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Master of Public Health

Idaho State University's Master of Public Health (MPH) program is unique to the state of Idaho as the only MPH program in Idaho that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The goal of public health is to improve the health of populations through the planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs that promote health, and prevent disease and injury. Public health professionals utilize a combination of social, environmental, legislative, and economic support to improve health programs designed to create a healthier populace.

Our courses have a community health emphasis and include an acquisition of requisite public health knowledge and skills in the areas of epidemiology, biostatistics, public health ethics, health organization and policy, health program planning and evaluation, community health promotion, research methodology and environmental health.

With both online and in-person class options, this program is designed to meet the needs of working individuals as well as those in rural areas. Faculty are located on both the Meridian and Pocatello campuses.

Master's CEPH Accredited


MPH Program Information

Master of Public Health students can expect a rigorous and rewarding program of study centered around the principles and practice of Public Health. Due to the nature of this degree, no core course substitutions or waivers can be allowed. Should a student wish to appeal the substitution waiver rule they may petition the ISU Graduate School.

Classes are offered online and in-person in an asynchronous fashion where students have learning modules with shared due dates with classmates throughout each semester.

MPH students have access to faculty through limited enrollment in a small online learning environment. In addition, all full-time faculty maintain regular office hours and are available to assist and advise students in-person or through teleconference. Students are strongly encouraged to converse with their advisor on a regular basis. Office hours are posted in course syllabi. However, appointments for other than posted hours are encouraged.

The advisement process is an important part of success in the MPH Program. It is mandatory that you meet with your assigned advisor upon acceptance to the program (no later than registration week). It is strongly encouraged to continue these meetings on regular basis. Upon approval of the student's application for graduate study, the Program Director will assign an advisor. This advisor may be requested by the student and will work closely with him or her on requirements, program approval, graduation procedures, and other areas.

Courses numbered 500 and 600 are only for students admitted into the Graduate School. Other courses for which graduate credit may be obtained are indicated with "g" designations in both the undergraduate and graduate catalogs. Courses with "g" designations are shown on registration forms and transcripts as 500 level courses; extra work is required of graduate students enrolled in "g" courses. Whether these or other courses may be applied toward requirements for a graduate degree is determined by the department offering the degree. Credit by examination (course challenge) is not permitted in graduate programs. Students should pay close attention during the registration process to ensure that they have registered for the correct course.

All students must maintain a satisfactory record of scholarship. A 3.0 grade point average (GPA) for the courses listed on the Program of Study is required for any graduate degree or certification at Idaho State University. A grade of C+ or lower is essentially failing at the graduate level. However, the department may accept a C+ grade in one or two courses as long as the minimum overall 3.0 GPA is maintained. Receiving C+ or lower grades may cause departments and/or colleges to dismiss students from a graduate program.

A final program of study form must be completed the semester prior to graduation. For example, if a student plans on graduating in August (Summer Session) then they must submit their program of study during the Spring semester. This form lists all the courses the student has actually taken for the master's degree and is approved by the Department, College and Graduate School. Students may use the form provided in the appendix, or create one of their own using word processing software providing the format is similar to the sample given.

To meet graduation requirements, all MPH students must complete a graduate thesis or project. Before any data collection can occur, permission must be obtained through the Idaho State University Human Subjects Committee. Forms for the human subjects process may be obtained from the Office for Research.

All students seeking the MPH degree must select a topic no later than the beginning of the third semester of course work. Approval must be gained from both the advisor and the subject area coordinator. Students must work with their advisor to complete this requirement. Form and style must meet acceptable formal writing procedures (A.P.A. style is required).  

Topic approval must be obtained before proceeding with a formal proposal.  The proposal will be presented orally and in written form to members of the examination committee before data is collected.  Details are provided in the MPH Handbook.

Oral examinations are required of all students. Students are not permitted to take oral examinations until all core course requirements have been completed. Exams are scheduled by the department; graduating students will be notified of exam dates and requirements. In addition, a formal paper pertaining to the required thesis or project will be evaluated. Exams must complete no later than two weeks prior to the end of their final semester. Students must submit a written copy of their paper to their faculty advisor no later than two weeks prior to the date of their oral defense.

