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Program Curriculum

School of Public Health MPH Competencies:
Community-Oriented Public Health Practice is a two-year program requiring a minimum of 63 credits, including:
  • 36 credits of PBL core curriculum
  • 6 credits of integrated fieldwork
  • 6 credits of a sequence of seminars
  • 9 credits of a capstone project

Students are encouraged to take advantage of a wide variety of available electives at the School of Public Health and from other schools at the University of Washington. COPHP emphasizes public health practice by requiring students to complete a first-year fieldwork assignment and Capstone project in the second year.

Those who choose to concentrate in a specialty area during their program may earn a graduate certificate, which is acknowledged on the student's transcript. A certificate generally requires about 12 course credits and 3 seminar credits. Per credit course fees, including graduate certificate and other elective credits, are outlined at Tuition and Funding.

Curriculum Overview

Below is an outline of how the COPHP core-curriculum unfolds throughout the two-year program (keep in mind students are also encouraged to take electives in addition to their core program curriculum):

YEAR 1

AUTUMN QUARTER

Communities & Systems, Part 1: A Birds-eye View
(first 5 weeks)
The introductory block to public health presents a primordial view of population health. It considers the basic elements that determine the health of populations and asks the difficult question of why the richest and most powerful country in world history is so unhealthy. Groups will be challenged to question their innate views of health and what produces it by comparing the United States over secular time with other rich and poor countries, looking at structural factors affecting health.

Communities & Systems, Part 2: On The Ground
(second 5 weeks)
This block emphasizes skills and action as we move from global issues of population health to three local challenges, 1) recognizing and describing public health problems, 2) assessing the health status, needs, wants, and resources of communities, and 3) community building and organizing for social action. Community development is a key concern of public health and a central focus of the Community Oriented Public Health Practice curriculum. Public health activists have long recognized the power that lies within communities to advance the public's health and well-being.

Skills & Practicum Seminar
(all 10 weeks)


WINTER QUARTER

Research & Evaluation, Part 1: Epidemiology
(first 5 weeks)

Research & Evaluation, Part 2: Biostatistics
(second 5 weeks)
The winter quarter introduces many of the public health skills necessary to examine disease causation and prevention. Specifically you will learn how to measure public health problems (e.g., adverse health outcomes such as disease rates, mortality, etc.), risk factors (e.g. environmental exposures), and the association between adverse health outcomes and risk factors. Special emphasis is given to learning how to 1) read and evaluate scientific literature, 2) analyze public health data and 3) clearly present complex quantitative information.

Skills Seminar & Practicum Assignments
(all 10 weeks)


SPRING QUARTER

Research & Evaluation, Part 3: Program Evaluation
(first 3 weeks)

This introduction to evaluation will introduce basic concepts of program evaluation while building on the skills students acquire throughout the winter quarter learning about epidemiology and biostatistics. This block will focus on putting those skills to use in developing an evaluation of a public health program.

Health Behavior & Health Promotion
(second 7 weeks)
This block provides an overview of the theory and practice of planning, designing, implementing and evaluating public health promotion programs. We will examine the theoretical basis for health-related behaviors and emphasize issues related to understanding and modifying these behaviors. This includes theoretical and practical content on identifying and involving target audiences in program development, selecting and designing effective interventions based on health behavior theory and community needs, program implementation, and health communication strategies

Skills Seminar & Practicum Assignments
(all 10 weeks)


YEAR 2

AUTUMN QUARTER

Health Policy
(all 10 weeks)
Health policy refers to decisions that guide organizational and individual behaviors affecting health and the financing, delivery, and use of health services. This sequence focuses on how public policy is developed, by whom, and the relationship between these public decisions and the workings of the market place. We will explore the complex array of factors that affect public policy, how science and community values intertwine in health policy development, and how context (i.e., ideology, culture, and history) influence the structure of and changes to a nation's health system.

Skills Seminar & Capstone
(all 10 weeks)


WINTER QUARTER

Policy & Program Evaluation
(first 4 weeks)
This block builds on the basic concepts of evaluation that students were introduced to in their first year and introduces new concepts, analytic tools, and skills for program evaluation and health policy development. Cases will explore issues both in the United States and developing countries. Students will go through the process of selecting evaluation designs, choosing appropriate approaches and methods, collecting relevant data, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, reporting the findings, and making use of the evaluation results.

Community Development & Social Action
(second 6 weeks)
This block brings together the accumulated skills and knowledge that a public health worker must utilize in working with diverse community interests. The operative terms here are integration and perspective. The community organizer or developer must be able to integrate a broad array of skills to work effectively in the community. S/he must also be able to understand the perspectives of the many players and interest groups that interact in such situations.

Skills Seminar & Capstone
(all 10 weeks)


SPRING QUARTER

Management & Planning
(all 10 weeks)
The final quarter focuses on the role of managers and the competencies and skills they need to carry out their responsibilities. Cases will attempt to capture the breadth, depth, and complexity of the managerial role, reflecting the manager's responsibilities within the organization and in relating the organization to its environment. These cases will generally, but not always, be set within the broader context of a functioning health department

Skills Seminar & Capstone
(all 10 weeks)