Joint Degree: Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology and Master of Public Health
The department offers a joint Ph.D./M.P.H. degree in collaboration with the Master of Public Health program in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at KU Medical Center. The degree incorporates efficiencies in the elective and research requirements of both departments. This is the first degree in the nation to combine an M.P.H. with the strengths of advanced study in applied behavioral science. Faculty and student research teams address issues in community health and development, child and youth health and development, disabilities and independent living, and healthy aging. Separate admission is required to both the Ph.D. program of the Department of Applied Behavioral Science and M.P.H. program of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.
Admission to Graduate Studies
An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
Admission to the Joint Degree: Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology and Master of Public Health
For admission in the fall semester, the deadline to submit applications and supporting materials to the Ph.D. program is December 15th. Later applications receive consideration in the order of their receipt. Students may be admitted for the spring semester, but there is no filing deadline.
Note: Although students may be applying for the Ph.D. track, students must also submit a separate application for the MPH. Each program (the MPH and Ph.D.) will review the corresponding application separately and will notify students of their admission decision individually. It is possible to be accepted into one program without acceptance in the other.
Eligibility criteria for admission to the Ph.D./M.P.H. program follow Graduate Studies’ admission policy. To be considered for admission to regular graduate status in the program, a student must hold a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
For admission to the Ph.D. program with full graduate standing, the department recommends that applicants complete 12 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate course work in behavior analysis, behavioral science, psychology, education, or related fields, and 6 hours in experimental methods, research design, or statistics.
Among the department’s application materials is a list of department faculty members. Please review faculty members on the department's website and the descriptions of their research, scholarly, and professional interests. Applicants should select any faculty members whose research interests in an area of public health match their own. These faculty members review the applicant's materials. An applicant is accepted when one of the faculty members consents to admit the student. This faculty member becomes the advisor of record.
Non-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here.
Joint Ph.D. M.P.H. Degree
Department of Applied Behavioral Science and Department of Preventive Medicine
Offered by the Department of Applied Behavioral Science (Lawrence) and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (KU Medical Center, Kansas City and Wichita). This joint program is the first in the nation to combine the strengths of advanced study in applied behavioral science with a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree. It results from a unique collaboration between two units: the Department of Applied Behavioral Science, offering a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology; and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, with its M.P.H. program.
Course Requirements Checklist for Joint MPH/Ph.D. Program:
Please note, listed below are the minimum course requirements for the joint degree. Those obtaining a Ph.D. degree in the Applied Behavioral Science program complete M.A. coursework and degree requirements. It is possible to enter the Ph.D. with an M.A. from another university. If that is the case, students will work with the program to waive M.A. equivalent coursework and the M.A. Thesis requirement at the departmental level.
Students in the joint MPH/PhD program are required to complete a total of 42 credit hours before earning their MPH. Some courses have been approved to fulfill requirements in both the MPH and PhD programs.
|Coursework Required for the MPH|
|PRVM 818||Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health||3|
|PRVM 827||Public Health Administration||3|
|PRVM 830||Environmental Health||3|
|PRVM 891||Public Health Internship||1-3|
|PRVM 893||Public Health Capstone||1-3|
|PRVM 875||Management of Public Health Data||3|
|or BIOS 715||Introduction to Data Management using RedCap and SAS|
|PRVM Elective Course||3|
|Coursework satisfying both MPH and Ph.D. Requirements||9|
|ABSC 710||Community Health and Development (Research Methods II)||3|
|ABSC 735||Within Subjects Research Methodology and Direct Observation||3|
|ABSC 861||Principles of Behavior Analysis||3|
|BIOS 704||Principles of Statistics in Public Health (EAB II Course Option)||3|
|or BIOS 714||Fundamentals of Biostatistics I|
|PRVM 800||Principles of Epidemiology (EAB II Course Option)||3|
|Coursework Required for Ph.D.|
|ABSC 746||Introduction to Behavioral Science (ABA I)||3|
|ABSC 799||Experimental Analysis of Behavior||3|
|ABSC 800||Conceptual Foundations of Applied Behavioral Science (Conceptual Foundations I)||3|
|ABSC 841||Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Applied Behavioral Science||3|
|ABSC 875||Practicum in Community Health Promotion (After completion of ABSC 710)||1-6|
|ABSC 876||Practicum in Community Development (After ABSC 710)||1-6|
|ABSC 899||Master's Thesis in Applied Behavioral Science||1-9|
|ABSC 807||Design and Evaluation of Community Health Promotion Methods||1-6|
|ABSC 862||Behavioral Community Approaches to Addressing Social Issues (Conceptual Foundations II)||3|
|ABSC 961||Advanced Seminar in Applied Behavior Analysis: _____ (ABA II)||3|
|ABSC 999||Doctoral Dissertation in Behavioral Psychology||1-9|
|Research and/or Intervention Practicum|
Students complete an empirically based master’s thesis and pass an oral examination on it. With their advisor’s approval, empirically based theses from other programs may meet this requirement.
