Elective Courses

Students must successfully complete 30 credits to satisfy degree requirements for the Master of Science in Health and the Public Interest program. Students have access to electives across many programs and different schools at Georgetown that enable them to tailor the program to their specific interests. Here are some examples of electives:

This course will explore how American law and policy have confronted and continues to confront issues of sexuality. Topics will include, but are not limited to: sexual orientation and gender identity. Debates rage over what the policy goals for the LGBTQ rights movement should be now and how to prioritize them. The course will explore some of the current debates in addition to addressing the continued discrimination many LGBTQ people experience every day. The course will provide a grounding in the contours of current sexuality law and policy. It will also delve into some emerging areas that remain ripe for new policy formation. We will also look at the regulatory process and the role it has played in American sexuality policy. The class will also consider how sexual minority rights have been framed and addressed in some international jurisdictions. The course will be approached through a legal lens, but prior legal education or experience is neither required nor expected. 

The efforts of societies to improve health and increase longevity have constituted a major on-going social revolution over the past 200 years. Students will explore a wide-ranging survey of social, economic, demographic, and public health perspectives on that movement. Readings, and class discussions will cover the social history of health in past times and belief systems about the causes of disease and illness. Lectures will also cover the evolution of major causes of disease over time, the ecology and etiology of major infectious and chronic diseases, and social and economic factors affecting the incidence and severity of illnesses. Additionally, there will be discussions about the social and economic consequences of changes in mortality and health, and programs designed to affect health conditions. The class will also explore issues relating both to currently industrialized countries and developing countries. 

This course provides an introduction to how public policy can be used to improve healthcare quality and the public reporting of quality.

Topics include:
(1) The National Quality Strategy under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); quality under “Medicare For All” proposals; the Quality Payment Program under MACRA and MIPS; the quality of Medicaid; racial/ethnic disparities in quality; international comparisons.
(2) Quality measures and the science of ranking and comparing providers.
(3) Designing incentives for rewarding quality
(4) Protecting the patient: patient safety and medical errors
(5) Coordinating care: electronic health records and digital health care; the medical home model; bundled payment design
(6) Measuring preventive care quality
(7) Reporting quality: report cards; consumer use of public reports; physician use of internal reports; crowd-sourced quality ratings
(8) Measuring overuse, underuse, waste, and the costs-savings from quality; comparative effectiveness methods; geographical cost and quality variation
(9) Current policy issues in personalized medicine and genomics
(10) The impact of insurer/provider competition and consolidation on quality
(11) The Opioid Crisis.

By the end of the course, students should be able to think critically about topics discussed.

This course will provide an overview of the behavioral health issues involved in addiction. In addition, it will cover the environmental and genetic factors leading to addiction, effective prevention efforts, and the diagnosis and treatment of addiction. It will also examine various treatment modalities, including pharmacotherapies.

This is a 2-credit course, providing students with the scientific foundation for understanding the neuroscience of addiction. It will focus, inter alia, on basic neuroanatomy, the cell biology of the central nervous system, neuroplasticity, and basic neuropharmacology.

This course will provide opportunities to develop and build on students’ knowledge and practice of discourse analysis by exploring aspects in which institutions and discourse intersect. During the first few weeks of the course, students will read and discuss both classic and current studies. This will include books by interactional sociolinguists, conversation analysts, ethnographers, and sociologists. The purpose will be to help students become familiar with the wide range of notions and phenomena addressed by scholars in the field of institutional discourse.