Department of Public Health

Master of Public Health (MPH)

The Department of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health program that provides students with competencies required to understand the unique challenges inherent to public health practice and education. The curriculum reflects the School of Nursing mission and emphasizes the conceptual, analytical, and experiential skills required to serve in the public health sector. Throughout the program, an emphasis is placed on the five core areas of public health: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health policy and management, and social and behavioral sciences. There are also seven cross-cutting areas interwoven into the curriculum: communication, diversity and culture, leadership, professionalism and ethics, program planning and assessment, public health biology, and systems thinking.

Students can choose from seven specializations: biostatistics and epidemiology, social and behavioral science, health policy and administration, health promotion and education, international health, environmental health, and disaster health and emergency preparedness. Check with the department for availability of specializations.

Program Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the Master of Public Health program will be able to:

  1. Articulate a Christian worldview, demonstrating respect for the dignity and uniqueness of others, valuing diversity and integrity, and applying spiritual concepts.
  2. Engage in evidence-based methods to understand and address public health issues, using critical reasoning, scholarly inquiry, knowledge of peer-reviewed scientific literature, bioinformatics, and data analysis.
  3. Design population-based policies and programs that promote health, prevent disease, and address social equity issues.
  4. Apply principles of leadership to promote interprofessional collaboration and decision-making among diverse stakeholders.
  5. Utilize systems-level thinking and communication in response to public health issues, analyzing and synthesizing policies and programs that address efficiency, cost effectiveness, and health equity. 

Transfer of Credits

Following admission, 9 units of approved graduate work completed elsewhere may be applied toward the MPH degree.

Additional Requirements

At the beginning of clinical coursework, including the field practicum, students are required to provide documentation of TB screening and immunizations appropriate for the clinical setting.

A student’s health status must permit him/her to safely undertake and complete clinical experience required for the degree. As a fully prepared health professional, the student is expected to take responsibility for self-evaluation of her/his health status, including an assessment of the safety and appropriateness of practice in the clinical context.

The Joint Commission, contracted facilities, and the School of Nursing require that all graduate students undergo a background check prior to their placement at clinical sites. The cost of the background check is the responsibility of the student. International students have additional fees based on the cost of a background check in their country.

Students may select additional elective courses to support their programs of study as directed by faculty. 

GSPH 504, Bioethics and Health Care Policy, 3 Units

This course will outline the role of the healthcare leader in ensuring human rights are upheld in healthcare systems. This course focuses on bioethical analysis, decision-making and moral policy analysis, and formulation.Through course discussion, group and individual assignments, and oral and written presentations, students will analyze and apply bioethical principles to decision- and policy- making processes in the workplace and at national levels. Healthcare ethics and policy will be considered from a Christian worldview.

GSPH 506, Spiritual Concept Analysis in Health Care [Proposed], 3 Units

Scholarly research and analysis of selected concepts in the spiritual care of persons from the Judeo-Christian perspective provide a central focus to the course. Students also examine healthcare research/other healthcare literature for adequacy with respect to the concept they select. Various assignments facilitate greater student awareness of their own spiritual journey and knowledge of faith traditions other than their own. The course is conducted as a tutorial/seminar experience.

GSPH 508C, Research and Theory in Healthcare [Proposed], 3 Units

This course prepares the healthcare practitioner to apply theory and research evidence in healthcare environments. The relationship between theory and research is examined, exploring questions about the nature, construction, and use of each. Selected theories are explored, and students learn how ideas are developed and used in practice and research. Students learn the fundamentals of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research and deepen their understanding through systematic search, critique, and summary of research studies with application to healthcare. Students work in groups to develop a research plan addressing a healthcare-derived question. Experience in statistical analysis of research data is included.

Prerequisite: GSPH 613

GSPH 510, Social Determinants of Health, 3 Units

A central focus of the public health field is understanding the etiology, occurrence, and distribution of health outcomes (morbidity and mortality). One growing area of importance within the field is examining how health and disease are influenced and maintained by social, economic, and political risk factors - called social determinants of health. This course provides a macro-level overview of concepts, research and theoretical models of social determinants of health. Through interactive lectures, readings and assignments, students will be exposed to major areas of study linked to social determinants of health, with discussions centered on the following key questions: What social factors are the greatest challenge to health outcomes within local communities? What does it mean to use a social determinants lens when studying health outcomes among diverse multicultural populations? What are health disparities and how might they best be addressed? What behavioral lifestyle factors commonly interplay with social determinants of health?

GSPH 512, Health, Culture, and Diversity [Proposed], 3 Units

This course covers the issues of health disparities in the United States and the development of culturally competent programs. Students will examine what is meant by culture, the ways in which culture and health issues intersect, and how public health efforts can benefit by understanding and working with cultural processes.

GSPH 514, Research Proposal Writing [Proposed], 2 Units

This course focuses on the application of the concepts in GSPH 508. The goal is the completion of a research proposal that details the problem, the research purpose, questions or hypotheses to be tested, a critique of the literature, the design and methods of the study including protection of human subjects, the plans for analysis, use of the study, and the budget and personnel.

