Overview – Master of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), accredited by the National Council on Education for Public Health, is a professional degree program for individuals seeking training and experience in applied public health practice. Our faculty represents population-based health sciences across the university. The program is focused on preparing individuals for careers as practitioners of public health through employment in government, non-government agencies, academic institutions and advocacy organizations. As a generalist program with a concentration in applied public health practice, we seek a balance between conveying what is known about conditions by which people are healthy or at-risk of injury/illness and what is done to assure that necessary conditions for good health are met. In doing so, we place high priority on collaborative problem solving through participatory student-faculty-preceptor experiences.
The curriculum requires completion of 16 courses or 48 credits, distributed among the core (seven courses) addressing epidemiology, biostatistics, social sciences, health systems administration and policy, environmental health, public health law, and research methods. Students must also complete five to seven electives (one course for each domain of assessment, assurance, and policy development and two to four courses specific to a student’s interests). The student will also complete an individualized practicum, and a capstone activity involving either a 9-credit thesis or a 3-credit applied practice project or policy analysis.
Matriculation requires commitment to a rigorous course of study, such that the degree can be earned through two years of full-time (minimum of 12 credits per semester) or four years of part-time (minimum of 6 credits per semester) study. The curriculum is delivered by 12 primary faculty and over 24 secondary faculty from across the university. The program is tailored to both the needs of working professionals and students who wish to participate in full-time study with core classes offered in the evening and electives offered in the afternoon.
Students can graduate with less than the required 48 credits through transfer credits or advanced standing. Individuals who have completed courses outside the M.P.H. program (e.g., courses completed at another institution) may request transfer of up to six credits to our program with evidence of appropriateness of content, equivalence of requirements, and minimum grades of B. Transfer credits are included in the student’s official plan of study and counted toward the M.P.H. degree.
Students seeking advanced standing must furnish a rationale for the request and evidence (e.g., course outline, catalogue description, etc.) that prior coursework was equivalent to that within a traditional public health curriculum regarding content (addressing one or more public health competencies) and scope of effort (approximately 50 hours of effort per credit).
All students must complete a three-credit, semester-long, practice-based experience during their second year of study. The practicum is one of many opportunities to demonstrate the public health competencies gained through the academic experience. Students have the opportunity to complete the practicum through an individual or group project; however, they are highly encouraged to participate in the group practicum.
Students work to examine the extent, causes, and responses to a public health problem in Connecticut. Students meet periodically with the practicum director and faculty advisors to plan and complete information retrieval and primary data collection regarding:
- What burden/challenges does the selected topic pose for Connecticut health?
- What is the current capacity of practitioners, programs, and services in Connecticut to address these issues?
- Can additional regulatory and policy strategies be put forth to ameliorate current conditions?
The principal educational strategies utilized are self-directed learning, peer instruction, and reflective self-assessment.
(15 to 21 credits)
Elective course offerings are organized around the three core functions of public health. Initially, students will be expected, at a minimum, to select one course from within each domain of assessment, assurance, and policy development. The remainder of electives should reflect the special interests of the students.
(3 to 9 credits)
All students are required to complete a capstone project. Students may opt for a nine-credit thesis exemplifying scholarship of discovery (e.g., answering questions) or a three- to six-credit applied practice project demonstrating the scholarship of application (e.g., resolving problems). The capstone should address a significant public health concern, pursue novel inquiry and/or initiative, and demonstrate the student’s mastery of one or more of the program competencies.