Approved Substantive (S) Population and Population-based Methods (M) Courses 2017-18

Department of Anthropology

SAnthropology 750

Last offered spring 2017 (P. Redfield)


This graduate seminar serves as an advanced introduction to sociocultural approaches to the sub-discipline of medical anthropology. Through the careful scrutiny of selected, acclaimed monographs and articles, we will explore major theoretical concerns taken up by medical anthropologists to make sense of and account for health, disease, and treatment in diverse settings. Rather than setting out sections on theory, methods, and substantive topics, this course is organized around several of the most important analytical frames that have shaped and continue to shape medical anthropology. We consider these analytical frames as they have developed alongside the emergent realities of contemporary life that medical anthropologists endeavor to make sense of: new biotechnologies, expanding markets, new epidemics, and changing forms of subjectivity in our globalizing world. We will be concerned throughout this course with the linkages among approaches, and the dialogues, debates, collaborations, and divergences that have developed interactively in light of and in response to the others. The course seeks to plunge us into the life of a discipline, into the medley of discussions, trajectories, and the choreography of interactions that together comprise theory and practice in sociocultural approaches to medical anthropology.
(approved January 2016)

SAnthropology 897.037  

Last offered fall 2015 (P. Leslie)

ENVIRONMENT AND POPULATION: The ecology of risk, uncertainty, and demographic behavior (3)

Concern over the relationship between population and environment abounds. But the most salient research and discussion has focused on one aspect of the relationship --human impact on the environment. In this seminar, we will be concerned primarily, though not exclusively, with the other side of the relationship - how environmental characteristics (especially the physical and biotic environments, but also the social/economic/political environment as it interacts with the above) affect population characteristics and dynamics. These two "directional arrows" are of course ultimately inseparable; the distinction here is one of emphasis. We will be concerned not only with how environmental characteristics affect human populations, but also with how responses to those environmental characteristics - mitigation or coping - in turn affect the environment. That is, we will whenever possible take a systems view. A special emphasis will be on the biological and behavioral consequences of environmental fluctuations and unpredictability.
(approved December 2005)

SAnthropology 898.076

Last offered spring 2016 (A. Thompson)


This course explores the biological and behavioral characteristics of human populations from a biocultural and evolutionary perspective. We will examine the environmental and social factors that shape human biology and health from the cellular to the societal levels, from conception to old age, and across a range of comparative settings. Topics will include: epigenetics, nutrition and metabolism, growth and development, fertility and reproduction, immunology, cardiovascular health, and aging. Throughout the class, we will draw on classic studies and modern approaches from human biology, public health and medical anthropology to explore the multi-faceted determinants of human biology and health.
(approved January 2016)

Department of Biostatistics

MBiostatistics 670 

Last offered fall 2017 (R. Bilsborrow and C. Suchindran)


Source and interpretation of demographic data; rates and ratios, standardization, complete and abridged life tables; estimation and projection of fertility, mortality, migration, and population composition.

MBiostatistics 771 

Last offered spring 2015 (C. Suchindran)


Prerequisites, Biostatistics 670 and integral calculus. Life table techniques; methods of analysis when data are deficient; population projection methods; interrelations among demographic variables; migration analysis; uses of population models.

Department of Economics

SEconomics 850

Last offered spring 2015 (D. Gilleskie)


Prerequisite, Economics 710 and 771 or permission of the instructor. Measurement and modeling of the demand for medical care, the demand for health behaviors,  the demand for and supply of health insurance, and the incorporation of health, medical care, and health insurance in determining both short and long run labor supply.
(approved December 2011) 

SEconomics 880 

Last offered fall 2017 (K. Peter)


Econ 880 is the first course in the labor economics sequence. We will cover the basics of labor supply, labor demand, human capital, and wages. The course has three main objectives. The first is to develop a critical understanding of the literature in these areas and to identify major issues for future research. The second is to become comfortable with a variety of empirical tools commonly used in the labor field and to use these tools in students’ research projects. The third is to gain background knowledge of important stylized facts about labor markets.
(approved December 2003)

