MPH Core Courses

The following core courses, as well as other concentration-specific elective courses and program experiences, provide students with the opportunity to acquire the foundational public health knowledge and foundational competencies required of all accredited MPH programs.  See below for a listing of this foundational public health knowledge and competencies.

PHS 7000 – Introduction to Biostatistics

Covers the fundamentals of biostatistics including descriptive statistics, estimation, hypothesis testing, precision, sample size, correlation, problems with categorization of continuous variables, multiple comparison problems, and interpreting of statistical results.

PHS 7010 – Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Introduces the field of epidemiology and the methods of epidemiologic research. Students learn how to interpret, critique, and conduct epidemiologic research, including formulating a research question, choosing a study design, collecting and analyzing data, controlling bias and confounding, and interpreting study results.

PHS 7050 – Public Health Law, Ethics, and Policy

Explores the legitimacy, design, and implementation of a variety of policies aiming to promote public health and reduce the social burden of disease and injury. Highlights the challenge posed by public health’s population-based perspective to traditional individual-centered, autonomy-driven approaches to bioethics and constitutional law. Other themes center on conflicts between public health and public morality and the relationship between public health and social justice. Illustrative topics include mandatory immunization, screening and reporting of infectious diseases, prevention of lead poisoning, food safety, prevention of firearm injuries, airbags and seat belts, mandatory drug testing, syringe exchange programs, tobacco regulation, and restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising.

PHS 7100 – Health Care Policy and Management

Focuses on the evolution of the American health care system from a health policy and values perspective, emphasizing the current health care system. Reviews the new Affordable Care Act and other legislative attempts to implement health reforms and discusses current issues surrounding the financing and organization of the delivery of health care under various economic and political frameworks.

PHS 7170 – SAS & Data Management in Population Health

Introduces Public Health students to tools needed to utilize SAS for quantitative data analysis.

PHS 7380 – Environmental Health: Principles and Practices

Examines interdisciplinary approaches to understanding, assessing, and controlling environmental factors that impact public health. Practical examples are used to help public health professionals understand how epidemiology, health surveillance, and exposure surveillance can be used to determine the potential for health problems that result from various environmental factors, and how monitoring and control techniques can reduce the impact of the environment on human health.

PHS 7470 – Management and Quality in Health Organizations

Provides a comprehensive overview and in-depth review of the history, evolution, theory, principles, major components and techniques of management for health care organizations, including public health. Topics covered will include organizational management, financial analyses and budgeting, principles and techniques for managing and leading teams, systems thinking, and theories and methods for managing a quality organization.

PHS 7610 – Health Promotion and Health Behavior

Explores multi-disciplinary fields that attempt to help individuals and communities prevent illness and maintain and improve health.  These health promotion activities are accomplished through the development of a program and policies, and associated studies of these activities.  Although we recognize that there are many factors that impact individuals and population health outcomes, this course will explore the social and behavioral aspects of health, as well as the relationship between health behavior and community, society, and the environment.

Foundational Public Health Knowledge

Profession and Science of Public Health

  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.

Factors Related to Human Health

  1. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health.
  2. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health.
  3. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health.
  4. Explain the social, political, and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities.
  5. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease.
  6. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health, and ecosystem health (known as One Health).

Foundational Competencies

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health                     

  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

Public Health & Health Care Systems                      

  1. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  2. 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

Planning & Management to Promote Health                     

  1. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
  2. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs
  3. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
  4. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
  5. Select methods to evaluate public health programs

Policy in Public Health                   

  1. Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence
  2. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
  3. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations
  4. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity


  1. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
  2. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges


  1. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
  2. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
  3. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content

Interprofessional  Practice                          

  1. Perform effectively on interprofessional teams

Systems Thinking                            

  1. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue