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.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Master of Public Health (MPH) Core Areas

The Core Curriculum of the MPH program supports student attainment of the following competencies or skills within the five core areas of public health.

Biostatistics

  • Explain the fundamental concepts of biostatistics.
  • Utilize common statistical methods (i.e., calculate, analyze, interpret, report) in the examination of public health problems or programs.
  • Demonstrate ability to use standard statistical software used to analyze public health data.
  • Identify preferred methodological alternatives in situations where commonly used statistical methods are not appropriate.
  • Discuss the basis for probability, estimation, and hypothesis testing used in statistical methods.

Environmental Health Sciences

  • Explain the fundamental concepts of environmental health sciences.
  • Apply the fundamental concepts of environmental health sciences for assessing, preventing, and controlling environmental and occupational hazards.

Epidemiology

  • Explain the fundamental concepts of epidemiology.
  • Utilize basic epidemiological methods (i.e., design, calculate, analyze, interpret, report) in the examination of public health problems or programs.

Health Services Administration

  • Describe essential elements of the structure of the U.S. healthcare system.
  • Describe the basic function of the U.S healthcare system.
  • Outline a plan for the delivery of health services for a targeted population.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Explain the fundamental concepts of the social and behavioral sciences.
  • Apply health behavior theories to the design of public health interventions.
  • Utilize the determinants of human behavior and health in the design of public health interventions.
  • Apply the social ecological model to the design of public health interventions.
  • Utilize methods to gather and analyze primary and secondary data in the design of public health interventions.
  • Apply evidence-based practice to the design of public health interventions.

Core Competencies

Beyond the five core areas of public health, this core curriculum also supports MPH student attainment of the following competencies within these cross-cutting areas of public health:

Communication

  • Communicate public health information and issues effectively to diverse audiences through multiple communication channels.
  • Use information technology resources to access and/or analyze public health data.

Systems Thinking

  • Describe regulatory programs, guidelines, and authorities that relate to the practice of public health.
  • Explain the infrastructure of the U.S. public health system.
  • Apply the fundamental concepts of disease causation and transmission to public health practice.

Professionalism

  • Discuss the ethical choices, values, and professional practices implicit in public health decisions, considering the effect of those choices on social justice and accountability.
  • Demonstrate leadership in public health.
  • Discuss the commitment to lifelong learning and professional service including active participation in professional organizations.
  • Explain the importance of the contexts of gender, race, poverty, history, migration, and culture in public health theory and practice.

There are also specific competencies for each academic track within the MPH program. View track-specific courses and competencies.