communication
  • Health equity
  • Injury prevention
  • Maternal and child health
  • Men's health
  • Nutrition and physical activity
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Women's health

Applied Practice Experience (APEx)

As a master of public health student at SLU, you will be required to complete an internship, referred to as the Applied Practice Experience, or APEx, with an approved organization and preceptor. This valuable experience is designed to enhance your educational experience and to develop professional competencies in behavioral science and health education.

Students who choose to concentrate in behavioral science and health education have engaged in practice experiences at many organizations including American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes Missouri Chapter, Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI), St. Louis Area Foodbank and the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition.

Careers in Behavioral Science and Health Education

With a concentration in behavioral science and health education, you can work in a variety of public, private and nonprofit settings to:

  • Assess and implement health promotion interventions, such as smoking cessation programs.
  • Develop programs and effective communications strategies to help young people avoid alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Help curb the spread of STDs, such cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Identify and promote health literacy and health communications strategies through the improved translation and dissemination of health discoveries.
  • Improve the quality of life for the growing population of senior citizens.
  • Reduce obesity and chronic health problems in youth and adult populations and in underserved urban or rural communities.
  • Research complex health issues so communities can improve access to important resources and services.