MPH Curriculum

Our rigorous Master of Public Health program equips students to address the most pressing health issues through cutting-edge research and analysis, guided by an advanced understanding of the economics, policies and cultural factors that significantly influence health outcomes.

Your courses will be taught by our outstanding faculty members, renowned for their contributions that move the fields of public health and health policy forward. Faculty bring their research back into the classroom, giving you access to newest developments in the field.

Our curriculum is founded on the understanding that issues in public health are intrinsically complex—too complex for one discipline to solve. The program’s emphasis on Transdisciplinary Problem Solving equips you to identify the numerous factors that affect public health, and strategically work across disciplines to create sustainable and comprehensive solutions. You can discover more of our program’s hallmarks in the student handbook or below:

Transdisciplinary Problem Solving: You will enroll in our Transdisciplinary Problem Solving courses, which examine health issues from a complex and multi-faceted perspective. These courses are focused on some of the most pressing public health issues, such as Health Care Reform, Tobacco Control, Criminal Justice, Interventions in Developing Countries, Chronic Disease Policy and Prevention or Health Race and Inequalities.

Skill Labs: A series of one-credit Skills Labs are offered on a variety of topics. Labs provide you with the opportunity to dive deeply into a specific topic, such as a variety of statistical analysis skills, data management and visualization, and team leadership. Skill Labs equip you with knowledge that is in high-demand within the profession, as well as advance your capacity for research.

Practicum Information: MPH students complete one 3-credit practicum (360 contact hours), typically during the summer between their first and second year. In practicum, you will translate the theories and skills learned in the classroom into real-world practice. The issues you’ll engage in—as well as the personal connections you’ll make—will serve you throughout your career. With over 400 diverse community partner organizations, you will find a practicum site whose mission aligns with your passion.

Research Outside of the Classroom: Extensive research opportunities exist for our students—in fact, 60 percent of MPH students serve as Research Assistants. Over the last three years, MPH students were cited as authors on 64 published scholarly papers. Your research—whether at the Brown School and affiliated research centers, at the Institute of Public Health, or at the School of Medicine—will provide you with meaningful opportunities to bridge the gap between your coursework and professional practice.

Collaboration with the Social Work Program: Long-regarded as the top school of social work, the Brown School has an established commitment to improving the health and well-being of communities. Research has shown that public health solutions that directly address socioeconomic factors—including education, housing and inequality—have the greatest potential to improve health. By studying at the Brown School, you’ll have unparalleled access to the faculty and resources contributing to this sustainable change.

Required Courses

The list below includes the required courses that you’ll use to build your course of study. Any item in italics represents an opportunity to choose from a variety of courses offered within that category. Because of the variety of concentrations offered with the MPH degree at the Brown School, the order in which you take your courses may vary.

Foundations in Public Health15 credit hours
Health Behavior and Health Promotion3
Environmental Health3
Health Administration and Policy3
Research Methods9 credit hours
Research Methods3
Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Evidence-Based Programs and Interventions3
Applied Linear Modeling3
Cross-Cutting Themes1 credit hour
Public Health Seminar2 credit hours
Transdiciplinary Problem Solving in Public Health6 credit hours
Transdisciplinary Problem Solving I3
Transdisciplinary Problem Solving II3
Electives/Concentrations11 credit hours
Elective I3
Elective II3
Elective III3
Elective IIII2-3

Use your elective credits in year one and two to earn a concentration and take other graduate coursework. Choose from a wealth of public health and social work electives, including up to two additional Skill Labs, or pursue relevant courses from other WashU graduate programs.

Skill Labs3 credit hours
Skill Lab I1
Skill Lab II1
Skill Lab III1
MPH Practicum3 credit hours
Foundations of Field0
Practicum – MPH Program3
MPH Capstone 2 credit hours

The capstone course culminates in a learning experience that demonstrates synthesis of foundational and specialized competencies.

Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam

 All graduating students are required to pass the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam, and will enter the workforce with CPH credentials that indicate their knowledge of and commitment to the field. 

Curriculum and required credit hours are subject to change.