Program Structure

To complete the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, you must take a minimum of 42 credits, fulfill a 150-hour practicum, and write a master’s thesis or complete a capstone project. The Master of Public Health Degree is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.


You must select a Specialty Track. All students take 42 credits of coursework, though the specific required courses vary for each specialty track. You work with your track’s advisor, who offers guidance on selecting the thesis advisor, choosing elective courses, developing a practicum, and other matters. Please refer to the Course Guide for more information on individual courses.

Culminating Experiences

All MPH students complete culminating experiences as part of the degree requirements. Everyone does a practicum and, depending on the specialty track, students either write a thesis or do a capstone project.


The practicum experience is a planned, supervised, and evaluated practical experience that allows you to practice lessons learned in the classroom. It can take place at a variety of public health agencies and organizations. The 150-hour practicum can be designed in a variety of ways (i.e., five days a week for several weeks, a few hours a week for several months). The practicum enables you to achieve many of the competencies necessary to be successful public health practitioners, often while serving a community. Before you can begin a practicum, you need approval from your preceptor and track advisor.


Researching and writing a thesis gives you a chance to explore and develop ideas learned in the classroom and/or practicum. We strongly recommend that you consider the practicum to be a foundation for a master’s thesis. Students work with a thesis advisor. The goal of the thesis is to allow you to integrate the knowledge you gained in the classroom and through the practicum with the current literature in their area of interest. It sometimes exposes students to new and exciting opportunities for professional development. Students in the General Public Health, Global Health, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Outcomes Research, and Occupational & Environmental Medicine specialty tracks complete a master’s thesis.

Capstone Project 

Students in the Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Health Care Management tracks complete a capstone project in lieu of a thesis. These projects include both written and oral components and allow you to synthesize, integrate, and apply the skills and competencies you have acquired to address a public health problem. Typically, you start the capstone project toward the end of the first year and complete it by the end of the second.