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Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time

Social & Behavioral Sciences in Public Health

Meet our students
& alumni

Chuka Anude
I have always wanted to be a hand and a voice; a hand to help hurting people and a voice for the voiceless. This led me to medicine and now to public health... Read More
Priya Mehra
For me the Bloomberg School is a place for greater self-discovery. My background in public health... Read More
Tom Edling
I have a BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University, DVM from Colorado State University, and a... Read More
Jennifer Cohn
I am currently an instructor in medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania... Read More
Somnazu Nwanze
I am a medical doctor, who graduated from the University of Benin, Nigeria. My latest assignment was with the Nigerian Youth Corps... Read More
Olga Joos
Born in Florida, but raised in both Europe and the U.S., I have a strong love for traveling which now compliments my interest in public health... Read More
Gregory Tung
The online MPH is a versatile degree that has been key in my professional development. I entered the program while working full-time as a hospital administrator... Read More
Jung-Im Shin
Who would have thought that I would end up at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health? Certainly not me... Read More
Luca Passerini
I am an Italian Medical Doctor with a passion for global health and social entrepreneurship, focusing on poverty-related diseases, child health and humanitarian action... Read More
Marie Curry
I began the part-time MPH program with the goal of using my research and analytical skills to further policies that improve health... Read More
Daniel Ehlman
I earned my MPH concentrating my coursework in Epidemiology and Biostatistics with a capstone project analyzing malaria data from Tanzania... Read More
I am eager to explore how public health strategies can assist vulnerable people in adopting healthier behaviors for the long term.
-Tracy Rudne Hawry

Students completing the MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health 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.

SBS Concentration Student Manual 2015-2016

Competencies Gained

  1. 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.
    1. Identify social and psychological factors and processes in the etiology of disease and health related behaviors
    2. Appropriately select and apply behavioral science theories to studying health problems in diverse populations
    3. Articulate the influence of major social structural divisions such as gender, SES, and ethnicity on health and health related behaviors
  2. Social and behavioral intervention design and implementation.
    1. Apply principles from educational, behavioral, communication, social and psychological theory to influence health related behaviors and health status in diverse populations
    2. Utilize effective needs assessment and program planning skills to design health-promoting programs and policies
    3. 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
    4. Articulate and address issues that facilitate implementation and sustainability of effective behavior-change programs
  3. Social and behavioral research methods and program evaluation.
    1. Conduct process, impact, and outcome evaluations of health behavior change programs
    2. Conduct qualitative and formative research in the social and behavioral sciences
    3. Appropriately select and apply behavioral science research methods to studying health problems and evaluating interventions

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:
550.853Seminar for MPH Concentration in SBS I1 credit1st term
550.854Seminar for MPH Concentration in SBS II1 credit2nd term
All students must choose at least one course in Theoretical Basis from the following list:
410.600Fundamentals of Health, Behavior and Society*4 credits1st term
221.688Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care*4 creditsInternet Only - 3rd and Summer terms
410.613Psychosocial Factors in Health & Illness*3 credits3rd term
224.689Health Behavior Change at the Individual, Household, and Community Levels*4 credits2nd term
410.616Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health*4 creditsSummer Institute
All students must choose at least one course in Intervention Design and Implementation from the following list:
410.755Health Communication Programs4 credits3rd & 4th terms - Internet Only
410.620Program Planning for Health Behavior Change*3 credits1st term [Internet - 4th term, Winter Institute]
410.654-655Health Communication Programs I & II4 credits each term3rd & 4th terms
All students must choose at least one course in Research and Evaluation from the following list:
380.611Fundamentals of Program Evaluation4 credits3rd term
309.616-617Introduction to Methods for Health Services Research and Evaluation I and II4 creditsInternet 3rd & 4th terms
410.615Research Design in Social and Behavioral Sciences3 credits2nd term
224.690-691Qualitative Research I: Theory and Methods and
Qualitataive Research II: Data Analysis
10 credits3rd & 4th terms
410.690Ethnographic Fieldwork4 credits3rd term
380.612Applications in Program Monitoring and Evaluation4 credits4th term
410.685Data Analysis and Presentation in Social and Behavioral Science Research3 credits4th 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:
410.612Sociological Perspectives on Health3 credits1st term
330.661Social, Psychological and Developmental Processes in the Etiology of Mental Disorders*3 credits3rd term [Internet - 3rd term]
330.612Introduction to Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics3 credits3rd term
410.650Introduction to Persuasive Communications: Theories and Practice*4 credits2nd term, Winter Institute
410.652Interpersonal Influence in Medical Care2 credits4th term
410.657Communication Strategies for Sexual Risk Reduction3 credits4th term
Additional courses in Intervention Design and Implementation:
410.630Implementation and Sustainability of Community-based Health Programs3 credits4th term
410.633Media Advocacy and Public Health: Theory and Practice3 credits4th term
410.651Health Literacy: Challenges and Strategies for Effective Communication*3 credits3rd term
221.661Project Development for Primary Health Care in Developing Countries4 credits4th term
301.645Health Advocacy3 credits4th term
Additional courses in Research and Evaluation:
224.692Formative Research for Behavioral and Community Interventions4 credits4th term
221.645Large-Scale Effectiveness Evaluations of Health Programs3 credits4th term [Internet - 4th term]
305.613Design and Evaluation of Community Health and Safety Interventions4 credits3rd term
410.631Introduction to Community-based Participatory Research: Principles and Methods3 credits2nd term
550.601Implementation Research and Practice3 credits2nd term

*Also fulfills MPH core requirement.

Capstone Experience

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).

Faculty Concentration Directors

Janice Bowie, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Health, Behavior and Society, 410-614-6119,

Caitlin Kennedy, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, International Health, 443-287-8794,