Public Health

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Graduate programs

Master of Public Health

Tara Stulce, Program Director
McQuery Family Health Sciences Hall, Room 117
Phone: 417-836-6859

Program description

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program offers a generalist MPH degree consisting of 42 credit hours. The program’s mission is to prevent disease, promote health, and protect the well-being of the public through education, research and service.

Students gain knowledge in each of the five core disciplines of public health: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, public health administration, and the social behavioral sciences. The program prepares students to assess community health needs, plan effective health education and health intervention programs, implement and evaluate educational experiences, and conduct public health research.

Graduates of this program will enter public health service as practitioners, administrators, researchers, educators, and consultants in a wide variety of public health settings. Most will be employed in local, state, and national public health agencies, while others will work for non-profit organizations, private agencies, medical facilities, governmental agencies, and educational institutions.

The program offers an accelerated master's option for Missouri State University undergraduate majors as well as a dual degree program with the Master of Health Administration Program. See descriptions below.

Entrance requirements

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program seeks to admit students who:

  • Demonstrate the potential to be successful in graduate school
  • Are committed to the public health profession
  • Show evidence of their commitments through their interest, backgrounds, and experiences

Consideration for admission to the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program requires the following:

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.00;
  2. Submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores. No minimum scores are required; however, students who are successful in the program generally have scores in the 40th percentile or higher. The following exemptions may be made for GRE scores:
    1. Students who have earned a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. Institution and students currently enrolled in a Missouri State University graduate degree program are not required to submit GRE scores.
    2. Official scores from the GMAT, MCAT or LSAT from within the last 5 years may be submitted in lieu of the GRE.
  3. Submission of the Graduate Application and related fee;
  4. A 300-400 word personal statement of professional goals;
  5. Three letters of recommendation from employers or professors (current or recent) who can speak to the abilities of the student to succeed in graduate education;
  6. Voluntary or salaried work experience in one or more health or social service settings is highly desirable but not required; and
  7. International applicants for whom English is not the native language are required to submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See the required scores as noted on the Graduate College webpage. The IELTS will also be accepted.

Accelerated MPH Option

An accelerated option is available for eligible Missouri State University undergraduate students. Students may apply for preliminary acceptance into the Master of Public Health (MPH) program after admission requirements for the accelerated master's option have been satisfies. If accepted, a maximum of 12 credit hours chosen from approved 600- or 700-level courses may be counted toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. This option gives exceptional undergraduate students from a variety of majors the opportunity to complete the course requirements for the MPH degree in as little as three semesters and a summer after attaining the Bachelor's degree rather than the typical four to five semesters and a summer.

Contact the Director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program for further information and guidelines. Before enrolling in a course to be counted as both undergraduate and graduate credit, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated program and receive prior approval from the graduate program director, department head of the undergraduate program and the Dean of the Graduate College.

Degree requirements

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program requires completion of 42 credit hours and includes the following:

