Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society
Global Public Health and the Common Good
Boston College offers a 12-course (36 credit) newly launched undergraduate major and a 6-course (18 credit) minor as well as a range of courses in the Global Public Health and the Common Good academic program. The Global Public Health and the Common Good program is offered through the Connell School of Nursing with an academic partnership with the Schiller Institute. Our entry-level courses are open to students from across Boston College and are designed to introduce students in any field of study to core concepts in public health.
Enrollment in the major or minor in Global Public Health and the Common Good is by a competitive application submitted in the spring of the freshman or sophomore year. Students accepted into the program have the opportunity to delve deeply into epidemiology, the core science of public health, and to pursue coursework and research in diverse areas of public health such as infectious disease epidemiology, the epidemiology of cancer, children’s environmental health, environmental epidemiology, nutritional epidemiology, and refugee health. A distinctive future of the minor is its strong emphasis on the ethical, moral, and legal foundations of global public health.
The Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College provides opportunities for academic and experiential learning, reflection, and service in the United States and overseas.
The major and minor in Global Public Health and the Common Good are open to students with career interests in medicine, nursing, environmental studies, and public health. It will prepare students for postgraduate studies in public health (M.P.H. and Ph.D.) and enrich the education of students headed to medicine, dentistry, and nursing. And because public health is highly interdisciplinary and intersects many fields of human endeavor, the minor is open also to students interested in law, economics, international studies, mathematics, physics, chemistry, the humanities, business, social work, and education.
The goal of a minor in Global Public Health and the Common Good is to introduce students from a wide range of majors, disciplines, and schools across Boston College to key concepts in Global Public Health. The major will prepare students for postgraduate studies in public health (MPH and Ph.D.) and enrich the education of students headed to medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and nursing.
Program graduates will gain knowledge of:
- The theory, history, and key issues in Global Public Health;
- Epidemiology: the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations—the foundational science of public health;
- The social, economic, and environmental determinants of health and disease;
- The contributions of public health to the stability and well-being of modern societies; and
- The moral and ethical foundations of Global Public Health.
Coursework in the major in Global Public Health and the Common Good will be grounded in epidemiology and biostatistics, the core disciplines of public health. Students will gain an intellectual and experiential understanding of the social determinants of health – the complex web of social, economic, environmental, political, and historical factors that influence health and drive the spread of disease.
The major will consist of 36 academic credits, equivalent to 12 full-semester courses. It will consist of:
- Eight required core courses
- A 6-credit,2-semester Interdisciplinary Senior Capstone Experience; and
- Two elective courses.
Eight Required Core Courses:
1. Introduction to Public Health in a Global Society - PHCG/NURS121
An overview of the history of public health, global burden of disease, sub-disciplines of public health, maternal/child health, and nutrition, and the collaborative nature of the field through examples in research and practice, focusing on at-risk populations, reducing health disparities, and improving health equity at the population level.
2. Introduction to Epidemiology - PHCG2120
This course introduces basic principles and methods of epidemiology and biostatistics. Measures of disease frequency, association, and causation, the design and analysis of studies, and the potential issues that may arise in these studies are addressed.
3. Biostatistics, Data Analytics and Quantitative Methods in Public Health - PHCG3560
This course covers descriptive and inferential statistics used in biomedical and public health studies, with an emphasis on practice and implementation. Descriptive statistics, probability, basic hypothesis testing, ANOVA, and linear and logistic regression will be covered.
4. Ethics of Global Public Health and the Common Good - PHCG/THEO3223
Life expectancy is 30 years longer in high-income countries than in very low-income countries. 92% of all pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Maternal mortality in childbirth is much higher among Black women in the United States than among white women. The course studies the ethical issues raised by these and other real-world issues in global public health, and it considers approaches to address them.
5. Health Inequities: Origins and Remedies - PHCG3600
Disease is not distributed evenly or randomly within societies, but instead is concentrated among people of color, the poor and marginalized. This course will examine the social, economic, political, and historical factors that drive disparities in health and explore strategies to overcome these structural injustices.
6. Global Public Health Law - PHCG2130
This course will examine the critical role of law in creating and implementing social policy and achieving (or at least seeking) social justice.
7. Global Health: Theory to Practice - PHCG3300
In this course, students will learn how to apply the theories and practices learned in other global health courses by working through practical case studies involving real-life global health problems.
8. Public Health Planning, Practice, and Evaluation - PHCG3810
This course explores the theoretical and practical elements of public health program planning, monitoring, and evaluation. Public health advocacy concepts are included in the class.
Electives Senior Capstone Experience - PHCG4975 and PHCG4976
Each student enrolled in the major in Global Public Health and the Common Good will be expected to complete a 2-semester, 6-credit, interdisciplinary Capstone Experience in their senior year. This Capstone will be the culmination of each student’s undergraduate experience in global public health and will require the application of theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. It will be conducted under the guidance of a faculty mentor and will involve working with a community-based organization identified by CSON’s Office of Community Partnership. Working individually or in pairs, students in the Capstone will be expected to work in and with a community. They will identify a community-level public health problem; undertake a rigorous analysis of the problem’s origins and health effects, including a detailed review the relevant public health literature; and devise solutions that are feasible, acceptable to the community, and cost-effective. They will be expected to produce a scholarly report that describes the project, their approach to it, and its outcome. This final product will be required to be of a quality suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal or for presentation at a regional or national meeting.
