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MPH Mission

Cultivate leaders who are creative, critical thinkers, with the knowledge and skills to address evolving public health challenges.


  1. Practice-centered: Curriculum that integrates theory and application, with students engaged in real-world public health experiences.
  2. Evidence-based: Students trained to apply, and contribute to, evidence-based public health approaches.
  3. Equity-focused: Challenge and equip students to apply a health equity lens in all aspects of practice and research.
  4. Diverse: The learning experience is enhanced by valuing all people and perspectives.
  5. Collaborative: Interprofessional learning to strengthen the skills needed to impact population and community health.

Introduction to the MPH Program

The UNMC Master of Public Health Program is a specialized professional master’s degree program designed to prepare graduates for work in public health. Public health practice is increasingly regarded as important to citizen well-being as a means to better health and potential reduction in costs for critical care.

Core courses focus on the areas of knowledge basic to public health. Concentration areas emphasize the areas of prevention, scientific knowledge base, interdependency with other areas of knowledge and practice, and social justice.

Course material pays particular attention to health status, health outcomes, and health needs in special populations (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, children, and women). Statistics related to these populations, as well as cultural and etiological considerations, will be discussed throughout the curriculum in an effort to instill in students the need for awareness of the health differences in population groups. The goal of this orientation is to equip program graduates to address society's public health needs. Elective courses will be drawn from a broad base of courses.

The MPH Program was approved by the Board of Regents and the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education in the summer/fall of 2001 and began admitting students in January 2002.

MPH Foundational Competencies

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
MPHF1 Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice
MPHF2 Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context
MPHF3 Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate
MPHF4 Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice
Public Health & Health Care Systems
MPHF5 Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
MPHF6 Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels
Planning & Management to Promote Health
MPHF7 Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
MPHF8 Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs
MPHF9 Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
MPHF10 Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
MPHF11 Select methods to evaluate public health programs
Policy in Public Health
MPHF12 Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence
MPHF13 Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
MPHF14 Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations
MPHF15 Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity
MPHF16 Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
MPHF17 Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges
MPHF18 Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
MPHF19 Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
MPHF20 Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content
Interprofessional Practice
MPHF21 Perform effectively on interprofessional teams
Systems Thinking
MPHF22 Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue

CPH 529 - Capstone Experience:

The Capstone Experience (CPH 529) is a requirement of all students in the MPH program. This experience is intended to contribute to the health of the population and provide students with learning and further development of public health competencies under the guidance and supervision of professionals. The capstone project addresses a topic of public health significance and is evidence that the student can integrate skills and competencies from across the curriculum to conduct public health research and/or practice. Approval of the final capstone report constitutes an assessment that the student is prepared to enter public health practice. The capstone is the culminating experience of the MPH degree and meets requirements of the national accrediting body in public health, the Council on Education for Public Health for an integrative learning experience. 

Students select two foundational and two concentration competencies to design a capstone experience appropriate to their educational and professional goals. Capstone planning should be discussed with a student’s faculty mentor and typically begins halfway through the program of study.  

Students who work in public health settings can conduct a project at their place of employment to satisfy capstone requirements. Dual-degree students should incorporate their learning from both degree programs in a unique integrative experience. In addition, students enrolled in a dual-degree program must have a committee member representing the other degree program. Students should refer to the Canvas Student Success Center for specific details about the MPH capstone experience. 

Students who do not complete their capstone project during the term they are enrolled must enroll in CPH 529 Capstone Experience for a second term, including pay tuition and fees for the course again. Students who do not complete the capstone project in two terms of registration in CPH 529 will have the equivalent of one academic year of non-enrollment status from the last term of enrollment in CPH 529 to complete the capstone. If a student fails to successfully complete their capstone during this period of time, the grade of IP will be converted to a grade of F. Students can be in nonenrollment status the equivalent of one academic year from the last term of enrollment in CPH 529. The IP remains on the transcript during non-enrollment. Upon successful completion of the capstone, a P (for Pass) grade will be submitted and the grade of IP will be converted to a P. Students who do not successfully complete their capstone project at the end of the one academic year of non-enrollment will be subject to the UNMC non-enrollment policy and administrative withdrawal. Any IP grades not resolved at the time of administrative withdrawal will convert to an F grade. 

CPH 528 - Applied Practice Experience (APEx):  

The Applied Practice Experience meets requirements of the national accrediting body in public health, the Council on Education for Public Health, and is a requirement of all MPH students. The purpose of this 3 credit hour course is to provide all students with an applied, scholarly, and mutually beneficial experience in a public health practice setting. This experience augments the academic course work, meets community needs, and provides students with an opportunity to integrate and apply at least five foundational public health competencies. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of public health principles, values and practice.

APEx Course Learning Objectives:

Through participation in CPH 528, Applied Practice Experience, students will:

1. Engage in an Applied Practice Experience with a partner organization that

a. Clearly demonstrates integrated and applied knowledge, principles and skills acquired through

classroom instruction.

b. Meets the partner organization’s identified needs.

2. Perform activities that demonstrate the development, enhancement, and application of foundational public health competencies and describe activities performed to achieve/address these competencies.

3. Develop two beneficial products for the partner organization.

4. Develop a final presentation that reflects the integration of public health knowledge, principles and skills and demonstrates mastery of public health principles, values and practice.

Prior to receiving permission to enroll, the following requirements must be met:

1. Attendance at APEx Orientation session (held each semester)

2. In good academic standing

3. Completion of at least 6 credit hours plus the CPH 500 Foundations in Public Health Course, which may be taken concurrently with CPH 528 APEx

4. Completion of Affiliation Agreement

5. Completion of Professionalism Training Module no longer than 60 days prior to registration (located in Canvas under the COPH Student Success Center)

6. Approval of the Applied Practice Experience Learning Contract

For more information, students should refer to the UNMC, Office of Public Health Practice website, which may be found here: