Preparing for Careers in Public Health
The Penn State Master of Public Health (MPH) is a 42-credit degree program preparing students for meaningful careers in public health.
It offers flexible classroom and practice-based learning opportunities for full- and part-time students.
Choose From Four Tracks
Students can specialize in one of the following areas:
- Community and Behavioral Health
- Epidemiology and Biostatistics
- Global Health
- Health Systems Organization and Policy
As part of the MPH program, every student participates in both an internship and a capstone experience designed to take their knowledge into the workplace.
About the Program
Students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program complete a series of core courses as well as electives in one of four specialty tracks:
- Community & Behavioral Health - Advanced instruction in health promotion and disease prevention.
- Epidemiology & Biostatistics - Advanced instruction in the quantitative sciences, with a focus on applied epidemiological methods and practice.
- Health Systems Organization & Policy - A focus on healthcare delivery models and systems, health economics, and applied policy.
- Global Health - A focus on building skills necessary to identify, interpret, and understand global health concepts, as well as, apply these skills on both the international and local stage.
Global Health Opportunities
The Department of Public Health Sciences' Global Health Program gives students the option of pursuing the global health track as part of a graduate degree or obtaining a graduate certificate in global health. In addition, students can participate in the Global Health Exchange Program, which provides international opportunities to study public health in diverse settings.
These areas of focus reflect Penn State's broader commitment to improve overall health and well-being and to promote a global understanding through integrated programs in education, research and service.
Global Health Exchange Program
International fieldwork is a critical step for students to gain practical experience in global health.
These international field experiences can fulfill the program’s practicum requirement. While abroad, students engage with the local community to address identified local public health issues.
Students are also able to participate in a domestic global health internship to fulfill the practicum requirement.
Here's what some participants have said about the program:
- "The internship may have only been eight weeks in duration, but its effects in me have truly altered the trajectory of my career."
- "Going to Bahrain was eye-opening, mind-blowing, and rewarding. I got opportunities to conduct public health research projects in collaboration with local researchers. This was a precious opportunity for me to translate my skills and knowledge to real-world practice."
- "Having the opportunity to experience these prominent global health threats firsthand has influenced my education and has helped me to become a better, more compassionate, and knowledgeable public health professional."
As part of the Global Health Exchange Program, the Department of Public Health Sciences hosts a group of incoming health professional students from international partner sites for three weeks in the summer. The program features educational lectures by faculty, shadowing and observational learning, visits to regional and national public health organizations, and cultural exchange of public health topics with public health students.
A number of workshops on global health topics are offered, such as Writing for Health Policy and Advocacy. Additional opportunities will be added to the website as they become available.
Global Health Case Competition
Each year, Penn State assembles an interprofessional team comprised of students from the College of Medicine, Dickinson Law and University Park campuses to participate in The Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition. The competition poses a hypothetical public health crisis for teams to solve. Each team must successfully work together to create and present a comprehensive plan that addresses the problem. Presentations are judged by a panel of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), academia, State Health Departments, private industries, and nongovernmental organizations.
The Penn State team consists of up to six students from an array of degree programs such as public health sciences, medicine, nursing, engineering, biology, business and law. To participate, interested graduate and undergraduate students must apply each fall.
More About Penn State College of Medicine
What's New in Public Health
Cancer, cardiovascular disease and COVID-19: College of Medicine faculty receive research funds
Penn State College of Medicine strives to create the best culture of respect and inclusion for our students. A number of programs, services and facilities are available.
- Cognitive Skills Program
- Disability Services
- Diverse student groups
- Harrell Health Sciences Library
- Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education
- Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Office for Professional Mental Health
- Office for a Respectful Learning Environment
- Simulation Center
- Student Health
Penn State College of Medicine offers housing in its University Manor East or University Manor West apartments to full-time students, residents, postdoctoral scholars and visiting scholars.
Life in Hershey, PA
Penn State College of Medicine's primary campus is located in Hershey, Pa. The area provides numerous diverse and delicious dining experiences, sports, concerts and entertainment, and is a short drive away from the Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, metro areas.