A 33 credit-hour degree program that focuses on the applied skills required for development, management and evaluation of health behavior programs and research studies.

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AHBR student, Amy, works directly with research participants to collect data for a study she is working on with her mentor.

The Master of Science in Applied Health Behavior Research (AHBR) is designed for students who wish to gain a wider perspective of how health behaviors impact clinical outcomes. Our students are engaged in research in academic, clinical, and community settings. The AHBR program provides a practical opportunity to cultivate new skills for career engagement and advancement.

  • Coursework is offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer, and can be completed in one year, full-time or at your own pace.
  • The program provides specialized training for students interested in pursuing careers in a variety of medical and health-related fields.
  • Regular, full-time Washington University employees are eligible for the university tuition remission program.
What is Applied Health Behavior Research?

Health Behavior Research is a multidisciplinary field that applies psychology, public health, behavioral medicine, communication science, and statistics to promote health and prevent disease.

Applied research seeks to solve practical, real-world problems through innovative interventions, and has immediate and practical use in clinical and community settings. By definition, Applied Health Behavior Research is a transdisciplinary science; it seeks to implement and evaluate effective interventions into standard practice in clinical and community settings to improve health outcomes.

Health behaviors are important components of medical care and clinical research. Key examples include: chronic disease self-management, patient adherence, healthcare avoidance, and doctor-patient communication. Few medical breakthroughs have any impact on population health unless patients and physicians also address relevant health behaviors. Medicines must be taken as directed, preventive screenings must be arranged and completed on a schedule, and lifestyle modifications (e.g., weight loss, exercise, tobacco cessation) may be prescribed to improve some clinical outcomes (e.g., obesity, joint pain, chronic diseases).

What distinguishes the program?

The Master of Science in Applied Health Behavior Research (AHBR) is designed to provide hands-on methods and resources students can implement immediately in research and program management positions, as well as support students who intend to pursue advanced graduate or clinical degrees.

  • The AHBR degree program attracts a diverse student body, providing a rich, educational experience. Classmates include research coordinators and project managers seeking career advancement, predoctoral students, pre-med students, doctoral candidates, and physician fellows.
  • Courses can be completed at your own pace and are held in the early evening to accommodate students’ work schedules.
  • There is no thesis requirement, but opportunities are available for mentored research experiences.
Program benefits
  • The AHBR program provides a deeper understanding of the growing fields of health behavior research and behavioral medicine — specialized knowledge that is invaluable to anyone engaged in health related research.
  • Through the practical research experience provided, students have opportunities to fulfill specific graduate and medical school core competencies and enhance their applications, making the program an ideal gap year option for students applying to doctoral programs or medical school.
  • Depending on the student’s status, whether a working professional or a student in their gap year, the skill-based curriculum provides hands-on methods and resources students can implement immediately.
  • Specialized training positions graduates for career advancement in the growing and increasingly competitive field of health research.

Who is eligible to apply?

Registration is open to anyone with a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college, in a related field.

The new online application is open for
Spring, Summer, and Fall Semesters!

Flexible program options

The master’s program can be completed at your own pace. AHBR offers three program options, available in part-time and full-time formats.

Full-time format

Complete 9 to 15 credit hours per semester to complete your degree within three to four semesters.

Research intensive

The research intensive is a one-year program, designed to be completed in three semesters. Mentored research experience prepares individuals interested in a variety of health careers or for taking a step toward a medical or doctorate degree.

Part-time format

Complete up to 8 credit hours per semester to complete your degree at your own pace.

Designed for working professionals who want to take their career to the next level. Classes are held in the early evening to accommodate work schedules.

Tuition & Assistance

Tuition for the 2023-2024 Academic Year is $1,525 per credit for Medical School Graduate Programs. Scholarships are available for AHBR degree and certificate seeking scholars. Workforce Development Scholarships are available to WashU employees interested in taking up to 6 credit hours of AHBR coursework.

Learn more

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about tuition assistance, course requirements, admissions details, or any other aspect of the Graduate Programs in Applied Health Behavior Research. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.