Medicine & Public Health (MD/MPH)

The MD/MPH dual degree program at BU’s School of Medicine and School of Public Health is designed for students who envision a medical career that incorporates public health and medicine. The MD/MPH program prepares physicians for academic careers or for practice in today’s health care environment. Interested students are encouraged to contact the program director with questions or to discuss the program.

Students are encouraged to pursue programs of study and practice placements that allow for the exploration of the multifaceted relationships between medicine and population-focused public health disciplines.

There is also an option for students in the BA/MD program to join the MD/MPH program after they graduate with the bachelor’s degree. For more information, contact the MD/MPH program director, Dr. Donald Thea, at dthea@bu.edu.

Degree Requirements

The MD and MPH are simultaneous degrees and are awarded together. Students in the MD/MPH program cannot graduate with the MD and then finish the MPH post-MD graduation.

Coursework in the dual degree program is generally completed over a period of five years. MPH coursework for the MD/MPH program is generally completed between the third and fourth year of medical school.

Students must earn at least a grade of Pass in all medical school courses and must maintain satisfactory academic progress at SPH according to the SPH Grading Policy.

Requirements

The MPH is a 48-credit degree. MD/MPH students must complete a minimum of 40 credits in residence at SPH and 8 credits are completed at MED. All courses counted to the MPH portion of the MD/MPH must be numbered SPH XX 700 and above. No courses taken outside of the School of Public Health will count toward the MPH, including courses taken at other Boston University schools and colleges.

MPH Degree Requirements

SPH Core Courses

  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods in Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 718 Leadership and Management in Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 719 Health Systems, Law, and Policy (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 720 Individual, Community, and Population Health (4 cr)

MPH Certificate & Elective Coursework

Students select and complete one functional area certificate as their interdisciplinary, professional skills base (16 credits) and have the option to take a context certificate (focused on key populations or areas of interest in public health, 12 credits) or elective courses to fulfill the minimum 24 credits of SPH coursework beyond the core courses. A maximum of 4 credits may be shared between a functional and a context certificate.

The MPH functional certificates are:

  • Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Design and Conduct of Public Health Research
  • Environmental Hazard Assessment
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Health Communications and Promotion
  • Healthcare Management (CAHME)—26 credits
  • Health Policy and Law
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Program Management

Context Certificates—12 credits

  • Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Global Health
  • Infectious Disease
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Social Justice, Human Rights, and Health Equity
  • Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
  • Pharmaceuticals

Students follow the SPH Grading Policy for their MPH courses.

Professional Development and Practical Experience

  • PH 746 Career PREP (0 cr)
  • PH 976 Practicum (240 hours, 0 cr)
  • PH 985 Required Integrated Learning Experience (0 cr)

All MPH candidates must complete an approved practicum by registering for an MPH practicum course and completing all MPH practicum requirements. MD/MPH students may also fulfill the requirement by undertaking a suitable project during a one-month elective rotation during their fourth year of medical school. This elective should be planned well in advance, and the month-long elective should be devoted entirely to a public health-related project that has been approved by the MD/MPH program director, Dr. Donald Thea.

MD/MPH students earn 8 credits toward the MPH by completing courses required for their MD from the following list.

  • MS 126 Human Behavior in Medicine
  • MS 129 Essentials of Public Health
  • MS 130 Medical Genetics
  • MS 131 Medical Immunology
  • MS 220 – MS 226 Disease and Therapy
  • MS 313 Pediatrics Clerkship
  • MS 314 Psychiatry Clerkship
  • MS 315 Family Medicine Clerkship

Withdrawing from the MPH

A student may withdraw from the MD/MPH dual degree program by submitting a letter to the director of the MD/MPH program, the BUSM Registrar, and the BUSPH Registrar. This will not affect the MD in and of itself.

Eligibility & Application

All medical students accepted to BUSM are eligible to apply to the MD/MPH dual degree program. Students interested in the MD/MPH program must apply to BUSM first. Selecting the MD/MPH program on the AMCAS application alerts the Admissions office at BUSM that the student is interested in the dual degree program. It does not obligate the student to apply, and it has no impact on the likelihood of acceptance into BUSM.

There are no acceptance quotas for the combined program. Note that if a student enrolls in the program and changes his or her mind, that student may opt out without penalty. Medical students interested in applying to the MD/MPH program should contact the MD/MPH program director.