The SBI program offers multidisciplinary training for researchers and public health practitioners who wish to use the social sciences in the design, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs, particularly community-based interventions. The combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods is a defining characteristic of the program.
Students are trained in survey research methods, in-depth open-ended interviewing, focus group discussions, observation methods, social and environmental mapping, and computer-aided management and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Students are also given insight into factors related to gender and health, community participation in health programs, and cultural and environmental factors that affect global health.
Through multiple practicum opportunities, the program offers students extensive hands-on exposure to the development and implementation of social and behavioral interventions globally or locally. Upon completion of the program, students are able to provide technical assistance in assessing the socio-cultural context surrounding public health interventions, and in the development, implementation, and evaluation of social and behavior change programs to improve the health of underserved communities in a variety of settings.
Students can complete their degrees in 1.5 years. All requirements should be completed within 2 years.
Academic Terms 1 to 4
Intensive coursework on common core and program-specific courses
Comprehensive examination at the end of the first academic year
Academic Terms 5 to 6 (minimum)
Practicum: field placement at a variety of venues to gain practical skills in the application of the principles and methods learned, give back to community members, and participate effectively in a professional team
Capstone essay making a meaningful contribution related to the practicum and providing evidence of expertise in a specific applied aspect of social and behavioral interventions in global health
In addition to completing the requisite coursework, students must gain practical skills in the application of the principles and methods learned, give back to community members, and participate effectively in a professional team. Many students will complete their practicums abroad. Students will have the opportunity to work with faculty at field sites across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America among others. We have long-standing collaborations with local research partners in many countries, such as Nepal, Peru, Uganda, Bangladesh, and several Native American Nations in the western US. Faculty and staff also help students find opportunities with other global health organizations.
Expected key competencies include:
Define and respond to major global health problems of underserved populations in lower-income contexts, using appropriate tools from biostatistics, epidemiology, and management, and guided by knowledge of underlying biological mechanisms, environmental influences, and current best practice.
Use appropriate and rigorous qualitative methods to understand the social and community context of health and inform public health action.
Apply relevant theory and multi-method formative research to develop locally appropriate, theory-driven, effective social, and behavioral intervention strategies to improve community health.
Implement and evaluate the processes and outcomes of social and behavioral interventions in global health.
Communicate programmatic or research findings to community members, public health professionals, and policy makers.
Alumni take on positions where they are able to provide technical assistance in assessing the sociocultural context surrounding public health interventions, and in the development, implementation, and evaluation of social and behavioral change programs, to improve the health of underserved communities locally and globally.
Where our alumni work:
Rabin Martin, a global health consulting firm in New York City
US Agency for International Development, Bureau for Global Health, Washington DC
San Francisco Department of Public Health, Community Health, and Equity Promotion
UNICEF Zambia, Behavior Change Communication, Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Programme, Lusaka
D-tree International, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Ona, a web and mobile data applications company, Nairobi, Kenya
One Drop Foundation, a nonprofit of Cirque du Soleil, using the arts to catalyze WASH-related social and behavior change in underserved global settings, Montreal, Canada
Introduction of malaria rapid diagnostics in Sub-Saharan Africa, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
Center for Child and Community Health Research, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore
Center on Gender Equity and Health, UC San Diego, New Delhi, India
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, UN Foundation, Washington DC
Merck, Kenilworth, NJ
ThinkWell, a global health start-up and action tank, Washington DC
Public health, Anthropology, Medicine
All applications should be submitted through SOPHAS.
In general, degree applicants will need to submit the following:
Official transcripts from EVERY college-level institution you attended (academic records from institutions outside the U.S. must undergo a credentials evaluation).
Standardized test score (Please review for Covid-19 Pandemic related policies)
English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS), if applicable
Three letters of recommendation
Resume or curriculum vitae
Statement of Purpose and Objectives
International Applicants are welcome and should review additional instructions for applying from outside the U.S.
Applicants in the program must have a bachelor’s degree in the health or social sciences. Prior to international or health experience in highly desirable. Successful applicants possess a strong academic record with an emphasis on both quantitative and writing skills, which are reflected in transcripts and standardized test scores.
Baccalaureate-level degree in a related field.
Personal statement of professional and/or research goals
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For the 2021/2022 academic year, GRE scores are highly recommended but not required.
Official transcripts from all institutions attended
TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers. Minimum scores:
TOEFL: 100 iBT; 600 PBT (paper-based test)
Three letters of recommendation
"Joining this program was the best decision I ever made, not just because of the coursework or the career opportunities, but because of the people."Shea Littlepage, MSPH Student
"My current work at the WHO builds off of the work I started in my internship during my MSPH degree program, including expanding a quantitative analysis on men testing for HIV."Caitlin Quinn, MSPH '17
"As a Health and Wellbeing Programme Officer at the Cambodian Community Dream Organization, Belinda is involved with a variety of health and wellbeing programs."Belinda Chiu, MSPH Student
"After graduation, I'll be working at USAID as a Strategic Information Fellow in the Office of HIV/AIDS."Joseph Greg Rosen, MSPH Student
"The professors are unrelentingly committed to us as students and individuals."Aditi Rao, MSPH Student