Courses

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 EP 755: Infectious Disease Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core requirement
    This course introduces students to the biology, epidemiologic methods, and mathematical models needed to study infectious diseases in populations. In addition to lecture presentations on biologic and clinical aspects of infectious diseases, their distribution within populations, and their control, the course also covers study design issues specific to infectious diseases and simple infectious disease modeling. The course includes analysis of actual infectious disease outbreaks and studies through workshops and article reviews.
  • SPH EP 758: Nutritional Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core course requirements.
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the discipline of nutritional epidemiology. In the class, we will focus on methodological issues relating to design, dietary assessment, and data analysis of studies on diet and disease. We will also review some of the literature relating nutrition to certain disease states, including coronary heart disease and cancer, in which we highlight methodological issues and interpretation of findings in nutritional epidemiologic research. Students completing this course will understand the basic principles of nutritional epidemiology and will be able to apply them in reading the literature and participating in nutrition research projects. This is a small, intermediate-level epidemiology class, which combines lectures with in-class discussion of classic and cutting-edge research articles. In addition, one-on-one meetings are set up with students throughout the semester to provide focused attention and facilitate mastery of the material.
  • SPH EP 759: Reproductive Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core course requirement.
    This course surveys current knowledge concerning the epidemiology of reproductive heath across the lifespan. Topics vary from year to year but may include infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, menopause, uterine fibroids, gynecologic cancers, and male reproductive health. The course emphasizes epidemiologic methods and gives the student experience in the critical review and design of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 762: Clinical Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core requirements.
    This course introduces students to topics and methods in clinical epidemiology. Covered topics include those traditionally regarded within the purview of clinical epidemiology such as the evaluation of diagnostic tests (sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, and ROC curves), decision analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, outcomes assessment, and meta-analysis. At the conclusion of the course students will understand concepts of clinical epidemiology, know the indications for using each clinical epidemiology method, and be prepared to critically evaluate studies that employ these methods. Since this course uses numerous clinical examples, it is not recommended for those with no clinical experience.
  • SPH EP 763: Genetic Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core requirements
    This course familiarizes students with general methods and principles of genetic epidemiology. Topics include basic human genetics, population genetics, pedigree analysis, linkage analysis in humans, twin studies, effects of inbreeding, genetics of common diseases, genetic association studies, and forensic genetics. The course emphasizes practical applications of existing methods to designing and executing genetic studies and to genetic counseling. This involves some critical evaluation of the scientific literature.
  • SPH EP 764: The Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in the Developed and Developing World
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement
    This course is designed to introduce students to an important and growing field - the epidemiology of AIDS. It is designed for those students who have a keen interest in HIV/AIDS in both the developed and developing world. This course will survey state-of-the art knowledge of the epidemiology of HIV and will emphasize epidemiologic principles and methods including: estimation of the incidence of HIV infection and AIDS, study design, and sources of bias. It will also give the student experience in the critical review of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 770: Concepts and Methods in Epidemiology
    This course develops the methodologic concepts and principles of epidemiology introduced in the MPH Quantitative Core course. The material covered is intended to extend the student's understanding of the elements of study design, data analysis, and inference in epidemiologic research, including issues related to bias, confounding, and stratified analysis. The course consists of lectures and workshop sessions. The workshop sessions are designed to reinforce the concepts/topics covered in the lectures. This course is not appropriate for students who have completed EP813.
  • SPH EP 775: Social Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect population health, including socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, gender, neighborhood environment, corporate practices, and the criminal justice system. This course will cover the theoretical underpinnings of each construct, and will provide students with an in-depth discussion of the empirical research linking each to population health. Methods are introduced to operationalize each construct for the purpose of empirical application in epidemiology research.
  • SPH EP 784: The Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in the Developed and Developing World
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement.
    This course is designed for those students who have an interest in both tuberculosis and epidemiologic methods. This course will survey both the history of this storied disease as well as state of the art knowledge of the epidemiology of tuberculosis (including molecular techniques) and will emphasize epidemiologic principles and methods including: estimation of the incidence of primary tuberculosis, estimation of the incidence of reactivation tuberculosis, study design, and sources of bias. The course will also give the student practice and feedback in the critical review of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 790: Mental Health Epidemiology
    Mental Health Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of mental health disorders among populations. This course begins with an overview of the history and development of the field, also referred to as psychiatric epidemiology, using several classic studies. We will examine mental health and mental illness across the life span: child, adolescent, adult and older adult. Students will learn about the major risk factors for and etiologic models of mental disorders. This will include examination of social factors, biological factors, genetic factors and their interactions. Special attention will be paid to the unique methodological and analytical issues highlighted by mental health epidemiologic research, and recent changes to clinical and research classifications (e.g., DSM-V, RDoc). Based on the research covered in this course, students will be asked to consider the implications for public health programs and interventions.
  • SPH EP 800: Microbes and Methods: Selected Topics in Outbreak Investigation
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH Epidemiology core course requirement and BS723 completed or concurrent
    This course provides an overview of the important concepts fundamental to the understanding, design, and conduct of infectious disease outbreak investigations. The course will cover 1. The epidemiology and pathophysiology of selected infectious diseases. 2. Methodological issues related to investigating different types of outbreak. 3. Practical aspects of outbreak investigations (environmental analyses and communicating risk to the public). The course will primarily address common causes of outbreaks in this country (such as foodborne, respiratory, and hospital-based) but will touch on issues pertinent to outbreak investigations in the developing world. The course format consists of a series of lectures by faculty and guests, hands‐on experience with outbreak investigation data, directed readings from current literature, and student presentations on outbreaks of note. The course makes extensive use of SAS, so it is advised that students have completed or are enrolled concurrently in BS 723.
