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Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree

Two students in front of Nesbitt Hall

Training that Makes a Difference: Blending Study and Practice for Professional Success

The Dornsife School of Public Health is pleased to unveil a new Master of Public Health curriculum, beginning in the Fall quarter of 2017. The redesigned MPH program provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in today’s public health world.

The new curriculum incorporates several key elements:

  • Solid training in state of the art core competencies that students need to be effective
  • Integration and interdisciplinarity from the very beginning
  • Flexibility to incorporate specialization in several public health areas
  • Extensive opportunities for community, practice and research engagement
  • Graduate in only 5 quarters, allowing a head start in the job market

Why A "New" MPH Curriculum

We redesigned the MPH degree to ensure that our students graduate with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the field of public health. We also wanted to increase the ability of students to specialize in areas they are particularly interested in, and to expand the flexibility of the curriculum to allow students to graduate earlier.

We built the new curriculum working back from actual public health challenges – asking ourselves what it will take to address tough problems. The result is a curriculum design that is integrated across disciplines, because interdisciplinary, cross-sector teamwork is exactly what is required for 21st century public health practice and research.

Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH
Dean, Dornsife School of Public Health

Majors

Starting with the class entering in Fall 2017, full-time MPH students will select a major at the time of application.

Explore majors below:

  • Community Health and Prevention

    As a student in Community Health and Prevention, you will learn about the major drivers of community health, obtain the skills you need to design, implement, and evaluate public health interventions, and learn how to improve health through meaningful partnerships with community stakeholders. Community Health and Prevention faculty focus on a range of topics including public health ethics, the individual, social and structural determinants of health, the use of theory to understand health behavior, and the implementation and evaluation of public health interventions and policies. Our students are trained in the application of mixed methods – the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches in data collection and analysis to understand, promote and sustain community health. Your classroom and practical experiences will foster the development of practical skills relevant to obtaining a career in public health upon graduation. Our graduates design, implement, manage, and evaluate health promotion programs and policies. They are leaders in health education, community organization, and advocacy efforts that promote the health of communities in domestic and global settings.

  • Environmental and Occupational Health

    As a student in Environmental and Occupational Health, you will learn how to assess and monitor environmental and occupational exposures and to understand their health consequences. You will work alongside our faculty to investigate and act on the environmental determinants of health including climate change and exposure to air pollution, pesticides or other substances. You will learn how to make housing healthier, to promote health and prevent injuries in the workplace, to enhance access to clean water, and to prepare for public health emergencies around the globe. Opportunities in this field include application of environmental and occupational health principles to protect and promote the health of populations in homes, communities and workplace settings.

  • Epidemiology

    As a student in Epidemiology, you will learn and apply quantitative approaches to characterize, monitor, and understand the health of populations. You will gain experience in the design of epidemiologic studies and in the analysis of data. Epidemiology and Biostatistics faculty focus on a range of analytic approaches and their application to a spectrum of topics including social inequalities in health, neighborhood differences in health, chronic and infectious disease epidemiology, the epidemiology of health across life stages, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, and clinical research. Career paths in epidemiology often involve data collection, analyses, and interpretation to inform policy and practice in governmental, private, nonprofit, academic and healthcare settings. Epidemiology graduates may also manage research studies that lead to the changes in decision making in public health.

  • Health Management and Policy

    As a student in Health Management and Policy, you will learn how health policy is made and implemented in both health care and public health settings. You will acquire skills in health services research, health policy and law, health care administration, management and organizational development, and public health leadership and advocacy. Faculty in Health Management and Policy are actively engaged in health services research, the promotion of health equity, public health practice, and policy analysis, including efforts to understand and inform evolving U.S health insurance policies and to reduce health disparities related to violence, the health consequences of trauma, and hunger. This degree prepares students for two career tracks: to become managers and leaders in health care or public health organizations, with knowledge of health care and public health administration, organizational development and leadership; or to use policy as a means to improve health care services and public health through advocacy, policy analysis and practice in government, health care, nonprofit and academic settings.

