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Curriculum Overview


Welcome to the University of California Riverside Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health (SMPPH). Our Master of Public Health (MPH) program is dedicated to training the next generation of public health and population health scholars with a concentration in Community Health Equity. Throughout the program, students will gain valuable skills to analyze and address public health issues with practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions. By prioritizing the foundations of health, this program prepares you to make a meaningful impact in healthcare organizations, for-profit and non-profit organizations, federal, state, or local government agencies, academic settings, or health systems.

The Community Health Equity MPH program is an outstanding opportunity. Spanning 24 months or 2 years, the full-time 68-unit course includes core and elective courses, a practicum, and a capstone project. 

  • Core curriculum, which will consist of 40 units, one additional course in theory/evaluation methods (4 units), a practicum course (Internship) (4 units), and an Integrative Practice Experience (4 units)
  • One additional course in health behavior & policy interventions (4 units)
  • Three elective courses (12 units)

Core Curriculum

  • PBHL 200 - Foundations of Public Health (4)

    Provides an introductory survey of the history, science, and principles of public health. Examines the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Inland Southern California, the United States, and globally.  Introduces public health perspectives on health and illness, health inequities, and public health policy and practice locally, nationally, and globally.

  • PBHL 201 - Research Methods for Public Health (4)

    Aims to develop students into public health researchers who are deeply committed to driving meaningful change. The course offers a practical exploration of the principles and practices of public health research such as design, communication, advocacy, and intervention with a central focus on health equity.

  • PBHL 202A - Community Health Theory and Practice I (4)

    Covers the theories and practices that describe and influence community health promotion. This includes examining the personal, social, and environmental factors that influence health status and behaviors, and the influence of individuals, groups, institutions, societal structures, and policies on these behaviors.

  • PBHL 204 - Epidemiology (4)

    Introduces the basic concepts of epidemiology including disease transmission, measures of disease impact, cohort studies, estimating prevalence and risk, causal inference, and analyses of epidemiologic data for historical and contemporary issues in public health.

  • PBHL 203 - Ethics in Public Health (4)

    Covers issues of scientific integrity and satisfies the requirements for training in public health ethics. Includes ethical issues in public health policy and practice, guidelines for responsible conduct of research, federal and international codes, administrative review and approval, conflict of interest, and privacy and safety of research participants.

  • PBHL 205 - Environmental Health (4)

    Examines the interdisciplinary relationship between environmental health and social justice emphasizing gender, race, class, and globalization as analytical lenses. Topics include urban pollution, workplace exposure, industrial catastrophe, invisible environmental hazards, community activism, reproductive health, global capitalism, and new health challenges imposed by climate change.

  • PBHL 202B - Community Health Theory and Practice 2 (4)

    Applies theories and practices introduced in Community Health Theory and Practice 1. Lectures and coursework focus on building skills for developing community health interventions, project budgets, program implementation and evaluation, and grant proposal development.

  • PBHL 206 - Health Policy and Administration (4)

    Provides an overview of the United States healthcare system, including the programs, providers, policies, and payment systems. Addresses key issues encountered today with the organization and administration of health services, and the prospective implications and consequences for the future.

  • PBHL 207 - Program Planning and Evaluation. for Public Health (4)

    Supports the development of student knowledge and skills needed to conduct community health program planning and evaluation, focusing on best practices that are effective, culturally responsive, equity-focused, and utilization-focused.  Promotes the development of program and evaluation plans that are aligned with health issues of interest to communities.

  • STAT 233A - Statistics for Public Health - I (4)

    Defines the role of statistics in public health research and practice. Develops skills to perform exploratory data analysis; learn basic probability and distributions, estimation, and hypothesis testing procedures; and apply them to real-world public health problems. First course in a two-course sequence.

  • PBHL 298i - Applied Public Health Practice Experience (Practicum) (4)

    Provides students who are working towards an MPH degree to develop, apply, and demonstrate multiple competencies required for successful public health practice through a structured applied practice experience (internship). 

  • STAT 233B - Statistics for Public Health - II (4)

    Develops skills to perform regression (linear, logistic, and Poisson regression models) and survival data analyses. Additional topics may include power analysis and longitudinal data analysis methods. Applies these methods to real-world public health problems. Second course in a two-course sequence.

  • Integrative Learning Experience (Thesis/Project) (4)

    An integrated learning experience that demonstrates synthesis of
    foundational and program competencies

Integrative Learning Experience

The integrative learning experience focuses on both theoretical and practical application of public health foundational and concentration competencies in a project-based format (thesis or capstone).

There are two options for the Integrative Practice Experience, thesis or capstone:

  • The MPH thesis’ provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of public health. The proposal should include objectives, rationale, well-defined methods, and a discussion of proposed analyses; moreover, the proposal should represent a feasible project, particularly with respect to human subjects review. The thesis must meet University standards, and can be structured to facilitate preparation of one or more manuscripts for submission to the peer-reviewed literature. The thesis report should follow the usual research paper format.
  • The MPH capstone project may focus on public health field-work or training, a public health practice or program proposal, a report on epidemiology or behavioral science methods, or be based upon the student’s practicum experience. In all cases the capstone must be a product demonstrating mastery and synthesis of public health principles consistent with the MPH degree and will lead to a written report.

Thesis or capstone projects may require University Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Determine if your project requires IRB approval.