Public Health

Selected Specialization and Elective Courses for PhD in Public Health

For students admitted Fall 2012 or earlier.

This list has been compiled to reflect the main disciplines that contribute to public health and represents courses with applicability to public health researchers. It is not exhaustive and additional courses can be added or substituted with advisor approval. Most courses offered outside of Steinhardt are 4 points. Note that some courses require prerequisites.

Community Public Health

PUHE-GE 2318 - Assessing Community Health Needs, 3 points
Definition and description of health problems of specific immigrant communities in New York City using census data and other sources of objective information.  Through field observations, students determine the ways in which health providers, community leaders, and community residents view health problems, and compare these views with more objective data as a means to develop health intervention strategies.

PUHE-GE 2405 - Health Communication: Theory and Practice, 3 points
Identification, development, and evaluation of methods for encouraging communities to participate in public health interventions with emphasis on the theoretical basis for communication strategies, and on the design, implementation, and evaluation of health communications programs.  Case studies draw on examples form television, radio, print, drama and other communications media.

PUHE-GE 2410 - Community-Based Health Interventions, 3 points
Identification and evaluation of programs designed to reduce health risks among individuals and communities, with a focus on factors influencing the design of interventions, choice of methods, ways to assess the magnitude of change effected by the intervention, and ethical issues raised by the interventions.

APSY-GE 2272 - Adolescent Development: Theory and Research, 3 points
Examines theories and research on adolescent development with a particular focus on adolescents from diverse cultural backgrounds. Topics include: identity development; family and peer relationships; sexuality; risk-taking behavior; and the impact of family and peer relationships, schools, and neighborhoods on psycho-social adjustment. Different methodological approaches to the study of adolescent development will be examined. Implications for prevention and intervention programs for adolescents will also be discussed

APSY-GE 2005 - Experimental Psychology, 3 points
Hands-on experience in formulating, designing, and executing experimental research. Data collection and analyses; report writing. Converging operations, multiple measures, instrumentation. Data collection and analyses via microcomputer.

NURSE-GN 3325 - Health Disparities - Theory, Research, and Methods, 3 points
This course focuses on theoretical, research, and methodological approaches and issues used to address health disparities. Emphasis is placed on critical appraisal and synthesis of nursing and multidisciplinary literature that will guide the design and instrumentation of research focused on identified health disparities. Course content emphasizes health and urban environments that contribute to health disparities.

EHSC-GA 2046 - Epidemiology of Cancer, 4 points
Prerequisites: EHSC-GA 2039, college-level biology, or permission of the instructor. The epidemiology of cancer in its biological context and illustration of how it could be used in the search for cancer etiology and control. Role of viruses, radiation, nutrition, hormones, tobacco, occupational exposures, and genetic factors in the causation of cancer. Strategies for exposure and risk assessment and for cancer control, including screening. Issues of study design and statistical analysis in cancer epidemiology.

MSWEL-GS 2094 - Current Issues in Migration and Immigration, 4 points
The overall objective of this course is to introduce students to the realities of migration and immigration in the 2000's. Multiple theoretical perspectives are used to understand the impact of migration, legal and illegal immigrant and refugee status, and the effect of political persecution and asylum on individuals and families representing the vast array of cultures and racial groups now entering this country. All aspects of upheaval, trauma, separation and loss are studied in the context of diversity and in accord with the life cycle. This course examines the history of immigration to this country, with particular emphasis on the rapid shifts in the post World War II era.

Health Policy and Management

HPAM-GP 2868 - Mental Health Policy, 4 points
This course provides students with knowledge about the evolution of mental health policy and services in the United States as a way to understand current problems and issues in the field. Included are such issues as government provision of services, equity versus efficiency, and public/private partnerships. The major emphasis in the course is on the treatment of those with severe mental illnesses.

HPAM-GP 4830 - Health Economics, 4 points
Covers topics including the role of the market versus the government in the provision of health care, the productivity of health care spending, the effectiveness of alternative government polices in improving health, consumer responsiveness to the price of health care, and the economics of health insurance. The course also examines the cost, quantity, and quality of care implications of alternative payment systems.

POL-GA 2371 - Public Policy, 4 points
Advanced-level study of policymaking process in federal politics and research issues raised by it. Emphasis is on interaction of policy analysis and political institutions. Some prior knowledge of public policy is assumed.

