Medicine & Public Health (MD/MPH)

The MD/MPH dual degree program at BU Chobanian & Avedisian 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.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MPH degree requirements, graduates are able to:

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.


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 Chobanian & Avedisian SOM. 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

Foundations of Public Health

Effective public health requires expertise from many disciplines, and students need to have a broad foundation of knowledge across these diverse disciplines in order to collaborate effectively with other health professionals.

SPH PH 700 Foundations of Public Health (0 credits) is an online course designed to provide students with foundational knowledge in the profession and science of public health and factors related to public health. PH 700 meets the foundational knowledge criteria (as outlined by CEPH) for all SPH students.

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
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Health Communications and Promotion
  • Healthcare Management (CAHME)—28 credits
  • Health Policy and Law
  • Global Health Program Design, 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
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
  • Pharmaceutical Development, Delivery, and Access

Students follow the SPH Grading Policy for their MPH courses.

Professional Development and Practical Experience

  • SPH PH 746 Career PREP (0 cr)
  • SPH PH 976 Practicum (240 hours, 0 cr)
  • SPH 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.

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

  • MED MS 126 Human Behavior in Medicine
  • MED MS 129 Essentials of Public Health
  • MED MS 130 Medical Genetics
  • MED MS 131 Medical Immunology
  • MED MS 220 – MS 226 Disease and Therapy
  • MED MS 313 Pediatrics Clerkship
  • MED MS 314 Psychiatry Clerkship
  • MED 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 Chobanian & Avedisian SOM Registrar, and the BUSPH Registrar. This will not affect the MD in and of itself.

Study Abroad

Because MD/MPH students generally complete 40 credits of SPH coursework between the third and fourth year of medical school, there is typically not much time for overseas travel. However, there may be opportunities for short (2-to-4-week) overseas projects, particularly between the first and second year of medical school or as electives in the last two years. These opportunities are not a routine part of the MD/MPH.

Eligibility & Application

All medical students accepted to Chobanian & Avedisian SOM are eligible to apply to the MD/MPH dual degree program. Students interested in the MD/MPH program must apply to the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine first. Selecting the MD/MPH program on the AMCAS application alerts the Admissions office at Chobanian & Avedisian SOM 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 the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

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.