Master of Public Health

The Global Health MPH Program is an in-residence, full-time, day program where students complete required and elective coursework, a practicum, and a thesis as part of their course of study. Cohorts of around 45 individuals from around the world move through the program together and learn from each other.  Students have access to all University of Washington courses and are encouraged take advantage of classes and opportunities offered in other departments and schools. 

MPH Common Core Curriculum

The UW School of Public Health (SPH) launched the MPH Common Core in Autumn 2020. The following six MPH Common Core Courses will incorporate student-centered learning strategies and use of real-world case studies while meeting the Council on Education for Public Health's (CEPH) 22 Foundational MPH Competencies. Students will learn by solving problems and through teamwork in small groups. Courses will be taught by teams of instructors from different disciplines across public health. 

  • Fundamentals of Public Health (PHI 511, autumn, 3 credits)
  • Analytic Skills for Public Health I (PHI 512, autumn, 7 credits)
  • Analytic Skills for Public Health II (PHI 513, winter, 3 credits)
  • Determinants of Health (PHI 514, winter, 3 credits)
  • Implementing Public Health Interventions (PHI 515, spring, 4 credits)
  • Public Health Practice (PHI 516, spring, 3 credits)

General Track Competencies and Course Requirements

In addition to the MPH Common Core competencies and coursework, the General Track has five discrete competencies. Students will meet these competencies through General Track required coursework, a practicum, and thesis or capstone project.

General Track competencies:

  1. Summarize and reflect on the major social determinants of health that affect social well-being, poverty, and health, globally, including the relative roles of education, family income, nutrition, housing, water, sanitation, health care, colonialism, neoliberalism, conflict, racism, and inequality.
  2. Analyze the role of health institutions, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and global donors; their ideologies, agendas, power dynamics, and policy frameworks; and the evolution of their responses to global health issues since the mid-20th century.
  3. Design and present a comprehensive proposal to address the major health issues in selected countries, including gap analyses, logical frameworks, budgets, and evaluation frameworks.
  4. Describe a global health research project or program evaluation, and present the rationale, goals, and appropriate methods for its successful implementation.
  5. Reflect upon issues of power, privilege, inequity, and social justice, discuss how racism, colonialism and other structural inequities impact global health policy and practice.

General Track required coursework:

  • Problems in Global Health (G H 511, autumn, 4 credits)
  • Rethinking Global Health Workshop (G H 593, autumn, winter, and spring quarter of a students first year, 1 credit/quarter)
  • a minimum of one elective course (minimum of three credits) with a G H prefix
  • and one of the below courses
    • Research and Evaluation Methods in Global Health (G H 531, spring - runs two weeks after the end of spring quarter, 3 credits)
    • Responsible Conduct of Research: Global and Local (G H 532, autumn - runs two weeks prior to the start of autumn quarter, 3 credits)

Course descriptions can be found in the Course Catalog.

Health Metrics and Evaluation Track Competencies and Course Requirements

In addition to the MPH Common Core competencies and coursework, the Health Metrics and Evaluation Track has five discrete competencies. Students will meet these competencies through Health Metrics Track required coursework, a practicum, and thesis or capstone project.

Health Metrics and Evaluation Track competencies:

  1. Describe the rationale and the conceptual and historical basis of population health measurement.
  2. Compare the main sources of data on population health and health system performance, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Define and discuss key metrics from the Global Burden of Disease project, including years of life lost, years lived with disability, disability-adjusted life years, and health care utilization measures.
  4. Analyze the gaps in our empirical understanding of a given driver of health and propose an evidence-based and innovative solution to reduce its impact.
  5. Explain and critique the complex quantitative methods used in the assessment of burden of disease, disease trends, and disparities across different groups, times, and locations.

Health Metrics and Evaluation Track required coursework:

  • Problems in Global Health (G H 511, autumn, 3 credits)
  • Methods, Tools, and Data for Global Health (G H 539, pre-autumn, two weeks in September, 2 credits)
  • Global Burden of Disease (G H 590C, winter, 3 credits)
  • HME Seminar (G H 592, three quarters required, 1 credit/quarter)

Course descriptions can be found in the Course Catalog.

Elective Courses

Global Health MPH Students are encouraged, and eligible, to take courses from any school or college within the University of Washington as long as the course is not fee-based, the student has met course prerequisites, and there is space in the class. Courses 500 and above are for graduate students. For quarterly course availability, please refer to the Time Schedule. Please note that courses offered by the Department of Global Health have "G H" prefix and are listed under "Interschool or Intercollege Programs".


All MPH students complete a Practicum under the guidance and expertise of faculty and site supervisors. The Practicum provides students with hands-on experience in public health practice, allowing for the opportunity to develop and apply certain competencies that can be better developed outside of the classroom such as: development of leadership ability and group process skills, political awareness and communication skills, understanding of public and private financing mechanisms, and understanding organizational behavior. Students are required to complete a minimum of 160 hours (4 credits = 40 hours per credit) on their Practicum and can begin spending time at their site after completing at least one quarter in the MPH program. Most students complete their Practicum after year one. The School of Public Health (SPH) manages the Practicum for all MPH programs in the School.

The SPH Practicum website contains information on everything from identification of a Practicum to project deliverables. The 2020 Practicum Symposium website showcases Practicums recently completed by MPH students. 

Integrative Learning Experience (ILE)

Students complete either a thesis or capstone as their Integrative Learning Experience. Students work closely with a faculty supervisory committee who assist the student in the planning, execution, and write up of the thesis or capstone. Students spend on average 6-8 months on their ILE, generally during the summer after their first year and throughout their second year. Students can travel for their ILE or remain in Seattle. 


A thesis is evidence of a graduate student's ability to carry out independent investigation and to present the results in a clear and systematic form. The DGH MPH Program expects a masters’ thesis to be of publishable quality, and a benefit to the student author and faculty members on the committee, as well as to the organization and/or community that provided the data. A thesis is an independent scholarly analysis of a research-based project that aims to generate new knowledge of a public health problem with broad implications or a practice-based analysis addressing a very specific public health problem in a distinct cultural setting. 

The UW Library system has copies of all student theses; click here to see examples of our student's MPH thesis projects.


A capstone provides an opportunity for students interested in public health practice to contribute to solving a public health problem in a meaningful, effective, and culturally appropriate way, specifically by: finding and applying evidence-based solutions to a defined public health problem; exploring problem-solving methods in the contexts of specific communities and populations; and understanding the organizational, political, economic, and social contexts that can promote or constrain public health interventions.

Capstones are a new option beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year. Examples will be provided in the future.

Interprofessional Education

MPH students are required to attend a minimum of one interprofessional education session with students from across the health sciences. Students are assigned to small interprofessional teams from nursing, medicine, social work, and public health to actively engage on topics of interest in healthcare and population health. A reflection from the session is an assignment in PHI 516.