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What is Urban Health?

Dornsife's Urban Health Collaborative defines ‘urban’ as the geographies where people’s homes, workplaces and gathering spaces are concentrated.

While cities are prominent in discussions of urban health, the definition of urban areas is often inclusive of areas surrounding cities as contexts for the diverse sectors of daily life.

By 2050, more than 65 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. This shift in demographics means that cities not only present complex, large-scale health challenges, they offer one-of-a-kind opportunities to translate public health solutions to communities of all sizes.

Urban Health Issues

Urban health issues at Drexel Dornsife include an extensive range of subjects, including:

  • Effects of urban policies on health
  • Impact of neighborhoods and communities on health
  • Preventing overdose deaths
  • Air pollution health effects
  • Injury prevention and worker safety
  • Improving health care access
  • Health impacts of racism and discrimination
  • The fight against hunger
  • Strategies to prevent the health consequences of urban violence
  • Global health, and more

Addressing the problems that develop in urban environments leads to new ways to improve health for city residents, while also applying inventive solutions to public health issues found in suburban and rural communities.

About the Online Masters in Urban Health

Students in the online Master of Urban Health (MPH) train in the foundational principles of urban health practice.

Rooted in the concept of health as a human right, this program teaches you to develop culturally competent programs, policies, and solutions to contemporary urban health challenges, including built environment, healthy housing, and ecological concerns.

The Urban Health MPH program prepares you to:

  • Apply theories and frameworks from urban social sciences to identify social and other determinants of health, and develop solutions to major urban health problems
  • Critique policies and programs that promote the health of urban populations and reduce urban health issues and inequalities
  • Engage various constituencies including policymakers, community residents and leaders, civil society organizations, social movements, and public agencies in identifying and reducing health problems facing cities
  • Identify ecological models to identify appropriate solutions to the health problems of cities at the individual, family, community, municipal, regional, national, and global levels
  • Select appropriate epidemiological methods to characterize patterns of health, disease, and inequalities in health in urban populations and subpopulations

Read more about the Online MPH in Urban Health on the Drexel University Online website.


The Dornsife School of Public Health seeks students with intellectual and interpersonal competencies as well as those with potential for leadership. The school has set a high priority on establishing a student body that is representative of the nation's population. We strive to recruit and to admit applicants from underrepresented minority groups who can contribute to the richness of our student population and to that of the nation's public health professionals.

To be considered for the Online MPH in Urban Health program, students should have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or an equivalent international institution. A GPA of at least 3.0 is preferred.

Applicants will need to submit the following:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every college-level institution you attended (academic records from institutions outside the U.S. must undergo a credentials evaluation)
  • English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS), if applicable
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives

Applications for the online Master’s in Urban Health program do not require the GRE.

To learn more about admission and application requirements, visit Drexel University Online.


All students will begin their studies in Public Health Foundations and a three-course sequence on Public Health Methods. These courses meet the core competencies outlined by CEPH that all MPH students must achieve. The foundations sequence is designed to run over two quarters and will introduce you to the theory and practice of public health. In the Methods sequence, students will take one course on epidemiology, one course on biostatistics, and once course on qualitative methods.

Discipline-Specific Required Courses

  • CHP 673 Process Monitoring and Outcomes Evaluation for Community Health Programs - 3 credits
  • EOH 550 Introduction to Urban Health - 3 credits
  • EOH 642 Healthy Housing & Built Environment - 3 credits
  • EPI 633 Urban Inequality and Health: Theory, Evidence, and Action - 3 credits

Earn a minimum of 56 quarter credits to complete this degree program.

Customize Your MPH Degree

You may elect to take courses in the following focus areas or tailor your electives to your own areas of interest:

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 urban 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.

Learn more about practical experience

Integrative Learning Experience

The integrative learning experience (ILE) is the culminating requirement for MPH students. It requires students to take 3 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 global health specific competencies. The integrative learning experience is conducted as a Capstone Course where students engage in an Assessment, Evaluation or Research Project that emphasizes practical applications of concepts and skill development.

Learn more about the integrative learning experience

Master's in Urban Health Career Options

A degree in urban health can prepare you for a career as:

  • Health educator
  • Community health
  • Urban or regional planner
  • Research associate
  • Policy analyst

In your career as an urban public health practitioner, you may work on issues such as equitable housing and neighborhoods, safe and active transportation, physical and mental health, infectious and chronic diseases, and toxic environmental exposures.

To learn more about urban health career opportunities, visit Drexel University Online.


Alex Quistberg, PhD, MPH
Director, Urban Health MPH Program
Assistant Research Professor
Environmental and Occupational Health, Urban Health Collaborative

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Executive Director, Enrollment Management