Public Health & Social Policy Track

Public Health & Social Policy Track

With the Boston Dispensary - established in 1796 as the first permanent medical facility in New England—began a tradition of medical excellence in Boston. Today, the city has a wealth of pioneering hospitals, institutes, and universities, and the health care industry is one of the largest and fastest growing segments of Boston's economy.

On the Public Health & Social Policy track, you'll gain valuable knowledge in health education and policy while pursuing an internship at a local non-profit, social service agency, mentoring organization, or health provider.

Summer 1: The Academic Phase

You'll spend your first six weeks of the Summer Study Internship Program taking two 4-credit courses chosen from offerings in public health and social policy.

Choose Two:

  • CAS AN 210 Medical Anthropology

    This lecture and discussion-driven course uses ethnographic case materials and active learning strategies to introduce students to socio-cultural anthropological modes of understanding and analyzing health-related experiences and institutions, including political and ethical dimensions of illness and suffering around the globe. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Research and Information Literacy. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Laporte
  • CAS EC 387 Introduction to Health Economics

    Concepts of health economics applicable to both developed and developing countries. Topics include effect of health on the economy, effect of health care on health, hospital behavior, health work-force supply, and demand for health care. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, W, R 1:00 PM-3:30 PM Persson
  • CAS PS 234 Psychology of Learning

    How do we learn to associate stimuli together? How do we learn to associate behaviors with their consequences? How is memory applicable to learning? What are the different memory processes and systems responsible for learning? The aim of this course is to review the major traditional and current theories of learning and memory. Students begin with an understanding of simple learning, including theories and basic principles of classical and operant conditioning. Students then are introduced to the memory system, the three stages of memory, implicit and explicit memory processes. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:30 AM-1:00 PM Dunne
  • CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology

    Critical review of research and theories pertaining to intellectual and social development of infants and children. Role of early experiences and biological factors in later formation of personality, and intellectual and motivational behaviors; includes theories of Erikson, Piaget, and Freud. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND M, W 9:30 AM-1:00 PM Wells
  • CAS PS 333 Drugs and Behavior

    Prereq: (CAS PS 101) and (CAS PS 231 or CAS NE 101) and PS junior or senior standing; or consent of instructor. Comprehensive survey of drug influences on behavior; introduces a neuroscience approach to behavior. Several classes of drugs are discussed, including abused and addictive substances and psychoactive and therapeutic agents. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:30 AM-1:00 PM Caine
  • CAS PS 371 Abnormal Psychology

    Attention to the wide range of ways in which personality may become disordered, and emphasis on normal behavior development as highlighted by psychopathology. Evidence and theories concerning problems of treatment are also considered. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:30 AM-1:00 PM Pincus
  • CAS SO 100 Principles in Sociology

    An introduction to the major theories and basic principles of sociological analysis. Explores culture, media, socialization, race and ethnicity, globalization, capitalism, gender and sexuality, inequality and poverty, power in American society, and health and medicine from a sociological perspective. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND M, W 1:00 PM-4:30 PM Stone
  • CAS SO 215 Sociology of Health Care

    Social, cultural, and intercultural factors in health and illness. Training and socialization of medical professionals, roots of medical power and authority, organization and operation of health care facilities. U.S. health care system and its main problems. Comparison of health care systems in the U.S. and in other countries. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND M, W 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Guseva
  • CAS SO 240 Sexuality and Social Life

    Introduction to sociological perspectives on sexuality. Historical and comparative analysis of sexuality, with a focus on the social and cultural institutions that shape sexuality in the contemporary U.S. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 1:00 PM-4:30 PM Connell
  • SAR HP 353 Organization & Delivery of Health Care in the U.S.

    The focus of this interdisciplinary course is on increasing students' understanding of the health care system and ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, and on the social, environmental, and behavioral factors that affect health care. Students will actively engage in individual work, group discussion, and teamwork through written, oral, and website assignments. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Pesanelli
  • SAR HS 251 Human Nutrition Science

    An introduction to nutrition with a focus on the relationship between diet and health. Basic scientific information is presented in preparation for discussion of applied issues such as weight management and prevention of chronic disease. Emphasis is placed on translation of current dietary recommendations to actual food choices. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 5:30 PM-9:00 PM Schreck
  • SAR HS 325 Introduction to Global Health

    Provides students with an overview of the complex social, economic, political, environmental, and biological factors that structure the origins, consequences, and possible treatments of illness worldwide, as well as the promotion of health. Students learn about the major themes and concepts shaping the interdisciplinary field of global health, and gain an understanding of solutions to health challenges that have been successfully implemented in different parts of the world. Major topics include the linkages between global health and economic development, the global burden of disease, key actors in global health, and lessons learned from the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor
    SA1 IND T, R 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Brown

Summer 2: The Internship Phase

For the second six weeks of the program, you'll be placed as an intern in a Boston-area organization or business that matches your interests and experience. You should expect to work five days a week for a minimum of 35 hours. Most internships are unpaid.

Public Health & Social Policy Internship Opportunities

Internship placement sites in past years have included health care organizations, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and social service providers and policy institutes.

Internship Placement

  • Internship placement for 35 hours a week
  • Internship matches are based on your interests, abilities, and experience, as well as employer and industry norms (Please note: Opportunities with direct client contact are limited and may be a relatively small portion of the internship experience.)
  • All internship sites are accessible by public transportation
  • Visit our Placement Process page for additional information

Summer Study Internship Course

The Summer Study Internship Program's 2-credit Internship Course meets on Friday mornings throughout Summer 1 and two evenings in Summer 2. The course explores links between your academic track and your on-site professional experience, and provides support and guidance as you prepare for your placement.

Meet a Public Health & Social Policy Student

Student: Kimberly Simmons

Courses: Sociology of Health Care; Counseling and Motivational Interviewing

Internship Site: Healthworks Community Fitness

On the Job: I interned at a non-profit organization which supports women and children in low-income neighborhoods with fitness and health education. For many members, reaching fitness goals translates to reaching other life goals. I was involved in various tasks at the site, from learning the software used to track members’ information to writing memos regarding a new partnership with Boston Children's Hospital. Every day at the organization was different, and I enjoyed being able to observe the management of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit firsthand.

Perspectives: This summer I gained an expanded understanding and better grasp on the versatile field of public health. While I will undoubtedly continue to refine my career goals and interests, this program has allowed me to gain knowledge, experience, and connections within the field that will definitely benefit my professional development.

Contact Us

Boston University Summer Term
Summer Study Internship Program
755 Commonwealth Ave, Rm 105
Boston, MA 02215

Phone: 617-353-0556
Fax: 617-353-5532
Email: ssip@bu.edu