Prerequisite: GSPH 508

GSPH 518, Population Health Management [Proposed], 3 Units

This course covers important topics in the effective management of public health departments and agencies. Students will receive guidance on how to fulfill roles in public health management as leaders, administrators, fundraisers, and internal and external communicators. Course content includes ways to be an effective coach to maximize the team's performance, the essentials of effective partnerships, how to create and sustain public health initiatives using business skills, how to run meetings, ways to manage electronic correspondence, and effective strategies to keep the modern public health organization running smoothly.

GSPH 519, Global Health Systems [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines international health systems in terms of infrastructure and function. Students will examine the benefits and risks of universal healthcare, third party reimbursement systems, and global availability and access to medical services.

GSPH 522, Cultural Competency in Health Care [Proposed], 3 Units

In this course, the topics and tools necessary for the application of cultural competency processes in various healthcare settings will be examined. Curriculum covers an overview of demographic changes in the United States, accreditation requirements and cultural competency, cultural nuances of specific groups, and a comprehensive review of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity. Attention is also given to the associated costs, time, and skill sets associated with the process of moving a health care organization toward cultural competency.

GSPH 525, Epidemiology, 3 Units

This course covers application of epidemiologic procedures to the understanding of the occurrence and control of conditions such as infections and chronic diseases, mental disorders, community and environmental health hazards, unintentional injuries, and geriatric problems. Other topics include quantitative aspects of epidemiology, including data sources, measures of morbidity and mortality, evaluation of association and causality, study design, and screening for disease.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate statistics and biology

GSPH 526, Public Health Biology [Proposed], 3 Units

Human health problems comprise a wide range of infectious, degenerative, neoplastic and genetically-based disease factors. In addition to these factors, human disease results from a wide range of environmental and socially caused pathologies. This course presents the basic scientific and biomedical concepts of modern public health problems and explores the mechanisms and models of the major categories of disease. An integrative approach using knowledge of nutrition, exercise, mind-body, and spiritual practices will be explored. The biologic principles presented in this course are foundations to developing and implementing public health disease prevention, control, or management programs in the student's future.

GSPH 527, Advanced Biostatistics and Epidemiology [Proposed], 3 Units

This course focuses on the application of statistical approaches in epidemiologic research, covering the aspect of data management and selection of the appropriate statistical model. Regression analysis including linear regression, logistic regression, Poisson regression, and Cox regression will be reviewed. Students will also learn basic concepts in survival analysis including censoring, survival function, and hazard function. Epidemiologic methods to assess causation including mediation analysis, propensity score matching, and instrumental variable analysis will also be covered. Students will practice the application of different analytic approaches using computer program packages.

GSPH 529, Bioinformatics [Proposed], 3 Units

This course explains how informatics relates to knowledge acquisition, knowledge processing, knowledge generation, knowledge dissemination, and feedback. Technology trends, information security, ethical and legislative aspects will also be highlighted. Students will apply these concepts to support practice, education, administration, and research and will utilize these principles to improve healthcare models.

GSPH 532, Infectious Disease Epidemiology [Proposed], 3 Units

This course covers key epidemiologic methods for practicing infectious disease epidemiology including study design, interpretation of data, and assessment of validity. Course content covers methods in infectious disease epidemiology, airborne transmission, diarrheal diseases, blood and body fluids as reservoirs of infectious disease, and vector-borne and parasite diseases. Students will learn how to apply content and use problem-solving skills to develop effective prevention strategies.

GSPH 535, Environmental Health, 3 Units

This course examines essential issues in environmental health, including the scientific and historical foundations, regulatory and policy issues, models and tools for assessing community environmental health, and an overview of select issues and implications of the environment on national and global health. Topics explored include select environmental pollutants in the air, water, soil, and food sources; hazardous waste, risk assessment and communication; and issues of environmental justice and vulnerable populations, nationally and globally.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate biology, chemistry, or ecology

GSPH 537, Occupational Health and Safety [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines concepts and issues in occupational health and safety, specifically identifying the significance to both worker and public health. Students will study social influences, historical events of worker injuries, industrial hygiene, and applicable principles of toxicology, workers quality of life, and safety in the workplace.

GSPH 540, International Health [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines global health issues, emerging priorities, and worldwide challenges affecting population health and disease. Students will address opportunities and challenges to international health, examine determinants of human health holistically, and develop programs and potential solutions to promote international prevention strategies and optimal human health worldwide.

GSPH 543, Public Health Communication [Proposed], 3 Units

This course provides an overview about the use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community health decisions. We will focus on how communication concepts, theories, and methods are used for public health promotion and practice. Health communication theories will include models of persuasive communications/mass media effects, social marketing, interpersonal communications, risk perceptions, and diffusion of innovations. For practice, you will work in pairs to develop/evaluate a health communication intervention that addresses a current public health issue among a specific target group.

GSPH 546, Principles and Practices of Toxicology [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines the principles of toxicology, including: dose-response relationships, toxicokinetics, an overview of mechanisms and methods of toxicity, select exposures to toxic substances and accompanying toxidromes, the use of antidotes, and relevance to public health.

