Master of Public Health in Interdisciplinary Training in Population Health 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.
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:
- PH 717 Quantitative Methods for Public Health (4 credits)
- PH 718 Leadership and Management in Public Health (4 credits)
- PH 719 Health Systems, Law, and Policy (4 credits)
- PH 720 Individual, Community, and Population Health (4 credits)
The core courses are completed prior to completing certificate courses and electives. Full-time students complete all four core courses in the fall semester; part-time students begin with PH 717 Quantitative Methods for Public Health and/or PH 718 Leadership and Management for Public Health. 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.
Students are pre-registered for core classes and grouped into cohorts. Students will work with other students in the cohort during and outside of class time on assignments and projects, providing opportunities to build personal and professional networks early on in their master’s education.
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.
- Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
- Environmental Health
- Epidemiology and Biostatistics
- Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
- Health Communication and Promotion
- Health Policy and Law
- Healthcare Management (CAHME accredited)—26 credits
- Program Management
Context Areas—12 credits. Optional.
- Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Global Health
- Human Rights and Social Justice
- Infectious Disease
- Maternal and Child Health
- Mental Health and Substance Use
- Pharmaceutical Development, Delivery, and Access
- Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
Professional Development and Practical Experience
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 GH 743, GH 744, PM 832, PM 835, and SB 806. Others may be added via petition to the MPH Director.
The following courses fulfill the practicum requirement, due to the length of time the students spend in the field:
- GH 775 Field Practicum in Africa
- GH 774 Implementation and Evaluation of Global Health
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 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 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.
Graduate Certificate Programs
MPH students may apply to three graduate certificates that have some shared coursework with the School of Public Health.
Two certificates are housed in the SPH Biostatistics Department; they are the Graduate Certificate in Statistical Genetics and the Graduate Certificate in Modern Biostatistics in Clinical Trials.
MPH students may also apply to the Live Graduate Certificate Program in Clinical Investigation offered by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. Students must apply to the “live” or classroom-based graduate certificate program. They may not enroll in the online program.
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.
Upon completion of the MPH degree requirements, graduates are able to:
Evidence-Based Approaches to Public Health
- Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice.
- Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
- Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate.
- Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy, or practice.
Public Health & Healthcare Systems
- Compare the organization, structure, and function of healthcare, public health, and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
- Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities, and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community, and societal levels.
Planning & Management to Promote Health
- Assess population needs, assets, and capacities that affect communities’ health.
- Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
- Design a population-based policy, program, project, or intervention.
- Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
- Select methods to evaluate public health programs.
Policy in Public Health
- Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
- Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
- Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
- Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.
- Apply principles of leadership, governance, and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration, and guiding decision making.
- Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.
- Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
- Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
- Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.
- Perform effectively on interprofessional teams.
- Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.