PBH core courses (15 hrs)
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
PBH 720 Epidemiology 3 hrs
PBH 730 Biostatistics for Health Sciences 3 hrs
PBH 740 Health Behavior 3 hrs
PBH 745 Environmental Health 3 hrs
PBH 775 Principles and Skills of Public Health Administration 3 hrs
Other required courses (15 hrs)
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
PBH 735 Software Applications and Data Sources in Public Health 3 hrs
PBH 756 Introduction to Public Health 3 hrs
PBH 760 Research Methods in Public Heath 3 hrs
PBH 783 International Health and Infectious Disease 3 hrs
MGT 701 Health Services Organization 3 hrs
Elective courses (6 hrs) - Select two courses from table below or other graduate-level courses with consent of program advisor.
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
ACC 688 Healthcare Accounting Concepts 3 hrs
BIO 620 Pathogenic Microbiology 3 hrs
COM 621 Communication, Mediation and Negoation 3 hrs
COM 704 Health Communication and Culture 3 hrs
COM 705 Health Communication 3 hrs
COM 713 Public Relations Campaigns 3 hrs
COM 719 Ethical Issues in Communication 3 hrs
ENG 672 Writing Grant Proposals 3 hrs
ENG 678 Writing in the Health Professions 3 hrs
GEO 661 Applied Geographic Information Systems 3 hrs
HLH 640 Social/Behavioral Health 3 hrs
HLH 682 Motivational Interviewing for Health Professionals 3 hrs
HLH 710 Introduction to Health Promotion and Wellness Management 3 hrs
HLH 750 Programming Approaches in Wellness/Health Promotion 3 hrs
HLH 752 Health Risk Identification and Management 3 hrs
HLH 770 Seminar in Health Promotion and Wellness Management 3 hrs
ITC 655 Data Visualization 3 hrs
MGT 702 Managing Healthcare Organizations* 3 hrs
MGT 703 Health Law and Ethics* 3 hrs
MGT 704 Human Resources in Healthcare Organizations* 3 hrs
MGT 705 Strategic Managment of Healthcare Organizations* 3 hrs
MGT 708 Health Informatics and Data Analysis 3 hrs
MGT 711 Measurement and Management of Quality in Healthcare* 3 hrs
MGT 770 Organizational Behavior and Leadership  
MTH 647 Applied Regression Analysis 3 hrs
PLS 756 Budgeting and Financial Management for State and Local Government 3 hrs
PLS 773 Hazard Analysis, Mitigation, and Preparedness 3 hrs
PLS 776 Local Public Service Delivery 3 hrs
PLS 778 Ethics and Leadership in the Public Sector 3 hrs
PBH 710 Clinical Epidemiology 3 hrs
PBH 754 Seminar in Health Policy 3 hrs
PBH 778 Chronic Disease Epidemiology 3 hrs
PBH 781 Public Health Preparedness 3 hrs
PBH 785 Seminar in Public Health (may be repeated for credit) 3 hrs
PBH 790 Independent Study in Public Health 3 hrs
PSY 614 Introducation to Applied Behavior Analysis 3 hrs
PSY 627 Advanced Psychological Statistical Methods* 3 hrs
PSY 745 Statistics and Research Design 3 hrs
PSY 753 Program Evaluation 3 hrs
SWK 602 Rural Health 3 hrs
SWK 643 Non-Profit Management in the Health and Human Services 3 hrs
SWK 644 Grant Writing in the Health and Human Services 3 hrs
SWK 696 Health Literacy in the Human Services 3 hrs
SWK 730 Diversity and Social Justice* 3 hrs
  *Courses may have prerequisites  
Field and capstone experience (6 hrs)
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
PBH 798


PBH 799
Public Health Field Experience


Capstone Project in Public Health
3 hrs


3 hrs
PBH 798


PBH 799
Public Health Field Experience


Capstone Project in Public Health
5 hrs


1 hr

Core course examination

After satisfactory completion of all required core courses, and not later than the second to last semester, all students are required to pass a written examination that assesses knowledge and skills in the program core competencies. The items on this exam will cover content from the core areas of study in biostatistics, epidemiology, health behavior, environmental health, and public health administration. Students who fail are limited to one additional attempt to take and pass the exam.

Field Experience

All students are required to complete a practical experience in an approved public health or related setting under the mentorship of a faculty member and the supervision of an on-site professional. A minimum of 180 contact hours must be completed, and a written portfolio must be submitted in the required format at the completion of the field experience.

In order to qualify for the Public Health Field Experience, students must have successfully completed and passed the core course examination. The Field Experience must be approved by the field experience faculty supervisor and the Program Director to ensure site acceptability. The only curricular practical training that will be approved is the PBH 798 course. No external research at other institutions will be approved for curricular practical training during the completion of the Master of Public Helath (MPH) program.

Culminating Experience

As the culminating experience, students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program are required to complete a capstone project via:

PBH 798 - Public Health Field Experience – The student will register for 3 credit hours of field experience (180 contact hours).  Additionally, the student will register for PBH 799 - Capstone Project in Public Health, also for 3 credit hours, in the second year of the program, regardless of when the 180 hours of field experience is conducted.  This project must be independent in nature and must be approved and supervised by the Field Experience Coordinator and the Program Director.  This is intended for students who wish to conduct independent research.

