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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Behavioral and Community Sciences (BVC)

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CIP Code: 55.2212
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (BC)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 90

Contact Information:
College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
Dean's Office Department ()
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MHC1110
Tampa FL  33612

Program Director or Coordinator:
Howard Goldstein
Phone: 813-974-9613


Faculty Search: Behavioral and Community Sciences Faculty List

Program Information

The Ph.D. in Behavioral & Community Sciences is an interdisciplinary program focusing on research and policy in the area of behavioral health and community sciences. Behavioral and Community Sciences refers to the development and evaluation of services and interventions that promote resiliency and social well-being for at-risk populations and addresses these issues within the context of community settings.

Major Research Areas: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders; Community Based Behavioral Health Systems & Services; Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health; Behavioral Health, Law, and the Justice System; Disability & Rehabilitation Studies; Behavioral Health Disparities; and Positive Behavior Intervention & Support.

Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: February 15
Spring: October 15
Summer: February 15

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: February 15
Spring: September 15
Summer: January 15

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

  • A bachelors GPA of 3.50 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework based on a 4.00 grading scale. The completed degree must be in a field related to behavioral and community sciences, e.g., behavioral healthcare, human services, human development, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, public health, social work, counseling education, education.
  • GRE taken within five years of application with a preferred profile of scores at or above the 50th percentile on the three subtests: verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing.
  • Evidence of written/analytical skills which will take two-forms:
    • A writing sample, such as a major paper, thesis, or research paper of which the student is the sole author, and
    • A personal goal statement of 2-3 pages that describes why the applicant wishes to obtain the Ph.D. in Behavioral & Community Sciences.
  • Two formal letters of recommendation from faculty members or other professional personnel who have knowledge of the applicant's academic background, potential for success in graduate school, and/or commitment to a research career.
  • Applicants with a masters degree may be eligible for admission to the program. Their transcripts will be evaluated to determine coursework that will be applicable toward the 90 hours of credit required for the doctoral program

Prior to applying for the program, applicants are encouraged to contact faculty with whom they would like to study and discuss the fit between the students area of research interest and the faculty members research program.

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

Total Minimum Hours:90 (Post-Bachelor’s)

Core requirements -15 credit hours
Research/statistics foundation courses 6 credit hours
Advanced research courses 12 credit hours
Didactic courses in behavioral health 18 credit hours
Specialization courses 9 credit hours
Directed research 18 credit hours
Dissertation 12 credit hours

Core requirements -15 credit hours
MHS 6741       3       Community Based Research & Evaluation in Behavioral Sciences
MHS 6491       3       Evidence-Based Practice in Behavioral & Community Sciences
EDF 6213       3       Biological Bases of Behavior
PSB 6056       3       Physiological Psychology or comparable course
MHS 7707       3       Interdisciplinary Approaches to Behavioral Health Policy & Systems
MHS 7721       3       Professional Seminar in Behavioral & Community Sciences

Research/statistics foundation courses 6 credit hours
Such as:
MHS 5745       3       Applied Qualitative Research Methods
MHS 5746       3       Applied Quantitative Research Methods
GEY 6402       2       Statistics Methods

Advanced research courses 12 credit hours
Students will select four courses from at least two of the following areas. Courses such as those listed across multiple departments will be considered to best fit the student’s individualized plan of study.

Advanced Statistics
MHS 7748       3       Statistical Applications in Translational Research & Evaluation
GEY 6403       3       Multivariate Statistical Analysis
PHC 7054       3       Advanced Biostatistical Methods
PHC 7056       3       Longitudinal Data Analysis
EDF 7412       3       Application of Structural Equation Modeling
EDF 7474       3       Applied Multilevel Modeling in Education

Research Design
EDF 6481       3       Foundations of Educational Research
PSY 6217       3       Single Case Experimental Design

Program Evaluation
MHS 7740       3       Mental Health Planning, Evaluation, and Accountability
PHC 6708       3       Evaluation Methods in Community Health

Qualitative Methods
PHC 6193       3       Qualitative Methods in Community Health Research
PHC 6725       3       Focus Group Research Strategies

MHS 7747       3       Measurement Issues in Behavioral Health Services Research
EDF 6432       3       Foundations of Measurement
EDF 7436       3       Rasch Measurement Models*
EDF 7439       3       Foundations of Item Response Theory*
*Pre requisite course EDF 6432 or equivalent

