Available Master of Public Health Tracks

About the MPH tracks

The Zilber School of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health degree to train the next generation of public health leaders in five vital tracks:

BioStatistics
CommBehavHealthPromotion
Environmental Health Sciences
Epidemiology
Public Health Policy Administration

Information Sessions

Information sessions are held regularly. You can find upcoming dates and RSVP for a session here.

Credits and Courses

All students enrolled in the MPH program take a common set of core classes designed to give basic skills and knowledge of public health concepts. The core curriculum consists of at least 20 credit hours, including at least three credits Field Experience and a two-credit capstone seminar. In addition to the common core, students complete the required coursework in one of five specialization tracks: Biostatistics, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, or Public Health Policy and Administration. The MPH degree varies from 42-48 credits depending on the track. Students must maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or better in order to progress through the program.

Please note: All courses subject to change. Please consult the Graduate School Bulletin for the most up-to-date information.

MPH Required Common Core Courses (at least 20 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 705: Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 706: Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health (3 credits)
PH 790: Field Experience in Public Health (at least 3 credits)
PH 800: Capstone in Public Health (2 credits)

Biostatistics

The Biostatistics track builds on the classic public health biostatistics skill and knowledge base and takes advantage of special knowledge of its faculty in the areas of genetics, bioinformatics, and big data science. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply statistical genetics in the context of complex disease study, high-throughout computing used in “big data” science, and applications in evidence-based patient-centered outcome studies. Courses include topics and material such as interpretation of personalized and evidence-based medicine in the context of public health; basic understanding of genetics and epigenetics; and general “omic” approaches and concepts.

Biostatistics Track (22 credits)

Required Courses (13 credits)

PH 710: Seminar in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (1 credit)
PH 711: Intermediate Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 712: Probability and Statistical Inference (3 credits)
PH 713: Experimental and Study Design (3 credits)
PH 718: Data Management, Visualization, and Advanced Statistical Computing (3 credits)

“S”electives – Choose three (9 credits minimum)

PH 707:  Introduction to Statistical Computing (1 credit)
PH 709: Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
PH 714: Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 715: Applied Categorical Data Analysis (3 credits)
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis (3 credits)
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis (3 credits)
PH 719: Clinical Trials (3 credits)
PH 720: Special Topics in Biostatistics (1 – 3 credits)
PH 721: Introduction to Translational Bioinformatics (3 credits)

Learn more about ideal Biostatistics candidates

Faculty expertise in: Genetic determinants of common chronic diseases (including heart disease, bleeding disorders, Type II diabetes, stroke and colorectal cancer); using genomic technologies and bioinformatic and biostatistical techniques to accurately predict risk and treatment response in cancer and cardiovascular disease; major molecular mechanisms and pathways that modulate disease progression; using biomedical informatics, mathematical modeling and simulations to characterize and predict the use of genetics in medical practice and in particular pathology; use of high-throughput genetic technologies such as microarrays and next generation sequencers in the discovery and applications of genetics to complex diseases and environmental-gene development pathways; and statistical methods and computational tools to identify genetic variants that influence the susceptibility to complex diseases such as cancer of the breast, colon/rectum, lung and prostate.

Biostatistics track competencies

  1. Function as a collaborator with community partners on public health projects and in developing recommendations for appropriate study designs that advance social justice and population health.
  2. Translate research objectives into testable hypotheses.
  3. Differentiate between quantitative problems that can be addressed with routine methods and those requiring input from a doctoral-level biostatistician.
  4. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of statistical techniques used in public health studies and health-related scientific investigations.
  5. Identify and apply a variety of appropriate statistical methods for developing inferences about public-health-related questions.
  6. Demonstrate basic programming skills in multiple statistical software packages and data management and integration techniques for public health and big data projects.
  7. Apply basic informatics techniques with vital statistics and public health records in the description of public health characteristics and in public health research and evaluation.
  8. Interpret and critique statistical analyses in publications for public health professionals.
  9. Demonstrate a cognizance of the social, environmental and public health contexts that are impacted by the results of statistical analyses.
  10. Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills when reporting statistical results to different audiences of public health professionals, policy makers and community partners.
  11. Formulate and produce graphical displays of quantitative information (e.g., scatter plots, box plots and line graphs) that effectively communicate analytic findings.
  12. Differentiate between ethical and unethical reporting of data and results.

