Social and Behavioral Health Sciences (SBHS)

Point of Contact

Specialization Head: Claudio Nigg, PhD Phone: (808) 956-2862

Over the last century, chronic diseases have replaced infectious diseases as the leading causes of death and, despite advances in medicine and technology, health disparities are increasing in almost every country. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, unsafe sexual practices, substance abuse and overexposure to the sun are major contributors to disability and death. Social factors, such as discrimination, poverty, dangerous living and work environments, and unequal distribution of resources (including health care resources), also affect health status. In this program, students will examine a) behavioral and social theories in health promotion; b) behavioral, social, environmental, and political interventions that can promote health theories in health promotion; and c) skills required for assessing health problems and for planning and evaluating health programs. Course assignments provide students the opportunity to apply knowledge, to practice skills, to enhance computer literacy, and to improve oral and written communications. Opportunities to participate in university-based and community-based research and service programs are provided.


Master of Public Health (MPH)


In addition to meeting the general admissions requirements of the UHM Office of Graduate Education, individuals applying to the SBHS specialization will be expected to have the academic background, experience, interests, and commitment for professional training in public health. While no specific undergraduate major is specified, applicants should have coursework in mathematics or statistics, biology or human development, and sociology or psychology. Applicants must have computer skills in Microsoft Office and internet applications. Experience in an applied health/social sciences field or in health/social sciences research is preferred.