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Master of Public HealthCourse Descriptions

Designed for Busy Professionals

Kent State's online Master of Public Health (MPH) program is designed for busy working professionals and students seeking a graduate education with the following features:

  • 46 credits in length, consisting of 14 courses, including the practicum
  • 7-week-long courses, with one course per term and two terms each semester
  • A customizable, career-centered practicum experience
  • An optional global immersion seminar
  • Graduate in as few as 27 months or 24 months, if you take two courses concurrently in the last two terms
  • Two degree specializations:

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Course Descriptions

The 46-credit-hour MPH degree is comprised of three major components:

MPH Core Courses (7 courses, 25 credits)

(for Both Specializations)

BST 52019 Biostatistics in Public Health (4 credits)

Provides students with an understanding of basic statistical methods in public health research, as well as the skills to perform and interpret basic statistical procedures. Students learn how to use statistical analysis software to analyze real data from public health-related studies. They then learn how to interpret the analysis and present the results to public health professionals and educated lay audiences. Course will include lab component which will enhance student awareness and informed usage of SAS for public health analysis. Students will learn how to input, read, store, export, and modify data in SAS and be able to use common SAS procedures to analyze public health data and conduct independent SAS programming.

EHS 52018 Environmental Health Concepts in Public Health (3 credits)

Human beings may be the predominant form of life on Earth today, but our health, well-being and, indeed, survival depends on the quality and integrity of the environment in which we live. The course provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the major environmental health issues facing the world today. This course focuses on the present population resources-pollution crisis and explains why human health, well-being and welfare depend on successful resolution of current environmental health challenges. Students will be exposed to the information on how current environmental problems and issues affect human health and well-being and learn practical examples of how specific environmental health problems could be resolved through more active individual participation and community involvement, socio-behavioral and healthy lifestyle changes, and more effective decision-making policies at local and national levels. The course reviews the latest developments on such environmental health issues and concerns as population growth and poverty, toxic environmental pollutants, indoor and outdoor air pollution, water contamination and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste management, global climate change and sustainable development.

EPI 52017 Fundamentals of Public Health Epidemiology (3 credits)

Introduces principles, methods and application of epidemiology. Covers the history of epidemiology, concepts of disease causation and prevention, measures of disease frequency and excessive risk, epidemiologic study designs, causal inference, outbreak investigation and screening. Provides experience with calculation of rate standardization, measures of disease frequency, association, and impact, and sensitivity and specificity of screening tests. Highlights applications of epidemiology to understanding of disease etiology, transmission, pathogenesis, prevention, evaluation and public policy development.

HPM 52015 Emerging Issues in Public Health Policy & Management (3 credits)

An overview of emerging challenges in public health policy and management. Examples include pandemic H1N1 response, biopreparedness, national health care reform, public health financing challenges, and global tuberculosis drug resistance.

HPM 52016 Public Health Administration (3 credits)

Public health administration comprises efforts to improve the health of communities. Provides an overview for public health administration and practice, including organization, law, legislative relations, financing, workforce issues, leadership and surveillance.

HPM/SBS 60192 Practicum Experience (6 credits)

Observational and participation in public health activities of a public health agency, hospital or other approved organization. The student completes the field experience with joint supervision from the university and approved organization or agency.

SBS 50020 Social and Behavioral Science Theory (3 credits)

Provides an overview of the science of prevention and intervention research for graduate students in the social and behavioral sciences in public health. Examines prevention and intervention science, ethics, and principles of community based research and evaluation.

HPM Discipline-Specific Courses (5 courses, 15 credits)

The online MPH in Health Policy and Management (HPM) requires students to complete the following five discipline-specific courses:

HPM 53003 Health Care Systems (3 credits)

In this course, students will examine the conceptual basis for the U.S. healthcare system, its historical origins, the structures, resources and processes of care, how quality and costs are supported and constrained, and the impact of recent legislation.

HPM 53004 Public Health Policy, Law and Ethics (3 credits)

This course explores the role of government in public health, and it focuses on ethics, law and policy. After reviewing key concepts relating to the public health “system” and introducing the concepts of public health ethics, law and policy, we overview basic theories of ethical decision-making and their relevance to public health. We also discuss these theories in relation to specific kinds of public health issues. We then overview and discuss the nature of legal authorities relevant to the practice of public health law, including relevant constitutional provisions, the role of statutes and various forms of direct and indirect regulation. We also define and discuss public sector institutions that are involved in making and administering laws relevant to public health and overview basic elements and theories of public policy making and analysis. We close the course by applying what we learn to specific forms of government intervention to address public health problems.

HPM 53005 Financial Management for Public Health Organizations (3 credits)

Intended to provide students with an initial exploration and overview of whole systems approaches to organizational change in public health settings, a more detailed working knowledge of key whole systems methodologies, and a detailed working knowledge and practical experience with one of the most frequently used and favored whole systems approaches.

HPM 53006 Cost-Benefit Analysis of Public Health Programs (3 credits)

Provides an overview of cost-benefit analysis as applied to the evaluation of public health programs. Students apply principles of cost-benefit analysis and related cost-utility analysis to case studies in the public health sector.

HPM 53007 Public Health Programs: Planning, Implementing and Evaluation (3 credits)

This course is a comprehensive overview of the practical and theoretical skills needed to plan, implement and evaluate health promotion programs. We will examine how public health programs can target different levels within a population, different determinates of health and strategies and interventions. A substantial focus of this course will be on providing a hands-on, real-world applied approach to planning, implementing and evaluating a health program.


