Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Degree

Master of Public Health

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

What Is an MPH Degree?

The public health field focuses on the health and wellness of entire communities. It explores evidence-based ways of preventing diseases and injuries, promoting health education and tracking outbreaks of infectious diseases. The Master of Public Health at Grand Canyon University follows a rigorous, 21st-century curriculum designed with modern public health challenges in mind. Offered by the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, this online MPH degree provides a comprehensive framework for understanding public health challenges on a local, regional, national and global scale.

Become an expert in public health and prepare to pursue a rewarding career in service to your community. Examine best practices in designing, planning and implementing health programs and services. Learn to apply the principles of strategic leadership, while aligning public health programs with organizational vision and objectives.

What You Will Learn

You can develop an academic foundation in the field with this online master’s in public health. GCU is a modern university that is committed to providing an accessible, flexible education for working professionals. Fit your online classes around your current schedule and meet your professional obligations while furthering your career objectives. During your studies, you will take courses such as the following:

  • Social and Behavioral Principles of Public Health.
  • Application and Interpretation of Public Health Data.
  • International Perspectives in Community Health.
  • Leadership and Management in Public Health.
  • Communication for Behavior Change.

The online Master of Public Health degree transitions students from exploring theoretical concepts to applying their skills in hands-on, real-world situations. You will take a Public Health Practicum course to practice your knowledge and skills. It requires a minimum of 150 hours of supervised field experience. MPH degree students also take a Public Health Capstone course. It involves the completion of a professionally developed project, based on each student’s particular interests and career objectives.

Careers With a Master's in Public Health Degree

Health education specialists and public health workers are often drawn to this field because they have an enduring desire to help individuals, families and communities. As a graduate with a public health master’s degree, you may have the opportunity to help make your corner of the world a healthier place. Community health programs, such as vaccination programs and preventive medicine education initiatives, have a positive impact on communities. Public health professionals may work in social service agencies, health policy and planning organizations, state health departments and healthcare companies. Some of the specific jobs that may be related to the MPH degree include:

  • Research analyst
  • Public health program manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Community health worker
  • Health education specialist
  • Social and community services manager

Some community health workers choose to focus their career on one specific aspect of public health. These might include health education, policy analysis, disaster management or global health. Some choose to pursue work in their own communities in the U.S., while others may consider going abroad to pursue opportunities working in disadvantaged countries. In the U.S. alone, 17,000 new jobs are estimated to open for health education specialists and community health workers from 2019 to 2029.*

Frequently Asked Questions

The online MPH degree requires a total of 48 credits for completion. Most of the master’s in public health online classes are eight weeks in length. If taken without interruption, GCU’s online master’s in public health can take a little more than two years to complete.

No, an MPH is not a doctorate degree. Earning a master’s degree in public health allows you the possibility to work in the healthcare industry in various capacities; however, it does not come with a doctorate component.

An MPH degree is considered to be a professional, practice-oriented degree, meaning it is a degree that prepares students with a broad curriculum in the application of health sciences, business and education. An MS degree for public health is considered an academic degree that is more research-oriented and is designed for students who want to continue their education beyond earning an MS. There is also a heavier focus for hands-on application of the sciences in the MS degree program.

* COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2019, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers.

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Total Credits: 48
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $557 per credit [More Info]

Course List

48 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
48 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the health care professions. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the broad field of public health, professional roles, and the basic principles of disease prevention and health promotion among communities and populations. Students examine historical trends in the field, the 10 Essential Public Health Services, and how public health services are designed and delivered within the public health infrastructure. The course introduces students to the upstream causes of morbidity and mortality across the life span and how the public health system in the United States addresses these causes.

Course Description

Learners in this course identify social and behavioral approaches in public health to effect change at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, and community levels. Learners examine the influence of the social, political, and economic landscape of the community on perceptions of health, and assess the readiness of individuals and the community for change. Learners explore the social determinants of health and apply theoretical frameworks to address public health issues and reduce health disparities. Learners also evaluate the best methods to empower change and engage communities in public health initiatives with sensitivity to the diverse spiritual, cultural, and psychosocial needs of the populations they serve. Learners research specific issues related to health equity, applying a theoretical framework, identifying contributing factors, and proposing appropriate interventions. Prerequisite: PUB-510.

Course Description

This course introduces epidemiological principles and methods to study, quantify, and assess the distribution and determinants of disease among populations. Learners examine the influence of biological and social factors on population health, including epigenetics, infectious disease, and foodborne illnesses. Learners evaluate epidemiologic study designs and apply measures of association as methods for determining relationships. Prerequisite: PUB-520 or PHN-600.