Minors

Minors are open to all Drexel graduate students in all schools and colleges. The minors are designed to complement student’s training by providing basic knowledge in topics outside their primary discipline. In addition to the list below, additional minors are being developed.

Explore minors below:

Environmental and Occupational Health

Students who minor in Environmental and Occupational Health will gain skills and knowledge to assess and prevent health impacts from air and drinking water pollutants, climate change, the built environment, and workplace hazards. Students will learn key concepts through structured coursework that will cover toxicology, epidemiology, exposure science, and risk communication. After completing the minor, students will understand the effects of major biological, chemical, and physical agents on human health and safety, and how genetic and socioeconomic factors affect a person’s susceptibility to environmental hazards. The minor will deepen a student’s learning experience and provide them with a distinctive skill set to help address complex, emerging environmental health issues.

Global Health

This minor will provide students insights into ethical and human rights concerns in global health, the global burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, the impact of diseases related to international travel and migration, the causes and control of global epidemics, and the social and environmental determinants of health in developing countries. Examination of health determinants will include consideration of social, political, economic, environmental, and gender-related factors. Students will explore tools to assess health in global settings; health improvement strategies that are cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable; and approaches to working with colleagues from different ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds. Students will gain an appreciation of the complexity of global health governance, including the roles of international organizations, the commercial/corporate sector, and civil society.

Infectious Disease Prevention and Control

The minor in Infectious Disease Prevention and Control provides students with a population-level approach to the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Coursework emphasizes microbial causes of human illness, their diagnosis and treatment; infectious disease epidemiology; and infectious diseases that occur in the health care environment. Students will use case studies as a framework to identify and address important clinical syndromes caused by infectious agents, and to understand control measures that are important to interrupt transmission in community and health care settings. Students complete a field-based project in either a public health or health care infectious disease control program. The minor allows students to pursue relevant courses in epidemiology, health communication, management and leadership, and patient safety, providing a bridge to the student’s discipline-specific major and opportunities to acquire skills needed in the workplace. The program is intended to prepare students to work in health care settings, public health agencies, the pharmaceutical sector, and other organizations engaged in work related to the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

Latino/Immigrant Health

Globalization, economic inequalities, civil unrest, terrorism, climate change, and other factors are resulting in ever larger global population movements, with significant public health implications for nations at all stages of migration pathways. The Latino/Immigrant Health minor allows students to explore the unique public health needs of immigrant and migrant communities, with emphasis on, but not limited to, Latino immigrants to the U.S. Coursework will cover priority health issues and health disparities affecting migrant and immigrant populations; the public health implications of international migration; explanatory and intervention theories of immigration and immigrant health; and intervention approaches to improve the health of migrants in communities of origin, transit, and destination. The minor also addresses key methodological and ethical issues related to conducting research and practicing public health among foreign-born and mobile populations. The minor emphasizes the unique health concerns of Latino immigrants in the U.S. and reviews successful strategies to work with Latino communities along the migration continuum. Students also will have the opportunity to connect and intern with organizations that serve immigrants and refugees.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health

This minor examines methodologic and ethical considerations in studying the health of LGBT populations, with a focus on the intersection of social identity and inequality in shaping health disparities based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, and sex/gender. Students will learn to investigate LGBT health using multiple disciplinary perspectives, conceptual frameworks and methods. They will also gain understanding of how sexual and gender minority populations are socially constructed and the complex relationship between these constructs and health, including how sexual and gender minority identities fit within a larger framework of social identities. They will learn the importance of involving community members in the development of health policy and research. The LGBT Health minor will provide students with basic knowledge about LGBT health as well as the necessary skills and experience to apply this knowledge in practice.

