Master of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree prepares students in the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized community outreach. Public health differs from other health programs in that it focuses on large population groups instead of individuals. It emphasizes promoting health and wellness as ultimate goals and prevention over cure.
The MPH degree requires a student to complete 42 – 48 semester credit hours within one of six available specialty tracks:
- Epidemiology (*requires 48 semester credit hours)
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health Behavior and Health Education
- Health Policy and Management
- Rural Public Health Practice
Each student is initially assigned to the Associate Dean for Professional Programs for academic advising prior to declaring a specialty track. Each student must declare a specialty track after completion of 9 semester credit hours of coursework and select an academic advisor from the faculty of the department related to the chosen specialty track.
Applicants must possess the minimum of a US baccalaureate degree to be considered for admission. Applicants who anticipate completion of their undergraduate degree soon after the admissions deadline may apply for conditional admission. If granted conditional admission, a final transcript from the student’s baccalaureate institution must be received by the Office of Student Affairs prior to the date of registration of the admitted semester.
The overall curriculum model for the MPH degree includes:
- Core Courses: 18 semester credit hours
- Specialty/Elective Courses: varies by specialty track
- Preceptorship in Public Health: 3 semester credit hours (minimum)
- MPH Culminating Experience Project: 2 semester credit hours (minimum)
- MPH Culminating Experience Seminar: 1 semester credit hour
Required Preceptorship and Culminating Experience
Two capstone courses are required as part of the MPH curriculum. The first is a preceptorship, or field experience, requiring a minimum of 200 clock hours of work in a public health-related activity, under the joint supervision of a qualified specialist in public health practice and a COPH faculty member. The second is a culminating experience project, requiring the student to synthesize and integrate knowledge and apply theory and principles learned to an area of public health practice resulting in preparation of a manuscript for publication, a health policy proposal, a research proposal for submission, or equivalent, if approved by the Culminating Experience Project Advisory Committee (CEPAC) composed of COPH Faculty members.
Successful Completion of Courses
Courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better to be considered successfully completed. Only successfully completed courses can be counted toward degree requirements. When a listed requirement for enrollment in a course includes completion of a prerequisite course, the prerequisite course must also have been successfully completed.
Time Frame for Completion of Degree
All requirements for a master’s degree must be satisfied within 6 consecutive calendar years from the first registration (whether degree-seeking or non-degree seeking) with the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. Students must begin classes within 1 calendar year after acceptance to the COPH.