Public Health

Master of Public Health

MPH with Environmental Health Concentration
MPH Professional Option

Joint Graduate Degrees – MPH/MPA and MPH/HMS
Graduate Certificates
Office Phone: (217) 206-6720
Office Location: PAC 309

Departmental Vision and Mission

The Vision of the UIS MPH program is to help create and promote safe, healthy, and productive local and global communities by educating public health professionals capable of transforming the health of their communities and environments.

Our Mission is to produce world class public health professionals to work in the United States and globally to improve health, prevent disease, reduce health disparities, and enhance quality of life through education, scholarship, and service.  Template B5-1 presents how we measure our mission.

Goals: The program's goals that describe strategies to accomplish the defined mission are as follows:

  • Promote student success through a high quality and exceptional pedagogical public health curriculum to produce public health professionals who can think critically, communicate clearly and excel professionally.
  • Promote, conduct, and disseminate innovative research that advances public health knowledge to improve health, prevent disease and reduce health disparities.
  • Participate in community engagement within Illinois and beyond through service, outreach, and dependable partnerships to enhance quality of life through public health community education, scholarship, and service

The department offers two options for graduate-level study in public health: a generalist MPH degree (MPH) with a strong interdisciplinary foundation for practice in public health, and an MPH with a concentration in Environmental Health (MPH – EH) within which a student may choose to emphasize preparation in risk assessment, emergency preparedness, or environmental health policy. The department also offers a professional option for physicians and others with earned doctorates and two options for joint study degrees: Master of Public Health with a Master of Public Administration (MPH/MPA) and Master of Public Health with a Master of Human Services (MPH/HMS). The curriculum is designed to provide students with the academic background necessary to meet core competencies in environmental and public health as published on the Public Health Department website ( The MPH with a concentration in Environmental Health is an accredited curriculum through the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC). All degrees offered by the department may be completed on campus or may be taken entirely online.

The Master's Degree


Advising in the Public Health Department provides an individual approach to the academic and professional development of each student. On admission, each student is assigned an advisor to assist with academic planning. Thereafter, students may choose an advisor from department faculty. Students must prepare an educational plan before registering for courses in order to map out progress through the degree consistent with career and personal goals. Students are not allowed to register until this educational plan is approved.

Grading Policy

Students must maintain a B (3.0) or better cumulative average during their course of study. A maximum of eight hours of C (2.0) grades is applicable to the degree (grades of C- or lower are not accepted), provided that a minimum GPA of 3.0 is reached at time of graduation and an approved a Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration. Courses taken on a CR/NC basis will not count toward the degree. Only pre-approved 400-level courses are permitted for use toward the degree.

NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

The degree of study must be declared at the time of application. Students in the general MPH or MPH – EH take 48 semester hours of course work. The MPH/MPA joint degree requires that students complete 70 hours of course work.  The MPH/HMS joint degree requires that students complete 72 hours of course work. The professional MPH requires students to complete 36 semester hours of course work. Students must reapply to change their degree option.

Required Core Courses for all MPH Degrees

All degrees offered by the MPH department require that students complete 32 hours of core courses, including a four hour internship.
MPH 501Introduction to Public Health4
MPH 503Biostatistics4
MPH 506Research Methods in Public Health4
MPH 511Epidemiology4
MPH 521Introduction to Environmental Health4
MPH 531Public Health Policy4
MPH 561Public Health Education4
MPH 581Internship4
Total Hours32

Master’s Closure

Students in all degree programs offered through the department take a comprehensive written examination based on a case study with questions designed to test students’ ability to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained from the core curriculum. A student takes the public health comprehensive exam during his/her last semester of study. If the last semester falls during the summer semester, a student may request to take the comprehensive exam during the prior spring semester with a Student Petition. A student must complete all core courses (except the internship) prior to taking the comprehensive exam, but may take the exam concurrently with electives or the internship during the last semester of study. The student must successfully complete the exam within one year after completing course work for the degree. Students who do not successfully complete the examination during their final semester of study must enroll in MPH 583 (zero credit hours, one billable credit hour) each regular semester (fall/spring) until they pass the exam. Students must pass the exam within one year of completing course work with a maximum of three consecutive attempts.