Maternal and Child Health

The Maternal and Child Health minor is designed to prepare students for work to improve the health of women, children, adolescents and families. The minor takes a life-course perspective and focuses on areas such as global health, perinatal epidemiology, children and youth with special health care needs, autism spectrum disorders, family-centered maternal and pediatric care, breast feeding, health communication, program evaluation, health disparities, the role of technology in health care, and maternal and child health policy. Students accepted into this minor program will be assigned a faculty advisor from the school’s Maternal and Child Health Program, a multidisciplinary coalition of faculty, community partners and students with backgrounds in community health and prevention, health management and policy, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, nursing, rehabilitation sciences, social work, medicine and technology –based on mutual student and faculty interest. Students develop skills in critical thinking, application and analysis of maternal and child health issues to be poised for entry into the maternal and child health work force or related doctoral programs.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation

For people who fund, plan, or implement public health programs, their questions often include: what outcomes do you expect, how will you know if you achieved the desired outcomes, and, for programs that have been implemented, what evidence can you provide that they are having intended effects? The minor in Health Program Monitoring and Evaluation prepares students to develop, improve, and critique public health programs using quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods that can be applied in governmental or non-governmental agencies and in domestic or global contexts. In addition to required courses, students are encouraged to take additional advanced research methods courses and to build practical evaluation experience into their graduate studies by working with faculty on a community-based evaluation project as part of their integrated learning experience.

Public Health Ethics and History

This minor will strengthen students’ critical thinking skills and their knowledge of public health history and ethics, enabling them to more effectively and thoughtfully perform their primary jobs as professionals in public health practice. For students intending to pursue an academic career in public health, the minor will be of additional value because academics in public health, regardless of their specialty, are thought-leaders who should understand and be conversant in the field’s history, current points of ethical controversy, and the many ways in which these are influenced by conceptual assumptions, value judgments, and historical events. For students with a primary interest in the history and ethics of health professions, this minor will be of value because it will provide a foundation for careers in health care ethics (e.g., positions relating to human or animal research protections, legal or professional ethics) or for entrance into doctoral programs in the humanities or other interdisciplinary programs with an emphasis on ethics and policy.

Substance Use and Misuse

The minor in Substance Use and Misuse will focus on key issues relating to the history, epidemiology, and study of drug use. This will include examination of drug policies, public health outcomes linked to substance use/misuse, and characteristics of marginalized individuals/communities who use drugs. Students will gain understanding of the economic, cultural, and health-related contexts of drug use, including consideration of intersects between drug use and homelessness, incarceration, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, mental health, violence, and health disparities. Coursework will address the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the public health effects of drug use and about prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies and policies for addressing substance use and misuse. This includes consideration of the use of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine; legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco/nicotine; and prescription drugs, such as pharmaceutical opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants. Morbidity and mortality associated with substance use and misuse is a top public health concern, reflecting the impacts of drug dependence and overdose, drug-use-associated transmission of infectious diseases, and the overuse of prescription opioids in managing chronic pain associated with cancer and other conditions.

Curriculum

Core Courses

All students will begin their studies in Public Health Foundations and Systems and Public Health Research Methods, two new multidisciplinary core courses which will be team-taught by faculty from each department. The courses are designed to run across the first two quarters and total 16 credits. This format ensures that course development is shaped by content/disciplinary experts and includes the breadth and depth of relevant skills that all MPH graduates will need regardless of their chosen discipline.

Discipline-Specific Courses

Students will take a minimum of five discipline-specific course in their major field of study over the five-quarter MPH program.

MPH Practical Experience

All MPH degree students must develop skills in basic public health concepts and demonstrate capacity to apply these concepts through a practical experience relevant to their area of specialization. “Practice” refers to implementing (doing) public health, rather than understanding (studying, researching) public health.

The practical experience is an applied, field-based requirement that gives students experience in the practice of public health (no credits) – requiring depth (120-240 hours in a field placement) and breadth (1 experience per month) – including participation in short-term volunteer opportunities and participation in on- or off-campus learning opportunities. The practical experience requirement can begin during the third quarter of year one and be completed during the summer or the second year of study.

Learn more about practical experience

Integrative Learning Experience

The integrative learning experience (ILE) is the culminating requirement for MPH students. Each department/major has their own specific requirements for the ILE, which requires students to take 4-6 credits in the final 2 quarters of the program and to produce a high quality written product that demonstrates mastery of core public health and discipline-specific competencies. The integrative learning experience can be coordinated with the field-based practical experience requirement.

