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Online Master of Public Health

Course Descriptions

Required Courses

ENV H 512: Environmental & Occupational Health for Public Health Practitioners

Credits: 3

This course introduces students to basic concepts from environmental and occupational health sciences, to the methods used to study the links between the environment and health, to the health impacts of various environmental exposures, and to the environmental public health approach to controlling or managing risks and promoting health.

G H 511: Problems in Global Health

Credits: 3

The course explores relationships between political, socioeconomic, cultural and demographic conditions of developing countries and their impact on health and health services. The course is based around two basic themes: the determinants of health in poor countries of the developing world and the nature of the responses to developing world health problems. Topics we'll address include the evolution of primary health care; alternative responses to health problems; health as a human right; macroeconomic policy; population dynamics and health; maternal child health and child survival policies; water and sanitation; AIDS; appropriate technologies; the role of governmental, private, nonprofit and international organizations in health and health services; pharmaceutical policy; and human resources development. You'll learn both about the “upstream” and “downstream” factors affecting health in the developing world and how to systematically assess international health problems, devise interventions and begin to plan implementation of programs.

HSERV 507: Health Communication & Marketing for Health Promotion: Theory & Practice

Credits: 3

In this course, we'll discuss health communication theories and applications at the individual level (persuasion), interpersonal level (motivational/interviewing) and population level (mass media). We'll also examine marketing principles for health promotion. You'll develop a health communication campaign for clients and investigate adaptation frameworks of communication campaign cutting across cultures.

HSERV 520: Applied Research Methods in Public Health

Credits: 4

This course is designed to help students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct orderly investigation of specific research problems. Training includes problem identification, posing research questions, literature review, consideration of theoretical/practical context, choosing study design, methods review and selection, protection of human subjects and recognizing potential errors.

HSERV 522: Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation

Credits: 3

This course introduces students to the role of process and outcome evaluations in planning for community health improvement. An important part of our work as public health professionals interested in improving health outcomes for diverse communities is to systematically evaluate whether programs and interventions intended to improve health actually do so. The process of program evaluation gives us insight into a program’s design, delivery and influence on health risk factors and/or outcomes and identifies potential opportunities for improvement. In this course, you'll consider the relationship among community health assessment, program design and program evaluation; explore the role of evaluation in identifying program elements that perpetuate or mitigate health inequities; learn methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data for both process and outcome evaluations; and explore the roles of the evaluator and communities served during the evaluation process.

HSERV 559: Public Policy & Health

Credits: 4

How does health policy get made? What influences policy making? How have policies impacted equity and inclusion? What is the role for those in public health to influence effective health policy? In this class we'll review of the legislative process and how health policy develops into law in the face of enormous challenges and complexity. This will include the role of lobbyists, experts and elected officials. We'll examine policies’ effects on public health. Using the lens of current public health and health care delivery issues, we'll explore how policy decisions led us to the current state and the way those in public health can influence future direction.

HSERV 566: Public Health Leadership I 

Credits: 5

This course is designed to cover the organizational and financial management of public health organizations.

Organizational management: This portion of the course has two purposes. One is to assist current and future public health leaders and managers with the development of a conceptual frameworks that will enhance leadership and managerial functioning in public health organizations and programs. This includes areas such as decision-making, motivation, managing employees, diversity, team management, leadership and strategic planning. The other is to practice many of these skills through assignments and projects during the course.

Financial management: All organizational leaders must have familiarity with required financial accounting reports and with using financial information to make decisions. We'll emphasize four areas of financial management: financial reports for both public and private organizations, determining the cost of a program, budgeting and program evaluation. You'll learn some basic skills to complete both individual assignments and group assignments in the financial management areas emphasized in this course.

HSERV 567: Public Health Leadership II

Credits: 4

Public health problems are increasingly complex. This course explores how leadership skills, systems thinking, and communication strategies can positively impact health promotion and health system change. Other goals of the course include advancing health equity and practicing partnerships in public health, resource allocation and negotiations. This course builds upon skills learned in previous courses with an application to cross-systems collaboration, systems thinking and community engagement.

