Master of Public Health (MPH)

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The Department of Public Health and Health Education offers the Master of Public Health (MPH)  for those students wishing to work in the field of Public Health as health educators. Graduates of this program will be prepared to work in a variety of settings and with a variety of populations planning, implementing, and evaluating programs, creating and disseminating health communication materials, and organizing and leading collaborative efforts within and across organizations for the improvement of health.

The program requires students to complete 42 credit hours, which includes a 3-credit internship in the field. The program prepares students to sit for the National Health Education Specialist exam to earn the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation or the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), depending on professional experience.

Admission to the Program

All applicants for the MPH program must have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (see the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for further details). Academic standards for acceptance into the program include the following:

  1. An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0; (An applicant with an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 may present his/her written rationale for acceptance in the application materials.)
  2. A personal statement that describes the applicant’s personal and professional experiences that have lead them to pursue a master’s in community health education; the personal qualities and skills the applicant possesses that will contribute positively to their success in graduate school, the learning of others, and the positive reputation of the program; and the applicant’s personal/professional goals and how they relate to the ten essential public health services.
  3. Contact information for three academic or professional references. If contacted, the references should comment on the applicant's ability to do graduate work, including:
    1. Competence in professional work performance;
    2. Academic performance in college;
    3. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; and
    4. Ability to relate effectively with colleagues, students, clients, superior and subordinate personnel, and the general public.
  4. Evidence of having successfully completed ("C" or better) at least two semesters of anatomy and physiology 1 & 2 or one semester of survey of anatomy and physiology.
  5. Evidence of having successfully completed ("C" or better) one semester of statistics at the undergraduate level.

Note: Courses completed prior to matriculation may or may not be approved for subsequent inclusion in a successful applicant's Course of Study, at the discretion of the department. Generally, no more than six credits taken before matriculation will be applied to a graduate student's degree program.

Application, official transcripts from all colleges attended, and contact information for three references should be submitted to the Center for Graduate Studies. Applications and deadlines are available online on the Center for Graduate Studies webpage.

The decision to recommend acceptance or rejection of an application lies wholly with the department, whose professional responsibility is to determine if applicants adequately meet academic, professional or ethical standards.

Program Requirements

Students must meet the College's standards for graduate study.

Students enrolled in the MPH program must earn a grade of "B-" or higher (a grade of "C+" does not meet this requirement) in each course applied to the degree.

Required Courses (30 credits)

  • PBH 602 Principles and Philosophy of Health Education
  • PBH 603 Environmental Health
  • PBH 618 Epidemiological Methods
  • PBH 684 Assessment and Evaluation in Health Education
  • PBH 513 Healthcare in America
  • PBH 604 Health Behavior Theory
  • PBH 644 Program Planning
  • PBH 688 Evaluation
  • PBH 650 Communication in Health Education
  • PBH 641 Community Organization

Content Electives (6 credits)

Students should consult with their academic advisor to determine appropriate elective choices; some electives may be offered on a fall-only or spring-only basis and during summer and winter sessions.

Capstone Courses (6 credits)

  • PBH 686 Research Methods in Health Education (pre requisite PBH 684)
  • PBH 693 Internship in Community Health Education (pre/co requisite all other PBH courses)

Student Learning Outcomes

The MPH program is aligned with the knowledge and competencies defined by the Council on Education for Public Health and the eight areas of responsibility as defined by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain public health history, philosophy and values 
  2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services 
  3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health 
  4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program 
  5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc. 
  6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge 
  7. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health 
  8. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health 
  9. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health 
  10. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities 
  11. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease 
  12. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (egg, One Health)

(Items 1-12 reflect foundational public health knowledge as defined by the Council on Education for Public Health (2016).)

  1. Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice 
  2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context 
  3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate 
  4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice 
  5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  6. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels 
  7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health 
  8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs 
  9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention 
  10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
  11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs 
  12. Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence 
  13. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes 
  14. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations 
  15. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity 
  16. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making 
  17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges 
  18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors 
  19. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation 
  20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content Interprofessional
  21. Integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health*
  22. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue

(Items 13-34 reflect MPH foundational competencies as defined by the Council on Education for Public Health (2016).)
*Based upon 2021 criteria

  1. Assess needs and capacity for health education
  2. Plan health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  3. Implement health education strategies, interventions, and programs
  4. Conduct evaluation and research related to health education
  5. Plan and engage in advocacy efforts
  6. Plan, apply and evaluate appropriate health communication strategies
  7. Identify and take appropriate leadership and management actions suitable for a given situation and position
  8. Identify and adhere to ethical and professional guidelines and practices

(Items 35-42 reflect the eight Areas of Responsibility as defined by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (2020).)