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Social Sciences & Health

The educational mission of the Social Sciences & Health track is to prepare its graduates for scholarly and research careers in the three thematic areas below. A cross-cutting emphasis is developing novel methods for characterizing and reducing health inequities in vulnerable populations.


Health Measurement & Application

In order to improve health, we need to be able to evaluate its physical, mental and social aspects across the lifespan. Health measurement is essential to the provision of patient-centered, responsive, evidence-based and cost-effective healthcare. Track faculty are renowned for leading the national trend toward measuring health from the perspective of people directly affected by a range of physical and mental disorders (i.e., patient-reported outcomes as well as the development of common metrics and toolkits that transcend disease areas, such as PROMIS and Toolbox). Our faculty also have expertise in developmentally-sensitive measurement and novel longitudinal applications.

Health Promotion & Disease Management

The burden of disease affects every aspect of our society. Despite major advances in prevention, early detection and treatment, it is vital to develop novel, evidence-based strategies to prevent and manage major health conditions. Our track faculty are making major contributions to the science of health promotion and disease management that build creatively on the complex and multidimensional nature of the determinants of health and disease and employ the multilevel interventions necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality for diverse individual across the full disease spectrum and the lifecourse. Our portfolio in this area includes innovative uses of technology to most effectively engage target populations (e.g., social media, web-based behavioral and psychosocial interventions, including symptom monitoring and management) and cultural tailoring particularly designed to improve quality of life and health outcomes in disparities populations. 

Mechanisms of Health & Disease Across the Lifespan

Increasingly, there is recognition of the potent impact of development on disease onset and course and the intersecting influences of brain, physiology and behavior on these patterns. Building on our robust collection of health measurement tools, faculty experts in developmental science, causal modeling, neuroscience and psychoneuroimmunology have broken new ground in the investigation of these complex and mutually interacting influences on disease patterns.


 Required Courses

  • HSIP 400 Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Doctoral Colloquium
  • BIOSTAT 302 or PUB_HLTH 302 Introduction to Biostatistics
  • BIOSTAT 402 Intermediate Biostatistics or PUB_HLTH 421 Intermediate Biostatistics
  • BIOSTAT 301 Introduction to Epidemiology or HSR 425 Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Health Services and Outcomes
  • HSIP 401 Introduction to Health Measurement Science
  • PH 301 Behavior, Society, and Health
  • HSIP 430 Introduction to Social Sciences and Health
  • PUB_HLTH 445 Writing and Peer Reviewing for Publication
  • HSR 462 Grant Writing (0.5 unit)

Choose one of the following required courses:

  • STAT 348 Applied Multivariate Analysis
  • ANTHRO 306 Evolution of Life History Strategies
  • PSYCH 401-2 Psychology Proseminar: Social & Personality Bases of Behavior

 Recommended Electives

Choose four elective courses from the following. Other electives may be taken with adviser approval.

  • HSR 485 Intermediate Quantitative Methods in Health Sciences and Outcomes Research
  • PUB_HLTH 323 Health Equity
  • HSR 470 Federal Policy Making and Health Care Reform
  • PUB_HLTH 438 Survey Design and Methodology
  • PSYCH 405 Psychometric Theory
  • PSYCH 451 Statistics in Experimental Design