Courses

The course descriptions below are correct to the best of our knowledge as of May 2014. 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 June 1, 2014, SPH, 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 BS 857: Analysis of Correlated Data
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS805 or BS852
    The purpose of this advanced seminar is to present some of the modern methods for analyzing tricorrelated observations. Such data may arise in longitudinal studies where repeated observations are collected on study subjects or in studies in which there is a natural clustering of observations, such as a multi-center study of observations clustered within families. Students start with a review of methods for repeated measures analysis of variance and proceed to more complicated study designs. The course presents both likelihood-based methods and quasi-likelihood methods. Marginal, random effects and transition models are discussed. Students apply these methods in homework assignments and a project.
  • SPH BS 858: Statistical Genetics I
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 or equivalent as determined by instructor.
    This course covers a variety of statistical applications to human genetic data, including collection and data management of genetic and family history information, and statistical techniques used to identify genes contributing to disease and quantitative traits in humans. Specific topics include basic population genetics, linkage analysis and genetic association analyses with related and unrelated individuals.
  • SPH BS 859: Applied Genetic Analysis
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS858 or EP763.
    Statistical tools such as linkage and association analysis are used to unravel the genetic component of complex disease. Investigators interested in the genetic analysis of complex traits need a basic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these methodologies. This course will provide the student with practical, applied experience in performing linkage and association analyses, including genome-wide analyses. Special emphasis is placed on understanding assumptions and issues related to statistical methodologies for genetic analysis to identify genes influencing complex traits. Students will use specialized genetics software for homework assignments.
  • SPH BS 860: Statistical Genetics II
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS858 or consent of instructor (dupuis@bu.edu).
    This course covers current topics in statistical genetics, with emphasis on how statistical techniques can be used with various types of genetics data for mapping genes responsible/contributing to complex human diseases. Topics such as genetics map functions, gene mapping in experimental organisms, advanced linkage analysis methods, statistical approaches for the analysis of genome-wide high density SNP scans in unrelated and family samples will be discussed.
  • SPH BS 861: Applied Statistics in Clinical Trials II
    Graduate Prerequisites: BS851 or consent of instructor (jmm@bu.edu).
    This course covers a variety of biostatistical topics in clinical trials, including presentation of statistical results to regulatory agencies for product approval, analysis of safety data, intent-to-treat analyses and handling of missing data, interim analyses and adaptive designs, and analyses of multiple endpoints. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to make and defend decisions for many study designs and for issues faced when analyzing efficacy and safety data from clinical trials. Students will also be able to present, in a written format following standard guidelines accepted by the clinical trials' community, results of such efficacy and safety analyses to the medical reviewers and statistical reviewers of regulatory agencies.
  • SPH BS 980: Continuing Study in Biostatistics
    Graduate Prerequisites: For students in the doctoral program in Biostatistics who are approved for dissertation work. Students must be registered for this course by the GRS Registrar.
    Doctoral students in Biostatistics register each summer and fall for Continuing Study in Biostatistics until they have graduated from their doctoral program. Students will participate in a dissertation workshop and other activities while they are preparing their dissertation. Students are charged for 2 credits equivalent of tuition, for student medical insurance, and all relevant fees. They are certified full time. Students must be registered for this course at GRS.
  • SPH EH 710: Physiologic Principles for Public Health
    This course provides students with a detailed working knowledge of the normal mechanisms of human body function. Physiological mechanisms are studied from the molecular level to the level of organ systems, and emphasis is placed on understanding how body processes are regulated and integrated so as to achieve homeostasis characteristic of a ?normal? healthy individual. Students will become acquainted with both the gross and histological anatomy of major organs. For each system covered, a case study of a disease of significant public health interest is used to reinforce basic physiological principles, and to acquaint students with physiological measurements commonly used in clinical settings. This course is recommended for all students who need a substantive understanding of human physiology for subsequent coursework. This course will be of special value to students whom expect their career?s to involve close interaction with health care providers.
