The course descriptions below are correct to the best of our knowledge as of April 2016. Instructors reserve the right to update and/or otherwise alter course descriptions as necessary after publication. The listing of a course description here does not guarantee a course’s being offered in a particular semester. The Course Rotation Guide lists the expected semester a course will be taught. Please refer to the published schedule of classes for confirmation a class is actually being taught and for specific course meeting dates and times. In addition to the courses listed in the Bulletin and courses approved after April 1, SPH degree candidates may register for a directed (independent) study with a full-time SPH faculty member. For more information, speak with your faculty advisor or a staff member in the SPH Registrar’s office.

  • SPH PH 746: Career P.R.E.P.
    This career development course is made up of 6 sessions, each 90 minutes long, designed to give you the tools and techniques to effectively market yourself during the job search process and advance in your career. It will also enable you to research potential career options and to manage your job searches and careers as proactively and effectively as possible.
  • SPH PH 757: Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
    Chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are a leading threat to the health of the population. In this course, students will set out to ascertain the background and significance of major chronic diseases affecting population health, and evaluate intervention efforts targeting chronic disease prevention and its long term management. Controversies in current chronic disease prevention efforts will be analyzed. Students are expected to gain skills directly relevant for the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions directed towards chronic disease prevention and management.
  • SPH PH 780: Chronic Disease: A Public Health Perspective
    Graduate Prerequisites: Successful completion of the MPH integrated core courses or permission of the instructor
    This is the foundational course for the certificate in chronic and non-communicable disease (chronic/NCD). Chronic and non-communicable diseases (Chronic/NCD) are responsible for a large majority of the deaths in the United States and a rapidly rising share of deaths in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to their effect on mortality, these conditions have an enormous impact on disability, quality of life, health care costs, and lost productivity, and are also a major contributor to health disparities. The course provides students with an overview of the public health approach toward chronic/NCD across the continuum of identification of causes, implementation and evaluation of strategies for prevention, and treatment and management of disease to reduce mortality and improve quality of life. Through readings, lectures, in-class exercises, and group work, the course provides a foundation for students to further develop their knowledge and skills in subsequent courses toward their certficate.
  • SPH PH 800: Preparing Doctoral Students to Teach
    Graduate Prerequisites: DrPH students and doctoral students in Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Health Policy and Management
    This workshop style course is directed toward doctoral students in advanced programs in Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Policy and Management and the Doctoral of Public Health (DrPh) degree. The principle foci for the course will be implementing principles of integrated course design and developing effective teaching strategies. Students will create an e-portfolio complete with teaching philosophy statement, a curriculum module developed during the course, a brief presentation of that module via microteaching along with evidence of their teaching, community service and research work.
  • SPH PH 801: Community Engaged Research: Theory, Methods, and Applications
    This course provides an overview of theory and methods for working with communities to conduct research that informs public health practice and policy. Through a combination of lectures, discussion, case-studies, and interaction with practitioners, we will explore the history of research in community settings; theoretical, ethical, and methodological considerations for engaging non-scientists in research; the role of particular communities of interest in transforming research funding and infrastructure; and specific examples from local research initiatives. The course also trains students in the necessary skills to form a research question, work with communities to form research questions, identify appropriate research methods in response to such questions, to write a proposal to conduct community engaged research.
  • SPH PH 820: Capstone Course in Chronic and Non-communicable Diseases
    This course examines key issues related to chronic and non-communicable diseases. Through the course, students learn to select and apply frameworks and concepts learned throughout their coursework to identify public health solutions to issues of chronic and non-communicable disease determinants, prevention, treatment, management, and financing.
  • SPH PH 825: Analysis of Emerging Infections Using the One Health Approach
    Graduate Prerequisites: EP755 (ID Epi), PH739 (ID Foundations), or consent of instructors.
