Public Health Courses for Students at Boston University School of Medicine
There are two separate but related programs for providing students at Boston University Medical School (BUSM) with opportunities to take courses at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).
I. Advanced Standing Program for BUSM1 Students:
- The Advanced Standing Program for BUSM1 Students
- The MD/MPH Dual Degree Program
Medical students with advanced standing, i.e. who are exempted from one or more first year medical school courses, may take one or two SPH courses during their first year of medical school at no additional cost to the student. This program will be available to a maximum of 25 students per year. Students who wish to register for SPH courses via this program must first obtain written signature from the BUSM Registrar on a BUSPH registration form. Courses taken as part of this program will not appear on the student's BUSM transcript, but will appear on an official Boston University transcript.
Important notes on tuition charges for BUSM students taking BUSPH courses:
- Tuition charges and grades: BUSM students will not be charged additional tuition for BUSPH courses taken as part of this program, provided that the courses are pre-approved by the BUSM Registrar, and provided that the student successfully completes BUSPH course work with a grade of B- or better. If a student receives a lower grade, the student will be responsible for paying the tuition for the course prior to the next semester of medical school.
- Dropped or incomplete course: If a student registers for a BUSPH course, but files a "Drop Course" form with the BUSPH Registrar prior to the "Drop without a 'W' deadline", the student will not be charged for the course. However, if a course is dropped after the "Drop without a 'W' deadline or if the student receives a grade of "Incomplete" for the course, the student will be required to pay the tuition prior to the next semester of medical school. [Each semester a specific "drop" deadline is specified approximately 5-6 weeks into the semester.]
- Application Procedures: BUSM1 students with advanced standing should follow these steps to register for BUSPH courses:
- Download and complete a BUSPH Registration Form from http://sph.bu.edu/registrar/forms and download and print the fall schedule from http://sph.bu.edu/registrar/schedules. Alternatively, you may pick up a paper form and hard copy of the schedule from the shelves outside of the BUSPH Registrar's Office on Talbot 2. Be sure to read the packet and understand the policies and class meeting information.
- The BUSM Registrar (Ellen DiFiore) or a designated staff member will review the form, sign approval on the form, and write "Advanced Standing BUSM student" across the top of the form.
- The student will bring or fax the form to the BUSPH Registrar's Office (Talbot 210 Center; 617-638-5060).
- The BUSPH Registrar's Office will e-mail the student a registration confirmation with a copy to Ellen DiFiore, BUSM Registrar.
- Registered students may obtain the classroom locations and class materials list from the SPH web site.
- Students need to be mindful that if they remain registered in the class after the "drop without a 'W' deadline," they will get a final grade and charges are applied. Non-attendance is not dropping. The drop deadlines for all classes are viewable on the Student Link. The description of how you check the drop dates and what they mean is in the registration packet.
II. MD/MPH Dual Degree Program:
MaryAnn Wilbur - Reflections on My Dual Degree
Combining medical and public health education in preparation for a career of caring for the health of individuals and their communities.
The MD/MPH Dual Degree Program at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health is designed for students who envision a medical career that incorporates public health and medicine. [For a discussion of the pros and cons of MD/MPH programs in general and the timing of public health course work, see the MD/MPH Guide at AMSA (American Medical Student Association.] The MD/MPH program prepares physicians for academic careers or for practice in today's health care environment. This flexible program combines traditional MD preparation with a concentration in one of the following areas of public health: biostatistics; environmental health; epidemiology; health policy and management; health law, bioethics and human rights; international health; maternal and child health; or social and behavioral sciences. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue programs of study and practice placements that allow the exploration of the multifaceted relationships between medicine and population-focused public health disciplines.
Coursework in the dual degree program is generally completed over a period of five years.
To earn both degrees, students must complete the required classroom and clinical coursework for the MD degree and the required 48 credit hours of course work and other requirements for the MPH.
For MD/MPH students the 48 credits for the MPH are fulfilled as follows:
- MD/MPH students earn 16 credits toward the MPH for completing designated courses required for their MD degree. The cost for these 16 credits is covered by medical school tuition; there is no additional cost.