The examining committee is composed of a faculty advisor, a second faculty member from the student's department (requested by the student or appointed by the graduate coordinator) and a Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR), appointed by the Dean of Graduate School. The Graduate Dean welcomes suggestions from the student and department regarding candidates for the GFR. The examining committee hears and questions the defense of thesis, proposals, course work and oral exams.

Students must apply for graduation through the Graduate School. Applications are due within two weeks of the beginning of the final semester, or June 15th for summer graduation. In addition, students must pay an Application for Graduation Diploma Fee prior to the end of their final semester. Students should contact the Graduate School for more detailed information:

Graduate School
Museum Building Room 401
Mail Stop 8075
Phone: 208-282-2150

MPH Curriculum and Core Competencies

Core Course Requirements


MPH    5507   Rural Health Systems

3 cr.

MPH    6601    Applications in Epidemiology

3 cr.

MPH    6602   Biostatistics

3 cr.

MPH    6604    Social & Cultural Perspectives in Public Health

3 cr.

MPH    6605    Leadership and Administration

3 cr.

MPH    6606    Environmental & Occupational Health

3 cr.

MPH    6609    Seminar in Community/Public Health

3 cr.

MPH    6620    Health Program Planning

3 cr.

MPH    6640    Research and Writing

3 cr.

MPH    6660    Health Behavior Change Theory and Application

3 cr.

Core Total  

30 cr.

Thesis Option


MPH      6650     Thesis

6 cr.

Approved Electives

6 cr.

Thesis Option Total 

12 cr.

Project Option


MPH      6651     Project

6 cr.

Approved Electives

6 cr.

Project Option Total

12 cr.

MPH Program Total 

42 cr. 

MPH Core Competencies

The MPH Program at ISU is a both an academic and a competency-based degree that allows students to be able to synthesize praxis and theoria.  A proficiency in the following core competencies is expected from graduates of this program.

MPH 5507: Rural Health Systems

Explore the historical and contemporary multi layered social, cultural, political, and economic determinants in the US and internationally that shape health status, health behavior and health inequalities.  Practical application of creating appropriate interventions specific to the target population.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the burden of disease in the rural West and differentiate between health systems and rural communities nationally and globally
  2. Describe the roles of history, power, privilege, and structural inequality and their impact on rural health and rural health systems
  3. Apply the core functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance to describe systems-level properties in the analysis of rural public health problems and their solutions
  4. Explain the historical development, structure, and interaction of public and private health entities and rural health systems
  5. Evaluate how rural health is impacted by broader national and international health policies, systems, and regulations
  6. Identify resources such as partner organizations, health system incentives, data, and other tools involved in implementing programs and policies that address health in rural communities

MPH 6601: Applications in Epidemiology

Facilitates an epidemiological approach to problem solving in the health sciences through practical application of field epidemiology concepts and methods.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Conduct or participate substantively in a simulated field investigation, epidemiologic study or survey/project and utilize technical knowledge to prevent diseases and injuries.
  2. Identify and apply basic research methods used in public health.
  3. Identify relevant data and gaps in data sources; understand and evaluate appropriate uses of and integrity of data.
  4. Design, conduct and interpret an epidemiologic analysis of a new or preexisting data set in order to make appropriate public health recommendations.
  5. Evaluate an existing or planned public health strategy and use scientific literature to support the findings and recommendations of the epidemiologic investigation. 
  6. Design, implement or evaluate a public health surveillance or other information system which maintains accurate records for programmatic and scientific review.
  7. Obtain and interpret information regarding risks and benefits to the community and develop a risk assessment plan.
  8. Define, assess and understand the health status of populations, determinants of health and illness, factors contributing to health promotion and disease prevention, and factors influencing the use of health services.
  9. Describe how the public health information infrastructure is used to collect, process, maintain, and disseminate data.