    This class employs One Health, an approach to public health emphasizing the interconnectedness of human health, animal health, and the environment, to provide a basic understanding of factors involved in the natural history of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), and of approaches required for the control and prevention of these diseases. The number of reported EIDs has been steadily increased over past decades and while the global burden of individual diseases is often minimal, historically, some EIDs (e.g., HIV, influenza, chikungunya, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)) have had enormous global public health impact, and local impacts can often be quite severe, particularly in developing settings (e.g., Ebola in West Africa). The majority of EIDs are vector-borne and/or zoonotic, and a wide range of social, behavioral, and physical environmental factors contribute to their emergence, making the One Health approach crucial to understanding these diseases. In this class, case study of specific EIDs is used to illustrate the involvement of multiple factors in disease emergence and spread. Emphasis is placed on understanding the natural history and pathogenesis of these EIDs, and the laboratory methods commonly used for their diagnosis and surveillance. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to apply the principles they have learned to analyze and determine the factors involved in the new emergence or re-emergence of an infectious disease; knowledge which is ultimately essential for determining appropriate disease control and prevention strategies.
  • SPH PH 842: Research Theory and Design
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS704 or EP713 or the equivalent as determined by the isntructor
    This course focuses on the philosophy of science and the practice of research in public health. It compares and contrasts different approaches to scholarship and examines what makes some research interesting and important. The course will focus on developing research questions, objectives and aims in the context of what is already known/not known about an area of study. Students will develop the background and specific aims sections for a research proposal by the end of the course.
  • SPH PH 843: Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for Public Health and Health Services Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: For MS or Doctoral students who have completed BS704, EP713, PH842, and BS720 or equivalent
    Through this course, doctoral students and advanced masters students will build their skills and intuition to use statistical methods to conduct public health and health services research. Rather than providing a menu of options for statistical analysis, the course will emphasize key concepts that unify different approaches, using linear regression as a case study in statistical and causal inference. The course will cover critical sources of bias in estimating point parameters and standard errors, including: confounding, measurement error, missing data, and correlated and heteroskedastic errors. The instructional model for the course will be the integration of lectures, in-class and at-home simulation exercises in R, critique of existing studies, and analysis of real data. Students completing this course will have built the intuition and gained the hands-on-experience needed to implement regression-based analyses in their own future work; to take higher level courses in statistical analysis and study design successfully; and to engage with the quantitative literature in public health and health services research with a critical eye.
  • SPH PH 844: Introduction to Qualitative Analysis for Public Health and Health Services Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and PH842
    Qualitative methods are increasingly used either independently or as part of mixed-methods designs to answer "how" and "why" questions that other research methods may not inform. In this course, students will learn to identify different types of qualitative methods and the types of research questions and problems for which they are appropriate; different approaches to the analysis of a variety of types of qualitative data and to critically assess examples of such methods used in the literature.
  • SPH PH 845: Integrated Learning Experience for MPH
    The BU MPH Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) affords students the opportunity to synthesize foundational and certificate competencies. Students will integrate and apply the knowledge and skills obtained throughout the degree program. ILEs will be tied to the student's required functional certificate and will incorporate skills and content from their context certificate as appropriate. Students will only complete one ILE, regardless of the number of certificates they pursue. Students working to complete two functional certificates will meet with their faculty advisors and Career Services staff to determine which ILE option is best for their career interests. The ILE is a required, 0-credit component of the MPH. It is student-initiated and faculty guided. Students will register for PH 845 for the ILE in their last semester.
  • SPH PH 851: Needs Assessment
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    This course examines the processes by which local and regional health status and services can be assessed and analyzed. Students will learn approaches to: quantitatively and qualitatively defining public health problems; setting a community agenda by prioritizing distinct public health problems; engage the community in assessing local capacity to address those problems; visualizing those problems with Geographic Information Systems; and presenting the results of their assessment to audiences of decision makers and the public.
