Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

tracking code

PhD in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences

The purpose of the PhD program in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences is to train experts who will advance the field of social, behavioral, and population sciences through research, development and application of theory, and teaching. The PhD is a highly specialized training program, integrating theory and research in a focused substantive area of global importance. Graduates will have in-depth expertise necessary for a research career, and are expected to develop careers in universities, medical schools, and other higher institutions of learning as faculty members or in research organizations globally.

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the Doctor of Philosophy in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences program must meet the school's general admission requirements and submit materials per the application requirements.

Degree Program Requirements & Competencies–49 hours

Revised for Fall 2022

Students must complete 49 credit hours of coursework and doctoral studies beyond the baccalaureate, with a minimum of 30 didactic hours at Tulane. Up to 18 Credits can be transferred from Master’s degree.

Please visit the university course catalog for: 

Educational teaching assistant experience

All PhD students at SPHTM are required to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for two SPHTM courses while enrolled in the PhD program. Students should register for Teaching Assistantship Educational Experience (0 credits) during the terms they complete each TA requirement. 

All other program requirements (e.g. research ethics, comprehensive exam, prospectus, and dissertation) remain the same across the old and revised programs, as outlined in the SPHTM PhD Handbook.

Degree Program Requirements & Competencies–72 hours


  1. Analyze major social and behavioral sciences theories for application to evidence-based research.
  2. Analyze qualitative and/or quantitative data in order to answer significant research questions in social, behavioral, and population sciences.
  3. Synthesize the interdisciplinary perspectives within public health.
  4. Design, implement, and evaluate independent theory-based scientific research in an academic or practice setting.
  5. Translate and disseminate knowledge of health problems.
  6. Demonstrate ethical conduct, cultural sensitivity, and a sense of academic integrity.


Students must complete 72 credit hours of coursework and doctoral studies beyond the baccalaureate, with a minimum of 30 didactic hours at Tulane. Up to 18 Credits can be transferred from Master’s degree.

PhD Prerequisites–22 credit hours

  • SPHL 6020 Foundations in Public Health or equivalent (3 credits)
  • SBPS 6340 Monitoring & Evaluation of Global Health Programs (3 credits)
  • SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (3 credits)
  • SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (3 credits)
  • SPHL 6080 Design Strategies in Public Health Programs (3 credits)
  • SBPS 6030 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health (3 credits)
  • BIOS 6040 Intermediate Biostatistics (3 credits) 
  • Statistical Software Course or Skills (1 credit)

Advanced Doctoral Study–18 credit hours

  • SBPS 7250 Evidence-Based Research Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)
  • SBPS 7280, or SBPS 7290 Qualitative Methods: Basic Foundations, or Qualitative Methods II Theory and Methods (2 credits)
  • IHSD 8250 Advanced Research Methods in Global Health (3 credits)
  • SBPS 8750 Social Determinants of Health I (3 credits)
  • SBPS 8760 Social Determinants of Health II (3 credits)
  • SBPS 8820 Advance Program Planning and Grant Writing for Research (3 credits)
  • SBPS 8800/8830 Senior Graduate Research Seminar I (1/0 credits)

PhD Elective Courses–minimum of 12 credit hours

Electives are selected from relevant advanced level courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. 12 credits minimum; Additional credits as needed to reach 72 credit graduation requirement and/or fulfill PhD Foundation Course requirements.

Contact Us

Department Interim Chair: Gretchen Clum, PhD

Program Director: Diego Rose, PhD

Program Manager: Anita Jobson

Email: sbps@tulane.edu

Phone: (504) 988-5391

Ready for More?

Request Information    Open House    Apply Now