  • SPH EH 713: Molecular Biology and Public Health
    The last 10 years has seen an explosion in the discipline of molecular biology that has important implications for our current and future approach to public health. Therefore, an understanding of the principal concepts of this field is critical to the modern public health practitioner. The goal of this course is to equip students with the ability to understand the potential applications of genetic engineering to their health specialties. In particular, the course introduces the student to the basic concepts of cellular biology and molecular genetics and investigates the use of a number of powerful molecular techniques including, but not limited to, gene cloning, genetic engineering of animals and plants, identification of molecular bio-markers of susceptibility, and mining of the human genome database. The implications of these advances vis-a-vis right to privacy, discrimination, and other ethical issues are also addressed. While a background in biology is helpful, this course is negotiable by any student showing a high level of enthusiasm for scientific discovery.
  • SPH EH 717: Foundations of Environmental Health
    EH717 is the introductory core course that focuses on assessment and control of a broad range of physical, chemical, and biological factors in the natural and built environment that affect the health of individuals and populations. EH717 addresses an array of environmental issues including emergency preparedness; food safety and regulation; electromagnetic radiation; energy utilization; solid, liquid, and hazardous materials management; the fate of chemicals in the environment; vector control; livestock production; air and water quality; occupational health and safety; the built environment; environmental justice; and other timely environmental issues of growing importance across the globe.
  • SPH EH 725: Analytical Methods in Environmental Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: Required for all EH concentrators who have not completed EH765. EH717may be taken concurrently with or prior to EH725.
    Students in this course learn the skills, methods and critical thinking framework necessary for upper level environmental health courses and for success as public health professionals. Environmental Health is a field of public health in which environmental hazards and health risks to populations are identified, assessed and managed through a data-driven process. This course extends the depth of concepts taught in EH717 and should be taken concurrently for students entering in the fall semester. We take the opportunity to partner with communities to design and conduct a data collection and analysis effort that is suitable for rigorous analyses with the many tools commonly used in environmental health.
  • SPH EH 735: The Environmental Determinants of Infectious Diseases
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH709 or EH710 or one year of college biology within last 5 yearswith a B or better
    The environment is a key determinant of infectious disease burden in a population. This course presents an overview of how existing and, in particular, changing global environmental factors can affect the transmission cycle of infectious pathogens in both developing and industrialized countries. It examines issues of water, sanitation and hygiene in resource-limited settings that contribute enormously to childhood death due to infectious diarrheal diseases, and to morbidity and mortality due to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It also explores how environmental alterations and natural disasters can result in ecological changes that impact on the maintenance and spread of infectious diseases in a community. Sustainable environmental intervention strategies to reduce the burden of infectious diseases will be considered for each of the major diseases covered in class. This course is appropriate for MPH students and undergraduates, especially those interested in biology, global health, and the environment.
  • SPH EH 745: Wastewater and Health/Sustainable Sanitation
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH environment core course or consent of instructor.
    This course provides students with an overview of the relationship between human health, ecological health, and sanitation. The different disposal and treatment methods for human excreta are described in their historical and political contexts. Related topics such as the land appliation of sewage sludge, the role of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and public health experts are presented as well as practical solutions toward sustainable sanitation. This course involves a group project and a paper.
  • SPH EH 749: Global Environmental Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH environmental health core course requirement
    Environmental issues and related health outcomes vary between developing and developed countries and among geographical regions and countries; however, just as economies have become interrelated globally so have environmental problems. This class introduces students to 1) frameworks for understanding global environmental health issues including sustainable development and the demographic/epidemiological/environmental transitions; 2)methods for characterizing global environmental burdens of disease, including linkages with surveillance systems and information gaps among countries; and 3) the role of international institutions and organizations. The course will use a series of examples and cases to illustrate the complexities of global environmental problems.
  • SPH EH 750: Water Quality and Public Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH environmental core course requirement. For undergrads, coursein biology or chemistry
    This course is a lecture and methods course on water resources and public health. Water supply and water quality discussions provide an overview of the technical and scientific basis on which public health decisions are made regarding disease prevention and community health. The chemical, physical, and biological processes necessary for designing and managing municipal drinking water treatment plants are analyzed. Water quality topics include standards and regulations; non-point source runoff;point source discharge; and water quality analysis of drinking and surface waters. Students will sample, analyze and use water quality objectives for comparison. Social, political, and economic factors effecting water quality and treatment will be discussed. The course will conclude with historical and international perspectives on water resources and management.