The online MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) requires students to complete the following five courses:

SBS 50002 Quantitative Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)

Introduces basic quantitative methods used in social and behavioral scientific research. First we focus on the measurement of socio-behavioral phenomena and the relationship between measurement and statistics. Next, we examine the interrelated roles of scientific theory and the design of socio-behavioral research studies. Last, we focus on building appropriate multiple linear regression and/or analysis of variance statistical models to provide valid analysis of data collected in socio-behavioral research.

SBS 50030 Seminar in Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)

Explores case studies in the social and behavioral sciences on topics that address the leading health indicators including substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), obesity (physical activity and nutrition), HIV and STIs, mental health, injury, immunization and access to health care, and social determinants of health.

SBS 53008 Grant Writing in Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)

Students learn the basics of grant writing for federal and non-federal funding agencies with a particular emphasis on the components of most proposals for funding. This includes rationale for seeking funds, collaborations with community organizations, and working with consultants and subcontractors. Participants also learn about the basic sections of grant writing such as specific aims and hypotheses, developing a literature review, background and significance, research design and methodology, developing a budget and conducting research with human subjects. Participants have an opportunity to write sample grant proposals, learn about the review and scoring process and post-award grant management.

SBS 54634 Social Determinants of Health Behaviors (3 credits)

Overviews the social determinants of health and the dynamic interplay between individual behaviors and community structures (systems orientation), including public policy, social and built environments, commercial messages, access to services, cultural norms, psychosocial hazards, and poverty both as causal effects that either provide opportunity or constraints to health. Also examines systems approaches to preventing public health threats from issues including substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), physical inactivity, poor dietary practices, unsafe sexual behaviors, violence and injury, and mental health.

HPM 53007 Public Health Programs: Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (3 credits)

Overview of developing, implementing and evaluating public health programs. Examines how public health programs can target different levels within a population, different determinants of health and strategies and interventions.

Electives (2 courses, 6 credits)

With the electives, you can take courses across all disciplines of public health, so you are better prepared to face any challenge that may come your way in the future. Electives are offered on a rotating basis and are not available every semester during the 24- or 27-month programs. Pre-approved 100 percent online electives include:

HPM 53012 National Health Reform (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of health reform in the United States, starting with the history of health reform, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the future of health reform. It includes political and policy discourse leading up to the Patient Protection and ACA, its passage, analysis of the law’s impact, Supreme Court rulings, and other legal challenges affecting the legislation, and the future of public health and health care in the context of health reform. The impact of health reform on healthcare financing, quality and public health will also be covered. Students will draw upon and apply an interdisciplinary literature base to analyze health reform.

HPM 53008 Foundations for Effective Public Health Leadership (3 credits)

In this course, students will examine the impact of leadership on public health. They will review specific values, traits and competencies of effective leaders. The practices of effective public health leaders will be thoroughly analyzed.

HPM 53009 Whole Systems Approaches to Leading Organizational Change in Public Health (3 credits)

Intended to provide students with an initial exploration and overview of whole systems approaches to organizational change in public health settings, a more detailed working knowledge of key whole systems methodologies and a detailed working knowledge and practical experience with one of the most frequently used and favored whole systems approaches.

HPM 53010 Community Health Needs Assessments (3 credits)

One of the core functions of public health, community assessment, facilitates problem solving and policy development. It covers concepts and methods relevant to community health needs assessment, such as systems thinking, the use of quantitative and qualitative methods, primary and secondary data, and the role of community assessment in current national policy, including the Affordable Care Act, on community health improvement. Students will draw from multiple disciplines to assess health status and its determinants (social, behavioral and environmental), needs for health services, and the capacity and resources of the local community. Students will also learn to facilitate and evaluate the use of data for decision-making by partnerships, organizations and policy makers.

HPM 53013 Sex: A Wicked Public Health Problem (3 credits)

“Wicked problems” is a term developed in the 1970s by systems thinkers and planners, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, to describe complex social problems that are resistant to solution. The term has recently been applied to public health issues that have proven to be difficult to address and resistant to mitigation. Human sexuality is one of those issues. STDs, HIV, teen pregnancy, and other public health problems are contrasted with love, family, reproduction and society creating a complex social problem that is difficult to address.

This course will examine sexuality through the lens of public health by exploring how sociocultural, demographic, epidemiological, biological, legal/political, and other factors contribute to creating a number of sex-related health problems that affect large numbers of individuals. These problems include such population health issues as:

  • The spread of infectious disease
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Infant and maternal mortality
  • Sex violence
  • Subjugation of women
  • Access to health care

Mitigation strategies for these types of problems will be discussed with a particular focus on evidence-based public health policies and prevention practices. The basic Discovery Question for the course is two-part: “What are some of the most serious public health problems related to human sexuality and what can be done to reduce them?”

*Course availability, scheduling, requirements and descriptions are subject to change. Contact an Admissions Advisor for the most updated course offerings.

Course Requirements

To participate in this online program, you will need a computer and broadband Internet connection. Your program may have further requirements that include the ability to record video and audio. If you have questions regarding technology requirements for the program, please contact your Admissions Advisor at or call us toll-free at 844-234-4073.

Once you are admitted to the program, your Admissions Advisor will craft your personalized degree plan, giving you a clear course sequence and path to graduation.*

*Note: Students are responsible for taking courses on the prescribed sequence. Any deviation from the prescribed sequence that leads to a delayed graduation is the responsibility of the student.

Meet the Faculty

Download Our Brochure

By clicking "Get Brochure,” I agree to provide the contact information listed above for the purpose of receiving communications regarding educational programs and opportunities.