MPH 6602: Biostatistics

This course will equip students with a conceptual understanding of the calculation and interpretation of inferential statistics in public health research. 
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Understand and give examples of different types of data
  2. Interpret differences in data distribution using visual displays
  3. Understand the main types of theoretical probability distributions (normal, Poisson, binomial)
  4. Conduct basic operations on events and probabilities
  5. Calculate standard normal scores and resulting probabilities
  6. Calculate and interpret confidence intervals and p-values from test of hypothesis for means and proportions
  7. Understand and interpret results from ANOVA
  8. Understand and interpret contingency tables, chi (2), relative risks and odds ratios
  9. Understand and interpret correlation between 2 variables
  10. Understand and interpret simple and multiple linear and logistic regression analysis


MPH 6604: Social and Cultural Perspectives in Public Health 

Exploration of multicultural health beliefs, health disparities and needs of our society focusing on local cultures to develop culturally competent interventions. Learn about ethical issues, social justice, community systems, coalition building, and development of community partnerships

At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Identify cultural characteristics, social roles, and behavioral factors that contribute to disease, injury prevention and service delivery.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the complex, dynamic forces contributing to cultural diversity across multiple settings.
  3. Utilize appropriate methods for interacting sensitively, effectively, and professionally, with persons of diverse cultural, socioeconomic, educational, racial, ethnic, lifestyles, and ages.
  4. Recognize how participatory planning with special populations can enhance the effectiveness of public health services.
  5. Recognize how data illuminates ethical, political, scientific, economic, and overall public health issues.
  6. Explain how professional ethics and practices relate to equity and accountability in diverse community settings.


MPH 6605: Leadership Policy and Administration

Development of leadership and administrative skills which contribute to implementation of effective public health policies and programs.  Students will learn strategic planning, facilitation techniques, communication strategies, budget development, and management.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Apply principles of strategic planning to articulate an achievable mission, set of core values and vision
  2. Understand different types of organizational systems
  3. Apply decision-making models to problems solving in public health
  4. Understand personnel management techniques in public institutions
  5. Create and maintain budgets for operating public health organizations
  6. Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.
  7. Apply quality and performance improvement concepts to address organizational performance issues


MPH 6606: Environmental and Occupational Health

Understanding the interaction of humans with their environment and the implications of human actions.  Learn about assessment and control of health risks posed by chemical and biological contaminants and physical exposures (noise, heat, and radiation) in occupational and non-occupational environments.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.
  2. Describe genetic, physiologic and psychosocial factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards.
  3. Describe federal and state regulatory programs, guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues.
  4. Specify current environmental risk assessment methods.
  5. Specify approaches for assessing, preventing and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety and understand political and economic impacts of decisions.
  6. Explain the general mechanisms of toxicity in eliciting a toxic response to various environmental exposures.
  7. Discuss various risk management and risk communication approaches in relation to issues of environmental justice and equity.
  8. Identify data sources, analyze data, recognize meaningful test results, interpret results, and present the results in an appropriate way to different types of audiences.

MPH 6609: Seminar in Public and Community Health

Study and analysis of current topics, trends and challenges within public health. 
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Identify individuals and public health organizational responsibilities within the context of the Essential Public Health Services and core public health functions.
  2. Identify and analyze current scientific evidence on public health issues.
  3. Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.
  4. Demonstrate advocacy for programs, identify and invoke resources and policies that advance the public’s health.

MPH 6620: Health Program Planning and Evaluation

Theory and processes of assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating health education, promotion and disease prevention programs.  Principles taught in this course will be applied to community situations.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Describe how social, behavioral, environmental, and biological factors contribute to specific individual and community health outcomes.
  2. Identify and evaluate appropriate information sources and gaps in data.
  3. Use data, the scientific knowledge base and other evidence-based principles in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a program.
  4. Develop a framework, based on a mission, goals, and objectives and/or competencies, to evaluate public health programs for their effectiveness and quality.
  5. Demonstrate how the findings of formative and summative evaluation can be used to improve program effectiveness, utility, and impact on public health.
  6. Develop logic models for program development, implementation, and evaluation.

MPH 6640: Research and Writing in Health

Application of principles of research design in the health sciences.   Requires preparation of a thesis/project proposal.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Articulate a viable problem statement
  2. Develop a scholarly research plan and proposal
  3. Perform a literature review and analyze published research
  4. Select and describe a methodology to address a research question
  5. Describe the legal and ethical issues in health research
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research design

MPH/HE 6660:

Health Behavior Change Theory and Application

Scientific and theoretical basis for planning, implementing, and evaluating effective public health education, health promotion, and disease prevention programs or interventions.  Application of theories and models for health and health behavior change.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of and apply intrapersonal, inter-personal and ecological models when designing, implementing, and evaluating programs.
  2. Use health behavior theories to provide a conceptual basis for health programming/intervention planning
  3. Be able to articulate different dimensions, similarities and conflicting parts of theories.
  4. Critically examine and evaluate the merits of different health behavior change theories