- The other 32 credits toward the MPH degree are as follows:
Approximately 16 credits for Core Courses as follows:
- Epidemiology - 3 credits
- Biostatistics - 3 credits
- Health policy and management - 3 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences - 3 credits
- Introduction to Health Law - 2 credits
- Introduction to Environmental Health - 2 credits
An additional 16 credits that fulfill the requirements for the area of concentration chosen by the student. The available concentration areas include:
- Environmental Health
- Health Law, Human Rights, and Bioethics
- Health Policy and Management
- International Health
- Maternal and Child Health
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Students must earn at least a grade of Pass in all medical school courses and must maintain at least a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in courses at BUSPH.
MPH candidates must also complete the requirements for a "culminating experience" as specified for their specific concentration area. For more information on academic requirements for specific concentration areas, please refer to http://sph.bu.edu; from the "Academics" drop down menu, select the concentration area of interest, and examine the MPH Academic Program for individual departments at BUSPH.
Practicum Requirement for the MPH
All MPH candidates must complete an approved practicum. MD/MPH students may fulfill their practicum requirement in the traditional manner, as described by the BUSPH Practice Office webpage. However, most MD/MPH students may wish to fulfill the requirement by undertaking a suitable project during an open block during their fourth year of medical school. The practicum should be planned well in advance and should focus on a public health-related project that has been approved by the MD/MPH Program Director (Dr. Wayne LaMorte,
). Students are encouraged to discuss possible practicum projects with the MD/MPH Program Director, who must approve the proposed practicum and will serve as the academic supervisor. Regardless of which option is chosen, MD/MPH students must fulfill all practicum requirements, including: 1) registration for the practicum with the BUSPH Practice Office (Scott Harris) before the beginning of the semester in which the practicum will be undertaken [PH970 is a 0-credit practicum course for which MD/MPH students must register); 2) completion of the Online Practicum Orientation prior to course registration; 3) submission of a Learning Contract; 4) completion of Midpoint Review with agency supervisor; and 5) presentation of a Poster Project and participation in the BUSPH departmental integration seminar.
The cost for the MPH degree reflects the cost of the additional course work at the BUSPH. The traditional MPH is a 48 credit degree program. BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH dual degree program receive 16 credits for overlapping course work completed for the MD degree as described above. In addition, BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH program will receive 8 scholarship credits from BUSPH. These are allocated two credits at a time for each of the first 4 BUSPH courses taken as an MD/MPH candidate. Consequently, while the MPH is a 48 credit degree program, MD/MPH students only have to complete an additional 32 credits of course work at BUSPH, and they only have to pay for 24 credits. Moreover, students entering BUSM with advanced standing may take one or two courses at BUSPH as part of the Advanced Standing Program as described above. As a result, it is possible for students with advanced standing who are subsequently accepted to the MD/MPH program to complete the MPH requirements while paying for only 16 credits. For more information on options for financing, students are advised to meet with personnel of the Medical Center's Office of Student Financial Management.
Eligibility and Application Procedures
All medical students accepted to BUSM are eligible to apply to the MD/MPH dual degree program. Students interested in the MD/MPH program should apply first to BUSM. Once accepted to BUSM, students who decide to apply to the MD/MPH program should submit an application directly to the MD-MPH program director before February 15 of the third year of medical school. You are encouraged to discuss the program with the director and apply as early as possible once you matriculate to BUSM, however. Note that if you enroll in the program and change your mind, you may opt out without penalty.
Once accepted into the MD program at BUSM, students may apply to the MD-MPH program by filing an internal application with the director of the MD-MPH program. A complete application will consist of:
1. The one-page application cover form.
2. A current resume.
3. A statement of purpose written by you in which you: a) briefly outline your relevant
education and experience, b) indicate your current professional career objectives, and
c) indicate your reasons for pursuing an MPH in conjunction with your MD and how you
intend to leverage the MD/MPH dual degree in your career.
4. One academic letter of reference from a BUSM faculty member who has read your statement
5. A copy of your current BUSM transcript provided by the BUSM Registrar and a letter from
the BUSM Registrar indicating that you are currently a student in good academic standing
at BUSM. (You must request these in writing from the BUSM Registrar).
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications during their first year at BUSM.
Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Wayne LaMorte with questions or to discuss the dual degree program.
Application Fee & Tuition Deposit: These are waived for MD-MPH applicants.
All dual degree students must meet with the MD/MPH advisor in the School of Public Health (Dr. Wayne LaMorte) and their medical school advisor at the beginning of their program to develop a plan of study.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When should I apply to the MD/MPH program? Should I check the MD/MPH box on the AMCAS application?