SEconomics 881 

Offered offered spring 2017 (J. Fruehwirth)


This course will cover a range of topics in labor economics, including social interactions, economics of education, early childhood intervention, and discrimination. As a unifying theme, we will explore the potential of different policies to alleviate racial and economic inequalities. There will be an emphasis on how economic theory and econometric methods can be used to infer causal, policy-relevant parameters.
(approved December 2003)

Department of Epidemiology

MEpidemiology 715

Offered spring 2017 (C. Poole)


Prerequisites, BIOS 545, EPID 705 and 710. Required preparation, competence in SAS or STATA. Permission of the instructor for nonmajors. An in-depth treatment of basic concepts and skills in epidemiologic research, including problem conceptualization, study design, research conduct, data analysis and interpretation. Four lecture and two laboratory hours per week.
(approved December 2012)

MEpidemiology 718

Last offered fall 2017 (B. Pence and S. Marshall)


Prerequisite, EPID 715. Permission of the instructor for nonmajors. Concepts and applications, including logistic regression, binomial regression, model building strategy, additive and multiplicative interaction, and graphical exploration. Includes computer-based experience with real data. Two lecture hours and one lab hour per week.
(approved December 2012)

MEpidemiology 722

Offered spring 2017 (M. Brookhart and S. Cole)


This course covers the epidemiologic analysis of time-to-event data. Emphasis is on weighing threats to the accuracy (i.e., validity and precision) of inferences drawn from epidemiologic analyses of time-to-event data. Class time is spent on lectures and discussions of weekly readings and analytic, computer-based homework assignments. Feedback is solicited in-person and by Poll Anywhere. Prerequisites include prior knowledge of epidemiologic and statistical methods, including linear and logistic regression, as well as knowledge of SAS.
(approved December 2012)

SEpidemiology 742 (formerly EPID 690)

Offered spring 2017 (S. Engel)


Biomarkers are increasingly used in population-based research, with varying success. On the plus side, they tend to be quantitative and relatively objective measures of an important exposure, covariate, or intermediate marker of disease. However, their pitfalls are often poorly appreciated, and frequently ignored. This course surveys the major issues relevant to the application of biomarkers in epidemiological research, including the logistical hurdles in biospecimen collection and storage, a critical assessment of biomarker quality, the interpretation of quantitative estimates, and the resultant analytic issues that often arise in statistical analyses.

After taking this course, students should understand the important issues to consider in planning a molecular epidemiological study, and be able to critically assess the literature linking biomarkers to health endpoints.
(approved December 2007)

SEpidemiology 743

Offered spring 2017 (K. North)


This course examines the methods and concepts of genetic epidemiology that are relevant to the study of complex diseases in human populations. The population focus of the course derives from the integration of biological linkages with health and developmental trajectories. Students will be introduced to tools and methods for evaluating genetic pathways and potential gene-environment interactions, such as social determinants and risk factors. Understanding the genetic etiologies of health and behavior is a crucial component in the dynamic system of complex human population and environmental interactions. This course adds important technical knowledge for evaluating and interpreting genetic data which has dramatically increased with technological advances and collaborative global consortium efforts.
(approved December 2011)

SEpidemiology 757

Offered spring 2017 (S. Weir)


This course is designed to provide an overview of key issues in HIV/AIDS epidemiology to students interested in studying the proximate determinants of the HIV epidemic in developing countries. In addition to getting expert lectures on biological factors of HIV important for understanding the course of an epidemic in a country, students are exposed to topics such as: the methods used by UNAIDS to estimate HIV prevalence in a country and sources of bias in these estimates; the methods used to monitor the proximate determinants of the HIV epidemic in a country including the use of DHS data; and ethical issues raised in decision making about the allocation of prevention and treatment funding.
(approved December 2007)

SEpidemiology 826

Last offered fall 2017 (A. Aiello)


