Maternal & Child Health

Maternal and child health is a dynamic field that aims to improve the health of women, children, youth, and entire families and communities, while addressing health inequities and the systems and policies that contribute to family health. Women’s health across the lifespan; sexual and reproductive health and justice; the perinatal period and birth outcomes; inter-conception care; child health, including mental health and special needs; and youth and adolescent development and health are some of the many maternal and child public health challenges. The maternal and child health field uses a life course perspective to address these issues, combining an understanding of human development and the social determinants of health as they accumulate and interact across the lifespan and across generations.

The Master of Public Health with a concentration in Maternal & Child Health is directed at students who seek to protect and enhance the health and well-being of women, children, and families. Students explore the unique physical needs of this population through coursework in maternal and infant health, child and adolescent health, and community-based needs assessment in maternal and child health. They then place this knowledge into a sociopolitical context, obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the cultural influences affecting women, children, and the larger community. Outside of coursework, students may participate in departmental research, the Maternal & Child Health fellowship program, the Maternal & Child Health Diversity Scholars Program, and the MCH Leadership Program. Graduates are equipped for careers in community and global health organizations, advocacy groups, and government agencies that address compelling issues in maternal and child health.


In addition to the program competencies that all MPH graduates master, upon completing the requirements for the MPH in Maternal & Child Health, graduates are able to:

  • describe the historic, sociocultural, economic, and political contexts that shape the health of women, children, and families, focusing on the US with a global perspective
  • apply a life course perspective, combining theories of human development and the cumulative effects of social determinants, to understand and solve maternal and child health challenges of the 21st century
  • demonstrate the ability to integrate theoretical perspectives, empirical evidence, and practice in at least one area of MCH importance

For detailed course listings, visit the MCH Concentrator’s Guide or the BU online bulletin.

Special Educational Programs

The MCH department host two special educational program that combine MCH courses with leadership development. Students are selected for these programs through an application process during their studies.

Your advisor can help you decide if a program is right for you. For detailed information on both programs, please visit the Maternal & Child Health Concentrator’s Guide.

Prospective students should contact the Maternal & Child Health staff for additional information.

Diversity Scholars Program

The Maternal & Child Health Diversity Scholars Program is designed to increase the number of health professionals from underrepresented minority populations who can address the long-standing gaps in the health of women and children within minority communities and work toward the elimination of health disparities. The program offers alumni mentoring, leadership training, and specialized course work for concentrators who are from underrepresented minority communities. The set of required courses covers the areas of Cultural Competency and Health Disparities; Program Development and Management; Research and Evaluation; and Policy and Advocacy. This interdisciplinary series is led by Maternal & Child Health faculty, Diversity Scholar Program Mentors, and area Maternal & Child Health leaders. Diversity Scholars will be awarded a scholarship covering up to half of their tuition and requires at least two years of residency in the Maternal & Child Health MPH Program. Applications are available to new Maternal & Child Health Concentrators at the start of their MPH education.

Maternal & Child Health Leadership Education Program

This program is designed for aspiring leaders in the field of maternal and child health. It combines courses designed to build competencies in program design, management, evaluation, policy analysis, and advocacy; the practicum; a leadership course and workshop(s); and individual mentoring by a faculty member. In the leadership and mentoring components of the program, students assess and articulate their talents, achievements, and career aspirations; gain experience in team collaboration and leadership; prepare for employment search and interviews; and explore workplace challenges and strategies to meet them. Any Maternal & Child Health concentrator may apply for the Maternal & Child Health Leadership Education Program after completing the first Maternal & Child health core course, MC 725, with a B+ or above and have an overall GPA of at least 3.3. Please consult with your advisor about your decision to apply.