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

The Community and Behavioral Health Promotion track focuses on promoting the health of communities through innovative approaches to community engagement and collaborative practice. Coursework addresses theories and frameworks in social and behavioral science, evidence-based methods for program planning and implementation and program evaluation. Students apply a social justice and equity-centered approach to public health training and practice. Methodological approaches address quantitative, qualitative and community-engaged techniques.

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion Track (24 credits)

Required Courses (15 credits)

PH 701: Public Health Principles and Practice (3 credits)
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior (3 credits)
PH 726: Community Health Assessment (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)

Methods “S”electives- choose two (6 credits minimum)


PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 736: Advanced Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
PH 731: Community Engaged and Participatory Research and Practice (3 credits)

Electives – Choose one (3 credits minimum)


PH 732: Youth Mental Health Practice for Non Mental health Professionals (3 credits)
PH 733: Public Health Approaches to Physical Activity and Nutrition (3 credits)
PH 734: Mental Health and Public Health (3 credits)
PH 735: Social Justice, Race, and Health (3 credits)
PH 740: Special Topics in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 999: Independent Study
Other classes as approved by advisor

Learn more about ideal Community and Behavioral Health Promotion candidates

Faculty expertise in: Substance abuse risk factors among minority populations; effective substance abuse intervention and treatment programs; public health issues relevant to high-risk adolescents; interpersonal developmental processes related to health and mental health across the lifespan; physical activity participation, healthy food consumption and subsequently chronic disease prevalence in low-income and racial/ethnic minority communities; health inequalities in maternal and child health populations; disparities in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a focus on the role of social determinants of health; disparities in the neighborhood food environment and in access to healthy and nutritious foods; and developing effective primary and secondary HIV-prevention interventions for resource-poor settings.

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion track competencies

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of community and behavioral health theories and their application to health promotion and prevention.
  2. Apply relevant theories, concepts and models from the social and behavioral sciences to public health research and practice.
  3. Engage and include key stakeholders in the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies, and interventions.
  4. Demonstrate cultural humility and collaborative skills when working with disadvantaged individuals and diverse communities on public health problems and solutions.
  5. Identify and operationalize social and community-level solutions to public health problems.
  6. Develop and apply collaborative partnership and engagement skills with diverse community agencies and stakeholders to address health disparities and promote health equity.
  7. Assess for potential social and behavioral factors influencing the health of individuals and communities.
  8. Assess the strengths and limitations of social and behavioral science interventions and policies within the context of health promotion.
  9. Apply qualitative and quantitative methods to the assessment of public health problems, the articulation of community strengths, and the evaluation of prevention and intervention programs.
  10. Identify and apply theoretically grounded, evidence-based approaches to the development and implementation of social and behavioral science interventions.
  11. Facilitate and/or lead the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions.
  12. Integrate principles of social justice and human rights into planning, implementing and assessing public health interventions.
  13. Develop and apply effective health communication strategies with diverse stakeholders.

Environmental Health Sciences

The Environmental Health Sciences track offers students an opportunity to learn laboratory techniques important for public health practice professionals. Students benefit from faculty expertise in environmental and developmental toxicology and faculty use of animal models to research public health issues. All students complete a field experience, too. Placed with the Milwaukee Health Department’s Division of Disease Control and Environmental Health or another environmental health-based community partner, students’ experiences incorporate environmental health theories with cross-cutting public health competencies like communication, public health biology, systems-thinking or leadership.

Environmental Health Sciences Track (at least 22 credits)

Required Courses (11 credits)

PH 701: Public Health Principles and Practice (3 credits)
PH 743: Environmental Risk Assessment (3 credits)
PH 762: Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 750: Seminar in Environmental Health Sciences (1 credit x 2)

Built Environment “S” elective – Choose one

GEOG 520: The Physical Geography of the City (3 credits)
GEOG 880: Challenges to Urban Sustainability (3 credits)
GEOG 945: The Internal Structure of the City (3 credits)
IE 580 Ergonomics (3 credits)
URBPLAN 791 Intro to Urban GIS for Planning (3 credits)
URBPLAN/GEOG 880 Challenges of Urban Sustainability (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Chemical Environment “S” elective- Choose one

PH 741: Environmental Health Microbiology (3 credits)
PH 744: Environmental Toxicology (3 credits)         
PH 745: Developmental Toxicology (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Biological Environment “S” elective- Choose one

PH 741: Environmental Health Microbiology (3 credits)                   
PH 745: Developmental Toxicology (3 credits)
PH 775: Mechanisms of Infectious Disease (2 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Elective – Choose one additional course

from the Built, Chemical, or Biological “S” electives listed above or other classes as approved by advisor

