Master of Public Health

The Online CEPH accredited Master of Public Health program at the University of West Florida provides students with a high-quality, competency-based, interdisciplinary understanding of public health. Our curriculum teaches effective practices in addressing a wide range of public health problems at the local, regional, national and global levels. Students complete 42 semester credit hours.


Program Description

The Master of Public Health (MPH) is offered entirely online and provides students with a high quality, multidisciplinary perspective on public health to prepare them to be public health professionals. Students can work toward earning an MPH generalist degree or an MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior. The required and elective courses offer students the opportunity to tailor their degree to best fit their career goals in public health. The MPH is allied with several academic centers/certificate programs that broaden the educational opportunities available to students in the program.

Close relationships with the state public health facilities in the region as well as with area hospitals and the military provide a strong foundation in the health care and public health communities for enhancing and broadening the internship opportunities for students in the program.

Internship in Public Health
Students enrolled in the MPH Program are required to complete a two-semester, six credit hour Internship in the field of public health under the guidance of a qualified mentor and MPH Faculty Internship Advisor.

Comprehensive Exam
Students will be required to complete and pass the proctored, closed-book MPH Comprehensive Exam. The exam is designed to assess the student's level of mastery of the five core competency areas acquired in the five MPH core courses, as well as the cross-cutting competencies acquired in their five required courses.

Department Contact

Justice Mbizo, DrPH 
Chair and Associate Professor

Phone: (850) 474-2650
Email: jmbizo@uwf.edu

Catalog Description

MPH Curriculum: Generalist

The MPH Program at UWF is a 42-credit hour generalist online program, comprised of a set of core, required, and elective courses. At UWF, our highest priorities are our students and the academic programs that serve them. The online MPH program we have developed has been approved by regional partners serving on our MPH Steering Committee, built with program competencies based on guidelines set forth by the Association of Schools of Public Health, and is taught by a dedicated team of faculty and practitioners. The program employs the highest quality instructional methodologies, innovative delivery methods, and interactive approaches to engage students. Several MPH courses have undergone Quality Matters review and have met the standards.

Students must earn and maintain an average grade of "B" or better in the MPH Program in order to remain in good standing within the program and in order to graduate from the program. Students must achieve no less than a grade of "C" in any course in the MPH Program. All students admitted after fall 2011 must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours per year.

Students qualified to enroll in graduate studies but who do not have the required documents by the application deadline date, or those who do not intend to work toward a graduate degree, may complete up to 12 hours as non-degree seeking students.


Master of Public Health Core Courses

All students seeking a Master of Public Health degree must take all of the following courses:  15 credits
PHC 5050 Biostatistics for Public Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6000 Epidemiology for Public Health Professionals (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6150 Public Health Policy (offered Spring and Summer) 3
PHC 5410 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6300 Environmental Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3

Master of Public Health Required Courses

All students seeking a Master of Public Health degree must take the following courses:           21 credits 
PHC 5123 Biological Basis of Public Health (offered Spring and Summer) 3
PHC 6015 Epidemiological Study Design and Statistical Methods (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6196 Applied Data Analysis in Public Health (offered Summer and Fall)
(previously Computer Applications in Public Health)
3
Choose one of the following:  
HSC 5205 Public Health Preparedness (offered Fall and Spring)  3
PHC 5102 Public Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3
Choose one of the following:  
PHC 5442 Global Health (offered Summer only) 3
PHC 6194  GIS Applications in Public Health (offered Spring only) 3
PHC 6251 Disease Surveillance and Monitoring (offered Fall only) 3
Internship in Public Health  
PHC 6946 Internship in Public Health I (offered all semesters) 3
PHC 6945 Internship in Public Health II (offered all semesters) 3

Elective Courses

A Master of Public Health degree would include study in a selection of advisor-approved elective courses.
minimum of
6 credits
PHC 5102 Public Health  (if not taken as a required course) 3
PHC 5442 Global Health (if not taken as a required course) 3
PHC 6194 GIS Applications in Public Health  (if not taken as a required course) 3
PHC 6251 Disease Surveillance and Monitoring  (if not taken as a required course) 3
BSC 5856 Bioterrorism (offered Summer only) 3
PHC 6905 Directed Studies in Public Health 3
PHC 6005 Disease Transmission in the Urban Environment (offered Spring only) 3
PHC 6310 Environmental Toxicology (offered Summer only) 3
MCB 5273 Epidemiology of Infectious Disease (offered Fall and Spring) 3
HSA 6425 Legal Fundamentals of Healthcare(offered Fall and Spring) 3
HSC 6528 Strategies for Prevention of Infectious Diseases (offered Summer only) 3
Military Aerospace Medicine Resident ONLY - Required Electives *  
PHC 6360 Accident Investigation and Risk Management (offered all semesters) *
3
PHC 6347 Aerospace and Occupational Toxicology (offered all semesters) * 3