All degrees offered by the department may be completed on campus or may be taken entirely online.

Graduate Certificates

The Public Health Department offers five graduate certificates for specialized study in public health. These certificates, all of which are available either on-campus or online, may be taken by either degree or non-degree seeking students (except as noted below) interested in advanced preparation in:

These competency-based graduate certificates are designed to provide opportunities for continuing education for health professionals without formal public health training, for those interested in life-long learning, and for mid-career professionals. Certificate course work may be taken by either a non-degree seeking student or in conjunction with other graduate work. Course work may be applied to the MPH general degree or the MPH degree with a concentration in Environmental Health. Similarly, students in the MPH degree programs may apply course work toward obtaining one or more of the certificates; however, students in the general MPH or MPH–EH degrees are ineligible for the environmental health certificate. Students currently enrolled as MPH majors must file an application with the Office of Admissions to pursue a graduate certificate. There is no additional fee for enrolled MPH majors to apply for a graduate certificate program.

Entrance Requirements

The program requires formal application for admission to the University (accompanied by official transcripts) followed by review of the application by faculty of the Department of Public Health. The department faculty will provide academic advising to certificate students.

Individuals who have bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges and universities are eligible to apply to the certificate programs. A background in the biological sciences demonstrated by transcript credit of at least three semester hours is required, along with a strong science background desirable. Admission will be based on a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0- point scale, or a 2.75 or better with documentation of substantial professional experience in the field of the certificate.

Individuals wanting to apply the certificate work to a graduate degree in public health must also meet all entrance requirements for degree study (refer to the Master’s in Public Health section of this catalog). In addition, they must formally apply for admission to the graduate degree.

Fees and Completion

Students completing certificate course work must submit a completed education plan for signature of the advisor and the department chair. Students must complete the certificate course work with a B (3.0) or better average. One C (2.0) grade per certificate may be applied if a student has received a final GPA of at least 3.0 for certificate course work.

In addition to tuition, there is a $25 fee at the time of certificate completion to cover administrative costs. The administrative fee will be charged at the time the student applies for graduation.

Degree Program Program Type Dept Application Materials and Admission Criteria Prerequisite Course Requirements Department ADM Review Dept Conditional Admits Dept Appeal Process
Public Health MPH On campus & Online *Minimum overall GPA of 3.00 for previous academic work

*Complete university application form

*Essay addressing the areas outlined in the
application form

*Three letters of recommendation on letterhead from employers, professional peers, or educators

*Background in natural sciences recommended

Department Chair; an evaluation rubric is used for file review Yes, for applicants with public health or environmental health experience who are missing one or more of the conditions listed Yes, involves Department Chair reviewing any additional information submitted by applicant


MPH 221. Environmental Facts and Fictions: The Mystery Genre. 3 Hours.

Mystery fiction's role in shaping popular beliefs about environmental issues and science will be examined across cultures and around the globe.

MPH 222. Global Public Health: Population, Poverty and Pollution. 3 Hours.

This course reviews the historical advancement of public health as the science of improving the well-being of populations. The course takes a global perspective and investigates in detail the interdependency of the world population and the need to address public health issues from an international perspective.

MPH 224. Epidemiology - Science of Disease Discovery. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on epidemiologic concepts and methods critical to the understanding of how often disease occur in different groups of people and why. The students will be introduced to (1) epidemiologic technical terms, (2) elements of descriptive epidemiology, (3) disease outbreak investigation, and (4) sources of public health data. The role of epidemiology in improving local and international public health and through investigation and policy impact will be studied through use of critical case studies.

MPH 301. Global Environmental Health. 3 Hours.

Compares major environmental health issues between developed and developing countries such as water sanitation; waste management; lead poisoning; pesticides; tobacco use; violence etc. This course uses case studies to relate environmental health issues to disease causation and prevention strategies.

MPH 401. Introduction to the US Health System. 4 Hours.