HPAM-GP 2845 - Advanced Health Care Payment Systems, 4 points
Prerequisites: 1832, 2842. One focus is on providing an understanding of payment systems for hospitals, long-term care organizations, ambulatory care, and other health care providers. A second focus is on providing skills for making managerial decisions that consider their revenue implications. The course provides the student with a basis for researching payment regulations and keeping abreast of trends and changes in health care payment systems.

MSWEL-GS 2089 -  Perspectives on Contemporary Mental Health Practices, 4 points
The course provides for a basic understanding of field of mental health to expand the knowledge of students interested in careers in this area. The delivery of mental health services occurs in a sociopolitical and historical context. This course examines, from a historical perspective, attitudes toward the mentally ill and the development of services from the poor house to the asylum to community care systems. It describes the range of treatment services and options that exist presently and examines the impact of structural and financing arrangements that affect service delivery. The course then reviews key current issues, e.g., managed care, biological vs. psychosocial perspectives, services to children and adolescents, the role of private practice, the issue of violence by the mentally ill and the emergence of family and consumer advocacy movements.

HPAM-GP 2825 - Continuous Quality Improvement, 4 points
Prerequisites: 1011, 1833. An introduction to the concepts and techniques involved in managing service operations in health care organizations. Topics covered include decision analysis, forecasting, techniques for continuous quality improvement, and performance analysis.

PADM-GP 2140 - Public Economics and Finance, 4 points
Prerequisites: 1011, 1018, 1021.  This course is about the economic activities of government, largely revenue raising and spending. The course considers market failures, the evaluation of public expenditures, and the incidence, efficiency, and effects of various taxes. Topics include the economics of the not-for-profit sector, welfare economics, public goods, public choice, externalities, the tragedy of the commons, income redistribution, social insurance, personal income tax, corporate income tax, consumption taxes, and wealth taxes.

Public Health Nutrition

GPH-GU 2213 - Nutrition in Public Health, 3 points
Introduction to the concepts, principles, and scope of practice of public health nutrition. The course emphasizes the distinction between population-based and individual-based approaches to prevention and alleviation of diet-related conditions, and the societal, economic, environmental, and institutional barriers to improving the nutritional status and health of diverse population groups. Co-requisite: FOOD-GE 2190 Research Methods or PUHE-GE 2361 Research Methods in Public Health

NUTR-GE 2192 - Nutritional Epidemiology, 3 points
Fundamentals of nutritional epidemiology focused on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data on dietary intake and nutritional status of diverse population groups. The course emphasizes critical evaluation of dietary assessment methods and the results of research studies associating intake of foods and nutrients or food consumption patterns with the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Prerequisites: NUTR-UE 0119 Nutrition and Health (or equivalent undergraduate nutrition class); FOOD-GE 2190 Research Methods (or equivalent graduate level research methods class)

NUTR-GE 2042 - Maternal and Child Nutrition, 3 points
Principles and application of nutrition for healthy mothers, infants, children and adolescents with emphasis on current research related to normal growth and development. Prerequisites: NUTR-UE 0119 Nutrition and Health or PUHE-GE 2213 Nutrition and Public Health; FOOD-GE 2190 Research Methods (maj: HOND) or NURSE-GN 2301 Research Methods in Public Health.

FOOD-GE 2015 - Food Policy, 3 points
Analysis of the economic & social causes & consequences of current trends in food production, marketing & product development.

Global Public Health

PUHE-GE 2383 - International Population and Family Health, 3 points
A cross-cultural framework is used to compare the health status of populations and families and factors that affect their health in societal subgroups (for example, urban, rural, poor, women and children, and the elderly).  The course emphasizes the effects of secular changes in women's roles and status and other societal, economic, and environmental trends on population and family health.

HPAM-GP 2244 - Global Health Governance and Management, 4 points
This course takes up the definitions of health in international agreements and the general influences of globalization on health. It explores the roles and responsibilities of national health leadership, primarily Ministries of Health, in assuring the health of their populations and the different strategies and variable capacity of national governments in developed, developing and countries in transition. It then explores the role, functions and effectiveness of global organizations affecting health in the UN, NGO and business sectors as well as multilateral and bilateral donors and how they interact with each other and with national leadership. Finally the course looks at emerging instruments for global health governance, how they operate and their effectiveness for promoting health action at the country level.

