Sociomedical Sciences

The thirty-credit MS in Sociomedical Sciences degree trains students to apply social science theories, concepts, and methods to public health practice and policy making. The program offers coursework in anthropology, ethics, history, psychology, and sociology, along with a wide range of public health topics and methods. Students can customize a program that reflects a particular disciplinary focus or can craft a more interdisciplinary course of study.

Course of Study

The course of study consists of thirty credits and a master’s thesis, and is designed to be completed in either full-time (two semesters) or part-time (three or more semesters). This program is appropriate for undergraduate students seeking preparation for doctoral study in the social sciences, and those who are interested in public health training but do not wish to pursue an MPH; mid-career professionals with health-related interests in fields such as nursing, medicine, health policy, bioethics, journalism, and law; and postdoctoral students seeking to enhance their training by gaining additional analytic tools for public health policy making. [Requirements and sample plans below updated for 2020-2021 academic year.]

Course Requirements

Course Credits
P6400 Epidemiology (F) 3
SMS Master's Thesis: P8707 (1cr/F) and P8708 (2cr/SP) 3
Theory courses (choose 2 from the following list):
P6728 Health Promotion: Theory, Research, and Practice (SP)
P8736 Theories and Perspectives on Sexuality and Health (F)
P8745 Social and Economic Determinants of Health (F/SP)
P8747 Ethics of Public Health (SP)
Methods courses (choose 2 from the following list):
P8705 Evaluation of Health Programs (F/SP)
P8771 Community-Based Participatory Research (SP)
P8772 Designing Public Health Interventions (SP)
P8785 Qualitative Research Methods (F/SP)
P8786 Ethnographic Methods
P8796 Quantitative Research Design (F/SP)
Public Health Selective (choose 2 from the following list):
P6775 Health Communication (F)
P8703 Health Advocacy (F)
P8709 Gender, Sexuality, Health, and Human Rights (SP)
P8741 Structural Approaches in Global Health (SP)
P8750 Race and Health (F)
P8757 Global Politics of Aging (SP)



General Elective
Six credits of student's choice (may include courses outside Mailman)

Total Credits 30

Sample Program Plans

1. Two-semester plan

First semester: 16 credits

  • Epidemiology
  • Social and Economic Determinants of Health (Theory 1)
  • Health Advocacy (PH Selectve 1)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (Methods 1)
  • General Elective
  • SMS Thesis Proposal

Second semester: 14 credits and master’s essay

  • Ethics of Public Health (Theory 2)
  • Global Politics of Aging (PH Selectve 2)
  • Evaluation of Health Programs (Methods 2)
  • General Elective
  • SMS Master's Thesis

2. Three-semester plan

First semester: 9 credits

  • Epidemiology
  • Theories and Perspectives on Sexuality and Health (Theory 1)
  • Race & Health (PH Selective 1)

Second semester: 12 credits

  • Health Promotion: Theory, Research, and Practice (Theory 2)
  • Community-Based Participatory Research (Methods 1)
  • Structural Approaches in Global Health (PH Selective 2)
  • General Elective

Third semester: 9 credits

  • Quantitative Research Design (Methods 2)
  • General Elective
  • Master’s Proposal & Thesis

More information on Admission Process and Requirements.