This course is designed to acquaint interested students with the organization, structure, and contemporary issues in the U.S. health care industry. Students will analyze the historical, political, social and economic roots of the United States health care system; examine current forces shaping the health care system and efforts to ensure quality, availability, and access to health care while containing costs; and consider future options in organizing and financing health services from the study of state initiatives and the health systems of other countries.

MPH 408. ECCE: Addiction. 4 Hours.

Examines the relationship between addiction and rationality. Presents an interdisciplinary approach; explores treatment and regulatory policies to prevent and treat addiction in the U.S. Course Information: This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

MPH 419. Environmental Law. 4 Hours.

Surveys the major federal statutes and regulatory schemes relating to environmental quality; analyzes and compares the contrasting approaches to regulation that have been used. Focuses on the interaction of law and policy and considers the roles of Congress, the regulatory agencies, and the courts in defining and implementing environmental mandates. Course Information: Same as ENS 419, LES 419, and PSC 419.

MPH 438. Monsters, Medicine, and Myths. 4 Hours.

Mankind has sought explanations for health and illness through symbols, metaphors, mythology, poetry, and other forms of story telling. Join us in a social autopsy of Frankenstein, Werewolves, Mummies, Outer Space and the rise of Germism. Classic works of literature, popular culture, and film will be explored. For Mature Audiences.

MPH 441. Human Well-Being. 3,4 Hours.

This course introduces students to the studies of well-being and its importance in understanding health and quality of life. Students will learn about health topics from multidisciplinary perspectives. The course focuses on the determinants, consequences, prevention, and interventions of chronic diseases. Students will consider and discuss the public policies that have been designed to address personal and public health issues.

MPH 449. Environmental Toxicology. 3,4 Hours.

Study of the effects of chemical and physical agents on the health of the public and environment. Included are sources, transport, chemical behavior, and biochemical mechanisms for adverse health effects from environmental pollutants. Course Information: Same as CHE 465.

MPH 450. Chemicals and the Citizen. 4 Hours.

Provides the basic concepts and vocabulary to understand many of the hot environmental issues related to chemicals in our environment. Introduces public health and policy issues as well as technical aspects related to the broad topic of chemicals in the environment. A course about chemical issues, not chemistry, this course is designed to provide non-chemists with a basis for understanding contemporary issues such as safety testing of chemicals, air and water quality, and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

MPH 471. Emerging Diseases. 3,4 Hours.

Examines the global emergence of previously unknown or re-emergent infectious diseases. Historical and current diseases will be discussed by integrating the perspectives of medical science and public health in contexts of social systems, economics, politics, and geography. Challenges and remedies in an interdependent but unequal world will be discussed. Course Information: Same as MLS 471.

MPH 478. ECCE: Crisis in Environmental Health. 4 Hours.

Multidisciplinary approach to awareness and policies of environmental health issues using response strategies for natural, industrial, and manmade disasters; terrorism; food safety; biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological threats; waste management; environmental health risk assessment; crisis communication; cultural competence; multijurisdictional legal issues; and environmental justice. Course Information: This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

MPH 499. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

This independent study provides students an opportunity to synthesize, integrate and apply knowledge and skills acquired through a special project relevant to public health. Students select a topic relevant to their career goals and interests with the approval of the supervising faculty member.

MPH 501. Introduction to Public Health. 4 Hours.

An introduction to population-based public health in the U.S. It provides an introduction to public health concepts and practice by examining the philosophy, purpose, history, organization, functions, tools and results of public health practice at international and local levels. It provides an overview of basic concepts/core functions of public health practice, the scope of applications, and the variety of service organizations that shape public health.

MPH 503. Biostatistics. 4 Hours.

Provides a general overview of statistical methods commonly used in the collection and analysis of health research data. Topics include descriptive statistics, basic concepts of probability, statistical inference, analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, regression, distribution free methods, and introduction to use of a statistical software. Emphasis is on understanding and applying statistical concepts intuitively to the interpretation of health research data. Course Information: Core course. Prerequisite: Undergraduate statistics course.