The Office of Graduate Studies requires students to have training in responsible scholarship and research skills pertinent to the field of research. This will be met by:
- Satisfactory completion of either ABSC 735 OR ABSC 770
- Satisfactory completion of either ABSC 841 OR ABSC 851
One of the following:
- At least one submission of a first-author manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, OR
- At least two scholarly presentations at regional, state, or national professional meetings.
- The work for these must have been entirely completed at KU
- No more than one may be a poster
- At least one must have been presented by the time of the comprehensive examination; if the other has not yet been presented by the time of the comprehensive examination, it must be accepted for presentation at an upcoming meeting
- At least one must list the student as either first or presenting author
Graduate students receive training in the teaching and supervision of undergraduates. The requirement may be met in 1 of 2 ways. In the first, students serve as a paid half-time teaching assistant for 1 semester or as a quarter-time assistant for 2 semesters, assuming proportionate responsibility for class organization, lecturing, grading, and office hours under a faculty member’s supervision. In the second, students take LA&S 792 or ABSC 941, attend 3 brown bag lectures at the Center for Teaching Excellence, and present a guest lecture to the department. In both cases, students must also write a statement of teaching philosophy and obtain numeric evaluations of their teaching in their guest lectures.
Pro-seminar I Requirement
Graduate students are expected to attend pro-seminar sessions when they are scheduled throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. These are usually scheduled for Friday afternoons at 3:30. Pro-seminars are typically presentations given by graduate students (see next paragraph), faculty members, and visiting scholars.
As part of your master’s degree requirements, you are required to present the results of your research (basic, applied, or conceptual) at a weekly pro-seminar meeting. The presentation must be comparable to that which would be given at a professional conference (not a panel discussion). You should be ready to field questions from your peers and the faculty in attendance.
Professional Seminar II Requirement
Doctoral students are required to present the results of their research at a department professional seminar meeting. The presentation is comparable to what would be presented at a professional conference. Students answer questions from their peers and the faculty in attendance.
Students write 3 editorial reviews of published or unpublished journal articles, all of them empirical. The articles cover a range of topics and experimental designs. The first 2 are graded pass-fail by the student’s advisor; the third must be passed by 2 other faculty members.
Students must complete the comprehensive examination by the end of the third year if entering the PhD program with a completed Master's obtained at another university, or within a year of defending their Master's in the Applied Behavioral Science MA program at KU. The examination has 2 components:
- Program of Study Written Document. Students will generate a program of study document, developed in concert with their mentor, that includes:
- A list of all graduate lecture/discussion courses completed in behavioral science and how the coursework fulfills ABAI accreditation standards
- Up to 10 representative readings from each completed graduate lecture/discussion course
- Research interest statement (2-3 pages)
- Career plans statement (2-3 pages)
- Up-to-date CV
In preparation for the oral examination, students provide their program of study document to the comprehensive examination committee. The examination committee will have the right to request additions/modifications to the reading list. The student will have a minimum of 2 weeks to prepare for the oral examination upon finalization of the program of study with the examination committee.
2.Oral Examination. The program of study will be used by the comprehensive examination committee to generate relevant and individualized questions to ask during the oral examinations. Questions will span all coursework and student-indicated research domains (those of personal interest to the student and relevant to their career trajectory). These questions will be posed during the oral examination. The oral examination will last two hours and is not open to the public. The defense is successful if a majority of the committee members vote to pass it.
In preparation for the dissertation, students will complete a departmental required written dissertation proposal and an oral discussion of the proposal. The proposal will include a) a thorough literature review and b) a research proposal. Students should follow specific instructions for these components as dictated in the student handbook. The dissertation proposal discussion will entail a one hour meeting with the dissertation committee and will be open to the public.
In consultation with their advisors, students conduct an empirically based dissertation, typically based on the comprehensive examination proposal, and pass an oral examination on it. The defense is successful if a majority of the committee members vote to pass it. The dissertation defense will be open to the public.