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Master of Social Sciences Program

Community Health Science Track


Director: MH: Dr. Margaret Woodhull
Director: MSS: Dr. Omar Swartz
Associate Director: MHMSS: Dr. Myra Bookman

Anthropology: Dr. Stephen Koester
Geography: Dr. Casey Allen
Health & Behavioral Sciences: Dr. Debbi Main 


Community Health Science is an interdisciplinary track for completing the Master of Social Science that challenges students to apply knowledge from the social and behavioral sciences to identify patterns and formulate explanations for population health and disease. Areas of application include epidemiology, public health practice, global health, health policy, cross-cultural perceptions of health needs, and the organizational and social structures through which health services are delivered and received. This track provides students with courses in social theory, basic research methods, and statistics in order to facilitate development of problem solving and critical thinking skills in the areas of epidemiology, geographic information systems (GIS), and health planning. Required courses for this track total 18 credit hours consisting of 9 hours devoted to the core social science courses required of those admitted to the Master of Social Science Program and the remaining 9 credit hours being methods courses in the Health and Behavioral Sciences (HBSC) department. All courses must be taken in residency at the University of Colorado Denver.

Targeted Audience

This program is relevant for students with an interest in future careers in health care or health policy as health care providers, administrators, or policy makers in health care agencies, or as public health professionals in the fields of global health, or health law. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to enter the job market immediately, or they may use this track as a steppingstone toward a Ph.D. or another advanced degree.

Core Program Requirements

MSS Core Courses (9 credit hours):
  • SSC 5013 Philosophical Problems in the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • SSC 5020 Elements of Social Thought
  • SSC 5023 Research Perspectives in the Social Sciences

Track Requirements

  • HBSC & EPID Methods Courses (9 credit hours): Three (3) courses from the following list:

*Please note that some of these courses have prerequisites that must be met.

  • EPID 6630 Epidemiology (Colorado School of Public Health)
  • HBSC 7041 Research Design and Methods in the Health and Behavioral Sciences I

(Prerequisite: Epidemiology [EPID 6630])

  • ANTH 6063 Qualitative Research Design and Methods
  • HBSC 7061 Quantitative Methods in Health and Behavioral Sciences

(Prerequisite: Master's level or recent upper division statistics or biostatistics courses)

  • HBSC 7071 Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health and Disease

(Prerequisite: Epidemiology [EPID 6630])



Suggested Electives

Please note that some of these courses are taught infrequently and other courses may also be taken (upon consultation with track advisors)

ANTH/HBSC 5014: Global Health 1: The Biocultural Basis of Health and Disease

ANTH/HBSC 5024: Global Health 2: Comparative Health Systems

ANTH/HBSC 5080: Global Health Practice

ANTH 5520: Human Biological Variation

COMM 4620: Health Risk Communication

COMM 5710: Rhetorics of Medicine and Health

ECON 5660: Health Economics

GEOG 5230: Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessments

GEOG 5235: GIS Applications in the Health Sciences

GEOG 5710: Disasters, Climate Change, and Health

HBSC 5021: Community Health Assessment*

HBSC 5080: Global Health Practice

HBSC 5100: Social Marketing and Media Advocacy*

HBSC 5200: The Global AIDS Epidemic*

HBSC 5230: Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases*

HBSC 5240: Maternal and Child Health*

HBSC 5300: Sickness and Healing*

HBSC 5400: Environmental and Occupational Health*

HBSC 5620: Health Risk Communication

HBSC 6320: Human Genetics: legal, ethical and social issues

HIST 5345: Gender, Science and Medicine (1600's to the present)

HIST 5346: Medicine and Society: From the Ancients to the Present

HLTH 6070: International Health Policy and Management

PHIL 5242: Bioethics

PSCI 5354: Environmental Politics and Policy

SSC 5050: Philosophical Psychology

SSC 5400: Women and Violence

* Course is pending approval.