Climate Change and Health.

As part of Boston University’s on-campus Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, you have the option to add a Context Certificate to your functional area of concentration, deepening your knowledge in an area or population of greatest interest to you.

Climate Change and Health Context Certificate

Climate change—impacting water supply, air, food, and infectious/vector-borne diseases—has been identified as one of the biggest global health threats of the 21st century. Health effects of climate change may occur directly (due to changes in temperature, precipitation, and/or the occurrence of tropical cyclones, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and wildfires) or indirectly (through social responses to climate change, such as displacement of populations following hurricanes and associated flooding or prolonged drought). Additionally, climate change is an environmental justice issue, both because of disproportionate exposures to climate change in lower-income communities and communities of color and because those most impacted are least likely to contribute to or benefit from the anthropogenic activities that lead to a changing climate.

This 12-credit context certificate provides students with state-of-the-art practice tools for understanding and evaluating the mechanisms and health effects of climate change, the risks associated with exposure, and the importance of equitable solutions and communication for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Students will analyze primary environmental data, learn methods for assessing exposure to climate hazards, and be introduced to scholars and residents from disproportionately impacted communities and important concepts of climate mitigation and adaptation.

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Identify the primary exposures relevant to climate change and its impacts on human health.
  • Utilize appropriate methodologies to study climate change, including timescale and etiology of exposure response, interventions to reduce health impacts of climate and their effectiveness, and epidemiologic study designs specific to climate and health.
  • Discuss key public health activities for climate change–related exposures, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, storms, and other extreme weather events; and infectious and vector-borne diseases.
  • Identify the major causes of health disparities associated with climate change exposures and health outcomes and the interactive nature of systemic issues of race and socioeconomic status with climate exposures.
  • Critically assess the primary communications regarding climate and health, including academic literature, public reports and white papers, and news media.

Sample Course Titles

  • Climate Change and Public Health
  • Climate Change and Health Equity
  • Incorporating Health to Design Healthy and Sustainable Climate Solutions
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Public Health
  • Risk Assessment Models
  • Managing Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
  • Public Health Responses to Emergencies in the United States

View the BU Bulletin for Course Requirements

Certificate Director

“Climate change is one of the biggest global health threats of the 21st century. Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change will require solutions that span disciplines, and practitioners that can bring together skills from across the spectrum of public health work. This is such an exciting time to be a part of the Climate Change and Health community at BUSPH. Students who complete this certificate will be prepared with state-of-the-art practice tools for understanding and evaluating the mechanisms and health effects of climate change, the risks associated with exposure, and the importance of equitable solutions.”

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about MPH degree requirements and admissions, request information to learn more.