WWS Blog

Health and Health Policy at the Woo

Aug 23, 2019
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Graduate Admissions Office

This is our final post on the optional certificates available to Master’s degree students at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS).

The three optional certificates we offer are:
Certificate in Health and Health Policy (HHP)—the topic of this blog
Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) or here
Certificate in Urban Policy (UP)

We offer these three optional certificates so that interested students can further specialize an individualized course of study. As a part of the application process, we ask those who think they may be interested in one of our optional certificates to write an additional short essay of approximately 250 words that sets forth clearly their reasons for wanting to enroll in a certificate program.

We have four fields of concentration in our two Master’s degrees—the two-year MPA is for those individuals earlier in their professional careers, and the one-year MPP is for mid-career policy professionals with at least seven years of full-time professional work experience in the public sector. All students must indicate their preferred field of concentration at the time of application.

Many students, but certainly not all, feel they benefit from structuring their academic coursework to meet the requirements of one of our certificates. If you think you may be interested in one of our certificates, please let us know by completing the optional essay as a part of your application.

HHP faculty advisor, Sanyu A. Mojola, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, thinks, “The HHP program gives students an understanding of the determinants of health and the role that public policy plays in shaping the quality of people’s lives and improving their physical, mental and emotional well-being in the U.S. and around the world.”

The HHP program is linked closely with the Center on Health and Wellbeing (CHW), a WWS research center that includes faculty associates from diverse academic backgrounds including economics, anthropology, history, psychology, molecular biology, sociology and demography. The CHW maintains a FAQ on the HHP certificate.

The HHP certificate trains graduate students for careers in health-related areas in the public and not-for-profit sectors. The program is designed for graduate students with domestic and international health interests and provides both broad training in core topics in health and health policy as well as courses in specialized areas.

Certificate students are required to complete two core courses and two approved health-related electives. The two core courses are offered every year. Students may take the core courses in any sequence during their first or second years. A list of elective courses that fulfill the HHP requirements is available from the HHP faculty chair at the beginning of each academic year. Examples of full-term electives are WWS 564, Poverty, Inequality and Health in the World, WWS 565, Social Determinants of Health, and WWS 571c, Global Infection: Burden, Control & Public Policy. Recent half-term elective courses include WWS 593g, Global Reproductive Health and Rights; WWS 594c, Maternal and Child Health: Culture, Controversy and Policy; and WWS 594d, Controversies in State and Local Health Policy. Two half-term courses count as one elective.

Mojola thinks a strength of the HHP certificate is, “HHP students will be trained by exceptional faculty coming from a range of disciplines such as psychology, economics, molecular biology, sociology and demography, giving them broad, interdisciplinary and cutting edge understandings and perspectives that will enable them to craft effective and innovative health policies.” 

The HHP certificate, started in 2003-04, reflects the growing importance of health as a major public policy issue, and underscores the School's commitment to teaching and research in health and health policy. If you are excited by the health and health policy work of our faculty and at the WWS, we hope you will consider applying to one of our graduate degree programs.

Photo courtesy of Sanyu Mojola, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs 

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