Dec 03, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Public Health, M.P.H.

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Master of Public Health

The faculty and staff of the School of Public Health (SPH) are committed to providing a supportive academic environment that promotes the growth and progress of students engaged in graduate studies.

All MPH graduates are grounded in the following foundational public health knowledge learning objectives (and the course where the learning objective is assessed is noted in parenthesis):

Profession & Science of Public Health

  1. Explain public health history, philosophy and values. (PHPH 7010 )
  2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services. (PHPH 7010 )
  3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program. (PHPH 7010 )
  5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc. (PHPH 7010 )
  6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge. (PHPH 7010 )

Factors Related to Human Health

  1. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  2. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  3. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  4. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities. (PHPH 7010 )
  5. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease. (PHPH 7010 )
  6. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (eg, One Health). (PHPH 7010 )

All MPH graduates demonstrate the following MPH foundational competencies (and the course where the competency is assessed is noted in parenthesis):

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  • MPH Foundational Core 1. Apply epidemiological methods to settings and situations in public health practice. (PHPH 7011 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context. (PHPH 7011  and PHPH 7017 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate. (PHPH 7011  and PHPH 7017 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice. (PHPH 7017 )

Public Health & Health Care Systems

  • MPH Foundational Core 5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings. (PHPB 7160 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 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 systemic levels. (PHPB 7160 )

Planning & Management to Promote Health

  • MPH Foundational Core 7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design, implementation, or critique of public health policies or programs. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs. (PHPB 7140 )

Policy in Public Health

  • MPH Foundational Core 12. Discuss the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence. (PHPB 7160 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 13. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes. (PHPB 7160 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 14. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations. (PHPB 7160 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 15. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity. (PHPB 7160 )


  • MPH Foundational Core 16. Apply leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue. (PHPB 7160 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges. (PHPB 7160 )


  • MPH Foundational Core 18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 19. Communicate audience-appropriate (i.e., non-academic, non-peer audience) public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation. (PHPB 7140 )
  • MPH Foundational Core 20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content. (PHPB 7140 )

Interprofessional and/or Intersectoral Practice

  • MPH Foundational Core 21. Integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health. (PHPB 7140 )

Systems Thinking

  • MPH Foundational Core 22. Apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative. (PHPB 7160 )

Additional GSU Content

  • MPH Foundational Core 23. Recognize the ways diversity influences public health education and training, policies, programs, services, and the health of the nearby community. (PHPB 7160 )

Degree Requirements

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program includes a minimum of forty-two (42) semester credit hours of study at the master’s level beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Required MPH Core Courses (16 Credit Hours)

Required MPH Concentration Courses (21 Credit Hours)


Required MPH Applied Practice Experience Course (2 Credit Hours)

Students will take two (2) credit hours of a required Applied Practice Experience in the students’ specialty field of study, which equals 240 clock hours. The Applied Practice Experience is a planned, supervised and evaluated practice experience where graduate professional public health degree students develop skills in basic public health concepts and demonstrate the application of these concepts through a practice experience that is relevant to students’ areas of specialization and/or concentration. These opportunities can take place in a variety of governmental or non-governmental agencies and organizations and include local, state, national and international public health agencies to the extent possible and appropriate.

Required MPH Thesis or Capstone Project Course (3 Credit Hours)

Following completion of all coursework, students must complete three (3) credit hours for a culminating experience in the form of a master’s thesis or a capstone project. All students in the School of Public Health who are involved in writing or defending a master’s thesis/capstone project shall register for at least three credit hours of thesis/capstone project credit each semester from the time they finish their course work until the time all requirements for the degree are completed. Students concentrating in Environmental Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Management and Policy, or Health Promotion and Behavior have the option to register for PHPB 7992 /PHPH 7992 - Integrative Learning Experience , to complete their capstone as part of a course-based experience, rather than the more individualized PHPB 7991 /PHPH 7991 - Capstone .

Concentration Requirements

In addition to the MPH foundational competencies taught and mastered in the MPH core courses, each of the distinct MPH concentrations (Biostatistics, Environmental Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Promotion and Behavior, and Health Management and Policy) have their own program competencies that define what a graduate from that MPH concentration will know and be able to do upon degree program completion. These MPH program competencies are made available in the MPH student handbook, and appear on public health course syllabi. The SPH will only recommend the award of an MPH degree when the student has demonstrated mastery of necessary theories, concepts and content, and demonstrated competence in the skills defined in the competencies for the student’s chosen MPH program and concentration.

Degree Progression

Critical milestones are assessed based on credit hours and semesters completed within the MPH degree program.

  • Milestone #1: Students are expected to have their thesis/capstone (culminating experience) proposal accepted by their thesis/capstone chair and committee by no later than the completion of 36 credit hours in the MPH program. The approved thesis proposal form must be submitted to the Office of Academic Assistance within the same 36 credit hours. Waivers to this credit rule are for students planning to complete PHPB 7992 /PHPH 7992 - Integrative Learning Experience , or by petition only and may be adjusted for approved leaves of absence, medical leave or disability as detailed elsewhere in school or university policies. Failure to submit an approved thesis/capstone proposal by the conclusion of 36 credit hours, with no intentions to complete PHPB 7992 /PHPH 7992 - Integrative Learning Experience , will place the student on scholastic probation.
  • Milestone #2: Once a student initially enrolls in their thesis/capstone course, students are expected to successfully defend and publish (upload to Georgia State University) their thesis/capstone within two academic semesters (including summer). Failure to complete the thesis/capstone within two academic semesters will place the student on scholastic probation. Failure to complete the thesis/capstone by the end of the 3rd semester will result in a scholastic exclusion from the MPH program.
  • Milestone #3: The maximum time limit set by the faculty for completing the MPH graduate degree program is six (6) years from the first semester of admission to the MPH. After six years, courses will begin to expire in order of first completed, and may require re-enrollment or replacement with advanced coursework to satisfy degree requirements.

If a student’s progress indicates scholastic probation, the student will receive a notice of this from the Director of the Office of Academic Assistance (OAA), and the notice will be sent by email message to their official Georgia State University e-mail account. Within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of this notice, the student should submit a memo to the Director of OAA (from the student’s Georgia State University e-mail account) documenting how the student intends to achieve the relevant milestone before reaching the criterion for initiating a dismissal action. If a student’s progress indicates initiation of a scholastic exclusion action or if a student fails to submit a memo, the student will receive a scholastic exclusion action notice from the Director of OAA.

Students may appeal the pending exclusion action by petitioning the Dean of the School of Public Health but they must do so before the end of the semester in which their progress first indicated initiation of an exclusion action. If they appeal, students are required to submit as part of their appeal an individualized plan, approved by their thesis/capstone chair, detailing dates by which they intend to meet any milestones yet unachieved.

At any time the student believes they may have difficulty meeting the critical milestones, they should immediately consult with their advisor in the Office of Academic Assistance.

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