GPH-GU 2214 - Institutions, Governance, and International Development, 4 points
The course provides an introduction to the current thinking and practice of public sector institutional reform with a particular focus on developing and in-transition countries. The bulk of the course is devoted to an examination of key institutional reforms that are intended to promote good governance as economies liberalize and societies democratize.

PADM-GP 2202 - The Politics of International Development, 4 points
Prerequisite: CORE-GP 1018, CORE-GP 1022. The course aims to give students exposure to important ongoing debates in international development and their historical context. The class will provide an overview of some of the major contemporary analytical and policy debates regarding the politics of development.

GPH-GU 2330 - International Economic Development: Governments, Markets, and Communities , 4 points
Prerequisites: CORE-GP 1011, CORE-GP 1018.  This course takes up issues of economic growth and social change in a comparative perspective. While some countries have achieved unprecedented rates of economic growth in the past half century, other countries have experienced setbacks. For those that have seen rapid growth, economic changes have not always translated in proportional social changes and sometimes rapid social changes have occurred in the absence of economic growth. The course begins by reviewing theories of economic growth and recent evidence. In that context, attention then turns to policy interventions to improve education, address market failures, confront rapid population growth, and strengthen safety nets.

HPAM-GP 2849 - Economics of Global Health , 4 points
Prerequisite: CORE-GP 1018, Offered Spring.  It has been evidenced that improvement in population health is a necessary prerequisite for economic development. Increased health spending is a rational investment choice for governments and donors, and strategies and plans aimed at poverty reduction should include investment in health as a priority. This course will explore these ideas, asking the questions: What is the specific contribution of health spending to growth and consequently the optimal level of effort relative to other social expenditures and to adequate macroeconomic policies and better governance? What are the best ways to improve efficiency in health care systems, and to allocate resources within them, depending on each country'slevel of development? What is the rationale underlying actual priority setting and allocation of resources between health programs in developing countries, and why does the role of economic evaluation in decision making remain limited? How do we overcome existing barriers to coordinated action for global health?

POL-GA 2900 - International Law, 4 points
Rules that govern in the legal relationship and current development of law among nations, based on the study of cases. The use of the law for the regulation of international behavior and environment.

SOC-GA 2145 - Globalization: History, Dimensions, and Dynamics, 4 points
Examines the process of globalization in its historical trajectory; its economic, political, and social dimensions; and its theoretical, cultural, and ideological representations. Focuses on the dialectics of global-local interaction and its consequences for the production of new categories of knowledge, academic disciplines, and methods.

Social Sciences

SOC-GA 2111 - Classical Sociological Theory (1848-1950), 4 points
Examines major figures of modern sociology, including Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Simmel. Focuses on the conditions and assumptions of social theory, the process of concept formation and theory building, general methodological issues, and the present relevance of the authors examined.

SOC-GA 2115 - Contemporary Sociological Theory, 4 points
Reviews major trends in sociological theory since World War II, including structural functionalism, interpretive approaches, rational choice theory, Marxism, and recent European developments.

ANTH-GA 2610 - Cultures of Biomedicine, 4 points
Over the last 100 years, biomedicine as a sphere of ideas and practices has made increasingly powerful claims to define the conditions of human life and death. In this process, scientific authority has moved to the fore. How did medical expertise-as-science get established? What keeps it in place, and how are contests about it mounted? This seminar will look at the many historical processes through which biomedical power is constituted by addressing topics such as: the discovery/invention of bodies, systems, populations; public health and governance; the material culture of scientific medicine; the emergence of diagnostic categories and pharmacologies; the role of biostatistics. The history, sociology, and ethnography of medicine provide our content. While much scholarship has been generated on Western/ cosmopolitan science and medicine, interacting civilizational and subaltern traditions drawn from colonial/ post-colonial regions of the globe are central to our work, as well. This course is located at the intersection where science studies and anthropological approaches to biomedicine meet.

SOC-GA 2401 - Sociology of Medicine, 4 points
Political economy of health care in the United States, with concentration on the roles of the medical profession in the system. Issues include the social construction of illness, the social organization of treatment, and the institutional organization of the medical profession in its methods of recruitment and training. Discusses relations between the medical profession, paraprofessional occupations, third-party payers, and the government.

