core courses in an mph program

What Do the Core Courses in an MPH Program Cover?

Now, more than ever, we need public health professionals passionate about improving the health and well-being of populations. These candidates must also be eager to gain the quality education and specialized training they need to handle increasingly complex and widespread health issues.

Hence, many pursue an in-person or online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree so that they are ready to tackle local, national, and global issues in contemporary public health, including acute and chronic illnesses, lifestyle and health behavioral changes, influenza, obesity, and more.

Candidates should look for Public Health programs that offer a relevant and innovative competency-based curriculum.

This article will unpack what students can expect from their courses in a Master’s of Public Health (MPH).

What is a Master’s in Public Health?

A Master’s in Public Health degree is a graduate-level, terminal degree typically consisting of forty to sixty-five credits and emphasizes the practical aspects of public health over at least two years if courses are taken full-time.

This interdisciplinary degree instills clinical knowledge and skills so graduates can coordinate programs that address or prevent global diseases. While every university and program will differ, Master’s in Public Health degrees generally consist of public health core classes, applied practicum, and a capstone project.

Additionally, many Public Health programs allow students to choose a concentration in a particular area of interest. For example, at University of Bridgeport, our students can concentrate in global health, community health, or health policy and management.

What Are the Core Courses in a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Program?

Through their Master’s in Public Health classes, students learn how to tackle challenging issues that affect communities, work with people across sectors, and educate the public about best healthcare practices.

The curriculum in these programs focuses on current health and wellness trends and learning scientific methods that ensure students are ready to help change health behaviors worldwide. They also hone and develop critical skills and traits, including integrity, transparency, decisiveness, accuracy, honesty, and accountability.

Students should take the following Master’s of Public Health core courses:

(Please note that all of the course titles and descriptions below are from University of Bridgeport’s 2023-2024 academic catalog. Course names and descriptions will vary depending on the Public Health program and university, so students should research to ensure they know what to expect from their desired program.)

1. Biostatistics

Biostatistics is an introduction to statistical methods used in biological and medical research, emphasizing applications to medical problems.

Students will learn probability theory, basic concepts of statistical inference, regression and correlation methods, analysis of variance, and study design in their biostatistics class.

They will also apply this knowledge by looking at case-control studies, cohort studies, hospital visits, and more data to determine the risk factors for diseases, conditions, and treatment.

2. Principles of Epidemiology

Epidemiology studies how and when acute and chronic diseases occur in different populations and why. Healthcare professionals use epidemiology to better understand, characterize, and promote health at a population level.

By taking this course, students will be better equipped to plan and assess strategies to prevent and treat disease and evaluate how diseases impact specific at-risk populations.

Principles of Epidemiology should engage students in active and collaborative learning through team activities, individual and group projects, discussions, and case studies.

3. Introduction to Environmental Health

Exploring the interaction between people and their environment is the course of environmental health. Students will typically examine health issues, scientific understanding of causes, and possible future approaches to control the significant environmental health problems in industrialized and developing countries.

Professors also use case studies to provide an in-depth look into more environmental problems that impact specific human health consequences. Topics in environmental health courses can include:

  • How the body reacts to environmental pollutants
  • Physical, chemical, and biological agents of environmental contamination
  • Vectors for dissemination (air, water, and soil)
  • Solid and hazardous waste
  • Susceptible populations
  • Biomarkers and risk analysis
  • Scientific basis for policy decisions
  • Emerging global environmental health problems

4. Public Health Policy

It’s not only important to understand public health but also the public health policies, laws, and administration in place that support this field and industry.

Thus, Master’s in Public Health programs offer courses in public health policy to provide students with information about efficiency, budgeting, resource allocation, and the use of technology in the public health field.

These introductory courses also present various ways the government involves itself in health and providing health care.

5. Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health

Social and behavioral health courses help students develop their basic literacy and understanding of social concepts and processes influencing health status and public health interventions.

Students develop insights into populations with whom they have worked or will work in the future, as well as strengthen their writing skills to communicate about psychosocial issues in the public health sector.
Students should expect to sit in lectures, discuss reading assignments and student writings, write individual compositions, and attend workshops.

With the knowledge gained from these Master’s of Public Health classes in online and in-person programs, graduates are ready to find work in healthcare settings, non-profit organizations, and government agencies in a variety of roles and career paths, such as:

  • Epidemiologists
  • Health services managers
  • Biostatisticians
  • Environmental health officers
  • Researchers

Plus, with an average of about 1.8 million job openings projected each year to 2032 for healthcare occupations, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported, there’s no better time to pursue this thriving career field.

Contact us to learn more about our fantastic courses taught by our expert faculty in our online Master’s in Public Health Program. We can’t wait to see you use the knowledge and skills you learn to make our global community happier, healthier, and safer!