Restricted Electives: up to 6 credits total (2 courses) may also be chosen

HSA 6436 Health Economics
or HSA 5438 Business Analysis and Decision Making in Health Care
3
PHC 5355 Fundamentals of Occupational Safety and Health (offered Fall only)
or PHC 5351 Occupational Safety in the Health Care Environment (offered Spring and Summer)
or PHC 5356 Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene (offered Fall and Spring)
3
HSA 6197 Health Informatics
or HSA 5198 Electronic Clinical Record Systems
or BSC 5459 Bioinformatics and Data Science
3

Elective Restrictions

  • In the above table, students may only count 6 credits total (2 courses) from the "Restricted Electives" groupings specified above toward the MPH 42-credit hour graduation requirement.
  • Military aerospace medicine residents are required to take PHC6347 Aerospace and Occupational Toxicology and PHC6360 Accident Investigation and Risk Management to fulfill the 6 credit hour elective requirement.
MPH Curriculum: Health Promotion, Education & Behavior

The MPH in Health Education, Promotion and Behavior offered by the Department of Public Health prepares students as professional health educators based on a curriculum that concentrates on the responsibilities and competencies developed by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). This professional preparation is designed to support students to become dynamic public health professionals with the skills to conduct needs assessment, implement, manage, and evaluate health promotion and education programs for the populations health for prevention and health promotion through behavior change.  At present, eligibility for the CHES/MCHES examination is based on possession of a degree and/or academic preparation related to health education curricula that address the Seven Areas of Responsibility of Health Educators. However, accreditation of programs offering degrees in Health Education/Health Promotion is currently underway with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) identified as the accrediting entity to provide a single coordinated accreditation mechanism for community/public health education/health promotion programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This transition will require students to graduate from an accredited program to be eligible to sit for the CHES/MCHES exam.

Students must earn and maintain an average grade of "B" or better in the MPH Program in order to remain in good standing within the program and in order to graduate from the program. Students must achieve no less than a grade of "C" in any course in the MPH Program. All students admitted after Fall 2011 must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours per year.

Students qualified to enroll in graduate studies but who do not have the required documents by the application deadline date, or those who do not intend to work toward a graduate degree, may complete up to 12 hours as non-degree seeking students.


Master of Public Health Core Courses

All students seeking a Master of Public Health degree must take all of the following courses:  15 credits
PHC 5050 Biostatistics for Public Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6000 Epidemiology for Public Health Professionals (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6150 Public Health Policy (offered Spring and Summer) 3
PHC 5410 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3
PHC 6300 Environmental Health (offered Fall and Spring) 3

Master of Public Health, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Required Courses

All students seeking an MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior must take the following courses:           24 credits 
PHC 5102 Public Health (offered Fall and Spring)  3
PHC 6015 Epidemiological Study Design and Statistical Methods (offered Fall and Spring) 3
HSC 6037 Philosophical Foundations of Health Education 3
HSC 6587 Health Education Program Planning and Evaluation  3
HSC 6666 Health Education and Interactive Technology 3
HSC 6667 Social Marketing in Health Education 3
PHC 6946 Internship in Public Health I (offered all semesters) 3
PHC 6945 Internship in Public Health II (offered all semesters) 3

Elective Course

An MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior would include study in a selection of an advisor-approved elective course.
3 credits
PHC 5442 Global Health 3
HSA 6521 Critical Analysis of Health 3
HSC 6135 Health Guidance and Cultural Competency 3
HSC 6206 Health Delivery Systems
3
HSC 6226 Current Issues in Worksite Wellness 3
MPH Core Competencies

Biostatistics Competencies

  1. Describe the roles biostatistics and probability concepts serve in the discipline of public health.
  2. Apply biostatistical methods to the analysis of public health problems, including descriptive and inferential techniques.
  3. Interpret and communicate results from statistical analyses of public health data to both public health professionals and educated lay audiences.

