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 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 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 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.
  • SPH EP 861: Quantitative Bias Analysis Methods for Epidemiologic Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH EP854 and SAS at the level of SPH BS805
    This course covers a novel approach to dealing with systematic error in epidemiologic research called quantitative bias analysis, QBA. QBA allows users to make corrections to measures of association for sources of bias by making assumptions typically using validation data about the nature of the bias to create intervals that account for total study error. The course will cover three types of bias analysis: simple, multidimensional and probabilistic. Exercises in Excel and SAS will allow students to practice the methods, adapt them to problems they face and present the results clearly.
  • SPH EP 980: Continuing Study
    Graduate Prerequisites: MS or doctoral candidates in Epidemiology who have completed all academic course requirements for degree and are completing their thesis ordissertation.
    PhD, DSc, and MS in Epidemiology students who have completed all academic course requirements, must register for Continuing Study every Fall and Spring semester until they have successfully defended their theses/dissertations and have graduated from SPH. Students are charged the equivalent of two credits of tuition, student health insurance, and all relevant fees, and are certified as full time.
  • SPH IH 702: Skills in Critical Analysis and Evidence Based Writing for Public Health Professionals
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology and biostatistics core courses; may be taken concurrently
    This introductory course will develop students? abilities to read the public health literature critically and to integrate evidence into a well-crafted policy memo. The class will focus on critical analysis of a case study focused on two research articles analyzing interventions to prevent HIV transmission. Through in-class discussions students will explore why the studies drew different conclusions. Course assignments will allow students to hone the applied critical analysis and writing skills they will need as public health professionals.
  • SPH IH 703: Global Public Health: History, Approaches and Practices
    Graduate Prerequisites: Students who take PH511 as undergraduates may not take IH703 for MPH degree credit.
    If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants. Sir Isaac Newton, 15 February 1676. As public health professionals, we stand on the shoulders of giants. This course has two major goals: to welcome students into membership in the professional social movement called public health and to expose them to the rich historical tradition of the profession. Using selected public health case studies, we will highlight a selection of extraordinary individuals and events with the goal of illuminating current global health architecture and building understanding of the politics of priority-setting and decision-making. The course will address issues of human rights, individual rights, population rights and ethics.
  • SPH IH 704: Global Public Health and Medical Care: A Systems Approach
    This course gives students an understanding of the elements common to all medical care systems and the factors which influence the shape, cost, performance, and quality of health systems. Examples are drawn from countries whose wealth and stage of development vary widely. The interaction between the public and private components of the health sector is explored. Equity in health services is a crosscutting theme. Students learn about the organization, delivery, and financing of medical care and the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches to health care finance and delivery. The major problems in health care facing low- and middle-income countries and the strategic options available to these countries are addressed. The course is taught in an interactive lecture format. There is an emphasis on systems thinking and systems approach. All Global Health concentrators, MPH students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and MI program students may take this class. HPM concentrators must take PM702. Students who have taken PM702 for MPH degree credit may enroll in IH704 as an MPH elective. Global Health concentrators are given preference in registration but registration is open.
  • SPH IH 707: Kenya Field Practicum in Public Health and Environment
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology and biostatistics core courses or approved waivers.
    This 5-week course in Kenya focuses on environmental and community health as it relates to the indigenous Maasai residing at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the early 1980s Kenya began a process of privatizing open grazing land into group ranches. This significant land use change has forced traditionally nomadic peoples, including the Maasai, onto smaller plots of land. This change in lifestyle has been associated with a rise in sanitation-related and water-borne diseases, infant and childhood disease and HIV/AIDS. Participants in the Kenya Field Practicum will be trained in field-based data collection, analysis, report-writing and presentation skills. Past summer sessions have collected baseline information on water and sanitation practices, community health indicators and worked with local organizations to evaluate the success of health interventions. Results and recommendations are presented to local Maasai leaders and other stakeholders. Contact Joe Anzalone for information regarding application, travel, and related information. The course also fulfills the BUSPH field practicum requirement if students also complete two skills-based professional development seminars.
  • SPH IH 708: Program for Global Health Practice in the Philippines/classroom
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and either IH703 or IH704.
    The Program in Global Health Practice (PIHP) in the Philippines is an intensive, twelve week field experience. To meet the requirements of SPH IH708, students attend a Parasitology Course at the University of the Philippines College of Public Health, comprised of field trips to participate in research projects and learn about schistosomiasis and malaria control programs in the Philippines. Students also participate in a study tour to gain a practical understanding of community health financing alternatives by exposure to actual community financing programs in the Philippines. Students learn how poor communities pool their resources to pay for medical care. IH708 must be taken together with SPH IH709. IH709 is the internship portion of the Philippines Program.
  • SPH IH 709: Program for Global Health Practice in the Philippines/internship
    Graduate Prerequisites: MPH cores courses in Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences AND IH703 OR IH704
    The Program in Global Health Practice (PIHP) in the Philippines is an intensive, twelve week field experience. Students complete a classroom and research portion of the program in SPH IH708. In IH709, students meet the MPH degree practicum requirement through a placement in an international, national, or local public health agency. The Philippines Program plus two skills based professional development seminars done separately from the Philippines Program meets the MPH degree practicum requirement.
  • SPH IH 710: Field Practicum in Public Health Research and Evaluation in Ethiopia
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Biostatistics and Epidemiology and SPH IH745 or consent
    To start in Summer 2015. To start in Summer 2015. This 10-week course in Ethiopia allows students to apply research skills to examine social problems of the most vulnerable populations in Ethiopia's urban and periurban areas. BUSPH students collaborate with counterparts from Addis Ababa University (AAU) to design a research study, collect data, carry out cleaning and analysis of the data, and prepare a report to the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Youth and Social Affairs. In addition, students are encouraged to use the data generated during this field practicum to develop a manuscript for publication in the peer-reviewed literature. Both BUSPH and AAU provide faculty oversight. IH710 is the classroom portion of the field practicum.
  • SPH IH 711: Internship in Public Health Research and Evaluation in Ethiopia
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Biostatistics and Epidemiology and SPH IH745 or consent
    To start in Summer 2015. To start in Summer 2015. This 10-week course in Ethiopia allows students to apply research skills to examine social problems of the most vulnerable populations in Ethiopia's urban and periurban areas. BUSPH students collaborate with counterparts from Addis Ababa University (AAU) to design a research study, collect data, carry out cleaning and analysis of the data, and prepare a report to the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Youth and Social Affairs. In addition, students are encouraged to use the data generated during this field practicum to develop a manuscript for publication in the peer-reviewed literature. Both BUSPH and AAU provide faculty oversight. IH711 is the practicum portion of this experience.
  • SPH IH 715: Antiretroviral Program Management and Adherence Issues in Low-Resource Settings
    Successful HIV/AIDS treatment programs rely on consistent, uninterrupted supplies of antiretrovirals (ARVs), appropriate ARV prescribing, retention of patients in treatment programs, and a high level of adherence by patients. Ineffective ARV management can lead to treatment failures, ARV resistance, and insufficient program uptake. This course provides students with practical knowledge and skills to manage challenges in the areas of ARV selection, pricing, quality, and program monitoring and evaluation. Guest lecturers with relevant expertise will be invited to speak on several specific topics. One session will be devoted to a field visit to an adherence clinic to learn directly about the ARV program management issues faced by practitioners and patients.