Social determinants are important drivers of individual and population health. Epidemiologists should understand what social determinants are, how they are derived, and how they can be used in study design, analysis, and interpretation of results. The objective of this course is to provide a foundation for the concepts and theory that underlie social epidemiologic research, including a discussion of how to use those concepts to inform applied research.
(approved December 2006)

SEpidemiology 827

Offered spring 2017 (W. Robinson)


This course examines analytic methods for improving causal inference when investigating social determinants of health.  Topics include causal inference, challenges to investigating the roles of social factors and neighborhoods in health research, and various methods relevant to social epidemiological research.
(approved December 2011)

SEpidemiology 851 

Last offered fall 2017 (T. Desrosiers)


Epidemiology of major reproductive health outcomes, including infertility, fetal loss, birth weight, congenital malformations, and infant mortality. Current knowledge regarding epidemiology of these outcomes. Discussion of methodological issues specific to reproduction.

Department of Geography

SGeography 450

Last offered spring 2016 (C. Gray)
Note: Only sections of Geography 450 (Population, Development and the Environment) taught by Professor Gray are approved for the CPC population course list.


Historical and recent changes in human populations, international development and the global environment are closely interconnected, though sometimes in surprising ways. These changes have brought the world to a population of 7 billion with both unprecedented prosperity and resilient poverty, whose actions have led to a changing climate and declining biodiversity. However this century is likely to witness a peak in the global human population, declining poverty and net reforestation globally. We will examine these processes through the lens of population geography, a quantitative, people-focused perspective that draws on a variety of types of data, to ask how individual decisions contribute to global outcomes as well as how individuals are affected by global change.
(approved December 2012)

MGeography 541

Last offered spring 2016 (M. Emch)


GEOG 541 is an advanced course covering the theory and application of geographic information systems (GIS) for public health. The course includes an overview of the principles of GIS in public health and practical experience in its use. The practical component involves the use of desktop GIS software packages including ArcGIS and other spatial analysis software such as GWR, GeoDa, and SaTScan. Both the theoretical and practical components of the course are important. Without a theoretical understanding of GIS methods you will make bad geographic modeling decisions and when necessary you will not be able to migrate to a new or different GIS software package. Without a practical understanding of GIS software your theoretical knowledge cannot be put to use. We will have an active learning environment, which means that students should be ready to participate and contribute to the class. Students must also complete a final project in which they investigate a public health GIS application in depth.
(approved December 2012)

SGeography 542 

Last offered fall 2016 (M. Emch)


This course focuses on the theory behind neighborhood determinants of health, which is an important area in population health research. It is a survey course that covers the fundamental theory behind neighborhood effects and the approaches for measuring them. The course involves a review of empirical and theoretical work from several different fields including geography, sociology, and public health.
(approved December 2006)

SGeography 813 

Last offered fall 2017 (S. Walsh)

SEMINAR IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY: Land Use/Land Cover Dynamics and Human-Environment Interactions (3)

SGeography 805

Last offered spring 2012 (M. Emch)


In this class, we examine human health from the human ecology of disease perspective which is concerned with the ways human behavior, in its cultural and socioeconomic contexts, interacts with environmental conditions to produce or prevent disease. We’ll also explore disease distributions from a neighborhoods and health perspective, which is related to disease ecology. Disease ecology views human life as a process, a continual interaction between our internal (biological) and external environments. To understand disease you must study both the person and the place where it exists, and the dynamic and changing relationships between the two. Disruptions in the balance between humans and their environment, via migration, landscape change, climate change, etc. can have either a positive or negative effect on health outcomes. This class will begin with a theoretical grounding in field of disease ecology from a geographic perspective as well as the related area of inquiry, neighborhoods and health. Students will read, discuss, and critique some of the fundamental literature in these areas. Students will then develop and implement an individual project in which they will focus on the ecology of one health outcome of their choice.
(approved December 2011)

Department of Health Behavior

MHealth Behavior 754

Last offered fall 2015 (C. Barrington)


This course provides advanced graduate students in public health and related fields the opportunity to explore different analytic approaches and techniques and develop analysis and writing skills. Students will apply methods they learn to analyze, interpret and write-up the results of their own qualitative research.
(approved December 2012)

