Master of Public Health


master of public health

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All Master of Public Health students complete 20 credits Required Common Core Courses:
PH 702 Introduction to Biostatistics
PH 703 Environmental Health Sciences
PH 704 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology
PH 705 Principles of Public Health Policy and Administration
PH 706 Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health
PH 790 Field Experience in Public Health (at least 3 credits)
PH 800 Capstone in Public Health (2 credits)

Students specialize in one of five tracks of study:

The Zilber School of Public Health is known for its emphasis on health equity, social and environmental justice, and community partnerships. The MPH degree program prepares students to make a difference in the public health field by building practical knowledge and skills, including the applied use of public health research to promote population health and health equity.

Employment prospects for public health practitioners are growing. According to the most recent Wisconsin Public Health Workforce Report, as many as 55% of workers in the Wisconsin Division of Public Health are currently eligible for retirement.


The MPH curriculum includes required core courses that help prepare students to analyze information and consider solutions to public health problems at the community, institutional and societal levels. Students then put their skills into practice through a required field experience and capstone project.

Students in the Master of Public Health program complete 42 to 48 credits (depending on the track). MPH students take a common core curriculum of 20 credit hours, including a 3-credit field experience and a 2-credit capstone, as well as a variable number of track-specific credit hours. All MPH students can expect to learn how to:

1. Explain the foundational principles and historical perspectives that shape the field of public health.

2. Describe how multiple determinants, including socioeconomic, biological, behavioral, and environmental, and the interrelations among these determinants shape population health and health inequities.

3. Integrate principles of social and environmental justice within public health practice and research.

4. Employ ethical principles and protocols in public health practice and research.

5. Implement approaches to public health practice and research that recognize the social, cultural and environmental circumstances of individuals, communities and populations.

6. Utilize appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative methods in public health practice and research.

7. Apply inter-disciplinary theories, research methods and best practices to address public health issues and promote population health.

8. Collect, synthesize and critically analyze information and data to identify and address, and inform public health issues and interventions.

9. Practice a high standard of professionalism, demonstrated by integrity, respect, transparency, sound judgment, and constructive interactions with colleagues, community members, stakeholders and the public at large.

10. Demonstrate leadership and partnership skills that foster and support collaborations across diverse communities, settings and sectors.

11. Communicate effectively about public health issues with diverse audiences using a variety of strategies and modalities.

12. Advocate for the public’s health and health equity.

Learn more about the MPH program from the Graduate Student Bulletin

How to Apply

Apply now to enroll in Fall 2018. The deadline to apply for PhD programs is January 7th, which is the priority deadline for the MPH. MPH applications are considered on a rolling basis for Fall admission. For application questions, email to speak with an advisor.

  • The deadline for international applicants to apply under our MPH rolling application process is June 2nd.
  • The deadline for domestic applicants to apply under our MPH rolling application process is July 14th.

Information Sessions are held regularly. You can find upcoming session dates and RSVP for a session here.

To be considered for admission, applicants must complete the required online application via the School of Public Health Application System (SOPHAS) and meet UW-Milwaukee Graduate School requirements, including the following requirements:

  1. Current resume
  2. Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic experience and potential for graduate work in public health.
  3. Submission of scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last five years. Submit scores to, and use code 1780.

Applicants may request a GRE waiver or substitution in the following situations:

  • Holding a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, JD, PharmD, MD); please note that terminal degrees from foreign institutions must be post-baccalaureate
  • Completion of an alternative standardized test (e.g., MCAT, LSAT, GMAT)

Note that a waiver must be requested and granted by admissions staff at the Zilber School of Public Health. Contact regarding GRE waivers and substitutions.”

Some Scholarships are available for all five tracks. Recently, scholarships were announced for the three newest tracks – Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Public Health Policy and Administration – through the Vera Zilber Public Health Scholars Program.

Ideal Biostatistics candidates:

  • BS in statistics, mathematics, biomedical or computer science or quantitative area (e.g. physics, electrical engineering, health science) or basic science (e.g., biology, chemistry) with at least 2 semesters of calculus.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better (on 4.0 scale)
  • GRE: Quantitative > 50%; verbal > 40%; and writing > 40%
  • Familiarity with one programming environment (e.g. R, matlab) or language (e.g. python, pearl, Java)
  • Expressed interest in career in area of biostatistics or quantitative data analysis

Learn more about the Biostatistics track

Ideal Community and Behavioral Health Promotion candidates:

  • CBHP accepts students with a wide range of academic backgrounds, including social and behavioral sciences, humanities and basic science.
  • Strong interest in working with communities, health departments, policy makers, schools and other agencies in health promotion.
  • Strong interest in working collaboratively with other stakeholders to address health inequities and social/environmental justice issues.
  • Good students with some practical work experience.
  • Clear interest in community and behavioral health promotion

Learn more about the Community and Behavioral Health Promotion track

Ideal Environmental Health Sciences candidates:

  • Some upper-level biology or chemistry classes preferred with a B- average or better in science classes.
  • Willingness to learn; self-motivated; creative; curious; and diverse interests, training and background.
  • Evidence of potential to have strong communication skills.
  • Volunteer or work experience in a relevant public health environment or course equivalents as an undergrad. Ecology/environmental science training acceptable in lieu of broad work experience.

Learn more about the Environmental Health Sciences track

Ideal Applicants who might want to consider the Epidemiology track:

Applicants with a desire to employ the tools of epidemiology for the purpose of advocating for social justice and the amelioration of health inequities would be interested in our Epidemiology program. Strong candidates will have previous experience working or volunteering with social service, public health, community organizations and/or in other capacities which demonstrate a commitment to social justice. Through their essays and transcripts will demonstrate that they have strong critical thinking and analytical skills and be able to articulate clearly how their previous experiences have prepared them to undertake study in the field of epidemiology.

Learn more about the Epidemiology track

Ideal Public Health Policy and Administration candidates:

The PHPA track takes a holistic approach to assessing student fit. We value academic achievement and concrete experience in professional, volunteer and advocacy roles. Prospective students should demonstrate, through their essays, transcripts and test scores, that they have strong analytical thinking skills and the capacity to apply quantitative and qualitative analyses to public health issues. They will be able to articulate how their academic and practical backgrounds prepare them for public health study. We also expect that prospective students are able to demonstrate a basic understanding of public health principles and practice, and how study in this field will help them to achieve their learning, advocacy and/or professional objectives.

Learn more about the Public Health Policy and Administration track