Course Description

This course introduces learners to the application and interpretation of data to assess, design, and justify public health programs. Learners learn the basics of data management and statistical analysis using real-life public health data sets. Learners consider the implications of crafting a clear research question, identifying available and quality data, applying appropriate data analysis methods, and effectively communicating the results. Research standards and ethics are emphasized in contributing to evidence-based public health practice. Prerequisite: PUB-540.

Course Description

In this course, students consider the interrelationship between human health and the natural and built environments. Students examine current environmental issues and the human activity that affects public and global health, such as climate change, disease transmission (One Health), urbanization, pollution, as well as the impact of these changes over time. Students also study the ethical implications of environmental strategies related to community design, occupational health, and policy influencing human health. Prerequisite: PUB-510.

Course Description

This course focuses on using communication to positively influence understanding of health information, decision making, and health behavior. Students examine ways to serve as public health change agents though effective and ethical communication practices. Through an emphasis on health literacy and cultural competence, students learn to design public health communications and select appropriate communication channels for a variety of audiences, including individuals and communities. Students also consider the role of the public health professional as a trusted source of health information and examine strategies for combating misinformation within communities. Prerequisite: PUB-520.

Course Description

In this course, students learn and apply competencies related to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion and disease prevention programs. Health behavior theories are considered in the development of health promotion programs, the application of evaluation findings, and prioritization of community concerns and resources. Focus is placed on needs assessment, selecting interventions, measuring program outcomes, and collaborating with stakeholders. Students identify methods for data collection, tools for program and resource management, and strategies for assessing effectiveness of programs, including cost-benefit analysis. Prerequisites: PUB-520, PUB-550, and PUB-610.

Course Description

In this course, students examine the intricacies of public health policy development and examine the role of federal, state, and local government in the provision of public health programs and services through health policy and law. Emphasis is placed on the role of the public health professional in advocating for public and community health, health equity, and social justice. Students learn advocacy strategies for mobilizing communities, coalitions, and organizations to support and implement policy. Through careful analysis of public health policy and consideration of the implications of Health in All Policies approaches, students learn how local, national, global, social, and economic policies have broad implications for human health. Students also have the opportunity to learn how to structure and write a health policy analysis, including economic and budgetary impacts of policy options. Prerequisite: PUB-610.

Course Description

In this course, learners synthesize the impact of globalization on community health and the complexities of partnering with communities for development among resource-constrained populations. Learners review the history of international public health efforts and theories underpinning current global health initiatives. There is an emphasis on the role of faith and ministry-based organizations in global health advocacy and initiatives. Learners examine the challenges of building real collaboration across public, private, and local entities, and explore best practices for the integration of faith-based and professional public health principles to establish sustainable local development. Prerequisite: PUB-540.

Course Description

This course applies principles of strategic leadership and management of public health services within different sectors. Cultural differences in leadership and management are explored to build partnerships leveraging community and organizational strengths. Students learn how to align public health programs with organizational mission, vision, and objectives for sustainability and growth. There is particular emphasis on the collaborative nature of public health, developing cross-cultural competence, and the unique aspects of leadership within various types of agencies, including faith-based organizations. Students have the opportunity to hone their communication, negotiation, and servant leadership skills to empower and influence others working together to improve the health of populations. Prerequisites: PUB-620 and PUB-650.

Course Description

This practicum course is designed to provide learners an opportunity to transition from theory to practice in public health. The learner reinforces, integrates, and applies concepts, principles, and skills gained during coursework that are essential to professional competency. Learners are required to complete a minimum of 150 hours of applied practice experience in an approved public health setting under close supervision of a qualified preceptor approved by the college. Learners reflect on their applied practice experience, discuss the application of theory and concepts in practice, identify personal strengths, describe professional development opportunities, and develop a professional portfolio. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisites: All previous coursework and a release by the Office of Field Experience.

Course Description

This capstone course is an integrated learning experience that provides students the opportunity to apply public health skills based on their professional interests and goals. Students demonstrate competency through the development of a written, professionally prepared project that can be included as part of a professional portfolio. Students tailor a project based on their professional interests and goals, with the option to write a grant proposal for a public health initiative, develop a comprehensive policy analysis, conduct a secondary data analysis, or complete a program evaluation plan. Prerequisite: PUB-680.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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