The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Health Equity is an interdisciplinary professional degree. It is a school wide program, currently administered by the Department of Health Services Administration.

The MPH program in Health Equity is designed to train students as public health scientists and practitioners that focus practice and/or research activities on the recognition, description and elimination of health disparities. Health disparities exist across several groups such as race/ethnic groups, geographic residence, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability status. Public health and health care practitioners and researchers play a critical role in the identification and amelioration of health disparities and in working towards achieving health equity.  

The MPH program in Health Equity is a unique and interdisciplinary program with students taking courses across all departments at the UMD School of Public Health and across the UMD campus. The expertise gained through the MPH in Health Equity prepares students for careers that involve integrating health equity into public health practice at various levels. 

Find out more about the admissions process and deadlines.

View our Department of Health Services Administration flyer.

Requirements

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Health Equity is a 43-credit interdisciplinary professional degree. 

To accommodate a variety of career pursuits, students have flexibility in designing their course structure. Once a foundational knowledge is acquired through the MPH program's core requirements, students are encouraged to take electives across a range of disciplines. A large number of elective courses are available within the existing graduate curriculum across all departments in the School of Public Health as well as across other UMD colleges and DC area institutions (View electives).  Students will be advised to work with SPH faculty for recommendations about how certain elective courses will best support particular career aspirations.

The curriculum is adaptable to both a full and part-time student status.

Competencies

Upon graduation, a student with a Master of Health Administration degree (MHA) will be able to:

  • Define health disparities and understand population health variability/patterns at national and local levels
  • ​Identify and define root causes of health inequities and their relevance and relationship to public health practice
  • ​Understand the importance of class structure, bias and stereotyping in the development of health inequities (e.g., Race, ethnicity, sex, age, sexual identity, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location)
  • ​Value health equity and acknowledge barriers to eliminating health disparities
  • ​Recognize disparities amenable to intervention at individual, population, and structural (institutions and agencies) levels
  • ​Synthetize how to address social determinants of health though community action, public policies and practices, and organized social justice change
  • ​Engage in reflection about own beliefs and value the need to address personal bias
  • ​Develop and utilize the ability to collaborate with public health professionals at local and/or federal levels to promote health equity research, practice, and policy

Curriculum

All MPH students with concentration in Health Equity will complete the following five modules:

Module Description Courses
Module 1 MPH core courses 5 courses
Module 2 Overview courses At least 2 courses
Module 3 Methods courses At least 2 courses
Module 4 Cognate area courses At least 3 courses
Module 5 Seminar, internship and capstone (or thesis) 3 courses

The student, along with the advisor, chooses elective courses to meet the program competencies from a large number of courses relevant to the study of health equity offered at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, as well as courses outside the school offered on the College Park campus, at the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, and courses available at other institutions through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. A summary of program requirements is in the table below. Additional requirement for graduation is completion of CITI training.

Module Description and Course Details

Potential electives (modules 2-4) are listed here

Module Course number and name Credits
MPH core courses (required) EPIB 650 Biostatistics 1 3
EPIB 610 Foundations of Epidemiology 3
HLSA 601 Intro to Health Systems 3
HLTH 665 Health Behavior 1 3
MIEH 600 Foundations of Environmental Health 3
Total credits MPH core 15
Overview courses (electives) Overview - elective 3
Overview - elective 3
Total credits in Health Equity overview 6
Methods courses (electives) Methods - elective 3
Methods - elective 3
Total credits in Methods 6
Cognate area courses (electives) Cognate area - elective 3
Cognate area - elective 3
Cognate area - elective 3
Total credits in Health Equity cognate courses 9
Internship/capstone/seminar (required) HLSA 703 Seminar in Health Equity 1
HLSA 785 Internship 3
HLSA 786 Capstone Project (or HLSA 799 for Thesis*) 3
Total internship, capstone, seminar 7
  Total credits required for MPH in Health Equity 43

* Students completing a thesis (6 credits) instead of a capstone project (3 credits) can select to take one less overview or methods or cognate area course to compensate for the 3 additional thesis credits.

Internship/Capstone/Thesis

The internship experience involves hands-on experience working and interacting with public health professionals. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with an opportunity to apply the concepts, strategies, and tools acquired through the course of their study. The goal of the MPH internship is to have a practical public health experience that provides mentoring, contact with public health professionals, and the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way. All students are required to obtain an internship experience as part of the MPH program, regardless of prior experience.

In addition to the internship, all students must choose to complete an applied capstone project or a research thesis as the culminating experience of the program. These experiences are student-led and require synthesis and integration of knowledge acquired in coursework, internship, or other learning experiences. 

There are numerous opportunities to obtain the internship and capstone. The broad array of settings may include community health agencies, local, state, and federal public health agencies, non-profit organizations, as well as research and health policy organizations throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.