University of Southern California
USC Master of Public Health Program (MPH)
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Master of Public Health (MPH) Program

The Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at USC offers a rigorous curriculum that attracts dedicated and ambitious professionals with a passion to serve in the public health arena. The program’s core coursework aims to develop your key public health competencies and skills using cases and examples from industry — ranging from local to global.

All MPH students are required to complete a set of MPH core courses, including a 300 hour practicum and a capstone course. In addition, students must enroll in a set of concentration-specific core and elective courses, to reach a minimum total of 42 units. The program is designed to be a 2-year program encompassing two fall and two spring semesters for full-time students; however, some concentrations can be completed in as little as 3 consecutive semesters. Students may also pursue the MPH degree through part-time study which would require enrollment in at least one (1) course per semester. Part-time students must complete the program within 5 years. In order to qualify for full-time status, MPH students must be enrolled in a minimum of eight (8) units per fall and spring semester. The average number of units taken by MPH students each semester is twelve (12).

Core Coursework

The MPH Program at USC requires students in all concentrations to complete course work that educates students in the critical foundational areas of public health, as determined by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Through the following courses, among other things, students will gain an understanding of the history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, functions and leadership roles; concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, analysis and interpretation, and evidenced-based reasoning and informatics approaches essential to public health practice; an understanding of population health concepts; and the cultural context of public health issues and respectful engagement with people of different cultures and socioeconomic strata.

Core Concentration Coursework
  • PM 502 Foundations of Public Health (4 units)
    Overview of public health concepts and issues, including population health; ethics; health disparities, determinants, and systems of care; global health; policy; health promotion; environmental health.
  • PM 503 Practice of Public Health (4 units)
    Introduction to the application of strategies and tools for practice in public health, including policy advocacy, leadership and management, program planning and evaluation, health communication. Prerequisite: PM 502
  • PM 510L Principles of Biostatistics (4 units)
    Concepts of biostatistics; appropriate uses and common misuses of health statistics; practice in the application of statistical procedures; introduction to statistical software including EXCEL, SPSS, nQuery.
  • PM 512 Principles of Epidemiology (4 units)
    Terminology/uses of epidemiology and demography; sources/uses of population data; types of epidemiologic studies; risk assessment; common sources of bias in population studies; principles of screening.

In addition to receiving a solid foundation in these critical areas of public health, students will gain depth through coursework in a chosen specialized area of public health (Community Health Promotion; Biostatistics/Epidemiology, Global Health, or Health Services and Policy). Students will complete 24 units of concentration- specific coursework (16 units of concentration core courses + 8 units of elective courses). See MPH concentration pages for details on required coursework.

Practicum and Capstone

Finally, students will have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills learned in the MPH program through practical training, known as “The Practicum”, where students will perform 300* hours of field training in a public health agency, such as a county health department, or a community-based organization.

As a culminating experience, students will enroll in the MPH Capstone course in their final semester of the MPH program. This course provides the culminating, integrative curricular experience for all students. The Capstone experience draws on students’ experience in the core areas of public health, their additional concentration coursework and their real-world experience gained in the field prior to graduation. This course challenges students to reflect upon and integrate their coursework and experience with the goal of developing their own individual point-of-view regarding the role of public health in improving the health and well-being of populations in the United States and abroad.

  • PM 596 Practicum in Public Health (1 unit)
    Applied practical experience through fieldwork in federal, state, and/or local public health agencies/organizations, including community-based organizations; research and school-based settings.
    Recommended Preparation: PM 502, PM 503 and at least one MPH concentration core course
  • PM 597 Capstone in Public Health (1 unit)
    Provides the culminating, integrative learning experience for students enrolled in the Master of Public Health program.
    Recommended Preparation: completion of all MPH course work

Master of Public Health Program
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

The USC Master of Public Health Program received full accreditation from
the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) on June 2, 2003
and re-accreditation on June 2008.
More information regarding MPH Program Accreditation...

USC Master of Public Health Program
Institute for Prevention Research
Keck School of Medicine
Soto Street Building
2001 N Soto Street,
Suite 201-D
Los Angeles, CA 90032-3628

Campus Mail:
USC MPH Program
SSB 201-D, MC 9234

Phone: 323.442.7257
Fax: 323.442.8297
Email: mphusc@usc.edu