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2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Public Health - Program Description

College of Health Professions (CHP)

Department of Public Health

Degree: Master of Public Health

Emphases: Epidemiology, Health Promotion, and Public Health Administration

The 60-credit Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) 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.


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 Master of Public Health Program

Students will be chosen for acceptance into the M.P.H. program by completing the following program 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.
  • A written statement that addresses the following questions: what would make you an excellent candidate for the Grand Valley State University MPH program, and what are your expectations for a future career in public health?


  • The Application Review Committee reserves the right to require additional information it deems appropriate, including GRE test scores.
  • The committee may also require applicants to appear for an oral interview.

The following University requirements must also be met:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • GVSU Graduate Application
  • $30 application fee. Note: Students who have previously paid an undergraduate or graduate application fee to GVSU do not need to pay this fee again.
  • Official copies of transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended, sent directly from those institutions to the GVSU Admissions Office. Note: We do not require official transcripts from Grand Valley.
  • Test scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or IELTS (International English Language Assessment Battery) for applicants whose native language is not English. Only original score reports will be accepted.

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 coursework (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 that 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

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 545 Michigan Street, Suite 300.

The M.P.H. - Health Promotions program is also offered at the Traverse City Regional Center.

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


The following programs are available:

Master of Public Health

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