Offered by Boston University’s School of Public Health, the Graduate Certificate in Public Health offers four foundational courses that can be an initial step to a Master of Public Health (48 credits total), accompany another degree, or simply be an informative stand-alone program. The certificate coursework explores population health, quantitative analysis, leadership, and health systems—all crucial topics for a career involving public health.
BU’s Graduate Certificate in Public Health includes high-quality, graduate courses in population health that can be completed on a full- or part-time basis, online or in person. The certificate provides students with the foundation for public health knowledge and skills, whether they are looking to enhance their career or integrate public health principles into other educational paths.
Totaling 16 credits of coursework, the Graduate Certificate is comprised of four required courses exploring public health:
- Quantitative Methods for Public Health
- Leadership and Management for Public Health
- Health Systems, Law, and Policy
- Individual, Community, and Population Health
The certificate functions as core courses for the Master of Public Health (MPH) (48 credits) degree at SPH, designed to provide career-building knowledge in public health. The courses enhance students’ professional preparation by highlighting interdisciplinary connections through examples, case studies, and problem-based learning.
Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Public Health, you will master all Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) competencies, including:
Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
- apply epidemiological methods 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 health care, 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 systemic 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, implementation, or critique 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 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 leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue.
- apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.
- select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
- communicate audience-appropriate (i.e., non-academic, non-peer audience) public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
- describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.
Interprofessional and/or Intersectoral Practice
- integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health.
- apply systems thinking tools to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative.
Transitioning to the MPH Program After Certificate Completion
Many students are interested in using the Graduate Certificate program as a stepping stone to the Master of Public Health (MPH) program (48 credit) and the beginning of their career in public health.
Serving as an excellent introduction to population health, the courses will be available to transfer credit up to three years after the start of the Graduate Certificate. Learn more about transitioning to the MPH.
Certificate Admissions Requirements
The Graduate Certificate in Public Health is open to students with an earned bachelor’s degree, including current graduate students at Boston University.
All students apply through SOPHAS Express, and provide:
- Official Bachelor’s degree transcript sent directly to the School
- Unofficial transcripts of all other post-secondary institutions attended uploaded to SOPHAS Express application
- A personal statement describing your desire to complete the graduate certificate
- 2 letters of recommendation, with at least one being from a faculty member if possible