HSERV 590: Project Management

Credits: 3

In this course you'll learn to apply project management methodologies, processes and tools to execute complex public health projects. You'll learn to create documents that can be applied to public health projects and develop methods for building teams. You'll examine the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders along with how project management impacts an organization’s goals.

HSERV 595: Practicum

Credits: 4

Students gain experience in community health activities in agencies delivering and planning health services. Sites include neighborhood clinics, health planning organizations, medical practice settings, public health agencies, specialized clinics and facilities, and environmental programs and services. For more details, see the Practicum page.

HSERV 598: Integrative Learning Experience (Capstone Course)

Credits: 4

Students will work in groups to solve complex public health problems based on real-life case studies. You'll be required to synthesize theory and knowledge acquired in prior coursework and other learning experiences, including the practicum. The deliverable will be an essay describing the plan for addressing the public health problem and reflecting on how you integrated the competencies you've acquired during your academic program into designing your plan.

PHI 511: Foundations of Public Health

Credits: 3

This interdisciplinary core course examines public health and health care in the United States and globally using a social justice lens and emphasizes the interconnectedness of population and individual health. Using public health and health care delivery as the overarching framework, the course will cover foundational elements of public health, including but not limited to its history and impact, the importance of health equity and human rights and how racism manifests and is perpetuated within public health and health care systems. The course will instill a public health mindset for the entering MPH cohort by having students work together on group projects related to current public health issues.

PHI 512: Analytic Skills for Public Health I

Credits: 7

To explore problems in public health/global health research and practice using both quantitative and qualitative methods, PHI 512 and PHI 513 will introduce mixed methods approaches to produce rigorous results. PHI 512 will emphasize the importance of contextual understanding and integration of conceptual, theoretical and methodological frameworks. We'll focus on principles and methods of epidemiology and biostatistics, including: descriptive epidemiology, data summaries and presentation, study design, measures of excess risk, causal inference, screening, measurement error, misclassification, effect modification, confounding, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, p-values, sample size calculation and modeling approaches such as linear regression analysis. The course includes hands-on data analysis. 

PHI 513: Analytic Skills for Public Health II

Credits: 3

This course will introduce qualitative and mixed methods and their relevance to rigorous public health research and practice. This course places a strong emphasis on qualitative data analysis as an integral dimension of the mixed-methods approach. The first part of the course will describe contexts for and types of qualitative research questions, introduce frameworks, study designs and sampling approaches in qualitative research and apply methods for data collection and analysis. The second part of this course focuses on mixed methods research and the integration of quantitative measures of magnitude and frequency with qualitative measures of meaning to produce rich contextual understandings of complex behaviors, cultures and characteristics. The third part of the course focuses on strength of evidence, distinguishes and draws parallels between implementation and discovery science, and describes alternative study designs in the context of implementation science.

PHI 514: Determinants of Health

Credits: 3

Many factors combine and interact to affect the health of individuals and communities. This course will describe and apply frameworks for understanding determinants of health at multiple levels and within different systems. Course material will emphasize individual- and family-level determinants, physical and social environments, population-level determinants and systems dynamics. You'll learn how to apply theory and how to interpret and weigh evidence to identify and prioritize health determinants for public health research, practice and policy.

PHI 515: Implementing Public Health Interventions

Credits: 4

In this course, you'll learn about the role of theory, evidence, community engagement and ethics in health promotion intervention design, implementation and evaluation. The course will begin with a module focused on identifying population needs, assets and capacities in order to inform intervention design. The second module will focus on the implementation of interventions and intervention strategies across multiple levels of the socio-ecological framework. The third module will focus on how to monitor intervention implementation and evaluate intervention outcomes. Instructors will use a combination of lecture, small-group work, in-class poster presentation and an intervention project paper. You'll learn how to go from evidence to action, building on the perspectives and skills taught in the previous core courses.

PHI 516: Public Health Practice

Credits: 3

Public Health Practice is the culminating course of the common MPH core curriculum and is designed to integrate and apply knowledge of health determinants and public health systems, analytic skills and evidence-based approaches to real world public health problem solving. This course will develop your system thinking skills and your understanding of the interrelationships between public health infrastructure, public health policy, leadership, management, communication and community engagement. You'll work in teams to apply your knowledge and skills in these areas to public health practice-based challenges using a case study framework.