SOC-GA 2227 - Sociology of Sex and Gender, 4 points
Critically assesses the research and theoretical work on gender inequality in the social sciences. Provides a sophisticated, scholarly grasp of this fast developing field. Topics include the origins of gender inequality, economic equality between the sexes, political inequality, reproduction and child rearing, sexuality, violence, and ideology.

SOC-GA 2137 - Social Stratification and Inequality, 4 points
Assesses the research and theoretical work on economic inequality and classes in the social sciences. Reviews important classic contributions (including Marx, Weber, and Schumpeter), compares competing approaches (including Marxist, conflict, functionalist, elite, and status attainment theories), and surveys modern directions of development (such as labor market studies, socialist inequality, the role of the state).

POL-GA 2326 - Public Opinion, Media, and Politics, 4 points
Focuses on the current state of research in public opinion and in media. The course's analytical focus is divided between psychological and rational choice-based explanations. Students also explore the role of experimental research methods.

PSYCH-GA 2051 - Health Psychology, 3 points
Basic overview of the field including behavior modification, stress, coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, pain, the immune system, AIDS and cancer, issues in pediatric health psychology, smoking, and weight control.

Research Methods and Applied Statistics

HPAM-GP 2826 - Application of GIS in Health Care, 4 points
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a powerful computer technology. It combines spatial information with other types of demographic, human services, and health data, providing new insights to support spatially-informed decision making. Modeling with GIS can help improve the fit between resources and needs and help monitor and evaluate outcomes. Students explore the uses of GIS for health care and human services delivery planning, identifying market share, consumer profiling, and target marketing. The uses of GIS in epidemiology are also explored: how to map public health indicators or to explore the geography of environmental risks.

PADM-GP 4114 - Surveys and Interviews: A Laboratory on Techniques of Sampling, Designing, Conducting, and Analyzing Surveys and Interview , 2 points
This intensive laboratory in survey research is designed to meet the practical needs of professionals working in a variety of research settings. It offers an up-to-date overview of the technical issues involved in interviewing and conducting surveys. It covers a wide range of practical techniques involved in designing interviews and questionnaires. In this hands-on class, participants design and carry out mail and telephone surveys; conduct a series of interviews and learn how to draw an appropriate sample; design a questionnaire; prepare data for analysis (including coding, handling of missing data, and documentation); process and analyze data using a statistical package; and write reports of the results.

EHSC-GA 2047 - Introduction to Survival Analysis, 4 points
(Prerequisites: EHSC-GA 2303 or basic statistics course, and the permission of the instructor, Offered Spring in odd years).  This course reviews the basic concept of survival analysis, including hazard functions, survival functions, types of censoring, Kaplan-Meier estimates, and log-rank tests. Parametric inference includes the Exponential and Weibull distribution. The proportional hazard model and its extension to time-dependent covariates are included. Additional topics include accelerated failure time model, competing risks and multistate models. Recurrent event data are also clinical and epidemiological examples used to illustrate the various statistical procedures.

PSYCH-GA 2229 - Regression, 3 points
Prerequisite: PSYCH-GA 2228 or the equivalent.Multiple regression/correlation as a general data analytic system.  Sets of variables as units of analyses, representing group membership, curvilinear relationships, missing data, interactions, the analysis of covariance and its generalization; logistic regression; nonparametric statistics.  Computer applications.

PSYCH-GA 2233 - Simulation and Data Analysis, (formerly PSYCH-GA 1057), 3 points
Prerequisite: elementary calculus and some programming experience in any language.  Covers topics in numerical analysis, probability theory, and mathematical statistics essential to developing Monte Carlo models of complex cognitive and neural processes and testing them empirically. Most homework assignments include programming exercises in the MATLAB language.

EHSC-GA 2045 - Methods for Categorical Data Analysis in Health Sciences Research, 4 points
Prerequisites: EHSC-GA 2039, EHSC-GA 2303 or BIOL-GA 2303, or permission of the instructor.  Focuses on statistical techniques for the analysis of categorical data, with specific applications to epidemiologic and clinical studies. Methods for the analysis of contingency tables; risk assessment in retrospective and prospective studies; and adjustment for confounding, matching, and effect modification are discussed. Analytic techniques include Mantel-Haenszel summary chi-square procedures, logistic regression, and log-linear models.

