Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health - MPH 604

Credits: 3 credits

Course Description

This course is an exploration of concepts and methods of social and behavioral sciences relevant to identification of and solution to public health problems. The course will focus on the basic set of competencies that is central to the field, including identifying theories, concepts, and models from a range of social and behavioral disciplines that are used in public health research and practice


This is a required core course for students enrolled in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The course is designed to provide learners with a firm foundation for developing public health competency in social and behavioral theory, related core principles, theoretical approaches and models and their application and evaluation in health promotion and disease prevention. Building on the understanding of behavior and the environment, the learner will use the ecological approach to combine individual behavior with a clear focus on the factors that influence population health while examining a range of methods for changing behavior. The learner will examine the application and evaluation of social and behavioral theories and models to public health research and practice. The new public health context will be used to frame health behavior. The learner will start with how theory informs health promotion and public health practice. Social, behavioral, cultural and environmental theories and models will be explored along with applied examples that include the individual, community, high risk, and special populations as well as global health. Health disparities, diversity, ethics, and social justice will be addressed throughout the course.

Course Objectives

During and upon completion of the learning experiences, students will have the ability to:

  1. Describe the value of the social and behavioral sciences for understanding and solving public health problems.
  2. Describe and analyze health-related behavior and disease patterns using a systems-based and ecological approach.
  3. Demonstrate how to integrate theory to plan, implement, and evaluate public health programs.
  4. Apply the ecological approach to contemporary public health issues at the individual and group levels.
  5. Explore selected behavioral and social science models including the Precede-Proceed Model (PPM) and the Behavior-Determinant-Intervention Logic model (BDI) to develop a systematic process for developing evidence-based public health interventions.
  6. Evaluate the importance and association of social and economic inequalities and other factors (e.g. psychological stress, coping, social class, gender, race/ethnicity, culture, social capital, social relationships) on health-related behavior and disease patterns.
  7. Summarize key factors promoting the translation of research into practice focusing on characteristics of interventions, target settings, and research design.
  8. Discuss how communications theory, community or organizational mobilization, political economy and culture theory might be applied to selected contemporary public health issues.

Get Started

To learn more about Creighton University’s online Master of Public Health, call 866.717.6365 or simply request more information.