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Medical College of Wisconsin MPH Program Courses & Curriculum

Public Health Curriculum

Master of Public Health Degree Program

The MPH (PDF) consists of 42 credits drawn from required and elective courses. This requirement applies to all programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

  • 4 Core Courses - 12 credits
  • 6 Concentration Courses - 18 credits
  • Elective Courses - 6 credits
  • Field Placement (includes 1 credit for Field Placement Preparation) - 3 credits
  • Capstone Project - 3 credits
Dual Degree 4 + 1 MPH Program
  • 4 core courses - 12 credits
  • 6 Concentration courses - 18 credits
  • Foundations in Public Health course - 3 credits
  • Elective course - 3 credits
  • Field Placement (includes 1 credit for Field Placement Preparation) - 3 credits
  • Capstone Project - 3 credits
Certificate in Public Health

This Graduate Certificate (PDF) consists of 12 credits all of which are required courses. Students in this certificate program enroll in the core public health courses with students in the MPH Program.

  • Public Health Theory & Practice
  • Principles of Public Health Data & Epidemiology
  • Public Health Administration
  • Public Health Analytics
Certificate in Community Health Assessment & Planning

This Certificate in Community Health Assessment and Planning (PDF) consists of 12 credits: 2 required courses and 2 electives.

2 required courses - 6 credits

  • Community Health Assessment & Improvement
  • Community Health Program Planning

2 electives - 6 credits

  • Community Health Program Evaluation
  • Health Communication
  • Public Health Policy
  • Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Leadership in Public Health
  • Racial & Ethnic Inequalities in Public Health

One to two years experience working in health care, worksite wellness, or public health is strongly recommended.

Certificate in Population Health Management

This Certificate in Population Health Management (PDF) consists of 12 credits: 1 required courses and 3 electives.

1 required Course - 3 credits

  • Introduction to Population Health Management

3 electives - 9 credits

  • Principles of Public Health Data & Epidemiology
  • Community Health Program Evaluation
  • Public Health Policy
  • Community Health Program Planning
  • Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health
  • Public Health Analytics
  • Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Leadership for the Public's Health
  • Health Communication
  • Community Health Assessment and Improvement
  • Public Health Theory and Practice
  • Foundations of Public Health
  • Health Administration
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health Law and Ethics

Experience working in a health care system, health plan, employer benefit plan, or public health department is recommended.

Course Offerings & Descriptions


18165 Principles of Public Health Data and Epidemiology (Fall)

This course examines public health data and epidemiological concepts, including foundations of epidemiology, practical applications of public health data and epidemiology, core measures in public health, descriptive epidemiology, sources of data, study designs and data analysis, communicating data, informatics, disease transmission and prevention, morbidity and mortality, screening tests, infectious disease causation, environmental health, and social, behavioral, and psychosocial epidemiology. The course emphasizes practical application of concepts and skills learned related to accessing, analyzing, and communicating public health data. The course provides the student with an understanding of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in population groups. The course provides the foundation for many other courses in the MPH program.

18203 Public Health Administration (Fall)

Public health professionals require administrative skills at many levels, from managing personnel and health programs, to making and advocating for organizational and policy decisions regarding the distribution of society's scarce public health resources. This course is designed to introduce 1) the structure, functions, and financing of public health within the context of the U.S. healthcare system and its health policies; 2) the planning, implementation, management, and evaluation of programs to improve health; and 3) principles of effective finance, budgeting, grant-writing, and management strategies. In addition to tutorials, readings and case studies, students will complete assignments that are aligned with their own communities, organizations, and professional roles.  

18204 Public Health Analytics (Spring)

This course focuses on the biostatistics and analysis methods commonly found in public health. Students will learn to produce, interpret, and communicate data. Students will examine the use of descriptive and analytical statistics in research studies, with an emphasis on understanding statistical reports and judging the appropriateness of statistical applications reported in the literature. Calculations of statistics are included as a means to understand the appropriate use of statistics.

18155 Public Health Theory & Practice (Fall)

This course provides an overview of various theories in public health, as well as, how public health theories can be applied in individual, interpersonal, and community settings. The course will highlight various factors that contribute to public health, including biological, family, ethnic and cultural, and community stressors that affect health and well-being. The course will provide an overview of translating research into public health practice.



18209 Community Health Assessment and Improvement (Fall)

This course covers the community health assessment and community health improvement processLearners will review public health concepts from a public health systems and practice perspective. The course will focus in-depth on learning about the Mobilizing for Action Through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) framework.  

18160 Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health (Spring)

Health disparities remain a major social and public health problem in the USDespite the enormous health care expenditure and progress made in improving the overall health of the nation, and the remarkable medical, technological, and public health strides made in the past few decades in improving individual and population health, the challenge and burden or health disparities persists. This course will provide students with an in-depth introduction to health inequities as they pertain to racial and ethnic minority populations and an overview of social determinants of population healthThe course will help clinicians and other public health students and professionals develop and strengthen their knowledge, skills, and ability to critically examine issues of health disparities and to develop a better understanding of some of the underlying social determinants of health disparities from a multidisciplinary perspectiveWe will: (i) consider health disparities from a historical perspective, (ii) examine the burden of racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. (iii) identify and examine some of the social determinants of health in public health literature, and (iv) examine theoretical and practical challenges of developing innovative strategies to reduce and eliminate health disparitiesThe ultimate goal of the course is to help students develop the skills needed to apply knowledge and theory of health disparities in designing health services and epidemiological studies and interventions to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities.  

