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Behavioral and community health focuses on individual and community lifestyle behaviors and aspects of our social environment that affect our health. Practitioners and researchers in this field use theory and evidence based practices to seek out ways to encourage people to make healthy choices. The Department of Behavioral and Community Health at UMD prepares graduates to improve the health of communities through health promotion and disease prevention. By understanding the different aspects of behavioral and community health, students are able to actively engage with communities to develop approaches and solutions to everyday health issues.

Behavioral and community health also seeks to improve the public’s health through the application of social and behavioral sciences. By studying behavior, graduates are able to not just understand disease, but are also able to modify the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates of many diseases that affect the communities in which we live. Additionally, community health specialists promote more efficient uses of health services, adopt self-care practices, and participate actively in the design and implementation of health programs.

Encouraging children and their families to eat fruits and vegetables in schools; helping women understand the importance of prenatal vitamins and early care for child; and promoting tobacco cessation are just some of the important issues addressed by behavioral and community health professionals. Behavioral and community health practitioners also work in the following areas:

  • Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV
  • Women’s Health
  • Health Communication
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention
  • Health Disparities
  • Tobacco Control and Prevention
  • Adolescent Health
  • Mental Health
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Obesity & Nutrition

The Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health (Online) offers several opportunities to network and gain practical experience in one of the most prolific public health environments nationally. Students have access to a departmental internship database that includes organizations and contacts that have a history of mentoring students. Depending on the student’s learning objectives, interests, and career aspirations, there are countless internship opportunities available that will support career goals and provide valuable networking connections. In the past, students have secured internships with organizations such as:

  • US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • State and County Government Programs
  • Health Departments
  • Non Government Organization's (NGO's)
  • Health Associations
  • Non Profit Associations
  • Convenient online coursework gives you the flexibility to complete your degree without taking time off from work.
  • Stimulating online courses are conducted by UMD School of Public Health faculty and experts from leading public health organizations in the Greater Washington DC Area.
  • Focus on practical knowledge and professional skills that you can immediately apply to your work in the health industry.
  • Internship and capstone projects that can launch you to the next stage of you career.

The MPH in Behavioral and Community Health (Online) requires completion of 16 courses (6 MPH core courses, 5 courses in a behavioral and community health concentration/cognate area, 3 elective courses, and an internship and capstone/thesis). Students must complete at least 45 credits to graduate. The cognate courses are selected from a list of approved electives and additional courses in consultation with the academic advisor. This flexibility allows students to specialize in a specific area of behavioral and community health.

Core Courses (14 credits; 6 courses)

  • SPHL601 Foundations of Public Health (1 credit)
  • SPHL602 Epidemiology & Biostatistics (4 credits)
  • SPHL603 Applied Data Laboratory (1 credit)
  • SPHL610 Program Planning, Development and Evaluation (5 credits)
  • SPHL611 Public Health Ethics (1 credit)
  • SPHL620 Leadership and Policy Analysis (2 credits)

Cognate Area Courses (15 credits; 5 courses)

  • HLTH625 Community Assessment Through Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
  • HLTH665 Health Behavior I (3 credits)
  • HLTH672 Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
  • HLTH710 Methods and Techniques of Research (3 credits)
  • HLTH780 Community Health (3 credits)

Elective Courses (include, but are not limited, to)

  • HLTH 671 – Public Health Communication
  • HLTH 688L – Health Literacy
  • HLTH 624 – LGBT Health
  • Other graduate courses available online with prior permission of the student’s advisor.

Internship and Capstone (7 credits, 2 courses)

  • HLTH788 Internship (4 credits variable)
  • HLTH786 Capstone Project (3 credits)

Students can complete the MPH in Behavioral and Community Health (Online) 100% online. Visit Online Learning at learn more about UMD’s online learning environment. The curriculum for the online program and the on-campus program are identical. Students interested in the on-campus program should visit School of Public Health's website.

The program may be completed full time or part time; although full time is preferable. All requirements must be met and the degree awarded within five years following the date of entrance into the program. The recommended sequence for completing the online program considers prerequisites and course scheduling. Refer to the part-time and full-time plans of study for additional information.

No. Your diploma and your transcript will look the same as a student attending the physical campus.

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits the School of Public Health at University of Maryland, College Park. Acquisition and fulfillment of key competencies are required by CEPH and are the foundation for a successful career. The online MPH-BCH competencies are listed and mapped to specific courses, as mandated by the CEPH accreditation requirements.

Competencies Courses
Choose major social, behavioral and public health theories to use with the design and evaluation of interventions. HLTH 665, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786
Build emergent themes and sub-themes within qualitative data which require re-reading of text and an iterative process of data aggregation and interpretation. HLTH 625, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786
Identify and use mobile/computer apps to gather information or collect data for use in the evaluation of research. HLTH 672, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786
Manage traditional and new media to communicate health information (e.g., statistics, reports) effectively. HLTH 672, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786
Build valid data collection tools to measure behavioral factors that influence community health. HLTH 710, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786
Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social and behavioral science interventions. HLTH 780, possibly HLTH 778 & HLTH 786

Full-time faculty and experts from leading public health organizations appointed by the Department of Behavioral and Community Health deliver instruction.

Students may request a waiver for a requirement if they have a sufficient background to show that they have done work that is substantially equivalent to the requirement. The request is evaluated by comparing previous coursework or experience to a current requirement. While a waiver allows a student to take a substitute course, the student must still complete the total credits necessary for that student’s degree program. MPH in Behavioral and Community Health (Online) students must graduate with 45 credits taken/earned at University of Maryland, College Park. All requests for waivers/substitutions must be made within the FIRST semester in the program.

No more than six (6) credit hours of graduate work may be transferred from another institution. When moving from non-degree seeking status at University of Maryland, College Park to MPH-BCH degree-seeking status, students may request inclusion of a maximum of nine (9) credits earned at University of Maryland, College Park. Students seeking acceptance of transfer credits are urged to consult with their advisor and the Graduate Studies Director to ensure compliance with Graduate School guidelines. A REQUEST FOR TRANSFER OR INCLUSION OF CREDIT FOR THE MASTER’S DEGREE form must be completed during the student's FIRST semester in the program.

Students with questions related to academics should contact the MPH in Behavioral and Community Health (Online) Program Director, Dr. Evelyn Clair King-Marshall, at or the Graduate Director, Dr. Katherine Sharp, at Students with questions related to program administration (registration, payment, online access, etc.) should contact the Office of Extended Studies at

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