Master of Public Health
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The Master of Public Health program offers a rigorous curriculum that attracts dedicated and ambitious professionals with a passion to serve in the public health arena. The program’s core coursework aims to develop key public health competencies and skills using cases and examples from industry, ranging from local to global.
Priority: December 1st
Final: May 1st
Program at a glance
The MPH program is designed to be a 2-year program encompassing two fall and two spring semesters for full-time students; however, some concentrations can be completed in as little as 3 consecutive semesters.
All MPH students are required to complete a set of core courses, including a 260 hour practicum and a capstone course. In addition, students must enroll in a set of concentration-specific core and elective courses, to reach a minimum total of 42 units.
Core Courses (16 Units)
The MPH Program at USC requires students in all concentrations to complete 16 units of coursework in addition to Practicum in Public Health and Capstone in Public Health (1 unit each) that educates students in the critical foundational areas of public health, as determined by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Through core coursework, students will gain an understanding of:
- history and philosophy of public health, including core values, concepts, functions and leadership roles
- concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, analysis and interpretation
- evidenced-based reasoning and informatics approaches essential to public health practice
- population health concepts
- cultural context of public health issues and respectful engagement with people of different cultures and socioeconomic strata
PM 502 Foundations of Public Health (4 units)
Overview of public health concepts and issues, including population health; ethics; health disparities, determinants, and systems of care; global health; policy; health promotion; environmental health.
PM 503 Practice of Public Health (4 units)
Introduction to the application of strategies and tools for practice in public health, including policy advocacy, leadership and management, program planning and evaluation, health communication. (Prerequisite: PM 502)
PM 510L Principles of Biostatistics (4 units)
Concepts of biostatistics; appropriate uses and common misuses of health statistics; practice in the application of statistical procedures; introduction to statistical software including EXCEL, SPSS, nQuery.
PM 512 Principles of Epidemiology (4 units)
Terminology/uses of epidemiology and demography; sources/uses of population data; types of epidemiologic studies; risk assessment; common sources of bias in population studies; principles of screening.
Concentration Core Courses and Electives (24 units)
MPH students are required to complete 16 units (4 courses) of core coursework and 8 units of elective coursework within their concentration.
For details and course offerings, see the MPH curriculum-at-a-glance below or visit the Concentrations pages.
Practicum and Capstone (2 units)
The Practicum and Capstone courses are considered part of the core curriculum of the MPH program.
The practicum is an opportunity for students to integrate the knowledge and skills learned in the MPH program through structured, practical training. The practicum consists of 260 hours of field training in a public health agency, such as a county health department, or a community-based organization. Students have the opportunity to complete their practicum through an international experience if desired.
The MPH Capstone is a culminating experience, and students enroll in the course in their final semester of the program.
PM 596 Practicum in Public Health (1 unit)
Applied practical experience through fieldwork in federal, state, and/or local public health agencies/organizations, including community-based organizations; research and school-based settings. (Recommended Preparation: PM 502, PM 503 and at least one MPH concentration core course)
PM 597 Capstone in Public Health (1 unit)
Provides the culminating, integrative learning experience for students enrolled in the Master of Public Health program. (Recommended Preparation: completion of all MPH course work)
In a time of ongoing discoveries in the biological sciences for new risk factors, treatments and prevention of disease, students in this concentration learn different approaches to understanding the distribution and determinants of disease in populations.
Community Health Promotion
This concentration prepares community health practitioners to assess the needs of populations and to design, implement and evaluate health promotion programs for diverse audiences.
Students in this concentration build skills to effectively strengthen global, regional, national and local public health systems, enhance public health preparedness and emergency response, implement effective policies and programs, and protect and improve global health as a whole.
Health Services and Policy
Students in this concentration focus on health care systems, governmental and organizational decisions plans, and actions that affect the health of populations.
An integral part of the USC MPH program, the practicum is a structured and supervised professional experience with an approved agency for which students receive academic credit. As a working partnership between students and public health agencies, the practicum offers students hands-on experience in an area of public health, including county, state, federal or community-based agencies. The goal of the practicum is to further students’ practical experience while enhancing the work of public health. Through the practicum, students have the opportunity to demonstrate an integration of coursework into a real-world setting, preparing them for a professional career in public health.
Students have the opportunity to complete their practicum through an international experience if desired.
All students enroll in the MPH Capstone course in their final semester of the program. Capstone draws on students’ experience in the core areas of public health, additional concentration coursework and real-world experience gained in the field prior to graduation. This course challenges students to reflect upon and integrate their coursework and experience with the goal of developing their own individual point-of-view regarding the role of public health in improving the health and well-being of populations in the United States and abroad.
Amie Hwang, PhD, MPH
Director of the Master of Public Health program
Amie Hwang, PhD, MPH
My Public Health Career:
Jennifer Rodriguez, LCSW, MPH ‘18
“As a medical social worker, my goal was to work in large hospital settings. I loved medicine and public health. I knew that getting my Master of Public Health would give me an incredible foundation in health policy and health education, and provide me with the tools I needed to really make a difference in that setting.”
Public Health Heroes:
Alumni of the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences are at the forefront of public health efforts nationwide.
This USC MPH Program is accredited!
The USC Master of Public Health Program received full accreditation from the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) on June 2nd, 2003. CEPH is an independent agency, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, that accredits schools of public health and public health programs to assure that the school or program has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with the public health profession. The USC MPH program is listed among accredited public health programs at www.ceph.org.
The USC MPH program was reaccredited by CEPH in 2008 and 2015. On November 6, 2015, the program was reaccredited for a seven-year term (until December 31, 2022).
The USC MPH program is a member of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, the voice of accredited public health education, whose members include schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).