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Foundations of Social Epidemiology

4th term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2016 - 2017
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
David Celentano
Frequency Schedule:
Every Other Year
Next Offered:
2022 - 2023

340.751 or 340.601 or equivalent. Students must complete Introduction to Online Learning prior to enrolling in this course. Students must have some background in social science theory and methods. Students who have not had college level social science (sociology, psychology, anthropology) should consult with the course director before signing up for this course.


Students learn to apply social epidemiologic concepts, introduced through weekly online lectures and readings, through the use of discussions, group activities, case studies and labs. Prepares students to understand and appreciate the contribution of social factors to disease etiology, course and the distribution of states of health in populations. After reviewing the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of social epidemiology from an historical perspective, focuses on the scientific findings in the field from the 1970s until today. The influence of social context on behavior is well-known, and forms the backbone for most health promotion interventions; we focus initially on how the social environment influences behavior, by shaping norms, reinforcing social control, providing environmental opportunity, and coping strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the field of social epidemiology and discuss the major unsolved issues confronting the field
  2. Demonstrate the quality and limitations of measurement of key social conditions influencing health and illness of populations
  3. Distinguish between psychological (individual-based) approaches to discussing health disparities from the social perspective (community-based), and demonstrate how the empirical literature critically supports these differences for a particular health or disease state.
  4. Operate within and facilitate a discussion group format
Methods of Assessment:

Online lecture quizzes (30%), Participation in Discussion Forums (30%), Individual assignments (30%), Live Talk participation (10%)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required