Areas of Emphasis
Students are required to complete an "area of emphasis" taking a minimum of five courses or 15 credits in specialized theory or methods courses. The area of emphasis is typically chosen after the first year.
Students may choose one of the defined areas, or may design an area of emphasis with courses selected in conjunction with his/her mentor, based on past course work, experience, proposed dissertation topic, and career goals. Students who choose two areas of emphasis must meet the course requirements of both.
Prospective students are welcome to contact faculty representatives of the areas of emphasis to learn of current research activities and opportunities.
Population Health and Social Determinants
Much evidence has been adduced for a positive relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and health-including both physical and mental health. Relative to wealthier people, poorer people and those of low-SES generally have been shown to have higher all-cause mortality, and to be at greater risk for heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, depression, low birth-weight, injuries, many cancers, and bad teeth. Virtually all of the Healthy People 2020 objectives relate to health conditions or behaviors with a pronounced SES gradient. Indeed, low SES is on a par with smoking or sedentary lifestyles in terms of the lost years of life and reduction in quality of life with which it is associated. A large theoretical and empirical literature suggests that the SES-health gradient is not merely a reflection of differential access to health services, but that there are many complex and interrelated interactions between socioeconomic status and health. Some of this body of theory and evidence is included in the prelim reading list.