Master of Science Degree

The Master of Science in Population Medicine degree is an innovative program that provides medical students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effectively managing patients and populations in the 21st-century health care system.  

The Master of Science in Population Medicine is part of a dual-degree MD-ScM program at The Warren Alpert Medical School.  Through a unique four-year, nine-course curriculum, taken in addition to medical school coursework, this program includes a thesis requirement.  

The courses consist of the following:

1. Health Systems Science I & II:  These courses will introduce students to health care systems in the Unites States and elsewhere.  Both courses, integrated with the Doctoring and Integrated Medical Science courses during Years 1 and 2, will focus specifically on topics such as health care financing, health disparities, social determinants of health, patient safety, quality improvement, and medical-legal partnerships.

2.  Research Methods in Population Medicine: This course, offered during Year 1, will prepare students to develop and demonstrate the necessary research skills to formulate a population medicine research question and then design and conduct an investigational study culminating in a manuscript to satisfy thesis requirements of the ScM degree.

3.  Quantitative Methods:  This course, offered in the summer between  Years 1 and 2, focuses on biostatics and epidemiology.  This course, which is taught in an online format with instructor office hours, focuses on the principles of epidemiology, study design, hypothesis testing, parametric and non-parametric tests and the integration of these concepts into clinical care.

4. Leadership in Health Care: This course is designed to "educate a new type of physician.  [It] emphasizes temwork and leadership, population science and behavioral and social medicine."  The goal of this innovative new course is to develop physician leaders who improve the quality of health care and wellness of the population.

5.  Population and Clinical Medicine I & II:  These courses, woven into the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, focus on the intersection of population medicine and clinical care of individuals and populations. Topics will include dental care in underserved populations, medical care of incarcerated persons, poly- pharmacy in elderly individuals, quality improvement, patient safety and the patient-centered medical home. 

In addition to this coursework, students will be required to perform scholarly work and write a thesis, ultimately leading to a Master of Science in Population Medicine (ScM) degree. Students will choose a mentor and begin their research project in the summer between Years 1 and 2.  Available projects are diverse and students are encouraged to choose topics they are passionate about.