Sample Schedules

Year One Sample Schedule

  • QUARTER 1 – FALL
    • Multidisciplinary Core: Public Health Foundations and Systems I (4 credits)
    • Multidisciplinary Core: Methods for Public Health Research I (4 credits)
    • DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC COURSE in MAJOR (3 credits)
  • QUARTER 2 – WINTER
    • Multidisciplinary Core: Public Health Foundations and Systems II (4 credits)
    • Multidisciplinary Core: Methods for Public Health Research II (4 credits)
    • DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC CORE COURSE in MAJOR (3 credits)
  • QUARTER 3 – SPRING
    • DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC COURSE in MAJOR (3 credits)
    • THREE (3) ELECTIVE/SPECIALIZATION COURSES IN MAJOR/or MINOR SPECIALITY (9 credits total)
    • PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
  • SUMMER QUARTER
    • BEGIN OR CONTINUE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

Year Two Sample Schedule

  • QUARTER 4 – FALL
    • INTEGRATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE (2 credits)
    • DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC COURSE IN MAJOR (3 credits)
    • TWO (2) ELECTIVE/SPECIALIZATION COURSES IN MAJOR/or MINOR SPECIALITY (6 credits total)
    • PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
  • QUARTER 5 – WINTER
    • INTEGRATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE (2 credits)
    • DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC COURSE IN MAJOR (3 credits)
    • TWO (2) ELECTIVE SPECIALIZATION COURSES IN MAJOR/or MINOR SPECIALITY (6 credits total)
    • PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

Admissions

  • Personal essays and letters of recommendation
  • Academic and personal accomplishments, with emphasis on demonstrated leadership
  • Diversity of background and outside interests, depth of self-appraisal, commitment to public health, capacity to work with individuals

Review admission and application requirements

Application Deadlines

  • Endowed Scholarship Deadline - January 15. Applicants interested in being considered for the Dornsife School of Public Health's endowed scholarships should apply no later than January 15.
  • Priority Deadline - March 15. Applicants who apply by March 15 will be given priority consideration for merit-based scholarships.
  • Regular Decision Deadline - June 30. Applicants will be considered for scholarships should funds remain available.

The Admissions Committee will begin releasing application decisions in late-January for fall entry.

Prerequisites

  • Satisfactory completion of an undergraduate degree program from an accredited US college or university, or its equivalent in another country
  • A course in Statistics is highly recommended

Application Requirements

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official results from the GRE* taken within the last 5 years (code to submit to SOPHAS is 7890)
  • Three letters of recommendation preferably from faculty
  • Essay discussing your interest in public health, your career goals, and why you are interested in the Dornsife School of Public Health. Typical length is 600-800 words. If you are interested in being considered for any of the Dornsife School of Public Health endowed scholarships, please address your interest and fit with one of these scholarships in your essay.
  •  Resume
  • IELTS or TOEFL results for non-native English speakers (taken within the last 2 years - code to submit to SOPHAS is 5688)
  • World Education Service evaluation of all foreign transcripts (international applications only)

*Drexel University will also consider any one of the following exams in lieu of the GRE:

  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

All standardized test scores must be no older than 5 years.

Applicants will select a major on the SOPHAS application, however students will have the opportunity to change majors should they find that their interests are within another academic department. All MPH students complete the first year core, and officially enter their major during the spring term of the first year provided that all core coursework and concentration prerequisites have been satisfactorily completed.

Degree Requirements

The full-time program is structured on a quarter basis, with 56 total credit hours required for completion of the degree over five quarters.

Outcomes

  • Understand the systems that drive population health
  • Use critical thinking to characterize population health and answer public health questions
  • Be familiar with the mission, historical context, values and ethical principles of public health
  • Have the skills necessary to gather analyze, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data
  • Be able to translate knowledge into actions to improve population health
  • Engage and partner effectively with multiple disciplines, sectors and communities to promote health
  • Communicate effectively about public health topics with diverse audiences
  • Understand the principles of effective leadership, administration, and funding in public health
  • Engage in self-directed, lifelong learning