Learn more about ideal Environmental Health Sciences candidates

Faculty expertise in: Prenatal exposure to dioxin and related contaminants and the impact on children’s immune system health; environmental and human health effects of anthropogenic chemicals, such as engineered nanomaterials; factors that regulate human exposure to naturally occurring or anthropogenic toxins in water or wastewater; and nicotine toxicity and the developmental biology of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

Environmental Health Sciences track competencies

  1. Describe/understand the direct and indirect human health effects of major physical, chemical and biological factors from both natural and built environments.
  2. Describe genetic, physiological and overall human health effects of primary environmental hazards resulting from both chronic and acute exposures.
  3. Describe/understand how animal models are utilized to address societal issues that intersect between basic science and public health.
  4. Describe approaches for assessing, preventing and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to both human and ecological health.
  5. Perform a risk assessment of an environmental health agent.
  6. Identify, locate and use appropriate reference materials.
  7. Comprehend the primary scientific research literature, and obtain information directly from experts in the field of environmental health sciences.
  8. Analyze data statistically and conceptually, interpret results, make conclusions, and describe the relevance of such results to public health problems/issues.
  9. Communicate and disseminate complex scientific and public health information simply and accurately in both written and spoken word, in both informal and formal interactions, targeted appropriately and respectfully to audiences of diverse backgrounds.
  10. Interact and collaborate with individuals and organizations across the spectrum of public health disciplines.

Epidemiology

The Epidemiology track is unique among national schools of public health in its emphasis on the application of epidemiologic theory and methods for promoting social justice and health equity. The integrated multidisciplinary curriculum bridges theory, research and practice to prepare students to engage in rigorous, collaborative, evidence-informed and reflexive public health practice. Through both didactic and experiential learning, students acquire foundations of applied epidemiological methods, epidemiologic data analysis, theories of social inequality, social epidemiology and community partnership building. Graduates are able to collect, analyze and interpret epidemiological information, generate theory-driven hypotheses and research questions, and work in true collaboration with diverse community partners to create social change to improve the public’s health and reduce health inequities.

Epidemiology Track (27 credits)

Required Courses (18 credits)

PH 700: Structures of Inequality and Population Health (3 credits)
PH 758: Social Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 759: Applied Quantitative Methods for Studying Population Health and Health Disparities (3 credits)
PH 761: Epidemiology Field Methods (3 credits)
PH 763: Epidemiology in Action for Equity I (3 credits)
PH 764: Epidemiology in Action for Equity II (3 credits)

“S”electives – Choose one (3 credits minimum)


PH 762: Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 768: Cancer Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 769: Nutritional Epidemiology (3 credits)

Electives – Choose two (6 credits minimum)

PH 714: Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 715: Applied Categorical Data Analysis (3 credits)
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 784: Social Policy as Health Policy (3 credits)
PH 867: Intermediate Epidemiological Theory and Analysis (3 credits)
PH 868: Links between Infectious and Chronic Disease (3 credits)
UrbPlan 692: Data Analysis and Visualization (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Learn more about ideal Epidemiology candidates

Faculty expertise in: Faculty in the Epidemiology track have expertise in the areas of social, pediatric, environmental, nutritional infectious disease, and cancer epidemiology, and engage in research that focuses on understanding the role that social factors play in generating and perpetuating racial/ethnic health disparities; examining links between infectious and chronic disease; and identifying novel biological pathways by which social inequities in health occur across the life course and across generations.

Epidemiology track competencies

  1. Apply multidisciplinary social and environmental justice, human rights, critical social science, population health and health equity perspectives to frame and interpret epidemiologic research and practice.
  2. Identify and describe socio-structural, environmental, behavioral and biological determinants of health and heath equity.
  3. Systematically gather, critically evaluate and synthesize epidemiological literature and other relevant information to advance population health and health equity.
  4. Apply epidemiological skills in collaboration with community partners and key stakeholders to advance social and environmental justice and population health.
  5. Use interdisciplinary knowledge to formulate theory-driven hypotheses and research questions with relevant policy and practice implications for advancing population health and health equity.
  6. Apply appropriate field and surveillance methods to investigate disease outbreaks and assess patterns of exposures and health outcomes in the population.
  7. Engage ethically in interactions with study participants, communities and colleagues, in the performance of research and practice activities, and reporting of data and findings.
  8. Select epidemiologic methods and conduct statistical analyses to describe patterns of health and determinants of health, assess associations between exposures and health outcomes while minimizing threats to causal inference.
  9. Interpret and contextualize results, with attention to strengths and limitations of the study framing, design and analysis, and policy and practice implications.
  10. Communicate epidemiologic findings using a variety of modalities to diverse audiences and translate how findings are relevant to academics, community organizations, policy-makers, public health practitioners and other stakeholders.

