Social & Behavioral Sciences in Public Health
Meet our students
The MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health provides students with competencies in the topic areas of: 1) theoretical basis of social and behavioral interventions and psychosocial influences on health and illness; 2) social and behavioral intervention design and implementation; and 3) social and behavioral research methods and program evaluation.
SBS Concentration Student Manual 2013-2014
- Theoretical basis of social and behavioral intervention and psychosocial influences on health and illness. These theories have implications for behavioral interventions and understanding psychosocial influences on health and social policies that affect health.
- Identify social and psychological factors and processes in the etiology of disease and health related behaviors
- Articulate the influence of major social structural divisions such as gender, SES, and ethnicity on health and health related behaviors
- Appropriately select and apply behavioral science theories to studying health problems in diverse populations
- Social and behavioral intervention design and implementation.
- Apply principles from educational, behavioral, communication, social and psychological theory to influence health related behaviors and health status in diverse populations
- Utilize effective needs assessment and program planning skills to design health-promoting programs and policies
- Implement a wide array of intervention strategies, including media-based (mass media, small media, electronic media), interpersonal communication, social support and social network-based interventions, advocacy and community organizing
- Articulate and address issues that facilitate implementation and sustainability of effective behavior-change programs
- Social and behavioral research methods and program evaluation.
- Conduct process, impact, and outcome evaluations of health behavior change programs
- Conduct qualitative and formative research in the social and behavioral sciences
- Appropriately select and apply behavioral science research methods to studying health problems and evaluating interventions
Students completing this concentration can gain skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs promoting healthy behaviors in international and/or domestic settings. Students can also focus on analysis of psychological and social influences on health and behavior. They can obtain skills necessary for working with diverse populations, on a variety of health topics, and in non-profit organizations and government agencies at all levels.
The concentration includes required and elective courses, a special seminar, and a capstone experience. Students completing this concentration may be eligible to take the national certifying exam to become a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Course of Study
Courses to complete the concentration requirements can be taken either for a grade or pass/fail.
|All students must take the two-term Concentration Seminar:|
|550.853||Seminar for MPH Concentration in SBS I||1 credit||1st term|
|550.854||Seminar for MPH Concentration in SBS II||1 credit||2nd term|
|All students must choose at least one course in Theoretical Basis from the following list:|
|410.618||Integrating Social & Behavioral Theory into Public Health*||4 credits||1st term|
|221.688||Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care*||4 credits||Internet Only - 3rd and Summer terms|
|410.613||Psychosocial Factors in Health & Illness*||3 credits||3rd term|
|224.689||Health Behavior Change at the Individual, Household, and Community Levels*||4 credits||2nd term|
|410.616||Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health*||4 credits||Summer Institute|
|All students must choose at least one course in Intervention Design and Implementation from the following list:|
|410.755||Health Communication Programs||4 credits||3rd & 4th terms - Internet Only|
|410.620||Program Planning for Health Behavior Change*||3 credits||1st term [Internet - 4th term, Winter Institute]|
|410.654-655||Health Communication Programs I & II||4 credits each term||3rd & 4th terms|
|All students must choose at least one course in Research and Evaluation from the following list:|
|380.611||Fundamentals of Program Evaluation||4 credits||3rd term|
|309.616-617||Introduction to Methods for Health Services Research and Evaluation I and II||4 credits||Internet 3rd & 4th terms|
|410.615||Research Design in Social and Behavioral Sciences||3 credits||3rd term|
|224.690-691||Qualitative Research I: Theory and Methods and|
Qualitataive Research II: Data Analysis
|10 credits||3rd & 4th terms|
|410.690||Ethnographic Fieldwork||4 credits||3rd term|
|380.612||Applications in Program Monitoring and Evaluation||4 credits||4th term|
|All students must take two additional courses (6-8 credits) from either the courses listed above or from the following additional courses.|
|Additional courses in Theoretical Basis:|
|410.612||Sociological Perspectives on Health||3 credits||1st term|
|330.661||Social and Psychological Development Processes in the Etiology of Mental Disorders*||3 credits||3rd term [Internet - 3rd term]|
|330.612||Introduction to Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics||3 credits||3rd term [Internet - 3rd term]|
|410.650||Introduction to Persuasive Communications: Theories and Practice*||4 credits||2nd term, Winter Institute|
|410.652||Interpersonal Influence in Medical Care||2 credits||4th term|
|410.657||Communication Strategies for Sexual Risk Reduction||3 credits||4th term|
|Additional courses in Intervention Design and Implementation:|
|410.630||Implementation and Sustainability of Community-based Health Programs||3 credits||4th term|
|410.633||Media Advocacy and Public Health: Theory and Practice||3 credits||4th term|
|410.651||Health Literacy: Challenges and Strategies for Effective Communication*||3 credits||3rd term|
|221.661||Project Development for Primary Health Care in Developing Countries||4 credits||4th term|
|301.645||Health Advocacy||3 credits||4th term|
|Additional courses in Research and Evaluation:|
|224.692||Formative Research for Behavioral and Community Interventions||4 credits||4th term|
|221.645||Large-Scale Effectiveness Evaluations of Health Programs||3 credits||4th term [Internet - 4th term]|
|305.613||Design and Evaluation of Community Health and Safety Interventions||4 credits||3rd term|
|410.631||Introduction to Community-based Participatory Research: Principles and Methods||3 credits||2nd term|
*Also fulfills MPH core requirement.
The MPH capstone experience in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health is designed to give students an opportunity to apply their acquired competencies. Students will choose to work on one of the following skill sets, each of which will integrate course material across all areas of the MPH curriculum. For each skill set, students will focus on a specific health behavior problem.
The capstone experience may be completed in partnership with a community organization or agency, at the discretion of the student and the advisor. Other capstones options may be proposed and approved by the student's advisor and the concentration directors.
1. Grant writing. The student will prepare a grant proposal (to a foundation, non-governmental organization, community-based organization, or federal agency) to address a specific health behavior change problem.
2. Comprehensive literature review. The student will prepare a comprehensive review of the literature on a specific health behavior topic or behavior change intervention using systematic methods for searching, screening, and inclusion of articles.
3. Intervention design/implementation. The student will prepare a detailed plan for a health behavior intervention for a specific population and health behavior topic.
4. Program evaluation. The student will prepare a detailed evaluation plan (process, impact, and outcome) for a behavior change intervention program.
5. Formative Research Protocol. The student will prepare a research protocol for formative research addressing the steps in development and field testing of a behavioral change intervention.
6. Ethnographic/Qualitative Research Protocol. The student will prepare a research protocol for ethnographic/qualitative research addressing the steps in collecting, analyzing, and writing up the results.
7. Research Project Addressing Social and Behavioral Issues in Health. The student will identify an available source of data and conduct analyses to examine a specific question relevant to social and behavioral influences on the public's health.
Capstone Special Studies Credits: Students will take 2 credits of special studies research (XXX.840) in 3rd term under the direction of their capstone advisor. In 4th term, students are required to register for the 2-credit MPH Capstone Course (XXX.800).