Environmental Health Competencies

  1. Describe and apply environmental risk assessment methods and describe the direct and indirect human, ecological and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.
  2. Describe how chemical, biological and physical agents contribute to adverse human or population health.
  3. Describe federal and state regulatory programs, guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues.
  4. Describe approaches for assessing, preventing and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.
  5. Discuss various risk management and risk communication approaches in relation to issues of environmental justice and equity.

Epidemiologic Competencies

  1. Identify key sources of data, calculate basic epidemiology measures and describe the burden of public health problems on specific populations.
  2. Explain the ethical and legal principles pertaining to the application of epidemiology in public health research and practice.
  3. Apply the basic terminology of epidemiology and communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences.
  4. Design epidemiological studies, analyze and draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data and evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic reports.

Health Policy and Administration Competencies

  1. Articulate the main components and issues of the organization, financing, and delivery of health services and public health systems in the US.
  2. Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services.
  3. Describe the policy process for improving the health status of populations and community health safety and preparedness.
  4. Apply the principles of strategic program planning, development, budgeting, marketing management and evaluation, including quality and performance improvement in organizational and community initiatives for public health.

Social and Behavioral Competencies

  1. Articulate the role and significance of theory-based social and behavioral interventions and policies, including evidence-based approaches used in public health research and practice.
  2. Examine the role of social, community, environmental and behavioral factors that affect the health of individuals and populations, contribute to health disparities, and formulate solutions to public health problems.
  3. Articulate individual, organizational and community concerns, assets, resources, and deficits for social and behavioral science interventions to improve population health and eliminate health disparities.
  4. Describe steps and procedures for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs, policies, and interventions.
  5. Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  1. Use effective communication strategies across different settings and audiences, incorporating oral, written and information technology with sensitivity toward cultural and linguistic differences.
  2. Describe the roles of, history, power, privilege and structural inequality in producing health disparities.
  3. Differentiate among availability, acceptability, and accessibility of health care across diverse populations.
  4. Collaborate with individuals and community organizations to develop initiatives for a healthy community with an emphasis on community collaboration, disease prevention, and health equity.
  5. Explain the role of biology in the ecological model of population-based health.
  6. Promote high standards of personal and organizational integrity, compassion, honesty and respect for all people.
  7. In collaboration with others, develop measurable goals and objectives, related activities, and expected outcomes, and evaluation for improving policies, programs, and services, including prioritizing individual, organizational, and community concerns and resources for public health programs.
MPH Internship

All MPH students are required to complete an internship. The MPH internship enables students to participate in real-world public health projects and research through local, national, and international placements. The internship is an integral part of the MPH curricula. It should broaden the student's public health perspectives and provide experience in applying the theory and content learned in didactic courses in public health practice.

Through the internship experience, the student should have the opportunity to interact with public health professionals and participate in activities that constitute public health. In addition, the student will be exposed to various paradigms and ways to solve public health problems, with experiences that reinforce communication principles, use of relevant information technology, sensitivity to diversity and cultural issues, and enhance a student's leadership, program planning, and systems thinking skills. Students are therefore encouraged to be creative and to keep in mind that every practicum has the potential to contribute to health promotion or disease prevention. Thus, a relevant public health experience must include at least one of the following components:

  • Assessing, monitoring or conducting surveillance of health problems/services in a population
  • Establishing health objectives and priorities
  • Conducting research on population-based health problems including biological, environmental, and behavioral
  • issues
  • Developing/implementing policies/intervention strategies to meet public health needs in a population setting, or
  • Studying the natural history of disease or health-related effects in a population

To help with these activities, the student must have a preceptor who will guide him/her during the internship experience and completing a public health-related project, designed and completed by the student. It is important that both the preceptor and the student have a sense that the internship activities are contributing to the preceptor's work. As such, students participating in the internship must be academically prepared through prior completion of required core courses. During the internship, students must maintain an appropriate work ethic, adhere to the MPH Honor Code, adhere to the site's policies and regulations, communicate effectively and professionally, and work independently as appropriate on project-related tasks.

