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Master of Science in Behavioral Health at the University of San Francisco

Students in the Master of Science (MS) in Behavioral Health program at the University of San Francisco acquire the skills to successfully address disparities in the health care system. They become "effective team members" who help improve accessibility to and delivery of physical and mental health programs. They also have the ability to take the lead in designing the evidence-based health practices that are part of the foundation of the Affordable Care Act.

The program offers the following benefits to help students incorporate study into their schedules, achieve academic success, and strengthen practical skills.

- Ability to complete the program in 12 months
- Classes that meet twice a week in the evenings
- Courses designed to teach real-world skills
- A fully-integrated curriculum so courses build upon each other
- Full-time and part-time program completion
- Small, inter-professional, and highly interactive classes
- Accomplished faculty who're academics and practitioners
- Internships located throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area that allow students to apply theory to practice

Diverse career choices

Graduates of the MS in Behavioral Health program have many career options like the following:

- Agencies at all levels of government: Protect and promote the overall health of populations and achieve public health goals
- Clinics, health plans, and hospitals: Coach patients about managing chronic illness, educate patients about healthy lifestyles, and help patients and families identify community resources
- Public health departments: Lead community coalitions, community partnerships, and outreach efforts

Program alumni are helping improve outcomes for people and communities. For example, Allyson Mayo ('15), a mental health counselor at John Muir's Behavioral Health Department, is part of an interdisciplinary team that serves mentally ill patients. Renesha Westerfield ('16), a human resource professional at Homebridge, recruits and retains home care providers who help seniors and people with disabilities live independently.

MS in Behavioral Health curriculum

The 34-credit MS in Behavioral Health program emphasizes psychosocial interventions and tools for planning, managing, and evaluating community-based services and programs. It includes a 300-hour field placement at an agency in the Bay Area. Students who work in the field can complete their field work at their places of employment, provided that they work on projects that don't relate to their current assignments.

The program culminates with a capstone paper that demonstrates students' mastery of the field.

Dual Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH) and Master of Public Health (MPH)

The 60-credit MSBH-MPH trains students to help eliminate health disparities, work with vulnerable populations, and create physical and social environments that promote good health for all people. It teaches them how to create budgets, implement and monitor programs, write grant proposals, and use timelines and tracking tools. It focuses on epidemiology, research methods, and statistical analysis. It also provides opportunities to work with faculty members who specialize in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, and public policy.

Applied research opportunities

Research is an essential component of the MS in Behavioral Health program. In the "Applied Research Methods" class, students learn about the social and behavioral research principles needed to understand health problems. They also learn how to use research to design and evaluate interventions that are used in practice.

Accomplished faculty members

Faculty members are accomplished scholars and skilled practitioners in behavioral health and related fields. Their real-world experience strengthens the MS in Behavioral Health curriculum.

Dr. William Hua, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor in the MSBH program, teaches integrated behavioral health in primary care settings. He's a clinical health psychologist who helps stigmatized and diverse populations like veterans who're HIV-positive or have liver diseases.

Faculty research

The University of San Francisco supports its faculty members in conducting research that improves society. Faculty members in the School of Nursing and Health Professors conduct research that addresses numerous issues including the following:

- Bioethics
- Behavioral health
- Community program development
- Family care giving
- Global health
- Health literacy
- Infectious disease transmission
- Public health
- Sexual health and behaviors
- Substance use
- Vulnerable populations

Rewarding student life

The University of San Francisco's supportive community provides a wealth of academic, social, and support resources for graduate students including the following:

- Campus resources: Housing and residential life, dining services, student events, health and wellness, arts and culture, athletics
- Activities: Recreation and club sports; media and publications; service, faith, and justice; cultural centers
- Graduate student organizations: Behavioral Health Student Association, Graduate Student Senate, African Student Association, Multicultural Graduate Student Alliance, Challenge for Charity, Net Impact
- Student services: Career services, counseling and psychological services, disability services, international student services, learning and writing center

The University of San Francisco

Established in 1855, the University of San Francisco is a Jesuit institution of higher learning that educates approximately 11,000 students annually. It offers 4,270 graduate students more than 70 programs through five colleges and schools.

The university's main campus is located in San Francisco, California in the western region of the United States. It also has campuses in downtown San Francisco as well as in the cities of Orange, Pleasanton, Sacramento, San Jose, and Santa Rosa.

San Francisco offers many things to do like music festivals, street fairs, and cultural celebrations; museums like the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences; and professional sports such as the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS)

Degrees Awarded

Master's Degrees 9


Acceptance Rate


Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline April 1st Not reported No

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)
Out-of-state students


Hispanic/Latino 41.18%
Black or African American 17.65%
White or Caucasian 5%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 5.88%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races 5.88%
Unknown 5.88%


Male (5%)
Female (94%)


Total faculty
Full-time (2)
Part-time (2)
Male (1)
Female (3)

Location & Contact

Address 2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA  94117
United States
Contact Dr. Margaret Baker
Email: nursing@usfca.edu
Phone: 415-422-6681
Fax: 415-422-6877