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2018-2019 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 Master's of Public Health (M.P.H.) program focuses on coursework and community based high-impact service learning to provide advanced service and care that includes health promotion, disease management and education, or epidemiology to communities and groups across the life span. The M.P.H. program emphasizes evidence-based practice, critical thinking and problem solving through rigorous research inquiry and project based work. The program is designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary to prevent and manage complex health issues. Graduates of this program are prepared for direct roles in public health and to be leaders in improving population health through a diverse range of roles across multiple industries including local, state and national sectors, non-profit organizations, government, and research.

The M.P.H. program consists of 51-54 credit hours of coursework in a diverse learning environment that includes hybrid options and on campus face-to-face coursework that requires active and immersive, community based learning. Students complete a 200-hour practicum experience which may be completed in a variety of settings including local, state, national and global settings. In addition, students complete an individualized research project (or thesis option) as a culmination of the program.

Highlights of this program include an efficient completion time of 20 months as a full time student, a comprehensive program offering two emphasis areas of choice: health promotion or epidemiology, and 100 percent community-based learning in every course throughout the public health curriculum.


To transform students into public health leaders through application of practice-based skills.


Advancing health by empowering future leaders, enhancing preventive practices, and promoting social justice.


Values that support the master of public health program and align with the university and College of Health Professions strategic goals and include:

  • Community engagement
  • Interprofessional practice
  • Professional and ethical behavior
  • Cultural humility and inclusiveness
  • Respect for diversity
  • Excellence in teaching, scholarship, and practice


The M.P.H. program at GVSU is in the process of accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The estimated goal date of accreditation is Spring 2019. 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 M.P.H. 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: 51

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.
  • Resume or cover letter.
  • A written statement that addresses the following questions: What would make you an excellent candidate for the Grand Valley State University MPH program? What are your expectations for a future career in public health?
  • Formal interview process with the Program Admissions Committee.


  • The Application Review Committee reserves the right to require additional information it deems appropriate, including GRE test scores.

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 500-600 level course
  3. A cumulative graduate level GPA less than 3.0 (B) after completion of twelve 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

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


The following programs are available:

Master of Public Health

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