  • SPH PH 853: Strategic Planning and Communications
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    This course focuses on the development and implementation of program and policy interventions that can improve public health by modifying people's health-related behaviors, and on the design and execution of effective oral and written communications to support those interventions. Working through a sequence of written assignments, students will develop: (1) a set of theory-based learning and environmental change objectives; (2) a strategic plan for a program or policy intervention designed to change an important health-related behavior; (3) a management plan for implementing and maintaining that intervention; (4) a supportive communication strategy; and (5) specific media and communications executions to operationalize that strategy. In class writing workshops and individual consultations are designed to give students ideas for their projects and interim feedback on their written assignments.
  • SPH PH 854: Program and Policy Evaluation
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    Evaluation research is critical to the advancement of public health knowledge and the improvement of program services. This course focuses on the theory and practice of program evaluation and the development of student evaluation skills and their implementation in practice. Students will use case study materials. Students will learn to conceptualize the entire evaluation process from the development of program logic, through evaluation design, measurement, sample size calculation and an analysis plan. In addition, students will learn about cost-effectiveness analysis and meta-analysis for policy development.
  • SPH PH 856: Law & Ethics for Public Health Leaders
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor
    Law, ethics, and human rights often either determine or heavily influence both the range of choices open to public health policymakers and the means available to achieve public health goals. Using case studies, including rationing flu vaccine, responding to catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, protecting and promoting women?s health and reproductive rights in developing countries, and regulating research to prevent exploitation of subjects in resource poor countries, students will recognize and integrate legal, ethical, and human rights concepts into public health policy development.
  • SPH PH 857: Health Economics and Financial Management for Public Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    This course is an applied, practitioner-oriented survey of major topics in health economics and the financial management of public health organizations and programs. It will provide students with a brief introduction to the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of health economics and financial management, but the focus will be on practical application to health care market issues, resource allocation policy problems, financial and managerial accounting, performance measurement, and economic evaluation of public health programs.
  • SPH PH 858: Cases in Public Health Management
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    This course will focus on developing tools for and perspectives on decision- making in senior public health positions through analysis of a series of case studies. Students will adopt different roles in preparing the cases, sometimes singly and sometimes in groups. The cases will address challenges faced by senior leadership including human resources, facilities design, quality control, organizational change and integration of policy and program planning. Students will be assessed on: (1) memos prepared for their roles in individual classes; (2) the quality of their participation in class discussions of the cases; and (3) their response to a case that will be distributed as a final examination.
  • SPH PH 866: Public Health Leadership Seminar
    Graduate Prerequisites: Enrollment restricted to DrPH students and other degree candidates with consent of instructor.
    The public health leadership seminar will be the main integrative pedagogic experience of the DrPH doctoral program. It will provide a place for combining and applying knowledge from previous courses and field experience to address substantial complex multidimensional public health programs. It will also address crosscutting issues that may not be covered in any single DrPH core or departmental course. This integrative leadership doctoral seminar will model/demonstrate the multidimensional approaches and cross-cutting leadership needed to address a complex public health practice issue, including students' dissertation projects. The seminar will also provide an opportunity to meet/learn from/and interact with senior Public Health officials/practitioners.
  • SPH PH 945: Advanced Field Experience
    Students will engage in extensive fieldwork to gain practical public health experience and synthesize the skills and knowledge gained throughout the degree program. Students will work with their faculty advisor to determine the best field experience for their intended career trajectory and the faculty advisor will work with the site supervisor to evaluate the student's mastery of chosen public health competencies.
  • SPH PH 950: Public Health Nutrition Culminating Research Experience
    The culminating research experience in the MS Public Health Nutrition program provides the opportunity to integrate and apply classroom learning towards the development of a research-focused product. All students must complete an integrative paper that combines their research interests and program training. Examples include but are not limited to: narrative reviews, systematic reviews, critical appraisal of existing policies or programs, and research concept proposals. Students will be encouraged to format their papers for submission to academic journals and conferences. Students must meet with their advisors to plan their integrative papers, submit a signed approval form, and complete the drafts and final product according to the established deadlines.