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MPH Curriculum and Core Competencies

Core Course Requirements


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    6607    US & Global Health Systems

3 cr.

MPH    6608   Technological App. in Public 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    6655    Internship

3 cr.

MPH 6660 Health Behavior Change Theory and Application 3cr.

Core Total  

36 cr.

Thesis Option


HE      6650     Thesis

6 cr.

Approved Electives

6 cr.

Thesis/Project Total 

48 cr.

Project Option


HE      6651     Project

6 cr.

Approved Electives

6 cr.

Elective Total

6 cr.

MPH Program Total 

48 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 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 6607 U.S. and Global 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. Locate and cite information on demography on demography, health profile, and health research for a country, using multiple sources
  2. Characterize the demographic profile in a country using demographic indicators and the concept of demographic transition
  3. Describe the burden of disease in a country using health indicators and the concept of demographic transition
  4. Characterize the nutritional profile of a country using nutritional indicators and the concept of nutrition transition
  5. Use data available to determine health priorities in a country
  6. Select an appropriate model to determine actions to solve address a health problem
  7. Understand the main building blocks of health systems
  8. List different partner organizations to be involved to implement actions to address a health problem

MPH 6608:Technological Applications in Public Health

Introduction and application of software programs utilized in public health practice.  Examples include SPSS, MSExcel, GIS, EpiInfo, M S Publisher.
At the end of this course, students should be able to:


  1. Use computers and computer software to access, manage data, perform statistical analysis, and create presentations.
  2. Locate and be familiar with print and electronic primary data resources and information systems.
  3. Use data in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a program.
  4. Develop adequate skills with current data analysis software.
  5. Use the media, advanced technologies, and community networks to communicate information
  6. Understand the uses and potential of software programs such as GIS in public health settings

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:


♦  Identify individuals and public health organizational responsibilities within the context of the Essential Public Health Services and core public health functions.
♦ Identify and analyze current scientific evidence on public health issues.
♦ Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.
♦ 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 intra-personal, 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