EHSC-GA 2304 - Advanced Topics in Biostatistics, 4 points
Prerequisites: EHSC-GA 2303 or EHSC-GA 2303, or equivalent background in statistics, and permission of the instructor. Goldberg. Introduction to statistical methods used in medicine and biology. Topics are selected from the following: survival methods, logistic regression methods, design of experiments, longitudinal data methods, missing data methods, statistical genetics, analysis of gene chip data, and other topics depending on the interests of the participants.   Case studies are used to illustrate the methods.  Students are required to submit a project.

EHSC-GA 2306 - Methods of Applied Statistics and Data Mining, 4 points
Prerequisites: basic statistics course; some programming experience or willingness to learn. Belitskaya-Levy.  Advances in technology and increasing scopes of research have produced largeā€scale datasets and complex data structure and required advanced statistical tools. This course covers a wide range of modern statistical and data mining methods including theoretical principles, applications and computational tools. The emphases of the course are on both understanding the statistical theory of these methods and applying them to problems in biology and medicine. Furthermore, the course aims to prepare PhD students for thesis research.

PSYCH-GA 2243 - Psychometric Test Theory, 3 points
Prerequisites: PSYCH-GA 2228 and PSYCH-GA 2229.Theory and practice of measurement, classical test theory (reliability and validity), item response theory, latent trait methods including factor analysis and logistic latent trait models. Provides computer experience with methods.

PSYCH-GA 2244 - Multivariate Statistical Analysis, 3 points
Prerequisite: PSYCH-GA 2229 or permission of the instructor. Theory and application of multivariate statistical methods in the behavioral sciences. Topics include matrix algebra, univariate/multivariate general linear models, multivariate analysis of variance, discriminant analysis, canonical correlation, and principal components analysis. Emphasis on computer applications in the analysis of multivariate data.

PSYCH-GA 2247 - Structural Equation Methods, 3 points
Prerequisite: PSYCH-GA 2229.Students apply and critique structural equation methods for studying relationships among multiple variables, including path analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, latent variable regression models, and methods designed for categorical data. Emphasis is on practical data analysis and public presentations of findings.

PSYCH-GA 2248 - Analysis of Change, 3 points
Prerequisite: PSYCH-GA 2229. Current issues and methods involving the analysis of change in the behavioral and social sciences, including latent change approaches, hierarchial linear models, and survival analysis, as well as classical methods for the analysis of change, including change scores, mixed model ANOVA, regression and MANOVA.

ECON-GB 3351 - Econometrics I, 3 points
The theory of estimation and inference in econometrics. Covers finite sample results for the classical linear model, as well as asymptotic results for single equation models. Topics include linear and nonlinear least squares, generalized least squares, panel data, instrumental variable techniques, and generalized method of moment estimation. Heavy emphasis is given to empirical application.

INTA-GB 9912 - Panel Data Analysis (Econometrics II), 3 points
This is an intermediate level, Ph.D. course in the area of Applied Econometrics dealing with Panel Data.  The range of topics covered in the course will span a large part of econometrics generally, though we are particularly interested in those techniques as they are adapted to the analysis of 'panel' or 'longitudinal' data sets.  Topics to be studied include specification, estimation, and inference in the context of models that include individual (firm, person, etc.) effects.  

SOC-GA 2312 - Advanced Multivariate Statistics, 4 points
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.  Matrix formulation of regression, probit, and logit. Simultaneous equation systems, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, measurement models, log linear models, time-series, and panel analysis. Pooling methods.

[1] Other courses may be taken by advisement.

[2] Students who have not already had one semester of Epidemiology will be required to take PUHE-GE 2306 Epidemiology as a prerequisite.

[3] Students who have not previously completed 2 semesters of statistics will be required to take RESCH-GE 2995: Biostatistics I (3) and RESCH-GE 2996: Biostatistics II (3) or equivalents as prerequisites.

[4] Courses counted toward Specialization may not also count as Research Electives.

[5] Students matriculating with previous graduate work or master's degrees may be held for fewer credits.

[6] *Note that students wishing to take advanced economics courses might need to refresh/update their math skills. There are several courses throughout the university that can provide this background, including:

Mathematics for Political Scientists (POL-GA 1110).
(This course is normally open only to Politics PhD students so you will need special permission to register.) Covers basic topics of mathematics- calculus, analytic geometry, matrix algebra, etc.-with wide application in political science.