18223 Public Health Policy (Fall)

This introductory course will prepare students to know and understand the fundamentals of public health policymaking from the perspectives of diverse stakeholders.  Throughout the course, students will engage in critical and creative thinking to judge the validity of information and to use defendable and persuasive information to reach new insights in the field of public health policy.  Students will be challenged to analyze complex public health policies in areas such as health care reform, health equity, access to care, chronic disease and injury, and global healthThis course will assist students in developing the skills necessary to understand and apply diverse sources of information in policy development and the advocacy to implement public health policy. Some class discussions may be held synchronously online throughout this course

18230 Community Health Program Planning (Spring)

Designed to prepare learners to apply public health knowledge and skills in a community-based settingProgram planning skills are an essential competency of both public health practitioners and public health administrators and thus are a critical component of the MPH curriculum.  Building on the foundation in health improvement planning obtained in the Public Health Administration course, this course will increase the depth and breadth of students’ knowledge and skills through a theoretical and application-based curriculum.

18260 Community Health Program Evaluation (Fall)

Examines the basic topics related to Community Health Program Evaluation including systems thinking and program evaluation; the levels of program evaluation process; qualitative and quantitative measures; data management tools; data analysis methods; quality management; and other contextual issues surrounding program evaluation. This course will incorporate the use of assigned readings, group projects, peer evaluation, online discussions, and exams to foster knowledge of material presented in the course, as well as application-based learning in evaluation of community health.

18268 Leadership for the Public’s Health (Summer)

Takes a broad look at leadership within public health practice. An introduction to theoretical and evidence-based research is applied to a wide range of public health challenges. Learners apply knowledge and personal experiences to newly focused leadership understanding through application to practice. Leadership theory and research will connect to personal leadership critical reflection, political acumen, and peer mentorship in creation of a professional development plan/leadership credo.


18279 Field Placement Preparation (offered every semester)

This course provides the foundation for the MPH Field Placement course, a required culminating experience within the MPH programIn the Preparation course, students will connect with public health organizations and arrange their specific Field Placement project.  The course will highlight principles of human subject research as well as community-academic partnerships and will help students apply these principles in the development of their project.

18280 Field Placement (offered every semester)

This is a planned, supervised and evaluated applied practice experience that is designed to enhance and complement the student's educational training by providing practical experience in public or private organizations that address significant public health issuesWorking with a site preceptor and faculty advisor, students will develop at least two products for an organization that demonstrate public health competency attainment and are relevant to their professional area of interest

18297 Capstone Project (offered every semester)

The Capstone Project or Integrative Learning Experience is a culminating experience that requires the students to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in coursework and other learning experiences and apply theory and public health principles in the development of a master's paper on significant public or community health issue or topic




18101 Foundations of Public Health (Summer)

This is a required course for all students enrolled in the MCW MPH dual degree program and is offered as an elective to all other currently admitted MPH students. This course provides an overview of various theories and practices in public health, as well as how public health theories and practices can be applied to the health of populations. Using the public health system as a framework, the course will address core foundational aspects of public health, public health history, 21st century public health practices, the interrelationship between law, government, and public health, and an introduction to public health emergency preparedness and response. The course will also address health determinants and health equity in the practice of public health.

18115 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (Spring)

This course is designed to prepare students to promote health and to prevent disease and injury using a variety of methods. It emphasizes an ecological approach addressing behavior, environment, and healthcare at levels from the individual to social policy. The content is designed for use in diverse settings, including health departments; healthcare; workplaces, schools and other institutions; policymaking/advocacy; and non-governmental organizations. Students will assemble their own model HP/DP plan for a population and health problem of their choosing. The course will address underlying models informing HP/DP; risk and protective factors and surrogate indicators like biomarkers; population assessment; theories of health behavior and health education; locating evidence-based practices; addressing environmental and policy aspects of HP/DP; community engagement, disparities and health equity; HP/DP in healthcare; ethical issues: information and communication technologies; and emerging opportunities in HP/DP including personalized and computer-augmented health promotion.

18150 Public Health Law and Ethics (Summer)

The Public Health Law & Ethics course examines law as a tool for public health as well as the ethics underlying the practice of public health and how they interact with the ethical principle of justice, which underlies all of law. The course explores law and ethics in public health through readings related to governmental authority with respect to population and the conflict that it can create with individuals’ rights. The course focuses on inadequacies of and changes to the law as revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to realign public health and the law with the ethics of health justice and equity.

18215 Infectious Diseases (Spring)

Emphasizes the practice of public health in the following areas of infectious diseases: surveillance, outbreak investigation and control, and prevention and policy.

18232 Introduction to Population Health Management (Summer)

Provides knowledge and builds competencies to improve population health outcomes as well as patient and provider experiences and to reduce per person costs; themes include leadership in teams, care of populations, health service quality and value, data analysis and reporting, and financial management; competencies include leadership and inter-professional communication, systems thinking, social and behavioral sciences, data management, process and outcome improvement, and policy advocacy.

18241 Health Communication (Fall)

This course is designed to explore the ways that communication impacts peoples health and wellbeing, as well as their understanding of health-related topics. The course will cover multiple levels of communication, different communication channels, and the use of diverse communication media and technologies.