Department of Maternal and Child Health

SMaternal Health Child Health 716

Offered spring 2017 (S. Bloom and S. Curtis)


This course will provide an overview of the critical issues in international family planning and reproductive health, including major theoretical frameworks, patterns and trends over time, and family planning and reproductive health policy development. We will trace the evolution of the field from its demographic roots through the current expansion to a broader reproductive health perspective. The main theoretical models to explain the determinants of fertility and reproductive mortality and morbidity will be presented. Demographic data will be used to describe the trends and patterns of family planning and reproductive health within the global context. The development of population, family planning and reproductive health policy through the last three decades, along with the more recent focus on the field within the context of health and human rights, will be discussed.
(approved December 2006)

SMaternal and Child Health 722

Last offered fall 2017 (K. Singh Ongechi)


The focus of this population-based course includes emphases on measurement, trends, theory and both the biological and social determinants of maternal and child health. In the course the main causes of maternal and under-five morbidity and mortality in developing countries are presented as well as the interventions, policies and research which address these causes. Students learn how to use conceptual models and theory to understand how biological and social factors interact to influence health outcomes. The main social factors studied are poverty, education, and gender equality.
(approved December 2012)

SMaternal and Child Health/Public Health 756

Last offered spring 2015 (D. Rowley and V. Hogan)


This course is being taught to help clinicians and other public health professionals develop and strengthen the knowledge, skills and ability to conduct needs assessment, critical appraisal and measurement of the distribution, causes and consequences of health inequalities; to evaluate or design interventions with respect to clinical practice, resource allocation, health, medical care and/or social policy; and to design appropriate clinical or multidisciplinary research targeted toward understanding, reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities of various types and across varying populations in need. This course will focus primarily on chronic diseases and perinatal outcomes. This course aims to help learners define an implementable vision for improving health inequalities within the real world of research, policy, programs or medicine in which they expect to establish a career.
(approved January 2015)

SMaternal and Child Health 862

Offered spring 2017 (G. Angeles)


The focus of this course is developing the skills for examining data in order to assess whether a program had an impact on demographic or health outcomes or behaviors of a given population group. Even though good part of the course will be spent reviewing evaluation designs and the application of statistical techniques for evaluating programs, this is not a course in statistics, this is a course on program evaluation, therefore, the interest is in understanding what are the main issues involved in correctly answering the question: Does a program have an impact? and, if the answer is yes, by how much? We will review how to design and carry out a program evaluation and developing the criteria for selecting the appropriate analytical procedure for evaluating a program given the characteristics of the outcome under examination, the program, and the data available to the evaluator. Of course, students should know how to apply the chosen analytical procedure. Emphasis is given to the appropriate interpretation of results in the context of evaluating a program. This course examines the challenges for implementing program impact evaluations in developing countries. Most applications are drawn from impact evaluations of population and MCH programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
(approved December 2006)

Department of Nutrition

SNutrition 745 

Last offered fall 2016 (L. Adair and M. Bentley)


Provides a broad overview of international nutrition research issues, programs, and policies. Topics will include micronutrient deficiencies, child feeding and growth, determinants of under- and over-nutrition, chronic disease and nutrition, food fortification and supplementation, and nutrition intervention programs and policy.
(approved December 2003)

SNutrition 810/Epidemiology 810

Offered spring 2017 (D. Ward)


This course provides an overview of major issues in physical activity measurements, population distributions, correlates, impacts (physical and economical), and public health recommendations. Interventions, including relevant theories, will be reviewed.The course also provides a historical perspective of physical activity, and a discussion of physical activity policy including the differences between public health policy and individual policy.
(approved January 2015)

SNutrition 812

Last offered spring 2016 (J. Poti and S. Voruganti)


Obesity is a major, global public health issue. The escalating prevalence of obesity, its strong relationship with diabetes and other major chronic diseases, and its substantial economic consequences present serious scientific and societal challenges. Obesity is a complex health problem with causes ranging from cellular and molecular to community and societal factors. Addressing obesity requires an intensive interdisciplinary approach across multiple levels of influence.