Current Students

MPH Student Handbook

MPH Internship Handbook

MPH Course Offering Schedule

Professionalism Policy


Admission to the MPH Program

The Program Director will review MPH Program applications. Admission standards and application procedures are presented in the graduate bulletin. The Program Director and the Chair will admit prospective students who satisfy the MPH Program and Graduate School admission requirements. Applicants who do not completely satisfy requirements are referred to the MPH Admissions Committee ( MPH director, and MPH graduate faculty) to determine admission or denial.

For classified admission into the program, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Meet all requirements of the ISU Graduate School (please refer to the ISU Graduate Catalog. Applications must be submitted to the ISU Graduate School.
  2. Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA based on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Eligible credits are determined by the Graduate School.
  3. Score an average of at least 40th percentile when considering both quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE general test but not lower than the 20th percentile in either section.
  4. An applicant who currently holds a graduate degree must submit their transcripts, but the undergraduate GPA requirement will not apply. College transcripts must be submitted to the ISU Graduate School.
  5. No other instruments such as the MCAT, LSAT, or GMAT may be substituted.   Applicants currently holding degrees at the doctoral level from an accredited institution will not be required to submit GRE general test scores (this includes professional doctoral degrees such as PharmD, Juris Doctorate, Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). All others holding degrees at the baccalaureate and master's level must submit GRE general test scores. Students who are admitted as Classified w/PR status without GRE scores must take the general test within their first semester of enrollment. Continuation in the program is contingent on the student meeting the above GRE score requirements. GRE scores must be submitted to the ISU Graduate School.
  6. Have two letters of recommendation from non-relative individuals familiar with your academic or professional abilities (no personal references) sent to the Public Health Program at the same time your application is sent to the Graduate School. The letters must be sealed with the signature of the recommender across the envelope flap.
  7. Submit a typed essay (one to two pages, single-spaced) describing their interest in pursuing the MPH degree and their vision of how it will facilitate the candidate's career goals.
  8. International students who have not graduated from an accredited college or university in the US, and whose native language is not English, must achieve satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Satisfactory TOEFL requirements for classified admission are described in the ISU Graduate Catalog under “Admission of International Students.” In addition, international student applicants who have not graduated from an accredited college or university in the US must take the GRE and are required to score in the 40th percentile on at least one area of the GRE.

Applicants will not be considered until all above documentation has been submitted. Applications are due in accordance with ISU Graduate School application deadlines.  International students shall abide by additional guidelines for applications as set forth in the ISU Graduate Catalog.

Why Choose ISU

  • The only CEPH accredited MPH program in Idaho
  • The Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals are integrated into the curriculum
  • Online course format is accessible for working individuals and those from rural areas
  • Flexible opportunities for US and international internships
  • Internships provide hands-on learning experiences for students in a public health setting
  • Faculty are actively engaged in research and professional and community service
  • Research opportunities are available for students to assist with existing projects or to develop their own through the thesis project

MPH Program Accreditation


The mission of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at Idaho State University is to improve the health and well-being of human populations through the application of the essential services of public health by excellence in instruction, community service, research, and continuing professional education.

MPH Program Goals

Goal One - INSTRUCTION: To deliver an evidence-based academic program preparing students for public health practice.

Goal Two - RESEARCH: To promote and support public health research and scholarly endeavor, and provide leadership in public health priorities.

Goal Three - COMMUNITY SERVICE: To support students and faculty in demonstrating public health leadership and contributing to public health at the local, state, and national level.

Goal Four—CONTINUING EDUCATION: To strengthen the existing public health workforce by providing advanced skills, knowledge, and professional learning opportunities throughout Idaho.

Not sure about the MPH degree?

Consider our Graduate Certificates in  Public Health or Rural Health!

The Graduate Certificate in Public Health is an 18-credit program that is designed for graduate students currently enrolled in other academic programs and working professionals who would like to expand their knowledge of public health.  The Graduate Certificate in Public Health Curriculum includes courses that address the public health core knowledge areas of biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration, and environmental health sciences. Online and in-person class options available. 