  • SPH EP 813: Intermediate Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology and Biostatistics MPH core course requirements or consent of instructor.
    The purpose of this course is to further develop the methodologic concepts underlying the science of epidemiology. The material covered is intended to broaden and extend the student's understanding of the elements of study design, data analysis, and inference in epidemiologic research, including issues related to causation, bias, and confounding. The primary aims of the course are to provide working knowledge of the fundamentals of epidemiology as well as to serve as a foundation for more advanced study of epidemiologic methods. The course consists of lectures and workshop sessions. The workshop sessions are designed to reinforce the concepts/topics covered in the lectures.
  • SPH EP 817: A Guided Epidemiology Study
    Graduate Prerequisites: EP813 or EP854 and BS723 and consent of the instructor, lfredman@bu.edu.
    This is an upper-level , hands-on seminar course, which teaches a small group of students how to develop and conduct a hypothesis-based study, using datasets that are currently available to the instructors. Through a combination of workshops, written assignments, and oral presentations, students develop hypotheses, conduct literature reviews, perform data analyses, and write each section of a manuscript. The final project requires the student to integrate all sections into a complete paper for journal submission. This course prepares students to write thesis proposals and manuscripts.
  • SPH EP 820: Perspectives on Epidemiologic Studies
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH EP813 or consent of instructors
    This one-week intensive will address a set of epidemiologic issues on each day through a formal lecture, group discussion, small group exercises, and student presentations. A variety of methods will be covered, with an emphasis on what they are and how they fit into the 'real world.' Students who encounter these and methods in subsequent classes (or work) will have a better understanding of how they fit in public health.
  • SPH EP 850: Applications of Intermediate Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813
    This course is designed for students interested in applying their knowledge of intermediate epidemiologic methods to the analysis of observational data. Topics include conceptualizing data analysis by defining an addressable research question, utilizing directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) for confounder selection, choosing appropriate exposure and outcome measurements and interpreting the results with respect to strengths, limitations, and biases. This hands-on course will put the concepts of intermediate epidemiology into application as the students perform a data analysis project from start to finish. Data analysis will be performed using SAS. Statistical theory will not be a focus of this course.
  • SPH EP 854: Advanced Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813.
    This course covers the theory and application of key principles and methods of epidemiologic research in depth. The topics include causal models, confounding, randomization, interaction, statistical analysis and inference, and causal inference. Special emphasis is given to the meaning and interpretation of p-values, confidence intervals, and likelihoods. Alternative approaches are identified for selecting and interpreting measures of disease frequency and measures of effect. Guidance is offered for determining objectives and strategies in study design and analysis, especially for case-control research. Methods are presented for the assessment and control of confounding, misclassification bias, and selection bias. Strengths and weaknesses of standardization, pooling, modeling, and exposure-response analysis are reviewed.
  • SPH EP 855: Advanced Epidemiology Seminar: Issues in Study Design
    Graduate Prerequisites: Primarily for doctoral students. MPH students must have completed EP854 and have consent of the instructor.
    This course is structured around reading and discussing both historical and current methodological papers. The first section of the course focuses on papers by early theoreticians and methodologists. The second section focuses on contemporary methodologic questions. Substantive areas may evolve and vary over time. Recent topics have included case-control studies, study efficiency, measures of effect, exposure misclassification, sensitivity analysis, casual diagrams, and direct and indirect effects.
  • SPH EP 857: Design and Conduct of Cohort Studies
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP 813 or EP 854
    This is a third-level epidemiologic methods course intended for advanced Masters and Doctoral students who desire to build depth and nuance in their understanding of cohort study design and conduct. The course will build on classic and state-of-the-art papers which focus in depth on various topics such as selection of appropriate measure of excess risk and intermediate endpoints (theory and practice). For each topic, methodologic readings will be linked back to concrete examples of cohort study design, with special emphasis on practical aspects of study conduct.
  • SPH EP 858: Design and Conduct of Case-Control Studies
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813 or EP854.
    This course will develop students? practical knowledge of the design and conduct of case-control studies. It will cover the relationship between cohort and case-control studies and study design issues, including identification of a study base, selection of cases and controls, collection of exposure information, sources of bias, and matching. Published papers will be used to illustrate design, bias, and analytic issues through reading and discussion. Each class includes a lecture and discussion of assigned articles.
  • SPH EP 860: Novel Analytical Methods for Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: Doctoral level standing; must have completed EP854 and have SAS programming skills equivalent to BS805 or above.
    This course is intended to introduce doctoral students to a number of advanced methods in data analysis, with the aim of providing students with the ability to recognize situations in which the use of such methods may be beneficial, knowledge of the basic methods needed to conduct analyses, and an understanding of the strengths and limitations of each method. The course covers approximately five analytic methods in a series of 2- or 3-session modules. Topics may vary slightly in different semesters; examples of the types of methods covered include propensity scores, marginal structural models, quantitative bias analysis, and Bayesian analysis. Hands-on sessions in the classroom, homework assignments, and a final data analysis project provide students with practice in the conduct of analyses using these methods.