Master of Public Health in Interdisciplinary Training in Population Health Overview

Program Overview

Essential curricular elements of the 48-credit Master of Public Health program:

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.

Integrated Core Curriculum

The four required, integrated core courses are:

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

The core courses are completed prior to completing certificate courses and electives. 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.

Interdisciplinary Certificates

Students may select from 16 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. A maximum of 4 credits may be shared between a functional and a context certificate.

Functional Areas—16 credits. One required.

  1. Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  2. Environmental Health
  3. Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  4. Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  5. Health Communication and Promotion
  6. Health Policy and Law
  7. Healthcare Management (CAHME accredited)—28 credits
  8. Program Management

Context Areas—12 credits. Optional.

  1. Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
  2. Climate Change and Health
  3. Global Health
  4. Human Rights and Social Justice
  5. Infectious Disease
  6. Maternal and Child Health
  7. Mental Health and Substance Use
  8. Pharmaceutical Development, Delivery, and Access
  9. Sex, Sexuality, and Gender

Professional Development and Practical Experience

MPH Practicum

All MPH students must complete a practicum of at least 240 hours by registering for PH 976 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 SPH GH 743, GH 744, PM 832, PM 835, PM 851, and SB 806. Others may be added via petition to the MPH Director.

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 SPH 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 SPH 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.

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 or certificate 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 toward an MPH. For more information, please contact the SPH Registrar’s office.

Learning Outcomes

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