  • SPH EH 757: Environmental Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The environmental health and epidemiology MPH core course requirements AND EH725 or consent.
    This course introduces students to epidemiologic investigations of environmental health problems. Topics include both traditional and innovative subjects and strategies, such as the health effects associated with air and water contaminants, toxic waste sites, lead, and radiation, as well as environmental exposures that have received attention only recently, such as endocrine disruptors and electromagnetic fields. The course emphasizes epidemiologic methods, particularly exposure assessment, modeling, cluster analysis, and sources of bias. Students gain experience in the critical review and design of related epidemiologic studies. This course counts as concentration credit for epidemiology concentrators.
  • SPH EH 768: Introduction to Toxicology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH709 or EH710 or one year of college biology with a grade of B or better within last 5 years, or consent.
    This introductory course presents the basic concepts of toxicology, including dose-response relationships, biological and chemical factors that influence toxicity, types of harmful effects, principles of testing for toxic effects and the underlying concepts behind toxicant-induced disease susceptibility. Toxicants found in the environment, such as metals, pesticides and industrial pollutants, are studied. The course assumes basic knowledge of chemistry and biology, although there are no prerequisites. This course is required of all Environmental Health concentrators.
  • SPH EH 780: Great Calamities and Their Consequences for Public Health
    Current public health practice in the United States evolved in response to public health calamities. Epidemics of infectious disease, mass poisonings, and industrial disasters have served as catalysts for new regulations and institutions of public health. For example, the sulfanilamide tragedy of 1937 was the catalyst for the current drug approval process. In addition, public and private responses to calamities have fueled the development of scientific knowledge and epidemiologi methods. For example, John Snow's investigation of the London cholera outbreak of 1854 demonstrated the utility of observational epidemiology. This course acquaints students with those calamities of primarily the past 200 years that were most consequential for public health practice. The emphasis is on each calamity's impact on knowledge of disease causation and control and on the development of public health institutions and regulations.
  • SPH EH 800: Community-Based Methods in Environmental Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core course requirements in Epidemiology and Environmental Health or consent of instructor.
    Low-income urban communities are exposed to many environmental and non-environmental stressors, but many tools and techniques for public policy decision-making do not adequately address these complex settings. This course focuses on methods for assessing and addressing local community health impacts from environmental stressors, with an emphasis on health impact assessment, community-based participatory research, and analytical methods to evaluate environmental justice. Case examples will include traffic and housing, and students will work with a community group to implement a health impact assessment on a topic of mutual interest.
  • SPH EH 804: Exposure Assessment
    Graduate Prerequisites: MPH Epidemiology and Environmental Health core courses and EH725 or consent
    The process of assessing exposure is a critical component of occupational and environmental epidemiology, of determining compliance with health and safety regulations, and in conducting human health risk assessments. This course in exposure assessment covers the basic concepts and methods of study design, data collection, and data analysis/interpretation. Students analyze relevant case studies and conduct a study in which they develop their own exposure assessment strategy, collect and analyze data, prepare a final report, and present their findings.
  • SPH EH 805: Environmental Health Science, Policy and Law
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH environmental health core course is required; the MPH health law core course is highly recommended, but not required.
    This course uses a case-study approach to discuss current and historic controversies in environmental and occupational health policy making. Our specific focus is on the examination of how scientific information (e.g., risk assessments, exposure analyses, epidemiologic studies, clinical case reports,) is used (or is not used) in policy decisions. Students will learn how environmental health laws and regulations are made and challenged, and gain experience looking up laws, regulations and court decisions. Case studies feature international treaties, federal and state court cases, laws, regulations, and policies. Topic areas include air and water quality, hazardous waste, environmental justice, worker safety, and the precautionary principle.