The Graduate Certificate in Rural Health is a 15-credit program that is designed for graduate students and health professionals who currently practice, or intend to practice, in rural settings. The certificate's curriculum includes courses that: 1) address the public health issues in rural communities, 2) introduce students to rural health systems, and 3) give students a hands-on opportunity to partner with rural health organizations. It also offers a wide variety of electives to help students tailor their experiences to individual needs and interests.

Scholarship Opportunities for Graduate Students

Galen Louis Scholarship

We are honored and grateful to offer the Galen Louis Endowed Scholarship for the graduates of the MPH program. Because of the generosity and careful planning of one of our most beloved leaders and teachers, we can support and assist students of the MPH Program for years to come.

Galen Louis looking out his window

Just prior to his retirement, Louis created an endowment to support the students and faculty in the ISU Master of Public Health program. Ryan Gerulf, the development director for the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences in 2019  said he was honored to have had the opportunity to work with Louis for a short time before his passing. “The endowment will provide over $1000 annually for this program that Galen so loved,” Gerulf explains. “Galen attended a ceremony in October of 2019 to congratulate the most recent recipient, and was still active with the endowment. He also generously offered a matching pledge to gather more support for the Master of Public Health program during Raise the Roar this year.”

Thank you Galen Louis (1949-2019)

Open Scholarships

  • Division of Health Sciences
  • Graduate Students
  • Graduate School's Non-Resident Tuition Waiver

Other Scholarship Opportunities

  • Americorp offers Education awards tied to varying amounts of volunteer work. This is often directly public health related. Our local Americorp coordinator is Kay Fielder at the Institute of Rural Health.
  • The Idaho Public Health Association has offered an annual scholarship that our students have historically been competitive for when applying. Applications are due in the fall semester.
  • The Master's of Public Health Program may have funds to allocate to a work-study or Career Path Internship periodically. Check with your advisor if you are interested.
  • The Idaho State University Career Center provides a centralized resource for campus jobs, both work-study and non-work-study.

Graduate Teaching Assistantship

  • Subject to funding availability, prospective and current students may submit application for a graduate teaching assistantship. Please contact the office via phone at (208) 282-2729 or via email at dcph@isu.edu for additional information or fill out the GTA application below. 

Job Opportunities for MPH Graduates

Areas of employment include but are not limited to non-profits, government agencies, hospitals, community clinics and academia. Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Certified in Public Health (CPH) certification is strongly recommended (if not required) for employment in many public health career opportunities.

Potential Salary: $30,000 - $92,000

Regardless of work setting, MPH graduates perform the following three (3) core functions and ten (10) essential services:


  • Monitor health status to identify community health problems
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services

Policy Development

  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems


  • Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
  • Assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues
  • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems

Additional Information

The following websites provide additional information about careers in the field of public health. You may also find information about opportunities in public health from the ISU Career Center.

In addition, faculty will pass along relevant employment opportunities through the Moodle Student Resources page and through the ISU MPH Program LinkedIn group for current students and alumni.

Workforce Development

Idaho State University’s Master of Public Health Workforce Training offers trainings and articles to further your education after your masters program.

“Workforce Development in public health is an attempt to improve health outcomes (i.e.healthier people) by enhancing the training, skills, and performance of public health workers.”  

- The Public Health Foundation, 2016

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Resource Library:

Zero Suicide in Health and Behavioral Health Care

CDC trainings:

Overarching list (listed trainings provided by CDC, CDC Partners, Other Federal Agencies)

CDCPH 101 Series Home

CDC TRAIN provides the most comprehensive catalog of public health learning products. TRAIN is one of the most widely used learning management systems and is a free service of the Public Health Foundation. We can find specific topics by search for keyword. May need to register to CDC TRAIN to get free education.

Trainings offered by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (U of Washington)

Public Health Improvement Resource Center

Can search for presentation, training and web resource

An example of search result

NIH VideoCasting and Podcasting:

NIH StrokeNet Educational Webinar (for instance professional development webinars, such as Grant Writing, How to Create a Study Budget, How to Present Your Data, and  Tips for Writing your CV & NIH Biosketch)


Kasiska Division of Health Sciences - Learn more about the Kasiska family legacy and impact