Master of Public Health (MPH)

A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a multidisciplinary professional degree focused on the application of science, research and theoretical knowledge toward the prevention of disease.

The WVU MPH program prepares students for promising careers providing evidence-based solutions to complex health issues. Graduates leave our program with the skills necessary to work in a variety of public health settings such as health departments, clinics, and federal agencies.

Program Overview

The MPH program at WVU is organized around the five core disciplines of public health:

  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy, Management and Leadership
  • Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

The program requires a variety of courses and experiences across these disciplines. MPH core courses provide students with an understanding of the breadth of public health, and departmental courses in each major allow students to apply various principles to specific disciplines.

Applied Practice Experience

All Master of Public Health students are required to complete a minimum of 180 contact hours in an applied practice experience with a public health-related agency or organization, supervised by an approved preceptor. The experience is an opportunity for students to explore public health careers, clarify their professional goals, and develop contacts for employment (networking). It allows them to apply their academic knowledge to situations, projects or tasks in the “real world” and make meaningful contributions to the agency or organization. The preceptor provides a professional role model; their practice experience and mentoring is vitally important to a successful student experience.

In addition to the applied practice experience, MPH students will engage with health and other professionals through integrated and interprofessional learning experiences throughout their curriculum.


Biostatistics is the science of developing and applying statistical methods needed to tackle research problems in a variety of fields – especially public health and medicine. The Biostatistics major in the MPH program is ideal for students with an interest in tackling public health problems using data modeling and analysis.


The Epidemiology major in the MPH program focuses on the application of disease and condition investigation. The program is appropriate for students interested in a career studying the relationship of risk factors to a variety of disease, injury, and other health-related conditions.

Health Policy

The Health Policy major in the MPH program is designed for students interested in healthcare management and administration, state and local health policy issues, and improving health through policy, environmental and systems change. The major is ideal for recent graduates or public health professionals who want to advance their careers in a variety of public health, government, healthcare, or other professional settings.

Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences

Students majoring in Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences in the MPH program will gain the practical skills needed to understand occupational and environmental processes, assess their health consequences and develop ways to address and resolve them. Graduates often continue their graduate education at the doctoral level or begin a career as consultants, researchers or public health practitioners addressing such issues as environmental pollution related to air, water and waste, occupational health hazards, and work-related injury.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Social and Behavioral Sciences major in the MPH program prepares students to address behavioral, social and environmental factors related to individual and population health and health disparities over the lifespan. Research and practice in this area contributes to the development, administration, and evaluation of programs and policies in public health to promote and sustain healthy environments and lives for individuals and populations.