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MPH in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences

This degree will launch in Fall 2021 in the new Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences.

The purpose of the MPH program in the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences is to provide advanced training and field applications in basic and applied public health program development, evaluation, and research to promote health equity. Our mission is to elucidate and address the societal and structural bases of health inequities. The program has a strong emphasis on social determinants of health and theoretically based multi-level models of health promotion. The program prepares individuals for further graduate training or professional practice where graduates progress to careers in national and international government agencies (i.e., the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments), global nonprofit organizations, public health institutes, and academia. Graduates are expected to have responsibilities that would include program leadership, planning and evaluation, and applied research.

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the Master of Public Health in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences program must meet the school's general admission requirements and submit materials per the application requirements.

Program Competencies
  • Construct multilevel models of health behaviors for health promotion interventions and research based on individual, community, and population level theories.
  • Plan research and evaluation strategies to answer key social behavioral science research questions and evaluate programming, with a community-informed lens.
  • Apply appropriate data management and analysis methods for social behavioral science research in the social determinants of health, health systems, and health policy to promote health equities and reduce health disparities.
  • Formulate implications for research, policy, and practice from an interpretation of the results of social behavioral science research at the individual, community, and societal levels.
  • Assess health inequities in the U.S. and globally through applying a social justice framework.
  • Appraise one's own implicit biases and make a plan for minimizing their potential impact on personal and professional interactions.
Degree Requirements

SPHTM Foundational Requirements (15 Credits)

SPHL 6020 Foundations of Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6070 Health Systems Policy & Management (3 Credits)
SPHL 6080 Design Strategies for Public Health Programs (3 Credits)

Social Behavioral and Population Sciences Courses (15 Credits)

SBPS 6030 Social & Behavioral Aspects of Health (3 Credits)
SBPS 7250 Evidence-Based Research Methods in Social-Behavioral Sciences(3 Credits)
SBPS 6100. Health Equity for Public Health Practitioners (3 Credits)

Any two of the following: 6 Credits

SBPS 6340 Monitoring and Evaluation of Global Health Programs
SBPS 6700 Social Innovation for PH Professionals
SBPS 7100 Public Health Policy and Practice
SBPS 7280 Qualitative Methods: Basic Foundations
SBPS 7290 Qualitative Methods II - Theory and Methodology
SBPS 7200 Development Issues: Theory and Measurement


Elective Courses (15 credits minimum)

Elective courses may include formal courses and independent studies. No more than 6 credits of independent studies may be applied toward the MPH degree. Student may group electives into illustrative content areas, including: Health Promotion, Social Epidemiology, Public Health Demography, Community Engagement, Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health (MCH), Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Violence Prevention. Students may use electives to complete a graduate certificate . Students may also choose electives outside of these content areas.

Applied Learning Experience (Practicum)

A 300-hour advanced Applied Practice Experience (practicum) that allows students to expand competencies and advance practice skills, under the direction of a qualified preceptor in the practice setting, is required. This practicum focuses on application of content knowledge and implementation skills in applied, field-based community settings. The advisor works with each student to develop measurable learning objectives prior to their practicum experience. Self-assessment and reflection as well as assessment of teams, peers and supervisors are important skills in future public health leaders. 

Integrated Learning Experience

The Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) is how students synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in course work and apply theory and principles. The product of the culminating experience is a high-quality written document that demonstrates achievement of the core and program competencies. In the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences, this will be demonstrated through a public health analysis that addresses a public health issue and demonstrates the application of skills, synthesis of knowledge and analysis of real-world problems in public health. Examples of types of projects for the public health analysis include: an applied research project that examines a public health issue; critical review of a public health issue that include synthesis and analysis of the topic with recommendations; evaluation of a public health program or project; policy analysis with supporting research; or development of a training manual.

Contact Us

Department Interim Chair: David Hotchkiss, PhD

Program Director: Mai Do, MD, DrPh

Program Manager: Anita Jobson-Wolfe


Phone: (504) 988-5391

Ready for More?

You can learn more in a webcast.

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