Program Overview

Public health must always be responsive to scientific developments, changing practice patterns and evolving societal needs. 


As part of the ongoing process of monitoring and upgrading the public health curriculum , the curricular goals and objectives described in this document have been established to reflect changing parameters.  Brief program overviews for each of the five core disciplines in public health are provided below, followed by summaries of learning objectives for the core curriculum for the professional degree programs (i.e., MPH and MHA), and finally the learning objectives for each concentration area by degree program.   



The goal of the Biostatistics Program within the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is to prepare students for research or practice in academia or numerous public or private health arenas.  Both the M.S.P.H. and the M.P.H. degree programs provide students sufficient theoretical background, necessary technical data management and analytic skills, and requisite applied experience in order to be able to succeed in analytical careers in public health.  Coursework for students in biostatistics relies heavily on courses offered within the Department of Statistics, one of the top-ranked statistics programs in the country.  Through both the biostatistics faculty within SPH and joint appointed faculty from the Department of Statistics, students are afforded a high quality education in statistical methods while focusing on public health and health services problems.  In addition, the curriculum for students in biostatistics reflects a broad exposure to public health through coursework in other core disciplines within public health.  Students completing this program should be able to function as a staff biostatistician whether in industrial, public health, clinical, or academic settings. 

Environmental & Occupational Health

Educational and research activities within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health focus on the health effects of exposures to air and water pollution, pesticides, organic solvents, and dusts and physical hazards, which occur in the environment, the home or the workplace.  Degree program concentrations offered within the department focus on basic principles of environmental toxicology, methods of human and ecological health risk assessment, and specific diseases associated with environmental or occupational exposures.  In addition, coursework on industrial hygiene and occupational safety provide information on exposure assessment, workplace monitoring, and disease and injury prevention.  The concentrations in the M.P.H. and M.S.P.H. degree programs, as well as the doctorate program (Dr.P.H.) within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health reflect a commitment to education, scientific research, and service.  In addition to acquiring an understanding of the principals of environmental and occupational health, students within the department also develop an appreciation of the integral relationship between environmental and occupational health and other core disciplines within public health.   


Historically, epidemiology is the foundation science for public health and addresses the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations.  The field of Epidemiology is both a body of research methods and a body of knowledge in specific areas of epidemiology including cardiovascular, cancer, infectious, occupational, environmental, social, genetic, and molecular to name some of the specialty areas.  Given the importance of considering epidemiology as a body of research methods and content, the concentrations in epidemiology provide students with essential methodological skills as well as exposure to the special issues, methods, and knowledge base of various areas of specialization. The programs of study are designed to provide students with the skills needed to plan for, collect, manage, analyze, and interpret a variety of quantitative health data.  Graduates are thus prepared for both research and practice in a range of academic, public or private public health arenas.  Students acquire expertise necessary to design and implement basic and applied research in disease etiology, control and prevention.  Degrees offered are M.P.H., M.S.P.H., and Dr.P.H.

Health Policy & Management

The emphasis on health reform in the United States underscores the critical need for professionals with strong health policy and management education.  The Department of Health Policy and Management is committed to educating leaders who understand the workings and impact of health policy and who can bring leadership and management skills to bring about needed changes in health care delivery and public health.  The M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management provides students with broad exposure to the core public health disciplines along with management skills and knowledge of health policy.  Students leave the program prepared to take on significant responsibilities in both private and public sector public health or health care delivery.  The M.H.A. degree is designed to develop effective health care leaders engaged directly in the management of health delivery systems.  Both the MPH and MHA degrees emphasize student achievement of leadership competencies defined by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership and competencies in public health defined by the Association of School of Public Health.  The PhD and MSPH degrees are designed to prepare students for careers in research settings in universities, government institute, and private research enterprises where investigators address important health services issues. 

Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences

Since the mid-1950s, professionals in both public health and medicine have increasingly recognized the significant contributions of behavioral and social factors in the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations. More recent attention has been devoted to health disparities and the role of economic, gender, class, and ethnic group membership in health risk. Thus, the goal of the Department of Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences is to focus not only on behavioral risk factors, but also on the role of social structural factors and how they may interact with behavior to affect health risks. Students are exposed to the breadth of community and behavioral determinants of health in an effort to prepare students for professional roles in health promotion and disease prevention, community development, assessment, program evaluation, and research. The primary objective is to provide students with knowledge and skills to plan, develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate a broad range of community health interventions across social ecological levels. The M.S.P.H. provides students with tools to engage in scientific inquiry into the effectiveness and impact of community and behavioral public health interventions. The Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) degree is an advanced professional degree which prepares students for a career in high-level administration, teaching, or practice.