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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 the public health area.

Students will take one year off between the third and fourth year of medical school to complete 26 MPH credits, including a practicum and a capstone, described below. The remaining 16 credits will be transferred from the MD program.

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

MPH coursework will be completed at the Penn State College of Medicine campus in Hershey, PA. Some courses are offered online through World Campus.

MD/MPH Coursework by Semester

The MD/MPH curriculum includes, for the MPH degree, 26 credits in Public Health Sciences, as well as 16 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)

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 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


PHS 895: 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. The practicum will be completed at domestic and international locations.

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 or 717-531-4294.


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.
  • 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. The resultant paper should be 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.

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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