The major in Population and Reproductive Health is designed to provide the foundation for work on population health around the world. The required coursework illustrates the way in which quantitative methods from demography, epidemiology, statistics and other disciplines can be applied to new challenges in burden of disease assessments. Since much of the work requires analysis of large-scale survey, surveillance systems, census and routinely collected health data, some recommended courses explain the major methods in data collection and analysis. Examination of causes of death and morbidity are based on combinations of demographic and epidemiological principles. Although the training is primarily quantitative, an understanding of the value of qualitative, ethnographic and mixed-methods approaches is encouraged. These methods are valuable in understanding culturally specific norms and values relating to health, and health behaviors including those related to sex and reproduction.
On completion of this major, students are expected to have the skills and conceptual understanding to develop their own research plans in a number of areas, mainly focusing on population and reproductive health issues in low income countries. Doctoral students with this major have recently written dissertations on HIV/AIDS and infertility in Tanzania; religion and its role in determining the sexual behavior of Ghanaian adolescents, infertility in China and Chad, male and female fertility in The Gambia; longitudinal studies of child growth and development in rural Africa; the causes and consequences of induced abortion in Mexico and Ghana; family planning promotion and its effect on rural fertility in The Gambia; domestic violence as a public health issue in Jordan; abortion in Accra, Ghana; and the contribution of primary health care to child survival in Africa.