MPH Concentrations and Core Courses

The MPH program offers two concentrations: Research in Practice, or Health Law, Policy, and Ethics. The competencies for each are as follows:

Research in Practice Concentration Competencies

  1. Generate hypotheses and assess relevant variables to measure and address health problems.
  2.  Synthesize quantitative and/or qualitative data from numerous sources to assess the health status of populations and/or evaluate programs or interventions
  3.  Choose data visualization techniques to design a communication strategy fora range of community and professional stakeholders
  4.  Design a research study to address a health problem using a secondary/population data source
  5.  Manage data with appropriate software for collection, storage, analysis, and presentation
  6.  Incorporate equity and ethical principles and best practices in population health research in practice.


Health Policy, Law, and Ethics Concentration Competencies

  1.  Synthesize health information and data from numerous sources to generate policy options to improve population health outcomes.
  2.  Conduct a comprehensive economic review and analysis of a public health policy.
  3.  Formulate strategic or financial plans for public health or healthcare organizations
  4.  Assess the organizational structure, responsibilities, and values of key stakeholders, including governmental and nongovernmental organizations, to design and evaluate health policy options
  5. Evaluate ethical and/or legal dimensions of a policy, program , or public health action, choosing or creating appropriate frameworks.
  6. Incorporate equity and ethical principles and best practices in the development and evaluation of health policies.


Core Courses

The M.P.H. degree program requires students to complete 42 credits of course work:

  • at least 20 credits of required core courses;
  • 16 credits of course work in a track or concentration;
  • and the remaining credits in electives.

Each student accepted into the M.P.H. program will identify a concentration and develop an individualized course of study with their advisor (and approved by an M.P.H. faculty steering committee) that addresses the student’s professional interests, needs, and goals.

Students also must complete a minimum of 5 credits to satisfy the applied practice, practicum and integrative learning experience.

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 I

Instructor: Tim McMurry

The course will cover the fundamentals in medical statistics including descriptive statistics, estimation, hypothesis testing, precision, sample size, correlation, problems with categorization of continuous variables, multiple comparison problems, and interpreting statistical results.  You are expected to use SAS for data analysis.  A separate lab course covering the use of SAS is a corequisite.

PHS 7010 | Introduction to Epidemiology

Instructor: Jean Eby

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 and Ethics

Instructor: Ruth Bernheim

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 | U.S. Health Care Policy

Instructor: Kathryn Quissell

This three-credit graduate course will examine the evolution of the U.S.  health care system from a health policy and health politics perspective, with an emphasis on the current health system. Topics  include  issues  surrounding  the  financing,  organization,  and  delivery  of health  care,  including: access,  coverage,  cost,  and  quality  of  health  services;  the  influence  of medical and nonmedical determinants of health; the design of health insurance, including public and  private  health  coverage  models;  the  evolution  of  consumer-directed  and  other  price-sensitive  cost  containment  mechanisms;  impacts  of  the  changing  practice  of  medicine  on physicians and their patients; care of the medically indigent through public safety net programs; overview  of  the status  of  the 2010 Affordable  Care  Act  (ACA) legislation and  current  repeal efforts; and an analysis of the respective roles of government and the private sector in regulating health care.

PHS 7170 | Data Management in Population Health with SAS

Instructors: Aaron Pannone and Genevieve Lyons

Description: Explores the use of data in population health sciences incorporating cases from public health & health care practice. Covers the basics of loading data into SAS, manipulating variables, & generating output in a PC environment. Students will learn how to detect, diagnose, & correct mistakes. The course draws upon & integrates Biostatistics & Epidemiology.

PHS 7180 | The Practice of Public Health

Instructors: Ruth Gaare Bernheim and Denise Bonds

This course addresses cross-cutting public health competencies in Communication, Professionalism, and Diversity and Culture, and includes sessions with public health officials in practice. The course also will focus on effective written and oral communication.

PHS 7470 | Management and Quality in Health Care Organizations

Instructor: Armando L. Bolmey

The purpose of this course is to provide students with 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 departments and hospital/health systems. Topics covered will include organizational management, financial analyses, budgeting for operations and grants, principles and techniques for managing and leading effective teams, systems thinking concepts and methods and theories and methods for managing a quality organization. This course is intended to encourage an appreciation and an understanding of the concepts involved in managing and leading complex organizations.

PHS 7610 | Health Promotion and Health Behavior

Instructors: J. W. Richardson and Kelsie Kelly

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive and in-depth review of the social and behavioral science theories used in public health. A critical analysis will be conducted of the major theories and an emphasis will be placed on application of said theories to social determinants of health and persistent health disparities. Lectures and assignments focus particularly on how to use social and behavioral science theory in research and practice models to achieve health goals. This course is intended to encourage an appreciation of the wealth of conceptual approaches in the social and behavioral sciences that can inform public health research and practice.

PHS 7840 | Human Subjects Research Ethics

Instructors: Jean Eby

Provides students with a comprehensive overview and in-depth review of the theories, major components and techniques for the management of health care organizations. Topics covered include organizational management, financial analyses, budgeting for operations and grants, principles and techniques for managing and leading effective teams, systems thinking concepts and methods and theories and methods for managing a quality organization.