Didactic courses in behavioral health 18 credit hours
MHS 7749       3       Applications in Dissemination and Implementation Science
MHS 6065       3       Issues and Trends in Developmental Disabilities
MHS 6066       3       Systems, Services, and Supports in Development Disabilities
MHS 6067       3       Evidence-Based Practices in Developmental Disabilities
MHS 6068       3       Community-Based Behavior Health Interventions for Culturally Diverse Youth
MHS 6069       3       Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health
MHS 6072       3       Epidemiology and Prevention in Children’s Mental Health
MHS 6075       3       Cultural Competency in Behavioral Health
MHS 6095       3       Family-Centered Interdisciplinary Systems of Care
MHS 6410       3       Intensive Individualized Positive Behavior Support
MHS 6437       3       Family Perspectives on Behavioral Health Disparities
MHS 6494       3       Women’s Mental Health
MHS 6508       3       Wraparound Interventions and the System of Care
MHS 6605       3       Behavior Challenges in Young Children
MHS 6607       3       Behavioral Consultation and Collaborative Systems Change
MHS 6608       3       School-wide Positive Behavior Support
MHS 6641       3       Mental Health Informatics
MHS 6706       3       Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health Policy
MHS 6900       3       Epidemiology of Mental Disorders
MHS 6900       3       Substance Abuse, Crime and the Justice System
MHS 6900       3       Co-Morbidity and Physical Disorders
MHS 6938       3       Grant Writing Seminar
RCS 5080       3       Medical Aspects of Disability
RCS 5480       3       Human Growth & Development
RCS 5780       3       Legal and Ethical Aspects of Rehabilitation
RCS 5450       3       Fundamentals of Substance Abuse
RCS 6440       3       Social and Cultural Foundations of Rehabilitation
RCS 6930       3       Obesity and Eating Disorders
PHC 6401       3       Homelessness: Implications for Behavioral Healthcare
PHC 6539       3       Foundations in Adolescent Behavioral Health
PUP 5607      3       Public Policy and Health Care

Specialization courses 9 credit hours
Students will complete a minimum of nine hours in a specialty area. The specialty area will be developed on an individual basis with each student and the student’s faculty advisor. Examples of possible specialties include:

Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health
Positive Behavior Intervention & Support
Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders
Community Based Behavioral Health Systems & Services
Behavioral Health, Law, and the Justice System
Recovery Oriented Behavioral Health
Disability & Rehabilitation Studies
Behavioral Health Disparities

Directed research 18 credit hours
MHS 6915 Directed Research in Behavioral & Social Sciences

Students will complete 18 hours of Directed Research. Following the completion of the first six-hours of directed research, students will complete a research “product” such as a conference presentation, poster session, publication, portions of a grant proposal, literature review or other comparable product to demonstrate their progress in developing research proficiency. Ideally, this product will be associated with their dissertation topic. The remaining 12 hours of Directed Research will be conducted during the second and third year of study and will be conducted with the guidance of the student’s major professor with research outcomes specified in the student’s plan of study related to their eventual dissertation proposal.

Qualifying Exam/Doctoral Candidacy
Students will be admitted to doctoral candidacy upon completion of a qualifying exam. The qualifying exam will require completion of a grant proposal suitable for supporting dissertation or early career research (e.g., F31 or R03) and an oral examination.

Dissertation 12 credit hours minimum
MHS 7980 Dissertation

The dissertation will consist of original research designed and supervised by a faculty advisor. The student will select the faculty member who will serve as the major advisor within the first year of study. Each student will have a dissertation committee consisting of the major advisor and three other faculty members from different disciplines to reflect the interdisciplinary approach of the program. The student will write a dissertation proposal that outlines the completed project and will defend the proposal to obtain committee approval for beginning the dissertation. The dissertation will consist of a series of three articles with an introductory and conclusion chapter. The student will complete a public oral defense of the dissertation and the committee will judge the adequacy of the final document and the oral defense for approval for the Ph.D. degree.

Other Requirements
The Plan of Study must include at least 18 hours of coursework in an area that will fulfill the SACS teaching requirement of 18 hours in the field to ensure eligibility for university positions.

College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


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