The course is designed as an introductory course for graduate students in the health, social, and behavioral sciences. This course will provide a broad survey of obesity research, including measurement issues, biological, social and economic etiologies, health and economic consequences, and prevention and treatment of obesity.
(approved December 2008)

MNutrition 813

Offered spring 2017 (S. Albrecht)


The course introduces students to key concepts and methods in Nutrition Epidemiology in order to equip them with the tools needed to design, analyze, and critically evaluate population-based nutrition research. Through team-based discussions, lectures, computer exercises, and homework, this course aims to provide students with hands-on experience in selecting nutritional measures, and in analyzing and interpreting data.
(approved January 2016)

MNutrition 814

Offered spring 2017 (H. Stevens and J. Poti)


This graduate course discusses major issues in obesity epidemiology focusing on methodological concepts relevant to the practice of research.
(approved December 2013)

MNutrition 818

Last offered fall 2015 (L. Adair and K. Meyer)


Prerequisites, BIOS 545, EPID 600 or 710, and NUTR 813. Skills and techniques to study how dietary exposures, physical activity, and anthropometric status relate to disease outcomes. Focus is hands on data analysis using STATA, and interpretation of results from statistical analysis.
(approved December 2012)

Department of Public Policy

SPublic Policy 760 (formerly 799)

Last offered fall 2016 (K. Perreira)


Approximately 40 million immigrants (14% of the US population) live in the United States and nearly one quarter of all children (ages 0-18) in the US are children of immigrants. Although the majority of immigrants arrive to the US from Latin America, others immigrate from Asia, Africa, and Europe. With a focus on Latin American migration to the US, this course introduces students to the inter-relationships between migration and health. Students will gain an understanding of the theories of migration and the ways in which immigration and settlement policies influence the health and well-being of immigrant populations. Students will have an opportunity to explore and evaluate key health issues affecting migrant populations and critique initiatives to improve the health of immigrant populations in the US.
(approved December 2012)

MPublic Policy 882 (HPM 882)

Last offered fall 2017 (J. Moulton)


Students will apply models and statistical techniques to original PLCY research; understand major techniques used to estimate causal relationships in quasi-experimental designs, including panel data and simultaneous equations models; and gain intuition and skills about the art of econometrics, including techniques for using complex survey data and handling missing data.
(approved December 2012)

SPublic Policy 895  

Last offered spring 2012 (S. Handa)


This course covers topics in poverty, welfare and human resources from an economic perspective, and will be of interest to students who want to specialize in social and behavioral approaches to the study of population and demographic phenomena.
(approved November 2004)

Department of Social Work

MSocial Work 916

Offered spring 2017 (D. Chen)


Structural equation modeling (SEM)is a general statistical method that can be employed to test theoretically derived models. It is “a class of methodologies that seeks to represent hypotheses about the means, variances, and covariances of observed data in terms of a smaller number of ‘structural’ parameters defined by a hypothesized underlying model” (Kaplan, 2000). In this course, students will learn fundamental concepts and skills to conduct SEM, and how to apply these techniques to social work research.
(approved January 2015)

MSocial Work 917

Last offered fall 2017 (D. Chen)


This course introduces the context and intuition for longitudinal and multilevel models, and the statistical frameworks, analytical tools, and social behavioral applications of three types of models: event history analysis (EHA), multilevel modeling (MLM), and growth curve analysis.
(approved January 2016)

Department of Sociology

MSociology 620

Last offered spring 2016 (Y. Claire Yang)


This seminar surveys the major methodological tools and empirical studies of aging and cohort analysis that are of enduring importance to the understanding of social change, epidemiologic trends, and related population and life course processes and dynamics. It aims to provide useful guidelines on how to conduct such analysis. It first introduces the theoretical background and principles of the aging and cohort analysis paradigm. This is followed by an introduction of key models and methods within the frameworks of three common research designs in empirical research. Discussion within each design emphasizes the substantive problems that result from the lack of adequate analytic strategies and the developments of new models and methods that address these problems. The objectives are for students to obtain an understanding of key concepts, theories, methods, and research findings so that they can begin contributing to current research in a broad range of areas in which time and change are of concerns such as cancer, chronic diseases, mortality, fertility, migration, marriage and family, quality of life, and longevity.
(approved December 2012)

