Master’s of Public Health Program
The MPH degree: Focuses on socioeconomic conditions, cultural beliefs and practices, behavioral risk factors, and environmental exposures that influence population health. Preparation for leadership roles in public and private sector careers in public health policy, planning, and advocacy.
All students working toward the 60-credit-hour MPH degree take a set of courses designed to provide an in-depth education in the issues, skills, and competencies necessary for leaders in the field of health management and policy.
We have designed our curriculum around a set of core competencies that define professional excellence in health management and policy. The competency base defines professional skills that we expect our students to have when they leave the program. The competencies are found in our HMP Competency Model, which is updated periodically and is based on research, the knowledge base for these fields, and ongoing feedback from professionals in the field.
All students in HMP must complete the SPH CORE curriculum, including the Foundations of Public Health Practice module, which addresses the 12 foundational learning objectives of public health and is part of the curricular requirements for master’s and doctoral students.
The Michigan Public Health Core Curriculum addresses foundational competencies and learning objectives required of all MPH students and includes a series of eight courses, collectively taught by our six academic departments. The Core introduces the knowledge and skills needed by professionals to demonstrate excellence in the practice of public health. Students will learn key public health concepts, such as the use of evidence-based approaches to public health, an introduction to the public health sciences, and the ways in which the public health and health care systems influence health outcomes. Coursework also contributes to skills in public health policy and programming, leadership, and communication. Lastly, the Core supports students in working with those in other professions and taking a systems-based approach to solutions, both of which are critical to effective public health practice.
HMP students receive competency-based training in health management and health policy. Although the degree options are quite similar in terms of their curricula and the knowledge, skills, and competencies that students master, there are some differences in their emphasis.
MPH Concentration Competencies
In addition to the core curriculum described above, all MPH students must complete the required coursework unique to their concentration. Each MPH concentration specifies at least five concentration competencies that students achieve through the planned curriculum.
- Describe how microeconomic theory explains the influence of incentives on consumer, provider, and payer behaviors, costs and other outcomes.
- Develop strategies to continually improve the long-term success and viability of an organization, based on an analysis of the business, demographic, ethno-cultural, political, and regulatory implications of decisions.
- Use legal reasoning as a tool for analysis, communication, strategy and planning.
- Build a professional network to cultivate the ability to work with other are future health managers and policy makers.
- Utilize Cost-Benefit / Cost-Effectiveness analysis framework along with decision analysis tools to evaluate the relative value of the outcomes from public health and healthcare interventions.
Year 1 of the curriculum has a two-semester sequence in Health Services Systems covers the history and foundation of health care.
Fall semester covers major issues in the organization of a health services system: role of values; assessment of health status; analysis of need, access and use of services; current supply and distribution of health resources; analysis of health care costs and expenditures.
Winter semester builds on the material in Fall, and focuses on the definition and assessment of quality of care; control of quality and costs of care through market-oriented strategies, professional self-regulation, intra-organizational process improvement approaches, third-party strategies, and government regulation; and system reform.
All graduates will obtain knowledge and skills related to policy frameworks, political institutions, the policy-making process, policy analysis and key issues in public health and health care policy. Further coursework develops the skills required to gather health policy information and to write policy briefs and policy testimony. The nature of public policy interventions within the various domains of public health, the theoretical motivations for undertaking them, the influence of the political, bureaucratic, and social environment in which policy decisions are made as well as the consequences of such decisions are explored.
Other areas covered in the curriculum include; Healthcare Financial Accounting, Economics of Healthcare, Cost-Effectiveness/Cost Benefit Analysis, Organizational Theory and Management, Legal Aspects of Healthcare and Public Health, Quantitative Methods, and Professional Development
The final semester culminates with the Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) where student teams tackle a real-life client consulting engagement. These clients, representing a wide range of organizations within healthcare, public health, and health policy, will present each team with a problem that requires analysis, ideas, and action-orientated recommendations. Specific competencies developed by the course address both process team-work and collaboration to analyze complex issues, presentation skills and contents identifying key business success factors and strategic alternatives for provider organizations and health insurers in various settings. The ILE represents a culminating experience in the second year of study that allows students to synthesize select foundational and concentration competencies in a high-quality written product.
All HMP master’s students are required to do a 10–12 week internship between the first and second years of study. Students obtain placements in organizations and institutions based on their career interests, and are given assignments and projects of significant responsibility under the guidance and mentorship of a preceptor. This type of experiential learning is a critical component of our curriculum, as it gives students the opportunity to apply and more deeply understand what they are learning in the classroom and to enhance many professional skills. In addition, the internship experience leads to professional connections that will be helpful for years to come.
HMP students intern at a wide variety of organizations, including hospitals and health systems, health insurance plans, health departments, community health centers, advocacy organizations, professional associations, think tanks, foundations, state/federal government agencies, and global health initiatives. The majority of students are paid for their internship work.
Where do HMP students do their internships? Everywhere! The department is sensitive to a student's location needs and works with our alumni network and faculty contacts to find internships in a wide variety of cities throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Admissions and Funding
We invite applications to the MHSA and MPH programs from prospective students who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university. Since we are looking for students with varied backgrounds and interests, the department welcomes applicants from all undergraduate majors, and therefore no specific undergraduate courses are required. Suggested preparation for interested students may include course work in basic statistics, microeconomics, the behavioral and social sciences, and American government. Students interested in management are also encouraged to complete at least one college-level course in principles of accounting.
The faculty selection committee places greater emphasis on overall sound scholarship and promise of development than on the precise focus of the baccalaureate degree. We also encourage applications from individuals with work experience in the public health system or the healthcare industry, although no experience is required.
Qualified applicants will be invited to come, at their own expense, to the university for a visit. The Visit Day is not a campus tour (though one is included in the schedule), the visitation is an important step in our admissions process! It is important for an applicant to find a program that fits their needs and expectations. And it is just as important for a department to select students that will both diversify and enhance the program and the university community of scholars. Therefore, the Visit Day serves a pivotal role in assisting both applicant and department in this crucial decision. Applicants who have attended previous Visit Days were very enthusiastic about their experience and said it was a deciding factor in choosing Michigan. (Please note: Being invited to the Visit Day does not guarantee admission.)
Financial Aid and Funding Information
Financial aid is available to qualified students in a variety of forms from the university, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Health Management and Policy. HMP scholarships are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic merit. HMP tries to provide as many students as possible with monetary aid, with over 40 percent of our admitted receiving a departmental scholarship. Most of these awards are only partial tuition scholarships of 50 percent or less, with few awards of 75 to 100 percent.
Contact the HMP Admissions Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.