VCU Bulletins

Public Health, Master of (M.P.H.)

Anderson, Lisa S., M.P.H.
Graduate Program Director
(804) 628-2512

Admission requirements summary

Public Health, Master of (M.P.H.)

of entry:


Applications strongly encouraged by Jan 1

For additional information:

See program admission requirements in this Bulletin. Also see for more program details.

The Master of Public Health program prepares students committed to public health careers in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. Public health works to prevent health problems in populations before these problems occur. The M.P.H. provides a rigorous curriculum to help students develop the analytic and critical reasoning skills to improve population health. The program boasts experiential learning, a highly interactive environment, accessible and approachable faculty and student involvement in important projects. This is achieved through a minimum of 45 credits of formal course work, practicum and seminars in year one; an internship, typically conducted in the summer between the first and second year; a 20-hour community-based learning experience; and a capstone project planned and implemented in the second year of the program. The M.P.H. program can be individualized to meet the varied needs and interests of students. The program offers many electives, allowing students to tailor the program to meet educational objectives, and it is flexible enough to accommodate students who enter the program with various backgrounds and experiences.

Student learning outcomes

Degree requirements for the Master of Public Health

Each candidate shall complete a minimum of 45 credit hours toward the degree. Credits shall be distributed as follows:

1. Core courses (15 credit hours)  
BIOS 547 Applied Data Analysis in Public Health I 3
EPID 571 Principles of Epidemiology 3
EPID 604 Principles of Environmental Health 3
HCPR 601 Introduction to Health Policy 3
SBHD 605 Introduction to Social and Behavioral Health 3
2. Program requirements (9 credit hours)  
BIOS 548 Applied Data Analysis in Public Health II 3
EPID 547 Applied Data Analysis Lab I 1.5
EPID 548 Applied Data Analysis Lab II 1.5
EPID 580 Public Health Ethics 1
EPID 593 MPH Practicum 2
3. Electives (minimum 15 credit hours)  
Students take a minimum of 15 credits of elective course work selected according to a student’s area(s) of interest in public health.
4. Integrative program requirements (6 credit hours)
EPID 693 Public Health Internship 3
EPID 694 MPH Research Project 3

Public health internship: The public health internship is a supervised experience designed to expose M.P.H. students to a real-world public health practice setting, requiring them to integrate classroom knowledge and skills in practical applications in a professional environment. Each student intern works with a practice site supervisor who assigns tasks, instructs the student in new skills and evaluates the student’s progress. Students work a minimum of 180 hours in a professional public health organization.

Capstone project: The culminating work in the M.P.H. program is the capstone project. The project is a practical experience that allows the student to apply what has been learned in the didactic components of the curriculum to a focused project. The goal is to enhance the student’s academic experience through the application of public health concepts and skills in a supervised experience. Students are required to synthesize the literature, apply theory and integrate knowledge gained and principles in situations that approximate some aspects of professional practice. With this mentored experience, students are able to both broaden their skills and hone their proficiency in a specific area of public health. The major product of this culminating experience is expected to vary depending on the educational goals of the student, but could include one of the following:

At a minimum, the capstone experience will require the integration of multiple major competencies used by a public health professional. In fulfilling the capstone requirement, each candidate must: (a) submit a formal written paper of sufficient depth and rigor and (b) satisfactorily complete an oral or poster presentation of the project chosen as the basis for the written paper at an appropriate venue (e.g., stakeholder meeting, departmental seminar, research forum, etc.) approved by the M.P.H. program director.



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Last update: 9/11/2013

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