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Public Health Practice, M.P.H.

Saint Louis University's public health practice concentration is designed to prepare experienced professionals — in medicine, dentistry, nursing and social work, among others — to assume leadership roles as members of multidisciplinary health care teams. For maximum flexibility with existing work schedules, this concentration is offered 100% online.

The public health practice concentration serves as a generalist degree, touching on the competencies of behavioral science and health equity, biostatistics, epidemiology, and health management and policy concentrations through an integrated curriculum. Students in this concentration will build foundational skills in evidence-based approaches to public health, understanding health care systems, planning and management strategies, public health policy, leadership, communication, inter-professional practice, and systems thinking. 

A Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in public health practice will prepare you to develop, implement and evaluate effective public health initiatives. You also will be able to create and analyze programs in the context of the communities they serve, taking into account cultural, social, economic, ethical and legal factors.

Program Highlights

SLU's strong job placement rates are based largely on its competencies-based training, collaborative faculty and team-based experience. As part of our concentration in public health practice, you will master a variety of skills, knowledge and abilities in the following key areas:

  • Use an evidence-based approach to develop and analyze effective human, animal and environmental hazard control strategies, programs and policies, taking into account legal and ethical considerations.
  • Explain the scientific characteristics, including transmission routes and control measures, of major biological hazards that result in human and animal health risk.
  • Generate responses to problems, proposals and politics in health policy and management.
  • Create policy approaches and alternatives within the contextual environment of health services delivery and public health.

Curriculum Overview

Designed for professionals currently working in public health or related fields, this concentration provides an opportunity for students to enhance skills in public health practice and develop, implement and evaluate effective public health initiatives. Students in SLU's M.P.H. public health practice concentration create and analyze programs in the context of the communities they serve, taking into account cultural, social, economic, ethical and legal factors. Students wanting to go beyond a general public health understanding can add on one of the College for Public Health's many certificate programs for only six additional credits. 

This program is offered 100% online, but students in the St. Louis region may choose a hybrid format, taking core and concentration courses in person. 

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Among other topics, SLU's public health practice faculty are researching: 

  • Cultural competence
  • Equitable access
  • Health communication
  • Health disparities
  • Injury prevention
  • Public health practice

SLU's M.P.H. program is designed to give students the practical skills needed for any public health career. Over 50% of M.P.H. students work on research projects with faculty outside of a class requirement.

Students complete an internship after their first year of study to gain practical experience in their chosen career path. Students have interned in a variety of settings from local nonprofits to academic research centers, state and federal agencies, and multilateral institutions. Students work with the M.P.H internship coordinator and their faculty advisor to identify an appropriate internship in St. Louis, nationally or across the globe.

Students in SLU's public health practice program have completed practice experiences at organizations including iFM Community Medicine, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, SSM Health DePaul Hospital and the Micah Project. 


Students who pursued SLU's public health practice M.P.H. concentration have gone on to positions such as public health consultants and outreach specialists.

SLU’s public health graduates are employed at federal, state and local health agencies; consulting firms; consumer advocacy organizations; community-based organizations and health care centers; hospitals; research centers; and universities.

Within the first year of graduation, the vast majority of M.P.H. graduates are beginning their careers, participating in fellowships or furthering their graduate education.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,370

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The College for Public Health and Social Justice offers several ways to help finance graduate education.  Opportunities include a limited number of merit-based scholarships and graduate research assistantships.  Awards are made to applicants with the highest combinations of GPAs and test scores who complete their applications by the priority deadlines.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at


Saint Louis University's College for Public Health and Social Justice is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). To see our most recent accreditation documentation, please visit the College for Public Health and Social Justice website.


Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  • Graduates will be able to apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice.
  • Graduates will be able to select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
  • Graduates will be able to analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate.
  • Graduates will be able to interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice.

Public Health and Health Care Systems

  • Graduates will be able to compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
  • Graduates will be able to discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and systemic levels.

Planning and Management to Promote Health

  • Graduates will be able to assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health.
  • Graduates will be able to apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design, implementation, or critique of public health policies or programs.
  • Graduates will be able to design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention.
  • Graduates will be able to explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
  • Graduates will be able to select methods to evaluate public health programs.

Policy in Public Health

  • Graduates will be able to discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
  • Graduates will be able to propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
  • Graduates will be able to advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
  • Graduates will be able to evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.


  • Graduates will be able to apply leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue.
  • Graduates will be able to apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.


  • Graduates will be able to select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
  • Graduates will be able to describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.

Interprofessional Practice

  • Graduates will be able to integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health.

Systems Thinking

  • Graduates will be able to apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than a standard narrative. 

Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in a biomedical or social science is preferred, but other majors will certainly be considered. Professional experience in a health-related field is highly valued.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full. Apply using the centralized application service SOPHAS

Review Process

All applicants are considered using a holistic application review process, including an in-person, phone or Zoom interview with the graduate admissions director.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé/curriculum vitae
  • Professional goal statement

Apply using the centralized application service SOPHAS.

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Program Requirements

Required Courses
PUBH 5010Mission and Practice of Global Public Health2
PUBH 5020Ethical Issues in Public Health (Students with the HMP or PHP concentrations will take HMP 5390 instead)3
PUBH 5030Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health3
PUBH 5040Generating Evidence from Public Health Data3
PUBH 5050Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice3
PUBH 5060Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health3
PUBH 5070Translating Evidence and Theory for Community Practice3
PUBH 5910Practice Experience in Public Health1
PUBH 5950Special Study for Examinations0
PUBH 5960Capstone in Public Health Practice3
Choose one:
Total Credits42

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Students must earn a B- or better in all required courses. Elective courses may be passed with a C or better. 

Public Health Practice Concentration 

BSH 5320Public Health Advocacy3
BSH 5400Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I3
BST 5400Applied Data Management3
HMP 5300Management of Health Care Organizations3
Courses with the "MPH Electives - Public Health Practice" attribute6
Total Credits18

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Public Health Practice Concentration

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
PUBH 5010 Mission and Practice of Global Public Health 2
PUBH 5030 Methodological Approaches to Understanding Population Health 3
PUBH 5060 Environmental and Biological Determinants of Health 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1.  
PUBH 5050 Health Care Across the Life Course: From Policy to Practice 3
PUBH 5070 Translating Evidence and Theory for Community Practice 3
BSH 5320 Public Health Advocacy 3
BSH 5400 Assessment, Intervention Development, and Evaluation I 3
MPH Professional Development Series: Completion of 6 sessions required during Year 1 (prerequisite for PUBH 5910).  
PUBH 5040 Generating Evidence from Public Health Data 3
PUBH 5910 Practice Experience in Public Health 1
Year Two
HMP 5300 Management of Health Care Organizations 3
BST 5400 Applied Data Management 3
Elective 5XXX - Chosen from MPH Electives - PHP Departmental Attributes List 3
HMP 5390 Ethical Leadership in Health Management and Policy 3
Elective 5XXX - Chosen from MPH Electives - PHP Departmental Attributes List 3
PUBH 5950 Special Study for Examinations 0
PUBH 5960 Capstone in Public Health Practice 3
 Total Credits42

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Bernie Backer
Director of graduate recruitment and admissions