Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Education in Health Sciences
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MPH

Our Master of Public Health (MPH) program prepares graduates to span the boundary between public health and their professional fields, emphasizing data and analytic skills. Graduates will be poised to address complex public health challenges on a local, national and global scale. Our diverse study body includes physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, specialists in the physical and social sciences and leaders in community health research.

Curriculum

We offer two variants designed to meet student needs:

  • Part-time (evenings, about two years): Designed to meet the needs of working professionals and health care practitioners.  This evening program is also ideal for students completing other academic coursework during the day.
  • Full-time (one year): Designed to provide students with a comprehensive MPH experience in a 12-month span. Ideal for students seeking intensive study and practical experience before moving on to the next stage in their academic or professional careers.

Our program also offers opportunities for “Non-Degree Special Students” to enroll in courses without having to pursue a full MPH degree. Non-degree students are usually professionals from a variety of backgrounds looking for professional enrichment opportunities as well as scientists fulfilling the training component of their grants. These students must apply for admission to the program, though they can apply for and enroll in any term in the academic year.

Some of our students have credits from prior or concurrent professional/graduate school coursework that may be applied toward their MPH degree. Graduate school courses applied toward an undergraduate degree cannot be applied toward the MPH. Please contact Maureen Moran to inquire about credit transfer.

Browse our course descriptions, and be sure to review the full degree requirements on The Graduate School website.

Concentrations

MPH students choose the generalist option or one of the following concentrations:

 Generalist Option

The Generalist option equips students with a broad public health skill-set and allows maximum flexibility to take coursework across the curriculum and tailor your education toward specific career goals in the practice of public health. It’s ideal for recent college graduates, career changers and health professionals who are interested in careers in public health practice and advocacy for population health.

Evening classes meet on the Chicago campus. The typical schedule includes four to seven hours of classes per week over two to three years starting in fall or summer quarter. The degree may also be completed over 12 months of full-time study, including some daytime classes starting in summer quarter. In addition to core public health courses and a field experience, students take additional coursework in research methods and electives in preparation for the culminating experience project.

 Community Health Research

This concentration is for students who are interested in how to conduct and apply public health research to positively impact the health of communities. The concentration will equip students to understand issues affecting health equity in communities and the role of community stakeholders in working equitably alongside researchers to develop approaches that improve community health. Coursework for this concentration can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis.

 

Degree Requirements (PDF)

Sample Schedule (PDF)

 Epidemiology

This concentration is designed for students looking to understand the distribution and determinants of conditions important to population health. Students will learn to design, implement and analyze studies to better understand a range of health challenges facing various populations. Coursework for this concentration is designed for the full-time, one-year student.

Degree Requirements (PDF)

Sample Schedule (PDF)

 Global Health

The Global Health concentration focuses on an interdisciplinary breadth of coursework led by faculty who are engaged in global health research and practice in settings around the world.  Coursework, field and culminating experiences provide opportunities for critical analysis, dialogue, skill-building and real-world application. Coursework for this concentration can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Degree Requirements

Competencies

Northwestern’s Public Health education is competency-based. MPH graduates should be able to meet the following expectations within these categories.

 Graduate-Level Professional Foundational Public Health Knowledge

  1. Explain public health history, philosophy and values
  2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services
  3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health
  4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program
  5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary & tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc
  6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge
  7. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health
  8. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health
  9. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health
  10. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities
  11. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease
  12. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (eg, One Health)

 MPH Foundational Competencies

  1. Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice
  2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context
  3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate
  4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice
  5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  6. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels
  7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
  8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs
  9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
  10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
  11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs
  12. Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence
  13. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
  14. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations
  15. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity
  16. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
  17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges
  18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
  19. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
  20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content
  21. Perform effectively on interprofessional teams
  22. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue

 Community Health Research Concentration Competencies

  1. Describe behavioral, social, and cultural factors that contribute to the health and well-being of communities.
  2. Describe the role and importance of community and stakeholder engagement in community health research, intervention, and evaluation.
  3. Apply program planning, assessment, and evaluation principles and develop logic models to create and evaluate community health programs and interventions.
  4. Use relevant theories, methods, and research principles for designing and conducting community health research.
  5. Translate and disseminate research findings in collaboration with diverse stakeholders.