MSociology 717

Last offered fall 2016 (K. Bollen)


This seminar provides an introduction to SEMs and the statistical software to estimate such models. We first cover the model notation, path analysis, and some properties of covariances. The next topic is simultaneous equations (classical econometric models). After this we study measurement models. Here we will analyze the links between the latent concepts of theory and the observed variables we use to measure them. The general structural equation model that combines the latent variable model with the measurement model follows. The rest of the course will cover as many of the following topics as time permits: overall fit measures, multiple group analysis, mean and intercept structures, missing data, nonnormality of observed variables, limited information estimators, interactions and quadratics in latent variables, categorical variables, longitudinal data analysis, causal indicators, mixture models, outliers and influential case analysis, improper solutions, and confirmatory tetrad analysis.
(approved January 2015)

MSociology 718

Offered spring 2017 (G. Guo)


This course introduces analytical tools for three types of data: longitudinal event history data, longitudinal and multilevel linear data, and longitudinal and multilevel non-linear data. In the event history analysis, we investigate the timing and conditions of the occurrence of an event. A classic example is the study of the timing and conditions of human mortality. Longitudinal linear data consist of repeated measures of an outcome over time on a number of units (i.e., individuals, counties, countries, etc.). Pooled cross-sectional and time series data represent one main source of longitudinal linear data for social scientists. Multilevel data are also referred to as hierarchical data, in which lower-level units are clustered into higher-level units. School/student data are one of the most well-known multilevel data sources, in which individual students are clustered into a number of schools. This course provides you with (1) an introduction to statistical techniques for the three types of data and (2) experience of running models on such data. We start with the event history methods and then proceed with the longitudinal and multilevel data. As you will see, much of the statistical methodology for the longitudinal and multilevel data is closely related.
(approved January 2015)

SSociology 820 

Last offered fall 2017 (L. Pearce)


This graduate seminar will introduce students to a wide range of studies in the sociology of family, improving their ability to critically analyze work in this field and inspiring students' own family-related research. The course materials draw on a variety of theoretical, historical, cultural and methodological perspectives to examine topics such as union formation and dissolution, family relationships, childbearing, parenthood, and intergenerational exchanges.
(approved December 2003)

SSociology 821

Last offered spring 2015


This course provides a basic introduction to the concepts of life course sociology. The emphasis is on conceptual and methodological tools that spur the imagination to better understand the social and cultural bases of the multi-faceted biography. The seminar simultaneously views the biography in macro (i.e., characteristics of populations in unique societies) and micro (i.e., as experienced by the person) terms. Emphasis is also placed on peer-reviewed work appearing in the last decade. The overarching challenge is for the student to apply life course conceptual and methodological tools to her/his specific area of research.
(approved December 2013)

MSociology 830 

Last offered fall 2016 (S. P. Morgan)


This is the first part of a two-course sequence that is designed as a basic graduate-level introduction to demography. This part of the course will cover basic concepts and tools, sources of demographic data, and the study of mortality and fertility. The second semester will cover stable population theory, migration, population distribution, population policy, and estimates and projections. Class-time will be devoted to both lecture and discussion, depending on the nature of the topic.

MSociology 831 

Last offered spring 2015 (Y. Cai)


This course is designed to teach the skills necessary to be an effective social demographer. Half of the class time will be in the computer lab devoted to hands on manipulation of demographic data from a variety of sources. The course will be "problem-based" with time spent working on several cases in depth and developing analytic skills.

