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Sattha Riyapan and Austin Cohrs, both alumni of the Master of Public Health program in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, discuss a poster being presented. The two men are at left in the photo, pointing toward a large research poster.

MD/MPH Program

MD/MPH Program Details

The 5-year MD/MPH requires 45 credits in the public health area.

Students will take one year off between the third and fourth year of medical school to complete 27 MPH credits, including a practicum and a capstone, described below. The remaining 18 credits will be transferred from the MD program.

Special emphasis will be placed on community health and behavior change in the curriculum.

All MPH coursework will be completed at the Penn State College of Medicine campus in Hershey, PA.

MD/MPH Coursework by Semester

The MD/MPH curriculum includes, for the MPH degree, 27 credits in Public Health Sciences, as well as 18 specific credits transferred in from the MD Program.

By year and semester, the coursework includes:

Year 1

MPH Program

  • No specific coursework

MD Program

  • Standard MD curriculum
  • SHS 711: Science of Health Systems (6 credits)
  • HMN 713: Medical Humanities (5 credits)
  • PCMED 700: Primary Care Preceptorship (1 credit)

Year 2

MPH Program

  • No specific coursework

MD Program

  • Standard MD curriculum
  • SHS 721: Science of Health Systems (4 credits)
  • MEP 721: Medical Ethics and Professionalism (2 credits)

Year 3

MPH Program

  • No specific coursework

MD Program

  • Standard MD curriculum

Year 4

MPH Program - Fall Semester

  • PHS 505: Public Health Program Planning and Evaluation (3 credits)
  • PHS 520: Principles of Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • PHS 536: Health Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
  • PHS 550: Principles of Epidemiology (3 credits)

MPH Program - Spring Semester

  • PHS 506: Behavioral Health Intervention Strategies II (3 credits)
  • PHS 542: Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
  • PHS 807: Public Health Education Methods (3 credits)
  • PHS 894: Capstone Experience (3 credits)
  • PHS 895A: Master of Public Health Internship (3 credits)

MD Program

  • No specific coursework until standard MD curriculum resumes in the summer semester

Year 5

MPH Program

  • No specific coursework

MD Program

  • Standard MD curriculum

Practicum

PHS 895A: Master of Public Health Internship

The Penn State Master of Public Health (MPH) program requires that all students complete three credits of practicum experience prior to graduation. Students complete their practicum experiences at Practicum Sites and work on substantive projects that (1) contribute to their growth as future public health professionals and (2) help advance the mission of the sites at which they are placed.

The goals of the practicum are to:

  • Build and strengthen students’ public health practice skills.
  • Increase students’ comprehension of and analytical skills relevant to the field of public health.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to contribute to the field of public health in a substantive way.
  • Build students’ professionalism.

The practicum provides students with a unique opportunity to gain professional experience and apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world public health settings and real-time public health issues. The practicum is critical to students’ academic and professional development and their ability to become competent in the practice of public health.

MPH Practicum Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of PHS 895A: Master of Public Health Internship, students will be able to:

  • Describe the vision, mission, purpose, goals, objectives, and function of the organization in which they have been placed.
  • Explain the relationship between the organization in which they have been placed and the community in which it operates.
  • Identify the basic personnel structure and professional qualifications of employees of the organization in which they have been placed.
  • Collect and summarize data relevant to the public health issue addressed in the practicum.
  • Contribute to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a specific public health project.
  • Self-assess their professional public health knowledge and skills identifying their strengths and areas for growth.
  • Analyze the professional and personal skills and characteristics necessary for success in this particular work setting.
  • Apply one or more MPH core competency with the skill expected in a work setting.
  • Apply one or more area of specialization competency with the skill expected in a work setting.
  • Demonstrate professional work habits.
  • Effectively participate in and contribute to a public health practice team.
  • Communicate effectively both in writing and orally.

Contact Us

Those working in the public health field who are interested in hosting MPH students by serving as Practicum Preceptors should contact Carol LaRegina, Practicum Director, at claregin@phs.psu.edu or 717-531-0003, ext. 287460.

Capstone

All MPH students will complete PHS 894: Capstone Experience in their final semester of the program. PHS 894: Capstone Experience serves as students’ culminating experience where students will utilize the information acquired from previous public health courses to design, carry out, and present a scholarly project through a paper and poster presentation.

Options for Your Capstone Project

  • Research Project: Students conducting a research project will identify a problem to be studied, review the literature associated with the problem, collect data about the problem (quantitative &/or qualitative), analyze the data in order to either support or refute a pre-selected hypothesis or answer research questions, discuss the findings, present conclusions, and make recommendations based on the study.
  • Systematic Review of the Literature: Students conducting a systematic review will define a study question, create a strategy to identify appropriate literature, read and review the literature, extract the appropriate information from the literature, summarize the findings, present conclusions, and make recommendations based on the systematic review.
  • Evaluation of an Existing Program: Students evaluating an existing program will provide a description of the program, explain the purpose of the evaluation, describe the methods and procedures used to evaluate the program, identify the logistics of carrying out the evaluation, and present the results of the evaluation.
  • Written Plan for a Program: Students creating a plan for a new program will conduct a needs assessment, create a program mission, goals, and objectives, develop an intervention, describe how the program will be implemented, and explain how the program would be evaluated.
  • Grant Proposal: Students writing a grant proposal for a public health initiative will identify the problem for which the grant would be used, explain the significance, list the hypotheses/questions to be answered, review the literature associated with the problem, create goals and objectives, methods, create a time line and budget, and explain how the intervention would be evaluated.
  • Manual: Students creating a manual for a public health initiative will demonstrate the need for the manual, create goals and objectives for the manual, create a table of contents, develop the content for the manual broken into “chunks,” describe how the manual will be used, and explain how the manual would be evaluated.

Goals and Objectives

Upon completion of this course successful students will:

  • Be able to describe what constitutes a scholarly project and the steps necessary to complete a scholarly project.
  • Be able to demonstrate, via a written paper, the fundamental principles and terminology associated with various types of scholarly projects.
  • Be able to perform a literature search through the use of varied library resources, public domain repositories, and Internet search engines to support their scholarly project.
  • Be able to develop and organize complex ideas in a logical, orderly, and well-written fashion.
  • Be able to cultivate a professional appreciation for public health scholarly activity.
  • Be able to create and present a poster presentation.
  • Be able to create a professional development plan.
  • Be able to identify ethical issues while creating scholarly work.
  • Have enhanced written and oral communication skills.
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