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Penn State graduate students, including those from the Department of Public Health Sciences, participate in the ninth annual Graduate Student Oath Ceremony on August 18, 2017. The students are pictured standing in a line, reading from a program.

MD/MPH Program

MD/MPH Program Details

The five-year MD/MPH requires 42 credits in public health curriculum.

Between the third and fourth year of medical school, students will complete 27 MPH credits, including a practicum and a capstone, described below. The remaining credits will be transferred from the MD program.

Special emphasis will be placed on community and behavioral health, global health and population health.

MPH coursework will be completed at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. Several courses are offered online.

What Students Are Saying

From a program graduate:

"The Master of Public Health degree was instrumental in teaching me in-depth aspects of the health care system such as population health, the socioecological model and insurance. This has prepared me to critically evaluate health care policies and understand the impact on the general population. With my additional degree, I will integrate the concepts I’ve learned into my future practice as a medical physician."

Learn More about the Program

MD/MPH Coursework by Semester

The MD/MPH curriculum includes, for the MPH degree, 27 credits in Public Health Sciences, as well as 16 specific credits transferred in from the MD Program.

An example of coursework for an MD student completing the Global Health Track is outlined here:

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)

Year 3

MPH Program

  • No specific coursework

MD Program

  • Standard MD curriculum

Year 4

MPH Program - Fall Semester

  • PHS 520: Principles of Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • PHS 538: Mixed-Methods Research (3 credits)
  • PHS 550: Principles of Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PHS 804: Integrating Systems Thinking in Global Health (3 credits)
  • PHS 809: Principles of Public Health (3 credits)

MPH Program - Spring Semester

  • PHS 557: Global Impact of Infectious Disease (3 credits)
  • PHS 803: Principles of Global Health (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

Applied Practice Experience

PHS 895: Master of Public Health Internship

The Penn State Master of Public Health (MPH) program requires that all students complete three credits of internship experience prior to graduation. Students complete their Applied Practice Experience at various domestic and international sites, and they work on substantive projects that both contribute to their growth as future public health professionals and help advance the mission of the sites at which they are placed.

The goals of the Applied Practice Experience 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 experience provides students with the 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 Applied Practice Experience is critical to students’ academic and professional development and their ability to become competent in the practice of public health.

Contact Us

Those working in the public health field who are interested in hosting MPH students by serving as preceptors should contact Julie Lentes at .


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. The resultant paper should suitable for publication.
  • 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. The resultant paper should be suitable for submission.
  • Other project: This category is an all-inclusive section for projects such as community outreach reports, evaluation of an intervention or interventions, policy analysis, evaluation of an existing program, written plan for a program or a manual. This list is not exhaustive, and the program will consider any projects that result in scholarly work.

Goals and Objectives

Upon completion of this course successful students will:

  • Compose a scholarly project
  • Identify appropriate literature through the use of varied library resources, public-domain repositories and Internet search engines to support their scholarly project.
  • Develop and organize complex ideas in a logical, orderly and well-written fashion.
  • Critique limitations while creating scholarly work.
  • Develop enhanced written and oral communication skills.
  • Interpret reviewer feedback and defend scholarly work.
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