Master of Public Health (MPH) and Certificate in Public Health (CERT.PH)

Sheryl Steadman, Dean
John Contreras, Program Director

The Westminster Master of Public Health (MPH) program providess a solid foundation for public health practice and focuses on developing knowledge needed to be a competent public health professional. The program prepares students to promote and protect public health and safety through education, service, and the application of evidence-based science. The MPH program attracts individuals with a commitment to acquire knowledge that will help them advance to leadership positions. Students come from a variety of careers such as health departments, hospitals, integrated health delivery systems, HMOs, group practices, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations. Students learn leadership and practical skills that help them apply their knowledge and expertise to situations that range from social issues to highly technical problems. The program offers a MPH degree with a Certificate in Public Health (Cert.PH) that is taught in a format adapted to working professionals.  The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.


The program is grounded in the belief that, to be most effective, public health practitioners should receive formal training in the core concepts of public health. The program  covers the following core concepts:  analysis and assessment, policy development and program planning, communication, cultural competency, community dimensions of practice, basic public health science, financial planning and management, and leadership and systems-thinking.


The mission of public health is to promote health, protect communities, and prevent adverse health events and illness. The MPH program at Westminster College prepares public health professionals with the knowledge necessary to be successful in a wide range of public health areas. We accomplish this while embracing the core values of Westminster College: impassioned teaching and active learning, respect for diverse people and perspectives, collaboration and teamwork, personal and social responsibility, college-wide excellence, and high ethical standards. We also follow the standards set forth by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) to assure excellence in public health education. This educational program prepares public health practitioners to meet the diverse challenges of public health locally, nationally, and globally.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the MPH program will be prepared to:

  1. Assess, monitor, and review the health status of populations and their related determinants of health and illness.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to utilize the proper statistical and epidemiologic tools to assess community needs and program outcomes.
  3. Interpret quantitative and qualitative data.
  4. Use methods and instruments for collecting valid and reliable quantitative and qualitative data.
  5. Identify and prioritize the key dimensions of a public health problem by critically assessing public health literature—both quantitative and qualitative sources.
  6. Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological, and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.
  7. Determine approaches for assessing, preventing, and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.
  8. Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect health of individuals and populations.
  9. Apply theoretical constructs of social and health behavior in planning community interventions.
  10. Articulate the relationship between health care delivery and financing, public health systems, and public policy.
  11. Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management, and evaluation in public health organizations and initiatives.
  12. Function as collaborators on public health projects with the ability to assume leadership roles effectively.
  13. Identify and apply ethical, moral, and legal principles in all aspects of public health practice.
  14. Develop public health programs and strategies responsive to the diverse cultural values and traditions of the communities being served.
  15. Apply evidence-based principles and the scientific knowledge base to develop evaluation methods and critically evaluate public health program outcomes.
  16. Effectively communicate public health messages to a variety of audiences from professionals to the general public.

Admission to the Program

See Admission to the College section for admission requirements.

Progression in the Program

A student in the MPH program must:

  • Receive a grade of B or higher in all courses
  • Complete the master’s degree in 4 years from the time of initial admission
  • Complete all master’s project requirements according to identified time schedules

A student in the Certificate in Public Health (Cert.PH) program must:

  • Receive a grade of B or higher in all courses
  • Complete the certificate in 2 years from the time of initial admission

Graduation Requirements

Candidates for graduation should apply to the Registrar’s Office approximately two regular semesters prior to planned completion of graduation requirements. Applications for May graduation are due in September. Please see the Academic Calendar for more specific dates. Candidates are notified of remaining degree requirements within four weeks after applying for graduation.

To be eligible for a MPH degree or Certificate in Public Health (Cert.PH), students must satisfy the following conditions to qualify for graduation from Westminster College:

  • Meet all credit hour and other course requirements
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above
  • Be enrolled at Westminster College during the semester in which they wish to graduate
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Earn a grade of B or higher in all graduate courses

Please note that the program requires that students must earn a grade of B or higher in all graduate courses to qualify for graduation, regardless of their cumulative GPA. The final responsibility for being informed about, and adhering to, graduation requirements rests with the individual. Continued communication with the faculty advisor is recommended.

Program Requirements

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Foreign Language Requirement 39
MPH          500       Principles of Public Health Practice (3)
MPH          510        Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (3)
MPH          520       Environmental Health (3)
MPH          530       Principles of Epidemiology (3)
MPH          540       Healthcare Management (3)
MPH          600       Public Health Ethics and Leadership (3)
MPH          621        Practicum I (3) MPH 500, 510, 630
MPH          622       Practicum II (3) MPH 500, 510, 630
MPH          630       Statistical Methods for Public Health (3)
MPH          635       Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Public Health (3) MPH 500, 510, 630
MPH          645B    Program Planning and Evaluation (3) MPH 530
MPH       690          Capstone Research Project (6) MPH 500, 510, 520, 530, 540, 630
II. Elective Courses 6
MPH          555         Global Health (3)
MPH          565         Principles of Health Policy and Management (3)
MPH          575         Introduction to SAS Programming (3)
MPH          645C      Public Health Nutrition (3)
MPH          645D     Emergency Preparedness in P.H.  (3)
MPH          645E     Violence and Public Health (3)
MPH          645G     Informatics
MPH          655        Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3)
Other elective courses must be approved by the director
Total hours for the MPH Program 45


Recommended Plan of Study for Master of Public Health

Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer Semester
Year 1 MPH 500 (3)
MPH 510 (3)
MPH 630 (3)
MPH 520 (3)
MPH 530 (3)
MPH 540 (3)
MPH 621 (3)*
MPH 622 (3)*
MPH 621 (3)
MPH 622 (3)
Elective (3)
Year 2
MPH 600 (3)
MPH 635 (3)
MPH 645B (3)
MPH 690 (6)
Elective (3)

* MPH 621 and MPH 622 only need to be completed once; however, they are offered both spring and summer semesters.

Certificate in Public Health Program Requirements

The Certificate in Public Health (Cert.PH) provides formal education for those who are currently working in the public health arena or those interested in public health. Students who want to continue to pursue their education in public health will be permitted to apply certificate credits towards Westminster College’s MPH degree with approval from the director.

Requirement Description
Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 18
MPH        500      Principles of Public Health Practice (3)
MPH        510       Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health  (3)
MPH        520       Environmental Health (3)
MPH        530       Principles of Epidemiology (3)
MPH        540       Healthcare Management (3)
MPH        630       Statistical Methods of Public Health (3)
Total Hours for the Certificate in Public Health (Cert.PH) 18


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