Community & Prevention

The primary mission of UIC's doctoral concentration in Community and Prevention Research (CPR) is to educate students to conduct innovative research on important social issues in a pluralistic society. Doctoral students are actively involved in research with core and affiliated faculty, typically in urban schools, neighborhoods, and human service settings. Examples of current action research include developing and evaluating interventions with urban children and adolescents to prevent drug use, high risk sexual behavior, delinquency, and dropping out of school; studying ways to build the capacity of grassroots organizations in Latino and African-American communities to advocate for disability rights; assessing community responses to violence against women; evaluating the quality of services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault; promoting the prosocial development of African-American youth; preventing HIV transmission among young African-American men who have sex with men; creating school-community partnerships to improve the social and emotional intelligence of children and youth; and assessing efforts at educational reform for immigrant and refugee adolescents.
UIC's doctoral education in community and prevention research prepares students for a variety of action-research activities. Program graduates may pursue action-research careers in academic settings (e.g., research, universities, undergraduate colleges) or in other institutions (e.g., government agencies, community-based organizations, policy institutes). The doctoral program provides training in the theories and methods of community and prevention research so as to strengthen students' ability to think both creatively and critically. Experience working in community settings is a focus in both research and coursework. Three guiding principles shape this program to facilitate the development of clear, incisive thinking about community issues. Persons receiving a Ph.D. are expected to be conversant with these themes. These three principles include:
Understanding Social Influences on Human Behavior
  • The role of an ecological analysis for individuals and communities.
  • The role of historical, social, developmental, and cultural contexts on the expression of individual, organizational, and community behavior.
  • The role of culture, race/ethnicity, gender, social class, disability, sexual orientation as resources and constraints for the development of individuals, organizations, and communities.
Understanding the Methodologies and Epistemologies of Community and Prevention Research
  • The role of multiple methods and multidisciplinary perspectives in community and prevention research and action.
  • The role of post-positivistic epistemologies in community and prevention research and action.
  • The role of collaborative research models (participation with citizens, clients, coalitions, organizations, social movements) in community and prevention research and action.
Developing Successful Preventive Interventions and Promoting Social Change
  • The strategies for the creation, implementation, and evaluation of community-based intervention and other methods of creating social change.
  • The dissemination of community-based interventions and other methods of creating social change.
All students receive training in the core areas of the history and epistemologies of community psychology, community research methods, contemporary community psychology, univariate and multivariate statistical methods, history of psychology, sociocultural influences on behavior, community and preventive interventions, and action research in community settings. Advanced seminars and courses give students the opportunity for deeper study in specialty areas. Examples of recent seminar topics include empowerment and advocacy, program evaluation, social ecology, feminism and social change, and the use of narrative research methods. Faculty research groups and the division's weekly brown bag seminar provide informal settings for students and faculty to pursue and share research interests with colleagues, community members, and visiting leaders in the field.
In sum, by providing research opportunities, coursework, campus resources and community experience, we seek to develop the next generation of leading scholars in community and prevention research.
Click here for more information on the Graduate Program in Community and Prevention Research at UIC, including selected course descriptions and a sample course sequence.