Jul 13, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Public Health, M.P.H.*

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Program of Study

The Master in Public Health prepares students as practitioners of public health and as leaders in public and private sector agencies and organizations. Graduates are well-prepared to hold positions as public health professionals in local community organizations, hospitals, health management organizations, government agencies, the military, academia, international organizations, and the private sector. Instructional faculty are leading teachers and researchers in the field of public health as well as local practitioners in the specialized fields that comprise each of the option areas. The program’s rich and diverse curriculum provides students with the concrete tools they need to operate competently in the field after they graduate.

*The Master in Public Health is offered through the Office of Extended Learning.

Program Goals

The major goal of this program is to develop a new cadre of culturally sensitive public health professionals with a population and health disparities focus. In accordance with the Council on Education for Public Health accreditation criteria, the program will broadly prepare graduates in five primary areas:

  1. Biostatistics – Collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and interpretation of health data; design and analysis of health-related surveys and experiments; and concepts and practice of statistical data analysis;
  2. Epidemiology – Distributions and determinants of disease, disabilities, and death in human populations; the characteristics and dynamics of human populations; and the natural history of disease and the biologic basis of health;
  3. Environmental health sciences – Environmental factors including biological, physical, and chemical factors that affect the health of a community;
  4. Health systems organization – Planning, organization, administration, management, evaluation, and policy analysis of health and public health programs; and
  5. Social and behavioral sciences – Concepts and methods of social and behavioral sciences relevant to the identification and solution of public health problems.

A unique feature of our program is the infusion of student learning outcomes related to health disparities/cultural sensitivity throughout the curriculum, particularly in the common core courses.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

In accordance with the standards developed by the Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice and the recommendations of the Association of Schools of Public Health, students will develop skills in eight major areas:

  1. Analytical/assessment skills
  2. Policy development/program planning skills
  3. Communication skills
  4. Health disparities/cultural sensitivity skills
  5. Community dimensions of practice skills
  6. Public health sciences skills
  7. Financial planning and management skills
  8. Leadership and systems thinking skills

Students who graduate with a Master in Public Health will be able to:

  1. Identify public health status and needs through community populations assessment.
  2. Develop comprehensive plans and policies to address public health problems and needs.
  3. Analyze and apply best implementation practices of public health programs.
  4. Evaluate public health plans and develop an evaluation system to measure a plan’s effectiveness.

Program Requirements

This 42 semester-unit, cohort-based program requires 16 months of study, including summer semesters. The program includes seven common core courses: Foundations of Public Health; Foundations of Health Systems Organization Delivery and Policy; Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health; Biostatistics for Public Health; Epidemiology; Environmental Determinants of Health; and Research Methods and Proposal Writing. The remaining courses are specific to the two concentration options in both face-to-face or online format.

The MPH Program also includes an applied practice experience (internship) and integrative learning experience (thesis, capstone, or comprehensive exam).

Health Promotion and Education

Behavioral science applied to health-related behavior for the identification of risk factors for physical and mental health illnesses, and for the experimental evaluation of interventions aimed at changing risk practices or promoting healthy behaviors. Emphasis is placed on vulnerable populations, including low-income families, minorities, women, and children. Graduates are employable by hospitals, health departments, social service and other governmental agencies, corporations, and colleges/universities.

Global Health

Focuses on identifying the determinants of global health problems and the design, implementation, and evaluation of global health programs and policies across socio-cultural boundaries. Graduates will be able to develop innovative approaches to address global health problems and will negotiate the complex interrelationship between health and political, economic, and human development. Requires internationally focused field work that will either be performed abroad or will be focused on a U.S. immigrant community with strong international ties.

Admissions Requirements and Application

The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and post-baccalaureate studies at a California State University campus are in accordance with University regulations as well as Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations. In order to be admitted to CSU San Marcos as either a post-baccalaureate student or as a graduate student, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have completed a four-year college course of study and hold a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities;
  2. Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended;
  3. Have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted; and
  4. Satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations, as determined by each graduate program.

Supplementary Criteria for Admission into the MPH Program

  1. Copy of official transcript(s) from all college work to be sent directly to the MPH Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Two signed letters of recommendation on official letterhead from persons familiar with the student’s academic qualifications and/or professional experience relevant to the MPH degree. Each letter should include the name and title of the referee.
  3. A narrative statement describing how and why completing an MPH degree relates to applicant’s professional goals (please see the MPH website for details). This narrative statement should also demonstrate the ability of the applicant to convey concepts and ideas clearly and in a well-organized manner that conforms to syntax and mechanics of standard written English.
  4. A current resume demonstrating experience (paid or volunteer) in public health, health education, health science, or a related area, especially if bachelor’s degree is not in a health-related area.
  5. A grade of C (2.0) or better in the following courses, with a B (3.0) preferred:
    • Statistics or quantitative methods

Application Deadlines
Visit the Public Health and/or Extended Learning website for information on application deadlines.


A student who earns less than a B in any course will be allowed to repeat the course one time as offered. Failure to pass the course a second time with a grade of B or better will provide justification for disqualification from the program. Per campus policy, all graduate students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in each semester of the program in order to maintain good academic standing.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL)

Students need to fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL) before advancing to candidacy. Please refer to Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL)  for more information regarding this requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy will occur after a student successfully completes PH 507 - Research Methods and Proposal Writing  with a grade of B or better, and successfully presents a thesis or project proposal.

Health Promotion and Education

Global Health (Example) Full-Time


All program options may not be offered every year. The particular program options offered during a particular year/cohort will depend upon student demand.

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