Public Health Policy and Administration

The Public Health Policy and Administration (PHPA) track is unique in its focus on equipping students with an inter-sectoral, systems-level, applied approach to informing public health policy and administration that promotes health equity. Emphasizing a comprehensive perspective and integrated strategy that links theory with practice, the PHPA curriculum provides students with a foundational understanding of social and policy theory, quantitative and qualitative methods, policymaking and its broader context. Graduates obtain a breadth of knowledge and skills applicable to a variety of fields in the public and private sectors as well as the ability to effectively apply their knowledge and tools to practice.

Public Health Policy and Administration Track (28 credits)

Required Courses (19 credits)

PH 700: Structures of Inequality and Population Health (3 credits)
PH 776: Applied Qualitative Methods for Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 777: Survey of Quantitative Research and Methods for Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
or
PH 759: Applied Quantitative Methods for Studying Population Health and Health Disparities (3 credits) [with consent of the instructor]
PH 779: Public Health Policymaking and Policy Analysis (3 credits)
PH 780: Seminar in Public Health Policy and Administration (1 credit)
PH 781: Public Health Administration (3 credits)
PH 785: Principles of Public Health Economics (3 credits)

Content Elective - choose two (6 credits minimum)

PH 773: Immigration Policies and Health (3 credits)
PH 774: Crime Policies and Public Health (3 credits)
PH 778: Public Health Law and Policy (3 credits)
PH 782: Policy, Politics, and Structural Inequalities (3 credits)
PH 783: Inequities and the Socially Just City (3 credits)
PH 784: Social Policy as Health Policy (3 credits)
PH 786: The Science and Policy of Sustainable Diets (3 credits)
PH 787: Public Health Perspectives on the Private Sector (3 credits)
PH 820: Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy, and Practice  (3 credits)
BusAdmin 755: Health Care Administration and Delivery Systems (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Methods Elective- Choose one (3 credits minimum)

PH 709: Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
PH 736: Advanced Qualitative Methods (3 credits)                
PH 759: Applied Quantitative Methods for Studying Population Health and Health Disparities (3 credits)
PH 726: Community Assessment (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 762: Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
PubAdmin 792: Decision-making for Nonprofit and Public Organizations (3 credits)
UrbPlan 791: Intro to Urban GIS for planning (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor 

Learn more about ideal Public Health Policy and Administration candidates

Faculty expertise in: Public Health Policy and Administration addressing a broad range of areas, including chronic disease prevention; maternal and child health; environmentally sustainable diets; residential segregation; health inequities; structural violence; tobacco prevention and control; public health law; policy analysis; policy communication; among others.

Public Health Policy and Administration track competencies

  1. Distinguish public health policy and administration from health care policy and administration, and articulate the importance of public health policy in shaping population health.
  2. Examine how public policy and established socio-economic structures influence population health and health disparities, and develop strategies for leveraging policy to reduce inequities.
  3. Incorporate a breadth of disciplines, sectors and stakeholders in public health policy and administration to promote population health, health equity, and social and environmental justice.
  4. Integrate ethical principles into public health policy, practice, research and administration by ensuring respect for diverse values, beliefs, and cultures and the dignity of individuals and communities.
  5. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills to present, explain and advocate for public health policies and programs.
  6. Describe the policy-making process and identify the actors, structures and forces that influence and shape the public health policy process.
  7. Explain the legal framework of public health policy and administration as well as its role in influencing population health and in both perpetuating and ameliorating health disparities.
  8. Conduct policy analysis in public health policy and administration, identifying and assessing policy options, outcomes, and potential contributions to population health and health disparities.
  9. Apply appropriate methods to gather and analyze a robust basis of evidence to inform and evaluate public health policy, practice and administration.
  10. Assess and translate available evidence into public health policy and administrative planning, development and implementation to promote population health and health equity.
  11. Describe the organizational structures, financing and administration of public health and health care systems, and the authorities of various levels of governmental public health agencies.
  12. Apply best-practice leadership and management principles into public health practice and administration.