Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health

Course Syllabus

Summer Semester, 2006

Course Description (from UWF Catalog):

Behavioral and social science contributions to science disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology, will be reviewed and integrated with public health objectives and outcomes. Using a biopsychosocial framework, the role of social, psychological, and behavioral factors in health and illness are emphasized

Prerequisites or Corequisites:


Course Description:

This course covers the theoretical and empirical foundations of behavioral and social science applications to public health concerns. It emphasizes a biopsychosocial approach to health and illness, recognizing that change in social and behavioral factors is necessary for improving a wide variety of public health problems. An overview of major theoretical contributions is provided, with a review of selected applications to public health practice that have been empirically supported used to illustrate the application of theory to practice.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand, describe, and discuss major psychological, social, and behavioral factors influencing public health.
  2. Understand, describe, and discuss major social/behavioral science theories used to inform pubic health practice.
  3. Understand, describe, and discuss evidence supporting the use of behavioral/social science theory in public health.
  4. Apply behavioral/social science theories to the design and implementation of public health interventions for different populations and problems.
  5. Apply ethical and legal principles in the practice of public health interventions.

Required Text:

DiClemente, R. J., Crosby, R. A., & Kegler, M. C. (2002). Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research: Strategies for improving public health. &Sons, Inc. (available full-text online)

Recommended Text:

American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based upon performance on the following: (for more information, see your online course)

Graded Activity Weight:


Regular “attendance” is expected. Class attendance online is critical. Much information provided for this course will be generated through online postings. The online postings and the textbook have been designed to overlap minimally; each of these make unique contributions to the course. Failure to complete regularly scheduled postings will influence your ability to obtain the information provided in this course, including the information required to complete quizzes and exams.

Make-Ups and Extensions:

A missed quiz or review will be counted as a zero. Make-up exams will only be allowed under the most serious of circumstances. Late quizzes/reviews will lose a grade (10%) per day (including weekends) unless an extension is discussed with the instructor in advance. Extensions will only be permitted under the most serious of circumstances.

Assignment of Grades:

The following scale will be used to determine grades:

Special Technology Requirements:

This course requires several special technology skills. Students are expected to be able to access online lecture materials, an online textbook, web-based resources, and e-mail. Students are also expected to be able to use word processing software proficiently.

Structure of the Course

There are four key elements to this course: TEXT, THEORY, SCIENCE, and WEB. Students are expected to complete each of the four elements for the week prior to taking the weekly QUIZ.

Expectations for Academic Conduct/Plagiarism Policy:

Students are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity for all of their academic endeavors. Students are expected to take an active role in this course. Students are expected to complete the reading assignments, online and written assignments, quizzes and exams. The UWF Student Handbook provides a Code of Conduct and information regarding academic misconduct. All students are expected to abide by the policies of the UWF Student Code of Conduct with regard to cheating, plagiarism, bribery, conspiracy, and misrepresentation. Failure to do so may result in a failing grade for an assignment or for the course. (see UWF Student Code of Conduct at

Assistance for Students with Special Needs:

Students with special needs who require specific accommodations should contact Disabled Student Services to make arrangements for accommodation of disability-related special needs.