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MPH, Health Equity

Summer Intern Students visit Black Barber shop as part of the Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR)

Promote equity and improve health in diverse populations

The MPH program in Health Equity is a unique and interdisciplinary program with students taking courses across all departments in the School of Public Health. Students gain knowledge needed to become public health scientists and practitioners that focus practice, research and/or policy activities on the recognition, description and elimination of health inequities.

Perfect for students who want to

  • Promote social justice and health equity 
  • Address barriers to health 
  • Understand how social determinants impact health and well-being
  • Partner with communities on the design of health interventions 
  • Influence health policies to impact population health

Career paths 

Our graduates apply a deep understanding of health disparities to design, implement, and evaluate interventions and policies or conduct research for:

  • State and county health departments
  • Federal health agencies (e.g., NIH and CDC)
  • Colleges/universities
  • Community organizations
  • Corporations (hospitals and insurance companies)

Program Overview

The Master of Public Health in Health Equity is an in-person professional degree that typically takes two years to complete and may be completed on a full- or part-time basis. All MPH and MHA students take the same core integrated courses, and health equity students take cognate courses, alongside health equity overview and methods courses, to supplement their research and career interests. Students are required to participate in a health equity-related internship during the program, and to carry out either a capstone project or thesis as a real-world application of material learned in class. 

See all Health Equity graduate student resources.

1 of only 3
MPH in health equity programs available at an accredited School of Public Health

There are 45 total credits in the MPH in Health Equity curriculum

View all required courses for the MPH in Health Equity.

Module 1: Integrated Core Curriculum - 6 courses 

Module 2: Overview of Health Equity - 4 courses

Module 3: Methods - 3 courses 

Module 4: Cognate elective - 1 course 

Module 5: Internship, Capstone (or Thesis) - 2 courses

See the MPH in Health Equity program plan and competency checklist.

See for possible degree pathways and electives.

See the tentative schedule for HPM courses.

** Requires advisor approval

* 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.


MODULE SEMESTER COURSE# COURSE NAME CREDIT
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Fall - year 1 SPHL601 Foundations of Public Health 1
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Fall - year 1 SPHL602 Applied Data: Epidemiology & Biostatistics 4
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Fall - year 1 SPHL603 Applied Data Laboratory 1
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Spring - year 1 SPHL610 Program Planning, Development and Evaluation 5
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Spring - year 1 SPHL611 Public Health Ethics 1
Module 1: Integrated Core Courses Fall - year 2 SPHL620 Leadership and Policy Analysis 2
Module 2: Overview Fall - year 1 HLSA611 Introduction to Health Equity 3
Module 2: Overview Fall HLSA601 Introduction to Health Systems 3
Module 2: Overview Spring HLSA787 Minority Health and Health Equity 3
Module 2: Overview Fall, Spring, Summer Elective Course from other modules, SPH, other schools at UMD, UMB, or consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area* Various Up to 6
Module 3: Methods Fall HLSA775 Public Health Research 3
Module 3: Methods Spring HLSA721 Demographic Data for Health Policy Analysis 3
Module 3: Methods Fall, Spring, Summer Elective Course from other modules, SPH, other schools at UMD, UMB, or consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area ** Various Up to 3
Module 4: Cognate Fall, Spring, Summer Cognate area- elective (3 electives in total) Various 9
Module 5: Internship, Capstone (or Thesis) Fall, Spring, Summer HLSA778 Internship 3
Module 5: Internship, Capstone (or Thesis) Fall, Spring, Summer HLSA786- Capstone HLSA799- Thesis* Capstone or Thesis* 3

Graduates with an MPH in Health Equity will be able to: 

  • Identify and devise community-engaged practice and policy solutions to advance health equity across multiple stakeholders.
  • Critically assess the role of class, race, and implicit bias in health care delivery, outcomes, and systems.
  • Define root causes of health inequities and their relevance and relationship to public health practice.
  • 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.
  • Value health equity and the importance of social determinants of health in addressing barriers and eliminating health disparities.