Programs and Degrees

MPH Concentration in Society, Behavior and Development

The Society, Behavior and Development concentration prepares masters students to appreciate inter-related social-behavioral theories and contextual factors – globalization, development processes, and information technologies – that are needed to address complex, inter-related global health problems in the 21st century.  These theories draw from numerous disciplines:  sociology, anthropology, economics, history, political science, and geography; reflecting faculty research and training.  Deeper understanding and applications of these theories lead us to the intersection of health with culture, gender, poverty, place, and power.  Students in this focus area will be able to understand and apply social, behavioral, and developmental theories linking knowledge to individual health behaviors and other actions at the level of the household, community, and organization.

programs picturesThe 45-credit hour MPH curriculum is designed to prepare students to improve the health of populations worldwide through strengthening health systems, building stronger communities and facilitating healthy behaviors in an increasingly globalized world.


Concentration Competencies

  • Identify health disparities across population sub-groups and potential interventions at the intersection of health and social structures, culture, gender, poverty, place, and power.
  • Leverage and apply theories of social action, human behavior, and human development to facilitate a more thorough understanding of the links between health disparities and social structure.
  • Critically assess current public health approaches in research and programs for their relevance to the social determinants of health outcomes.
  • Work effectively and sensitively with diverse organizations operating in the global public health and development arena.

Employment Opportunities for Graduates

This concentration is suitable for anyone who expects to use a range of quantitative and qualitative knowledge to improve the health of populations spanning diverse cultures, worldviews, and circumstance-. Students should be able to work effectively within a range of organizations in global public health and development, including governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as community-based organizations, new alliances, and other innovative partnerships. Concentrating on this focus area can contribute to a student’s training for diverse roles (e.g., analyst, project designer, fundraiser, program manager, team leader, and/or trainer).

School Required Core Courses

BIOS 6030 Introduction to Biostatistics
GCHB 6030 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health
GEHS 6030 Survey of Environmental Health
GHSD 6030 Principles of Health Systems Administration and Management
EPID 6030 Epidemiologic Methods I
TRMD 6010 Biological Basis of Disease

Department Required Course

GHSD 6010 Comparative Health Systems

Concentration Required Courses

GHSD 7070 Social Impacts of HIV/AIDS: An Introduction to the Epidemic
GHSD 7200 Development Issues: Theory and Measurement
GHSD 7350 Themes in Mortality and Health
GHSD 7800 Population Studies

Concentration Recommended Courses

GHSD 6750 Adolescent Health Policies and Programs
GHSD 6830 International Health Policy
GHSD 6850 Population-Environment Theory
GHSD 6980 Health System of China: An Applied Perspective
GHSD 7660 Health Policy Analysis


Model Course Schedule

(click here)


Culminating Experience Exam (SPHL 7950-03)

All students in the Department of Global Health Systems and Development must satisfy the school-level culminating experience requirement by successfully passing the master’s comprehensive examination.  Students must have completed all school core courses before taking the exam, preferably in the semester prior to graduation.  This exam is administered three times each year, and it is the student's responsibility to be present in New Orleans to take the exam on the scheduled day. Students must arrange their schedules accordingly.

The exam consists of two parts:

  1. Part A focuses on the school-wide core courses, assessing competency of core knowledge and application of knowledge and tools in public health.
  2. Part B is administered by the department and tests the student's knowledge in the major areas covered by the departmental core course.

Culminating Experience Handbook


Practicum (SPHL 9980)

The Department of Global Health Systems and Development requires a period of practical training (the Practicum) of a minimum of 250 hours, usually in the summer between the second and third semesters (for those enrolling in fall). The practicum provides students with experience in an actual health delivery or development setting, program or project, in which students apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their coursework to practical settings. The specific outline and reporting requirements of the practicum are detailed in the SPHTM field practicum handbook.


Society, Behavior and Development Faculty

Katherine Anrinopolous, PhD
Philip Anglewicz, PhD
Mark Diana, PhD
Mai Do, PhD
Anastasia Gage, Ph
Joe Keating, PhD
Rachel Kidman, PhD
Nancy Mock, DrPH
Laura Murphy, PhD - Concentration Lead
Valeria Paz Soldan, PhD
Peter Scharf, EdD
Mark VanLandingham, PhD

For more information contact:

Roseanna Rabalais
Program Coordinator
Phone: 504-988-3655
Location: Tidewater Building, 22nd Floor



1440 Canal Street | Suite 1900 | Box TB-46 | New Orleans, LA 70112 | 504-988-5428 |