Students in the major will be permitted to choose two Electives from an extensive list of courses in many schools and departments that have already been approved as electives for the minor in Global Public Health and the Common Good (see list of electives under the Minor requirements)
The Global Public Health and the Common Good minor consists of three Required core courses and a selection of three Elective courses.
Three Required Core Courses:
- PHCG1210: Public Health in a Global Society
- PHCG2120: Introduction to Epidemiology
- Either of the following:
- PHCG2130: Global Public Health Law (fall semester only) OR
- PHCG3223: The Ethics of Global Public Health and the Common Good (spring semester only, cross-listed as THEO3223)
In addition to the 3 required courses, students are also expected to select 3 Elective courses from the list below. Please note: Additional electives may be considered subject to the approval of the program director and Associate Deans.
Two Elective Courses from List A
One Elective Course from List B
Students may also be eligible to take two elective courses from List B and one elective course from List A. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Not all classes are offered each semester.
Carroll School of Management
- MGMT2139 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- BSLW1113 Climate Change Law & Ethics
- BSLW2000 The State of Affordable Housing in the States (cross-listed as ECON2000)
Lynch School of Education and Human Development
- APSY2217 Statistics for Applied Psychology
- APSY3320 Building Sustainable Communities
- APSY4151 Health Psychology
- APSY6348 Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Children
- APSY6397 Social Issues and Social Policy
- APSY7471 Psychological Responses to Humanitarian Crises
School of Theology and Ministry
- TMCE7052 Theological Bioethics: From the Basics to the Future
- TMCE7128 Just Sustainability
- TMCE8072 Human Genetics and Biotechnologies: Challenges for Science and Religion
- TMCE8159 Catholic Healthcare: History, Contexts, Values, and Principles
- TMCE8518 Global Health and Theological Ethics
- LAWS4501 New Frontiers in Environmental Policy *
- LAWS4503 Water Law and Policy *
- LAWS4505 Climate Change Law and Policy *
- LAWS9326 Bioethics and the Law Seminar
*Students must take either ENVS2256 or PHCG2130 prior to enrolling in this course. In addition, students must be registered by the department. Please email email@example.com for further information.
Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
- BIOL1440 Sustaining the Biosphere
- BIOL2300 Biostatistics
- BIOL4440 Vaccination and Immunity
- BIOL5130 Environmental Disruptors of Development
- BIOL5150 Vaccine Development and Public Health
- COMM4465 Health Communication
- PHCG1701 Maternity and Science: Society, Culture, & Public Health
- PHCG1702 Institutional Disparity: Equity and Global Health
Earth & Environmental Science
- EESC1174 Climate Change and Society
- EESC1187 GeoScience and Public Policy
- EESC2297 Environmental Hydrology
- ENVS2256 Environmental Law and Policy
- ENVS2258 Environmental Law and Policy in the United States and Europe
- ENVS3315 Sustainable Agriculture
- ENVS3345 Environment and Public Health
- ECON1151 Statistics
- ECON2213 Economics of Health Policy
- ECON2242 Public Policy and an Aging Society
- ECON2273 Development Economics
- ECON2275 Economic Development: The Experience of El Salvador
- ECON2277 Environmental Economics and Policy
- ECON2278 Environmental Economics
- ECON2289 Which is Better? An Economic Comparison of Health and Health Care in France, the UK, and the US?
- ECON3315 Economics of Immigration
- ECON3317 Economics of Inequality
- ECON3363 Micro Public Policy Issues
- ECON3373 Impact Evaluation in Developing Counties
- ECON3374 Development Economics and Policy
- ECON3385 Health Economics
- ECON3390 Applied Health Economics
- ECON3391 Economics of Energy and the Environment
- ENGL4201 Science Writing
- PHIL4320 Philosophy of Mental Illness
- SCHI2000 Spatial Data Science and Applications (cross-listed as PHCG2000)
- SOCY1002 Introductory Sociology for Health Care Professionals
- SOCY1073 States, Markets, and Bodies
- SOCY1078 Sociology of Health and Illness
- SOCY1096 Aging and Society
- SOCY1097 Death and Dying
- SOCY2200 Statistics
- SOCY3373 Sexuality and Society*
- SOCY4400 Racialized Medicine (cross-listed as AADS4400)
- THEO3222 Bioethics and Social Justice
- THEO5498 HIV/AIDS and Ethics
Woods College of Advancing Studies
- ADSB1904 Planetary Health
- ADSB3000 Global Environmental Change and Human Health
- APSY4050 Public Health Practice in the Community (not currently offered)
- BIOL2320 Case Studies in Epidemiology (not currently offered)
- PHCG3210 Contemporary Issues in Public Health (formerly NURS3210)
- NURS5350 Global Healthcare: Meeting Challenges & Connections
- PHCG3120 Cancer Epidemiology
- PHCG3300 Global Health: Theory to Practice
- PHCG3560 Biostatistics, Data Analytics and Quantitative Methods in Public Health
- PHCG3810 Public Health Planning, Practice and Evaluation
- PHCG4140 Children's Health and the Environment
- PHCG1290 Global Health Delivery and Health Equity: A South African Context (summer course)
For Connell School of Nursing Students only:
CSON students only must take the following two courses, which will count as their Electives:
- NURS4260 Population Health Nursing Theory (List A elective credit)
- NURS4261 Population Health Practice in the Community (List A elective credit)
- One elective from List B above