Graduate Student Handbook

5.1 The MPH Degree Program

The curriculum for the MPH consists of a minimum of 42-45 credits depending on the specific program. The respective curricula consists of a combination of courses designed for on-campus classroom delivery plus others for online remote delivery. There are two degree programs that are delivered via 100% online delivery mode: the MPH - Program for Experienced Professionals and the MPH with a specialization in Biostatistics.

Public Health Integrated Foundation Courses

Every student in an MPH degree program must complete the courses in the areas of knowledge basic to public health.

Additional Courses

There are seven areas of specialization in the MPH: biomedical informatics, biostatistics, clinical translational science, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior & health promotion, and veterinary public health. There is also a Program for Experienced Professionals within the MPH degree with a specialization in population health leadership and management. The required courses for each area are found on the curriculum guides.

MPH Applied Practice Experience (APE)

The College requires two credit hours of formal applied practice experience (APE) for all students in a MPH degree program. Students may accumulate more than two hours with permission of their advisors, but only two hours may count towards the degree. Students must spend at least 120 hours to meet the minimum requirement (60 hours on site equals one credit hour). Each student chooses an APE that fits his/her career goals. For students who choose the practicum/internship for their APE, an on-site preceptor supervises the student’s experience, and the faculty advisor collaborates in designing and approving the learning content, tracks the progress, consults with the student, and evaluates the student’s learning. The majority of students complete this requirement during the summer following the first academic year, though some may choose to delay it until later in their second year. Part-time students may schedule the APE after completing a minimum of 15-20 credits. Employed students are encouraged to select an APE in an organization different than their current employment; however, it is permissible to complete the APE in the student's place of employment if the experience is significantly different than the student's regularly assigned duties, takes place outside the student's usual work area, and the preceptor is someone other than the student's regular work supervisor.

Students should be active participants in the arrangement for the APE. The Office of Academic Programs and Student Services assists students who choose to do the practicum/internship in locating appropriate field sites and provides support throughout the experience. Students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and other CPH faculty. Complete details on the process for seeking and confirming the APE, as well as the expectations for the APE, are found on the MPH Applied Practice Experience section of the website.

Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) Project/Master’s Examination

There are several options for MPH students completing the required integrative learning experience (ILE) project. Students may complete a traditional based master's thesis as the MPH ILE. Students who expect to pursue an academic degree program such as the PhD, or those with an interest in research, are encouraged to consider a thesis. The details concerning Graduate School policies regarding the thesis, including format, typing, deadline, etc., are available online.

For those students who prefer an alternative to the thesis, the options are designated by the division/program. In many areas, the principal thesis alternative is an applied research project, which also may include a grant proposal. Students should begin planning their ILE projects in consultation with their faculty advisors at least two terms prior to the expected term of graduation. More detailed descriptions of the ILE project requirements and a timeline are available on the ILE project webpage. Upon successful completion of the ILE project, students must provide an electronic copy of the final report to the Office of Academic Programs and Student Services.

Changes of Specialization in the MPH

Each applicant for the Master of Public Health indicates a desired area of specialization on the admissions application. The admission committee’s review of the application is based on the characteristics desired for that area of specialization and its capacity in terms of faculty and other resources. Thus, the student’s admission is effectively to a specialization within the College rather than to the College in general. Students may petition to change their field of specialization after admission, but permission to change is contingent upon review and acceptance by the specialization into which the student wishes to transfer. This is to prevent students from entering a field for which their academic or other background is not adequate, and also minimizes last-minute changes in the resource demands on a division as its enrollment fluctuates. A student requesting such a transfer must complete the appropriate form (in Appendix J). The proposed new division/program will review the form and the student’s file and indicate whether it accepts the transfer, denies the transfer, or accepts the transfer conditionally. Denial of a transfer would generally mean that the program is at its capacity and cannot accept more students or that the student lacks preparation for the proposed field. Conditional transfer means that the student is potentially acceptable, but must meet some specific criterion such as a prerequisite course before the transfer is finalized. Depending upon the timing, any student transferring between specializations may find that it is necessary to take more than the credit hour minimum for the MPH in order to meet the requirements of the new specialization.