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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 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. 

Students work with a faculty advisor (Capstone Chair) and committee to select foundational and concentration competencies to design a capstone experience appropriate to their educational and professional goals. Capstone planning typically begins halfway through the program of study as the capstone proposal must be approved prior to registering for CPH 529 Capstone Experience (3 credit hours). 

Requirements for completion of the capstone experience include: (1) a formal written proposal, (2) a written report, and (3) an oral presentation and defense of the completed project.  Students complete the written report and presentation as part of CPH 529 Capstone Experience for MPH Students in the final term of enrollment. 

Examples of types of capstone projects include: systematic literature review, research report, program planning report, program evaluation report, training manual, policy statement, and legislative testimony with accompanying supporting research. Other written formats are acceptable with the approval of the student’s advisory committee and the Director of Professional Programs.  Students who work full-time can conduct a project in addition to their regular employment role and responsibilities 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.

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. 

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 MPH Professionalism & Student Portfolio site)

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: