Student/Alumni Profiles

MPH - Physical Activity
Sara Olsen, MPH Candidate

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Physical Activity is a 43-credit professional degree, administered by the Department of Kinesiology. All MPH students with concentration in Physical Activity will complete five public health core courses, eight courses in the physical activity and related cognate area, a practicum experience (i.e., internship), and a culminating project.

MPH Degree Program Competencies: Upon completion of the MPH program, students will be able to:

  • Explain how physical activity integrates within the core areas of public health. Students will be able to describe how the promotion of an active lifestyle can be accomplished within the various disciplines of public health.
  • Apply evidence-based knowledge and understanding of the relation of physical activity to health and function across the life-span. Students will be able to explain how exercise impacts physical and mental health in both healthy and diseased populations. This understanding will include the physiological, psychosomatic, and psychosocial dimensions that underlie these relationships.
  • Design, implement, and evaluate physical activity interventions in a variety of populations and community settings. Students should be able to identify benefits and risks of physical activity interventions and formulate appropriate and measurable program objectives. Students will apply their knowledge of the built environment, as well as their skills in biostatistics and epidemiology, to evaluate the success of interventions.
  • Utilize a conceptual understanding of social, behavioral, and cultural theories to promote and implement physical activity programs and policies. Students will be able to describe how these theories impact participation in physical activity and apply them to optimize physical activity adoption and maintenance.
  • Evaluate the impact of physical activity and sedentary behavior at the community level. Students will be able to use ecological methods to evaluate the association between patterns of physical activity and sedentary living within a community and various pediatric and adult indicators of health in that same community. Students will be able to describe ways of altering the built environment of a given community in order to promote more active living.
  • Develop and utilize the ability to collaborate with public health professionals at local and/or federal levels to promote physical activity research, practice, and policy.

A summary of program requirements is in the table below.  

Admission Application for MPH in Physical Activity:

Students may qualify for admission with a 3.0 GPA, strong GREs [50th percentile as minimums in the Verbal and Quantitative sections (approximately 150 in each section); 4.0 minimum in Analytical Writing], and a minimum of three strong recommendations from people knowledgeable about the applicant's prior academic achievements and potential. For the MPH degree, applicants will submit a focused letter detailing academic and career goals as well as any previous research experiences.  Appropriate background course work closely aligned with the intended degree specialization is expected.

MPH applications should be submitted through the Schools of Public Health Application Service, SOPHAS, at The application cycle opens in SOPHAS typically in September, and all application documents must be submitted via SOPHAS. Remember to designate the University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, as one of your school choices along with your desired program. The University of Maryland School of Public Health GRE Code in SOPHAS is 0485.

SOPHAS will verify the information reported and send it electronically to the University of Maryland School of Public Health once complete. The verification process can take 4-6 weeks to complete. We do not accept materials outside of the SOPHAS process. The University of Maryland requires a Supplemental Application and a Supplemental Application Fee of $75 for each program.

Application Deadline for the MPH:

The priority application deadline for the MPH program is December 15; the final application deadline is April 15, 2017. This is a fall-only admission program.