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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Master of Public Health

The 60-credit Master of Public Health degree at Grand Valley State University is designed to prepare graduate students by enhancing career opportunities for GVSU students with the acquisition of qualitative and quantitative problem solving research skills, service and experiential learning by pairing didactic learning and clinical experiences throughout its curriculum.

The M.P.H. degree will address multiple complex public health problems within its curriculum including those found in the proposed concentrations of health care services, epidemiology, and community health and promotion. Students seeking an M.P.H. will assess and monitor the health of populations in addition to access to health care services, and prevention and the success of community health programs. By offering field experiences in public health practice, optional global learning in public health, problem-based learning, group/team assessments, and practicum placements within the community the student will gain skills needed to be successful in the field.

MPH Curriculum

Core Courses: (33 credits)

(3) Tracks Options  Choose One

1. Epidemiology: (21 credits)

  • PH 600 - Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Public Health Credits: 3
  • PH 604 - Epidemiology Across the Lifespan: Women and Children Credits: 3
  • PH 606 - Environmental/Occupational Epidemiology Credits: 3
  • PH 608 - Infectious Disease Epidemiology Credits: 3
  • PH 610 - Cancer Epidemiology Credits: 3
  • PH 612 - Public Health Genetics Credits: 3
  • PH 602 - Chronic Disease Epidemiology Credits: 3

2. Health Promotion: (21 credits)

  • PH 620 - Health Education Credits: 3
  • PH 622 - Health Behavior & Promotion Credits: 3
  • PH 624 - Health Communication Credits: 3
  • PH 626 - Health Advocacy & Literacy Credits: 3
  • PH 628 - Health Program Evaluation Credits: 3
  • PH 630 - Health and disease disparities in diverse communities Credits: 3
  • PH 632 - Social Marketing Credits: 3

3. Public Health Administration: (21 credits)

Explanation of the Emphasis Options:


Epidemiology is the science that describes quantitative trends in health and disease for populations, with application in the biological, environmental, behavioral, and social sciences. Epidemiologists generally collaborate with multidisciplinary teams of health professionals, such as physicians, laboratory scientists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, statisticians, veterinarians, and behavioral scientists.

Epidemiologists analyze public health trends, design and implement studies, and interpret study results for policy and program development. Beyond investigation into the causes of disease, epidemiologists also develop intervention strategies to prevent disease and promote health. Epidemiologists work at both the individual and community levels to translate medical and laboratory data into population trends.

Health Promotion

The health promotion emphasis is to prepare students to be public health leaders who can design, implement, advocate for, and evaluate efforts to promote healthy behaviors and social conditions for specific populations. The program prepares students to use social science theories and individual, community, and policy-based intervention strategies.

Health Administration

The health administration emphasis will prepare M.P.H. candidates with administrative positions in public health organizations at the local, state, federal, and international level in planning agencies, voluntary health organizations, mental health agencies, human services organizations, long-term care agencies, international health organizations, managed care plans, community clinics, and alternative health care delivery settings.

Graduates share a strong commitment to preventing disease, promoting health, and serving defined populations.


The Master of Public Health program at Grand Valley State University will provide leadership in graduate and community-based education and research grounded in social justice to improve the health of the diverse populations in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

We strive to address community health needs in a global community to eliminate health disparities, and to increase the quality and years of healthy life. The public health program will promote and protect public health through quality education, research, and service. We will emphasize disease prevention and treatment, empowerment, and collective as well as individual responsibility for health and health care. Our collaborative partnerships will contribute to meeting local, state, national and global public health needs through conducting research, training a diverse workforce, and promoting excellence in practice.


The M.P.H. will provide a collaborative and integrated approach to improving population health and healthcare. An interdisciplinary focused faculty will provide educational experiences for students that are relevant to contemporary public health and health care administration. The Allied Health Sciences department will support an environment that enhances the preparation of competent leaders in epidemiology, community health, and healthcare administration and policy. To allow for local, national, and international partnerships that will enhance a student's knowledge of health care issues and its focus on vulnerable populations.


Values that support the Master of Public Health program and align with the university and College of Health Professions strategic goals and include: advocacy, leadership, research, community service, liberal education, interdisciplinary training, and innovation.


The M.P.H. program at GVSU will seek accreditation from Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). CEPH accreditation assures students enrolled in institutions of higher education which offer public health degree-granting programs that these programs have met and maintain rigorous standards for teaching, research, and service. CEPH accreditation requires a rigorous self-study process by GVSU to assure that its proposed MPH program will meet, monitor, and evaluate its adherence to providing quality teaching, research, and service for its curriculum and curricular areas of core concentrations. Further, CEPH assures prospective employers of graduates from accredited M.P.H. programs that these graduates have met the required competencies to be deemed as qualified to seek gainful employment in the range of public health occupations.*

*Council on Education for the Public Health. (2011). Accreditation Criteria for Public Health Programs (amended June 2011). CEPH: Washington, D.C. Retrieved from:

Minimum Number of Hours in Program: 60

Admission to the Masters of Public Health Program

Students will be chosen for acceptance into the M.P.H. program by completing the following requirements:

  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate coursework is required. A bachelor's degree is required, in a health-related field is preferred.
  • Written recommendations from at least two individuals who are in positions to attest to the applicant's successful completion of the program. An academic reference as well as a health care professional reference is preferred.

Retention and Termination

Grounds for Probation

  1. A final course grade below a 2.7 (B-) in a 500, 600, or 700 level course.
  2. A final grade below a 2.0 (C) in a 400-500 level course.
  3. A cumulative graduate level GPA less than 3.0 (B) after completion of nine hours of graduate level course work (i.e., at the end of semester one.)
  4. Evidence of unethical or illegal behavior while matriculating as a student in the M.P.H. program.

Practicum Experience

Students will not be allowed to participate in practicum experiences if there is a reason to believe that they are unprepared for this type of experience. Sufficient reasons include:

  1. Probationary status.
  2. Questions about the student's ability to safely work in the health care field.
  3. Evidence of unethical or illegal behavior.
  4. Medical or psychological conditions which could endanger the safety of the student or the patients entrusted to them, or that prevent the student from fully participating in the practicum experience.
  5. Problems identified with professional abilities may result in a student being regarded by faculty as unprepared for practicum. With the assistance of faculty, the student must resolve the problem area prior to the practicum assignment.
  6. If a student does not satisfactorily complete the core coursework, he/she may not progress to the thesis/project or practicum courses.

Dismissal from the Program

Grounds for dismissal: Any one of the following items may constitute grounds for dismissal from the program:

  1. Failure to complete required remedial work at the required level.
  2. Failure to complete items required in a remediation contract.
  3. Final grades that result in probation during two consecutive semesters.
  4. Failure to demonstrate "continued competency," of past course content.
  5. Evidence of unethical or illegal behavior while matriculating as a student in the M.P.H. program.
  6. Cumulative graduate GPA of less than 3.0.

Program Location

Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences with Faculty Offices at 515 Michigan Street, Suite 300.

Practicum experiences can be within Michigan, other selected states or globally during the final semester of the M.P.H. curriculum.

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.