The Master of Public Health (MPH) is the most widely recognized professional degree for those wishing to enter or advance in the field of public health. George Mason’s MPH program provides coursework in the five core disciplines of public health — epidemiology, biostatistics, health administration, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health with advanced training in seven highly specialized concentrations: (1) community health promotion, (2) epidemiology, (3) food security and nutrition, (4) global health, (5) health policy, (6) public health communication, and (7) public health practice (100% online).
The Community Health Promotion concentration prepares health promotion specialists to work in local, state, and federal public health agencies, non-governmental health organizations, the health care sector, and private industry. Students in this concentration examine the social, behavioral, and environmental determinants associated with the most pressing health problems, and design, implement, and evaluate appropriate health promotion programs and preventive services to improve population health. The curriculum and practical experiences for this concentration are aligned with the core competencies for the social and behavioral sciences (Association of Schools and Programs for Public Health (ASPPH)) and the Areas of Responsibilities and Competencies for Health Education Specialists (National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., 2015) and prepare students for the Certified Public Health (CPH) examination and both the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) examinations.
The Epidemiology concentration prepares students to investigate and analyze factors that influence the occurrence, distribution, prevention, and control of disease. Emphasis is placed on the development of such skills as study design, data collection and management, data analysis and interpretation, and communication of research findings.
The Food Security and Nutrition concentration is designed to provide public health students the knowledge and skills necessary to implement food security and nutrition programs and policies within a global public health context. Students will explore and apply the definitions, means of measurement, and policy implications of food security and nutrition through a multidisciplinary approach. This concentration emphasizes the role of food security and nutrition in public health at the local, regional, and global levels.
The Global Health concentration prepares students to apply the tools of public health to the promotion of health in communities, countries, regions, and the world. Concentration coursework emphasizes comparative global health metrics; the socioeconomic, environmental, and other risk factors associated with transnational health concerns; and ethical and effective strategies for preventing and controlling infectious and non-communicable diseases in diverse populations. Students gain professional communication skills and develop competencies in program planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
The Health Policy concentration addresses the nature and importance of policy and policymaking in today’s public health system. Through course work and opportunities for practical application, students are introduced to the context and process for policymaking in public health, including the current political, economic and legal environment for health policy, and the basic elements of the public policymaking process and government payment systems. Students graduate with the knowledge and abilities needed to engage with public health and advocacy organizations on policy issues, and to analyze and support policy approaches in an era of scarce public resources and ever-changing priorities.
The Public Health Communication concentration prepares students to effectively use communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that affect health. This highly specialized concentration links the fields of communication and public health and is increasingly recognized as a necessary element of efforts to improve personal and public health. The public health communication concentration emphasizes designing, evaluating, and implementing effective communication strategies and messages to address the health needs of diverse audiences.
The Public Health Practice concentration is designed to advance the competencies of public health practitioners and other health professionals to fulfill their roles and responsibilities in local, state, and federal public health agencies and non-governmental health-related organizations. Students in this concentration examine the social and environmental factors associated with improving population and community health with a focus on the application of evidence-based public health concepts. This concentration emphasizes public health practice, which comprises disease prevention; community-based participatory approaches; health assessment; planning and evaluating interventions; risk communication; and leadership and management. The curriculum and practicum for this concentration align with the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (2014) and prepare students for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) examination.