The key to getting into the MD/MPH dual degree program at Boston University Medical Center is getting accepted into the BU School of Medicine (BUSM). Once you are accepted into BUSM, you still need to file an application with the School of Public Health (BUSPH), but your acceptance is virtually guaranteed, and there are no quotas. Checking off the box for interest in the MD/MPH program on the AMCAS application alerts the admissions office at BUSM that you are interested in the dual degree program. It does not obligate you to apply, and it has no impact on your likelihood of acceptance into BUSM. If you are interested in the MD/MPH program, file an application to BUSPH through SOPHAS, after you have been accepted to BUSM. SOPHAS. You can apply at any point during the first year of medical school.
Is a thesis required for the MD-MPH dual degree program?
Is a practicum required?
A thesis in not required for the MD/MPH dual degree, but a practicum is required. The practicum requires a public health-related project may be undertaken during the summer or during an open block in the fourth year of medical school. The focus is flexible. The practicum may be research-based, but it does not require collection and analysis of raw data. MD/MPH students must register for the practicum in the semester before they complete the project, but they register for it as a 0-credit course. When the project has been completed, all students present their work at a poster session (scheduled once each semester) and also attend an "integration seminar" the same day in the department in which they concentrated.
Is it possible to incorporate overseas projects into the MD/MPH program?
MD/MPH students generally complete 32 credits of BUSPH coursework between the 3rd and 4th year of medical school. This does not allow much time for overseas travel, but there may be opportunities for short (2-4 week) overseas projects, particularly between the first- and second- year of medical school or as electives in the last two years. They are not a routine part of the MD/MPH.
Are scholarships available for MD/MPH students?
Yes. As of September 2008, all BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH program will receive 8 scholarship credits from BUSPH. These are allocated two credits at a time for each of the first 4 BUSPH courses taken as an MD/MPH candidate. In addition, BUSPH accepts 16 credits of course work from BUSM towards the MPH. Consequently, while the MPH is a 48-credit degree program, MD/MPH students are required to complete only an additional 32 credits of course work at BUSPH, and pay for only 24 credits.
If I enroll in the dual degree program, can I drop the MPH component for any reason and still receive my MD degree?
Yes, you may resign from the MD/MPH dual degree program by submitting a letter to the Director of the MD-MPH program, the BUSM Registrar, and the BUSPH Registrar. This will not affect your MD degree.
Can I complete the course work for the MPH before beginning the first year of medical school at BUSM?
MPH course work for the MD/MPH program is generally completed between the 3rd and 4th year of medical school. However, if a student has been accepted to BUSM, he or she may appeal to the Associate Dean for Admissions at BUSM for delayed matriculation. Also, if a student admitted into the MPH program at BUSPH who is accepted into BUSM before completing MPH requirements, he or she may be transferred into the MD/MPH dual degree program. In addition, credits in core courses and concentration courses taken at BUSPH prior to entry into BUSM can be applied to the MPH component of the MD/MPH program.
Can I transfer credits from another school of public health into the MD/MPH program?
No, the MPH course work has to be completed at BUSPH.
If I am a student in a medical school other than BUSM can I still complete the MPH at BUSPH with 32 credits of coursework?
No. You must complete the entire 48 credits and all other requirements for the MPH just as if you were a standard MPH candidate.
Can I enter the MD/MPH program after I have received my MD degree and still complete my MPH requirements with only 32 credits of course work?
No. An important aspect of the dual degree program is the integration of the two programs. If you have already graduated from medical school, you would have to apply to BUSPH for the traditional 48-credit MPH program without any of the tuition reductions available to our MD/MPH students.
Are all eight concentration areas for MPH students also available for MD/MPH students?
Yes, but for some concentration areas (biostatistics and environmental health) completing all course work within two semesters can be difficult and will require advance planning.
For specific information or questions regarding the MD/MPH program, contact:
Wayne W. LaMorte, MD, PhD, MPH
Director, MD-MPH Program
Boston University Medical Center
715 Albany St., Talbot Building, Room 510 East
Telephone: (617) 638-5073
For further information regarding admission to the School of Public Health contact:
Office of Admissions
Boston University School of Public Health, Talbot C202
715 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118-2531