Master of Public Health in Interdisciplinary Training in Population Health Overview

Read about BU MPH Certificates

MPH Requirements for Students Matriculating in Academic Year 2016/2017

  • Completion of 48 graduate-level credit units numbered SPH XX 700 and above
  • Completion of at least 40 of these credit units within the Boston University School of Public Health
  • Completion of four integrated core courses according to the minimum grade policy
  • Completion of at least one functional certificate
  • Completion of a public health practicum according to guidelines
  • Completion of an integrated learning experience according to guidelines
  • A School of Public Health grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of the MPH within five years
  • All SPH students will need a laptop or tablet for classes, purchased according to the recommendations of the Medical Campus Information Technology professionals

Note: Physical education (PDP), undergraduate, and non-approved graduate courses do not count toward the MPH.

Program Overview

Essential curricular elements:

  • An Integrated Core Curriculum;
  • A rigorous and sequenced training in focused specialty areas through Interdisciplinary Certificates;
  • Professional Development and Practical Experience, which includes an enhanced Practicum, Integrated Learning Experience, and Career Development Program.

Integrated Core Curriculum

The four required, integrated core courses are:

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

The core courses are completed prior to completing certificate courses and electives. Full-time students complete all four core courses in the fall semester; part-time students begin with PH 717 Quantitative Methods for Public Health and/or PH 718 Leadership and Management for Public Health. It is not anticipated that there are waivers granted for the integrated core. It is also not anticipated that transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken at other institutions.

Students are pre-registered for core classes and grouped into cohorts according to their preferred schedule in so far as possible. Students will work with other students in the cohort during and outside of class time on assignments and projects, providing opportunities to build personal and professional networks early on in their master’s education.

Interdisciplinary Certificates

Students may select from 17 interdisciplinary certificates. BU MPH certificates are offered in two categories: 1) functional areas, which reflect interdisciplinary skill bases, and 2) context areas, which reflect key populations or areas of interest within public health. Students who elect to complete only a functional certificate may round out their required MPH credits (48) with elective courses.

Functional Areas—16 credits. One required; students may take two.

  1. Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  2. Design and Conduct of Public Health Research
  3. Environmental Hazard Assessment
  4. Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  5. Health Policy and Law
  6. Health Communication and Promotion
  7. Healthcare Management (CAHME accredited)—26 credits
  8. Monitoring and Evaluation
  9. Program Management

Context Areas—12 credits. Students may take one, in addition to their certificate in a functional area.

  1. Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
  2. Global Health
  3. Infectious Disease
  4. Maternal and Child Health
  5. Mental Health and Substance Use
  6. Pharmaceuticals
  7. Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
  8. Social Justice, Human Rights, and Health Equity

Professional Development and Practical Experience

MPH Practicum

All MPH students must complete a practicum of at least 240 hours by registering for PH 978 or one of the courses listed below. Students who complete a course with a practice-based component will earn 30 hours toward the practicum requirement. Courses with approved practice-based components include GH 743, GH 744, PM 832, PM 835, and SB 806. Others may be added via petition to the Practicum Director.

The following courses fulfill the practicum requirement, due to the length of time the students spend in the field:

  1. PH 775 Field Practicum in Public Health in Tanzania
  2. PH 774 Community Health Assessment in Mexico: A Field Practicum
  3. The Master’s International/Peace Corps program completed according to the requirements of the Peace Corps and SPH

The Career Services office assists students in finding an appropriate practicum site. Students may also find practicums through professional and personal contacts, including SPH faculty.

The practicum requirements may include, but may not be limited to the following: Placement approval, registration for SPH PH 976 (0 credit), a learning contract, and a final assessment.

Integrated Learning Experience

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.

Career Development Program

As part of the suite of in-depth, personal services offered by the Career Services team, all MPH students will complete PH 746 Career P.R.E.P.: Mandatory Career Development Course prior to graduation. Students can register for PH 746 following completion of the integrated core courses and prior to registering for the required practicum. Using career assessment tools as a foundation, sessions cover topics such as interviewing strategies, networking, and marketing and positioning yourself in the job market. The Career Development Program is delivered in a cohort model to enhance the learning experience and help students build connections across the SPH community.

Graduate Certificate Programs

MPH students may apply to three graduate certificates that have some shared coursework with the School of Public Health. Courses may be shared once between certificates and degrees, and a maximum of 8 courses from outside of SPH may be applied to any SPH certificate or degree.

Two certificates are housed in the SPH Biostatistics Department; they are the Graduate Certificate in Statistical Genetics and the Graduate Certificate in Modern Biostatistics in Clinical Trials.

MPH students may also apply to the Live Graduate Certificate Program in Clinical Investigation offered by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. Students must apply to the “live” or classroom-based graduate certificate program. They may not enroll in the online program.

Transfer Credit

MPH students may transfer in up to eight (8) credits of approved graduate courses from other Boston University graduate programs, graduate courses taken at member schools in the Boston Consortium, or graduate courses at accredited US colleges or universities. These courses cannot have been counted toward the requirements for another degree at Boston University or elsewhere. Dual degree program students are not allowed to take courses for transfer credit.

The policies and stipulations regarding transfer credits are described in the Transfer Credit and Course Waiver policy.

Electives, Directed Studies, or Directed Research

Students may take classes numbered 700 or above to fulfill overall degree credit requirements once the required components of the MPH degree are satisfied. In addition to classroom instruction, students may arrange a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-credit directed study or directed research project with a faculty member. Students may apply up to 8 credits of directed studies or directed research credits toward an MPH. For more information, please contact the SPH Registrar’s office.