MPH: Social & Behavioral Sciences Concentration

Social & Behavioral Sciences (SB) focuses on identifying and analyzing the social determinants and behavioral risk factors that are associated with public health problems, and using this knowledge to understand and promote healthy behavior within communities. Faculty members have testified on behalf of plaintiffs seeking to curb destructive marketing practices by tobacco companies, and they have advocated for stricter gun control and drunk driving laws. Together with social service organizations, faculty provide outreach and advocacy services to substance abusers and survivors of dating, domestic, and sexual violence, and they have helped public health officials and the private sector coordinate a nationwide program designed to help smokers overcome their habit.

Concentration Requirements

After completing the core course SB 721, MPH students who are concentrators in social & behavioral sciences must complete at least 16 additional credits of courses that carry social & behavioral sciences concentration credit. Among these 16 credits must be a 4-credit Assessment course, a 4-credit Intervention course, an Evaluation course (SB 822), and a minimum of one additional 4-credit course. The course may be from the Assessment or Intervention group, or another course that carries concentration credit. Students must also meet the MPH practicum requirement and the concentration’s Culminating Experience.

Assessment Courses (minimum 4 cr)

  • SB 805 Race, Ethnicity, and Health
  • SB 818 Qualitative Research Methods
  • SB 820 Assessment and Planning for Health Promotion

Intervention Courses (minimum 4 cr)

  • MC 820 Managing MCH Programs
  • SB 806 Communication Strategies for Public Health Organizations
  • SB 813 Web-Based Health Communication Strategies for Public Health Interventions
  • SB 821 Intervention Strategies for Health Promotion
  • SB 833 Designing and Implementing Public Health Communication Campaigns
  • SB 860 Strategies for Public Health Advocacy

Evaluation Course (minimum 4 cr)

  • SB 822 Quantitative Methods for Program Evaluation

The remaining four (4) credits may be taken in any SB course numbered 700 or above.

Courses in other departments that have been approved for SB concentration credit include:

  • EH 800 Community-Based Methods in Environmental Health
  • EP 721 Survey Methods for Public Health
  • EP 751 Cardiovascular Epidemiology
  • EP 758 Nutritional Epidemiology
  • EP 775 Social Epidemiology
  • GMS MA 700 History and Theory of Medical Anthropology
  • LW 725 Ethical Issues in Medicine and Public Health
  • MC 705 Safer Sex in the City: From Science to Policy
  • MC 725 Women, Children, and Adolescents: Public Health Approaches
  • MC 775 Research and Action for Eliminating Health Inequities
  • MC 782 Women and Substance Use
  • MC 785 Reproductive Health Advocacy
  • MC 786 Immigrant Family Health: Public Health Across Borders
  • MC 795 Adolescent Health: Understanding Public Health Risk and Opportunity
  • MC 800 Preventing Mental Health Disorders Among Women, Children, and Adolescents: A Life Course Perspective
  • MC 802 Implementing Community Health Initiatives: A Field-based Course in Leadership and Consultation
  • MC 815 Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocacy: Culture, Science, and Politics
  • MC 840 Women and Health Policy: Gender, Evidence, and Politics
  • PH 728 Religion and Public Health
  • PM 721 Organizational Behavior and Health Management
  • PM 810 Introduction to American Government and Health Policy
  • PM 850 Organizing for Health System Change

To fulfill the SB elective (non-selective) credit requirement, SB concentrators cannot double count any of the selective courses above, though they can fulfill the elective with another of the selective options.

Culminating Experience

All Social & Behavioral Sciences concentrators must complete an integrative professional electronic portfolio as their Culminating Experience and register for the associated course, SB 940 The SB Culminating Experience I. Students who need additional time to complete the Culminating Experience register for SB 941 The SB Culminating Experience II in a subsequent semester. The electronic portfolio will frame individual students’ expertise, focus, experience, and skills in public health and help them to market themselves for employment as public health practitioners. Within the electronic portfolio, students will reflect upon their studies and synthesize materials from a range of courses. In integrating their knowledge, students will develop a plan of lifelong learning that reflects areas in which to bridge a knowledge gap or focus in greater depth.