SSociology 832 

Last offered spring 2016 (J. Hagan)


Treats migration trends, patterns, and differentials and their effects on population distribution in continental and regional areas. Attention is given to theoretical and methodological problems in the study of population movement.
(approved December 2005)

SSociology 833 

Last offered fall 2015 (S. P. Morgan and Y. Cai)


SSociology 835

Last offered fall 2015 (R. Hummer)


The 20th and early 21st Century improvement in life expectancy at birth, both in the United States and around the world, was arguably one of the most notable achievements of human history. Further, many scientists of our day think that there is much potential for continued improvement in life expectancy; thus, understanding social factors related to mortality change and differentiation has important potential implications for public policy.

Studied from a sociological lens, mortality researchers are centrally concerned with how sociodemographic factors are associated with age- and cause-specific mortality rates, changes in those rates across time, and differences in those rates across groups and contexts. Mortality analysis also provides social demographic researchers with a neatly measured and convenient avenue with which to study how the social world works. Thus, the social demographic study of mortality can be defined as the exploration of how social stratification and social processes are associated with differentials and changes in overall, cause-specific, and age-specific mortality between and among meaningful human groups and contexts. This will be our focus.

The core objectives of this seminar are:1) To introduce the study of human mortality through the lens of social demography; 2) To further the understanding of how social processes and stratification during life can be better understood by investigating how and when people die; and 3) To promote the enhancement of student research skills by actively working on, and developing, a research paper (either review/synthesis or empirical) on this topic during the semester.
(approved January 2016)

SSociology 850

Offered fall 2017 (F. Nielsen)


The course covers major classical and current approaches to social stratification in sociology, with some special emphasis on evolutionary approaches, issues related to the evolution of social inequality with industrial development and globalization, and comparative social mobility
(approved January 2015)

SSociology 863

Last offered fall 2016 (L. Richardson)


This seminar provides a broad introduction to the sociology of health, illness, and health care. We will consider classic and contemporary perspectives on a selected set of key topics in this field. Both theoretical orientations that motivate work on these topics and empirical evidence generated from this work will be covered. Among the questions we will consider are: How are health and illness (socially) constructed? What function does the social construction of health and illness play? How are health and illness socially distributed? How do social factors “get under the skin”? What role does medicine play in producing health in our society? And what else (besides medicine) is needed to improve population health and reduce health inequalities?
(approved January 2015)

SSociology 950

Last offered spring 2015 (K. Harris)


This course is designed to integrate the theory and research literature on health and developmental trajectories across the life course from early adolescence into adulthood based on the design and data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Within the broad life course framework focusing particularly on the transition to adulthood, this course will facilitate student research using Add Health (and other population-representative longitudinal datasets upon approval). Add Health was designed to study the causes of health and health behavior in adolescence and the transition to adulthood with special emphasis on the effects of the social contexts of young people’s lives. The study was designed by population researchers at the Carolina Population Center at UNC, and has been funded through the Demographic and Behavioral Science Branch of NICHD as three program projects from 1994-2013. The design evolved from theoretical notions of how the social and physical environment influence individual health and health behavior among adolescents and their outcomes in young adulthood. In addition to comprehensive demographic, social, behavioral, and biological data on individuals, independent measurement of contextual data on the family, siblings, the school, friends, the peer network, romantic and sexual partners, the neighborhood, the community, and state laws and policies have been collected for rich multilevel analyses of main and interactive environmental influences on health and health behavior.
(approved December 2012)

SSociology 950

Offered fall 2012 (G. Guo)


 The course focuses on how genomics can enrich population studies and other social science studies. In other words, the course examines potential ways in which human genomic and epigenomic information can be incorporated into social science studies at the population level. Topics include an introduction to biometrics (inferring genetic influences using genetically related individuals); an introduction to basic principles of molecular genetics; joint influences of social contexts and genetic heritage to human behaviors; history of human evolution and contemporary race/ethnicity; evolutionary psychology; sex, gender, and genetics; ethical, legal, and social issues in genetic studies; genetic testing; and epigenetics - the potential links between genes and environment. The course will examine the methods that are used for investigating these topics. To make the course accessible to graduate student in populations studies, the course does not have prerequisites, but familiarity with basic genetics or a social science field is helpful.
(approved December 2010)

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