GSPH 551, Theories of Health Behavior [Proposed], 3 Units

What do we mean when we say "health behavior?" Given that a major focus of public health promotion, education, and prevention programs is on "changing health behavior," there is an ongoing quest to understand "why do people do what they do to (a) improve or maintain their health and/or (b) worsen their health?" This course is designed to prepare you to develop a knowledge foundation of health behavior theories and skills for developing theoretically-based behavior-change programs. To accomplish this, the course will allow you to critically review and apply a range of health behavior theories that target the intrapersonal (individual), interpersonal (group), and community (societal) level through lectures, readings, and assignments.

GSPH 555, Infectious Diseases and Public Health [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines the role of infectious diseases in regional, national, and global public health. Students will study the historical context, surveillance, and emerging issues in communicable diseases. In addition, course content includes the identification and management of infectious diseases with students using case studies and proposing threats and opportunities in prevention, education, and health promotion.

GSPH 560, Strategic Leadership in Healthcare, 3 Units

This course is designed to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes about leadership across the healthcare continuum. The student will consider the professional role of the healthcare administrator both from a leadership and a management perspective. Areas of concentration will include leadership theory, structure of healthcare institutions, systems thinking and decision-making, performance improvement including quality and safety issues, risk management and effective communication skills. Application of business skills will be integrated. Students will consider the theoretical and research background, current issues and trends, leadership and administrative implications of specific topics.

GSPH 561, Public Health Across the Disaster Cycle [Proposed], 3 Units

This course evaluates the roles of public health in natural and human-caused disasters, from "simple" to complex humanitarian events. Using case studies, the roles of public health agencies and practitioners will be analyzed in the context of institutional systems and the disaster cycle: prevention/preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Field trips outside of class hours may be required.

GSPH 566, Politics and Policies in Disaster Health and Emergency Preparedness [Proposed], 3 Units

This course evaluates existing governmental and institutional policies related to disaster health and emergency management (DHEM) within political systems. Formulation, implementation and evaluation of policy will be analyzed. Students will propose and develop one new policy related to an area of DHEM. A field trip outside of class hours may be required.

GSPH 568, Health Care Finance [Proposed], 3 Units

This course is an introduction to financial concepts and skills need for healthcare leaders, managers, and executives. The student will develop skills in assessing multiple dimensions of financial performance and methods to improve the financial health of an organization in the context of current patient care system.

GSPH 581, Disaster Health and Emergency Management Principles and Practices [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines principles and practice of emergency management in catastrophic public health and high-impact incidents. Content addresses emergency management strategies for naturally occurring events, such as wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes, and other categories, such as hazardous materials incidents, bioterrorism, and mass shootings. Students will learn about disaster program planning, individual preparation and community readiness, response, and coordination of recovery efforts and education at the regional and national levels.

GSPH 595, Culminating Experience [Proposed], 3 Units

This culminating experience is designed to exposure students to their professional role by completing hours in the field. The students will spend a minimum of 90 hours in the field and the course instructor will conduct at least one site visit per semester for each student enrolled the culminating experience course.

Prerequisite: Completion of all Academic Core and at least 3 units of the Specialty courses

GSPH 597, Comprehensive Exam, 1 Unit

This guided-study course provides a summative experience for completion of the Master in Public Health program and guides the student through the process of demonstrating an integration of theoretical, clinical, and research knowledge from course work throughout the program to the solution of a major public health problem in this culminating project. Each graduate candidate will identify a unique health problem in an actual healthcare setting to address, perform a thorough review and synthesis of current literature, select an appropriate theoretical framework, and develop a creative and innovative solution to the problem. Candidates will meet regularly throughout the semester with course faculty to prepare for and discuss their progress and will submit their work for publication or comparable external review format at the end of the semester.

Prerequisite: Completion of all Academic Core, Advanced Practice Core, and Specialty courses

GSPH 598, Thesis [Proposed], 1 Unit

A student initially enrolls in this option toward the latter part of the program for one unit of credit. The student registers for one unit of thesis credit each semester (two of three semesters per year) until the thesis is completed.

Prerequisite: GPA of 3.5 or above, chair's consent for thesis option, and completion of all Academic Core and Advanced Practice Core courses

GSPH 599, Readings in Public Health, 1-3 Units

A student may elect to pursue special interests for credit at any time during the program under the supervision of a faculty member. This course is an independent study, arranged with a faculty member of the Department of Public Health.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

GSPH 613, Graduate Statistics, 3 Units

This course presents the knowledge of descriptive, correlational, and inferential statistics used in research that serves as the basis for evidence-based practice. Students develop the ability to perform descriptive and inferential data analysis techniques, use software applications to aid in statistical calculations and presentation, and interpret findings.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate statistics and biology



Aja Lesh, PhD, RN

Associate Dean

Renee Pozza, PhD, RN

Program Director

Marissa Brash, DrPH, Director of the Master of Public Health Program and Assistant Professor


Teresa Dodd-Butera, PhD, Professor

Patricia Frohock Hanes, PhD, Professor