Registering and Completing the MPH Internship

The internship experience is fulfilled with 6.0 semester hours of course credit and is completed in two semesters (3.0 semester hours each). Students are required to complete the internship project with a minimum of 180 total on-site work hours supervised by an approved preceptor. Work hours accumulated prior to the approval of the project will not be counted toward the minimum hour requirements. Students must register for the Internship in Public Health I (PHC 6946) and II (PHC 6945) courses in order to receive the 6.0 course credits required for graduation.

Students should plan early for the internship experience, but are not prepared for the Internship in Public Health course sequence until the following core courses have been completed:

Core

  • PHC 5050 Biostatistics for Public Health
  • PHC 6000 Epidemiology for Public Health Professionals
  • PHC 6150 Public Health Policy
  • PHC 5410 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health
  • PHC 6300 Environmental Health

Required

  • PHC 6196 Applied Data Analysis in Public Health (previously Computer Applications in Public Health)
  • PHC 6015 Epidemiology Study Design and Statistical Methods

Poster Presentation, Internship Report, and Oral Defense

At the conclusion of the internship, the student is required to develop a poster presentation and write a report on their experience. The student will then defend their report to a faculty committee within an oral defense session. Since the UWF MPH is a totally online program, defense of the internship report can be conducted by video conferencing for students outside of UWF’s geographic area (residence outside 50 miles of UWF). Camera/video support is the responsibility of the student. Software to engage in video conferencing (e.g., Skype, BlueJeans) will be utilized. Students will also be required to show photo identification prior to the defense, using a UWF-issued Nautilus card. Students within UWF’s geographic area will present the project report face-to-face.

MPH Comprehensive Exam

All students are required to take and pass a proctored, closed-book, Comprehensive Exam with a grade of 70% or better on each of the exams. Policies and procedures for taking the Comprehensive Exam are set forth in the MPH Internship & Comprehensive Exam Policies‌. The exam is designed to assess the student's level of mastery of the five core competency areas acquired in the five MPH core courses (see areas in the table below) as well as the cross-cutting competencies acquired in their required courses. Students will be given five 50 question exams covering the five core courses and a 250 question exam which covers the five required courses taken by that student. Students are encouraged to keep their course notes from the core courses and use these as study guides alongside the reading materials indicated below for each core course. The exams will be administered through our eLearning system, D2L.

MPH Core Competency Areas and Related Core Courses
Core Competency AreaAssociated MPH Core and Required Course(s)
Biostatistics PHC 5050 Biostatistics

In addition to the application of biostatistics, as emphasized in one of the following:
PHC 6196 Computer Applications in Public Health
PHC 6015 Epidemiological Study Design and Statistical Methods
Environmental Health PHC 5102 Public Health
PHC 6300 Environmental Health
Epidemiology PHC 6000 Epidemiology for Public Health Professionals

In addition to the application of epidemiology, as emphasized in one of the following:
PHC 6196 Applied Data Analysis in Public Health (previously Computer Applications in Public Health)
PHC 6015 Epidemiological Study Design and Statistical Methods
PHC 6251 Disease Surveillance and Monitoring
Health Care Policy and Administration PHC 6150 Public Health Policy
Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health PHC 5410 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health


 

Admission Requirements

In addition to the University graduate admission requirements described in the Graduate Admissions section of the UWF graduate catalog, the department bases decisions for regular admission on a holistic review of credentials in which the criteria listed below are used to assess the potential success of each applicant.

University Requirements*
• Submission of Graduate Application and Processing Fee 
• Submission of official transcripts 
*International students may have additional requirements.

Departmental Requirements
• Submission of official GRE test scores (Under some circumstances the GMAT will be accepted); For students currently enrolled in a doctoral program in the health professions the respective admission test scores will be accepted
• GRE requirements (Verbal - 150, Quantitative - 146)
• Work experience in the discipline
• Undergraduate GPA
• Possess basic computer competency 
• Submission of statement of Career Goals 
• Submission of two personal writing samples (e.g., written reports completed by the applicant or other representative samples of professional writing skills) 
• Submission of three letters of recommendation 

 

Application Deadlines

                                  

Certain graduate programs have earlier application deadlines. Check with the graduate department for departmental specific deadlines.


Accolades & Accreditations

  • Quality Matters

Visit the UWF Department of Public Health Accreditation page for more information.

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