PBH 798 - Public Health Field Experience – The student will register for 5 credit hours of field experience (300 contact hours).  Additionally, the student will register for PBH 799 - Capstone Project in Public Health, for 1 credit hour), in the second year of the program, regardless of when the 300 hours of field experience is conducted.  Data collection for the 1 credit hour capstone project will be completed under the supervision of the on-site professional.  Development of the finished project and the presentation will be supervised by a faculty member during the second year of the program.

The capstone project requires students to synthesize and integrate advanced knowledge and skills acquired in the program and to apply those to some aspect of public health.

Some aspect of the culminating experience must be original, whether it is the topic itself, an analysis of newly collected or extant data, the reinterpretation of others' findings, or the design and completion of a community project. At its completion, students submit a written report and make a formal presentation to an audience of faculty, students, and practitioners.

Retention and Readmission to the Program

Admission to the Master of Public Health (MPH) program is through a competitive admissions process with only a limited number of students admitted each year. Students who leave the program will be required to apply for readmission. Applications for readmission will be reviewed by the Master of Public Health (MPH) program admission, progression and graduate (APG) committee. Previous enrollment does not guarantee readmission. The student’s readmission will depend on where the student places in the competitive enrollment process.

All students must enroll in at least one credit hour each fall and spring semesters until graduation to remain in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. International students must comply with program and International Services policies. Students who do not meet minimum requirements will be dropped from the program and will have to reapply to the Master of Public Health (MPH) program APG committee for permission to return to the program. Students have a maximum of eight years to complete the program. Students who exceed this time period must seek an extension through the APG. All other retention policies are defined by the Graduate College.

MPH-MHA Dual Degree

Students can obtain dual degrees in health administration and public health at Missouri State University. Students who successfully complete the program will receive both a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. A total of 12 hours of coursework can be applied to both programs, reducing the time required to obtain both degrees separately.

Public health and health administration are increasingly important areas in health care and medicine. Information, resources, technology, research and new challenges are expanding tremendously in the fields of public health and health administration and it is important to have a trained workforce that can bridge these two areas of health care and medicine. The successful completion of dual degrees in public health and health care administration provide students with a unique set of knowledge, skills and abilities that enable graduates to communicate relevant health information; account for health care priorities, policy and delivery; manage crises; and address major health concerns at the level of a population. All these activities are information intensive to support professional decision-making, practice and action.

The dual Master of Health Administration (MHA)/Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program provides graduates with interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and abilities to address challenges on a local and global scale. This dual degree program offers a course of study that emphasizes effective management and responsible oversight within the health care delivery system and focus on identifying, resolving, and preventing health problems that affect communities and populations. Beyond these foundations, both programs challenge students to lead their organizations toward satisfying the future demands and needs of their communities.

There is overlap between the Master of Health Administration (MHA) and Master of Public Health (MPH) programs, which enables students to complete both degrees in a streamlined process. The MHA has a core requirement of 36 credit hours while the MPH has a 42 hour requirements. Currently there are two courses (6 credit hours) jointly shared by the two programs.

  • MGT 701, Health Services Organization
  • PLS 754, Seminar in Health Policy
In addition, there is a joint collaborative relationship between the two programs in terms of the Capstone Project in Public Health (PBH 799 - 3 credit hours) with the Program Director for the MHA program serving on the student's Capstone Committee. In keeping with the traditional approach to dual degrees, there is a reduction in overall hour requirements for both degrees. While separately the two degrees require a total of 78 credit hours, under the joint degree program students could earn the two degrees in 72 credit hours.

Applicants to the joint Master of Health Administration (MHA)/Master of Public Health (MPH) must be admitted into each program separately and must adhere to the admission requirements and prerequisite courses stipulated by each program. The student's decision to complete the joint Master of Health Administration (MHA)/Master of Public Health (MPH)  degree must be declared to the MHA and MPH Program Directors before the end of the second semester of the first year in either program.