 Epidemiology Concentration Competencies

  1. Describe molecular techniques and laboratory resources commonly used in epidemiologic studies
  2. Evaluate current knowledge of causes of disease to guide epidemiologic practice
  3. Assess biological mechanisms of disease by applying knowledge of behavioral sciences and human and environmental biology.
  4. Critique the validity of epidemiologic data, findings, and publications by applying knowledge of epidemiologic principles and methods
  5. Formulate and apply plans for data cleaning and management using statistical analysis software

 Global Health Concentration Competencies

  1. Critique major global public health priorities and the reasons for their prioritization
  2. Apply demographic, epidemiologic and anthropologic methods to assess health disparities at local and global levels.
  3. Develop systems to monitor progress toward targets, objectives, and goals and evaluate programs and their operational components.
  4. Operate in partnership with local, national and international organizations engaged in the health and social sectors.
  5. Apply systems thinking to promote integrative global health across different disciplinary domains and organizational levels.

 Generalist Concentration Competencies

  1. Use computer-based statistical analysis package(s) to manage data;
  2. Develop visualized data using computer-based statistical analysis package(s);
  3. Analyze data employing computer-based statistical analysis package(s);
  4. Implement sample size and power calculations for a range of experimental designs;
  5. Calculate epidemiological measures of association between risk factors and disease;
  6. Apply ethical and regulatory standards to human subjects research.
  7. Describe behavioral, social, and cultural factors that contribute to the health and well-being of communities.
  8. Describe the role and importance of community and stakeholder engagement in community health research, intervention, and evaluation.
  9. Apply program planning, assessment, and evaluation principles and develop logic models to create and evaluate community health programs and interventions.
  10. Use relevant theories, methods, and research principles for designing and conducting community health research.
  11. Translate and disseminate research findings in collaboration with diverse stakeholders.
  12. Describe molecular techniques and laboratory resources commonly used in epidemiologic studies
  13. Evaluate current knowledge of causes of disease to guide epidemiologic practice
  14. Assess biological mechanisms of disease by applying knowledge of behavioral sciences and human and environmental biology.
  15. Critique the validity of epidemiologic data, findings, and publications by applying knowledge of epidemiologic principles and methods
  16. Formulate and apply plans for data cleaning and management using statistical analysis software
  17. Critique major global public health priorities and the reasons for their prioritization
  18. Apply demographic, epidemiologic and anthropologic methods to assess health disparities at local and global levels.
  19. Develop systems to monitor progress toward targets, objectives, and goals and evaluate programs and their operational components.
  20. Operate in partnership with local, national and international organizations engaged in the health and social sectors.
  21. Apply systems thinking to promote integrative global health across different disciplinary domains and organizational levels.

 MD/MPH Joint Degree Concentration Competencies

  1. Demonstrate knowledge about behavioral, environmental, socioeconomic, organizational and cultural dynamics that can affect individual, community, public or global health.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of epidemiology, biostatistics and the principles of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of disease to make medical decisions
  3. Describe healthcare finance and delivery in various healthcare systems, and demonstrate the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value.
  4. Construct clinical and research questions and apply information to solve them. Retrieve, analyze and critically appraise literature.
  5. Facilitate difficult health care conversations with patients and colleagues. Display awareness of barriers including language, health literacy and psychosocial needs.

 DPT/MPH Joint Degree Concentration Competencies

  1. Apply public health theories to the practice of population-oriented physical therapy 
  2. Analyze key USA historical events and how they have shaped and influenced the intersection of population health and physical therapy.
  3. Understand the contribution that health systems, government, and community structures contribute to the intersection of population health and physical therapy.
  4. Apply public health resource management principles to the delivery of population-oriented physical therapy services.
  5. Identify opportunities for the integration of technological and measurement advancements into population-oriented physical therapy practice.
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