PHS Masters Program

MS - Population Health Science

Main Content

Course Descriptions

  • PHS 700. Essentials of Population Health. Introduction to how the multiple determinants of health (e.g., health care, socioeconomic status, genetics, the physical environment and health behavior, and their interactions) have implications for the health outcomes of populations. Characteristics of populations defined by geography, diagnosis, and/or point of care will be discussed. Avenues in which health care systems, public health agencies, community-based organizations, retail health organizations work together to improve local, national, and global communities. Students will also learn how to view problems from a population health and population health management perspective. Descriptions of how clinical and non-clinical data is used to measure health-related outcomes, analyze patterns, communicate results, and develop evidence-based intervention practices to manage of health of populations will be explored. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 702. Statistical Methods in Research. This course provides an introduction to selected important topics in statistical concepts and reasoning. This course represents an introduction to the field and provides a survey of data types and analysis techniques. Specific topics include applications of statistical techniques such as point and interval estimation, hypothesis testing (tests of significance), correlation and regression, relative risks and odds ratios, sample size/power calculations and study designs. While the course emphasizes interpretation and concepts, there are also formulae and computational elements such that upon completion, class participants have gained real world applied skills. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 703. Epidemiology I. This course will introduce students to the principles and methods of epidemiology in human populations, including study design (randomized trials, case-control studies, cohort studies, and cross-sectional studies), risk estimation, and methods of causal inference. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 704. Epidemiology II. This course will present and illustrate advanced concepts in epidemiologic methods with an emphasis on observational studies. Topics include causal inference in epidemiology, measures of disease frequency, measures of association, application of statistical methods commonly used in epidemiologic studies (e.g., stratified and logistic regression analysis), calculation of sample size and statistical power, precision and validity in epidemiologic studies, quantification of bias (e.g., information and selection bias), assessing confounding and effect modification, interpretation and critique of results from various epidemiologic studies including meta-analysis Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 712. Science Communication & Dissemination I. This is a foundation course in science communication theory, research, and practice in the context of health promotion and health care. This course is based on the premise that scientists, and increasingly, other practitioners and educators, are agents of change in creating research impact, promoting research utilization, and ensuring that research findings reach appropriate audiences. This course is designed to increase practical knowledge, competencies and skill set necessary for translating scientific knowledge to various communities and populations. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 714. US Healthcare Organizations and Delivery. Focuses on the organization, financing, and delivery of healthcare in the U.S. Contrasts the private and public sectors and examines the effects of market competition and government regulation. Examines the ways that medical providers are paid, and explores the major issues currently facing physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. Also discusses several potential small and large scale reforms to the U.S. healthcare system and evaluates their likely effects on healthcare spending, quality of care, and access to care. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 715. Health Disparities Seminar. This course will examine relevant historical issues, theories, and empirical data, emphasizing critical analysis and application of knowledge. Disparities will be discussed relative to race/ethnicity, gender, income, and sexual orientation. Students will gain a better understanding of research on health disparities and interventions to promote health equity through a combination of readings, reflection papers, and in-class exercises. Students will summarize the evidence regarding a specific health disparity (topic and population of their choice). Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 717. Health Behavior Theory. This course will provide an overview of social and behavioral science theories and frameworks that are currently used to: 1) understand health related behaviors; and 2) guide development of interventions and policies designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate major public health problems. Population health is an interdisciplinary field built upon other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, economics, demography, and public health. As a result, this course will cover classic theories in psychology and sociology; the leading health behavior theories in public health, and emerging theories used in population health interventions. Traditional Independent Study (3 hours)

  • PHS 731. Social Determinants of Health. This course analyzes the social factors, such as inequalities in income and opportunities, and racial/ethnic disparities that influence the health of populations. The course examines the effect of economic, social, cultural, and environmental factors on population health. The course looks at how systematic variation in these factors lead to health disparities, and explores how economic, social and cultural conditions interact with other determinants of health such as human behavior and biology. The course also reviews the methods used in health disparities research and assesses relevant economic and social policies. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 742. Multivariate Regression. This course introduces the basic concepts and steps associated with multivariable statistical modeling. It integrates methods with performing the steps using data analysis tools such as Stata. Presents use of generalized linear models for quantitative analysis of data encountered in public health and medicine. Specific models include analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, multiple linear regression, logistic regression, and Cox regression. Applied linear regression involving hands-on data analysis will be emphasized. Students enrolling for this course should have taken at least one other graduate level statistics course and should be conversant with the basic fundamentals of statistical testing and estimation. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 744. Bioethics and Society. This is a case-method course, consisting of discussion of the fundamental basics of bioethical theory. In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of bioethical theory and then apply this knowledge in developing a language and toolbox for making decisions when faced with dilemmas and ethical conflicts in a healthcare setting and in regard to issues of health and healthcare. The underlying concepts are vital to selecting and applying the appropriate frame to view these dilemmas and ethical conflicts. Traditional Lecture (1 hour)

  • PHS 750. Population Health Research Methods I. This course will introduce the major components in research methods including: qualitative and quantitative study designs, selection of study populations, formulation of research questions, hypothesis formulation, levels of measurement, sampling, measurement, instrumentation, and study interpretation issues. Emphasis will be placed on research methods from social science origins, including an introduction to qualitative research theory and design. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 796. Thesis and Thesis Research. The purpose of this culminating course is for students to produce a written, independent scientific research work. During the course, students will demonstrate their ability to independently plan, carry out and present (orally and written) their research on a topic that addresses a current population health-related issue. This involves formulating a research question and objectives, selecting appropriate methods, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting and discussing results in relation to relevant scientific literature. Online, Internet, or Web-based Thesis (1-9 hours)

  • PHS 797. Population Health Capstone. This course will guide students through the conduct of a practice transformation practicum, which is a planned and evaluated work experience that compliments the classroom education, and allows them the opportunity to apply the lessons learned in their course work. The practicum experience is designed to enhance students’ experience in the field of population health, and is key to a comprehensive understanding of population health practice in various settings. Success is defined by the exposure to valuable work experience, improvement in subject matter knowledge, and achievement of course objectives. Traditional Practicum/Internship (1-6 hours)

Preventive Medicine Course Descriptions

  • PM 725. Environmental Health. This course offers a general introduction to environmental health from global to local, addressing fundamental topics and current issues. This course covers core topics that prepare students to comprehend environmental health issues leading to prevention and management of the major environmental health problems. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PM 797. Preventive Medicine Practicum. This course provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of core topics in clinical prevention and population health in the health care environment, and to communicate about these topics with other physicians. Traditional Practicum/Internship (1-9 hours)

PHS-approved electives course descriptions may be found in the current version of the UMMC Bulletin.