MPH 506. Research Methods in Public Health. 4 Hours.

Emphasizes the practical application of community health research to enhance the practice of public health. Public health practitioners engaging in administration, policy analysis, program development, and service coordination must be able to assess the needs of populations served and must be able to design and implement programs to meet those needs and evaluate program outcomes. The objective is to provide practical experience necessary for students to skillfully apply a variety of research methods and protocols, data collection, and analysis and interpretation skills to needs assessment and evaluation in public health. Core course. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 503.

MPH 508. Program Evaluation for Public Health. 4 Hours.

This course introduces students to the concepts and methods used in program evaluation with a particular emphasis on health programs. Topics include: research design (experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental approaches); needs assessment, assessment of theory, process evaluation, cost analysis, impact and outcome evaluation; the use of logic models and the use of an ecological model in planning and evaluation of health programs. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 506 or permission of instructor.

MPH 511. Epidemiology. 4 Hours.

Examines epidemiologic concepts and methods, disease causation models, and study designs. Uses morbidity, mortality, and other vital statistical data in the scientific appraisal of community health. Core course.

MPH 512. Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases. 4 Hours.

Presents a population-based perspective of the distributions and determinants of major infectious and chronic diseases. The chronic disease aspect focuses on cardiovascular disease and cancer in the United States and worldwide. The underlying objective is to identify and review methods of control and preventative measures for each of these diseases. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 511 or permission of the instructor.

MPH 513. Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to the principles and practice of chronic disease epidemiology. Includes the prevention and control of chronic diseases and their effect on public health both nationally and internationally. Thus, the course covers selected topics in chronic diseases. Students are required to have knowledge of basic elementary biomedical concepts, epidemiologic terminology, and fundamentals of biostatistics. Course Information: Prerequisites: MPH 511.

MPH 514. Analytical Epidemiology. 4 Hours.

Presents the fundamental concepts, principles, and methods of observational epidemiologic research. Practical issues in the design, conduct, and analysis of epidemiologic studies, as well as theoretical issues in the analysis and interpretation of research findings will be discussed. Intended for students interested in advanced epidemiologic research. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 511 or permission of instructor.

MPH 521. Introduction to Environmental Health. 4 Hours.

Recognition, analysis, and control of major environmental and occupational diseases and issues. Examines policy, law, economics, politics, and liability as they relate to environmental and occupational health. Core course.

MPH 526. Risk Management and Communication. 4 Hours.

Organizations and individuals are faced with health risk decisions virtually every day. This course equips students with tools and techniques to manage and communicate these risks. Using current and past examples in Illinois and around the world, the economic, ethical, legal, social, political, and scientific consequences of these risks are explored to help students identify various issues that should be considered before health risk decisions are made. Public Administration, Emergency Management, Social Sciences, and Public Health professionals will be able to apply material from this class in their jobs and personal life.

MPH 527. Environmental Risk Assessment. 4 Hours.

Introduction to the many aspects of risk assessment, the relationship between risk assessment and public policy and the perception of risk. Students will be expected to work out elementary problems in risk and exposure assessment.

MPH 528. Risk Assessment: Air, Land, and Water. 4 Hours.

Investigates risk assessment methodologies of terrestrial, waterborne, and airborne pollutants. Case studies, computer models, and extant data considered. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 527.

MPH 529. Risk Assessment Practicum. 4 Hours.

Subject matter to include identification and assessment of hazardous and toxic materials, site assessment, cleanup, and management strategies, and legal, policy, and economic applications in a real situation using extant data. This is the final course in the risk assessment sequence. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 527 and MPH 528.

MPH 531. Public Health Policy. 4 Hours.

This course considers contemporary public health issues and policy; the role of the public health manager; and the fundamentals of public health program and policy development, implementation, and evaluation. It provides an introduction to public health concepts, policy and practice by examining the philosophy, purpose, history, organization, functions, tools, activities policies and results of public health practice at the international, national, state, and community levels. The course addresses important health issues and problems facing the public health system and the application of management theory and skills to the administration of public health programs, policies and facilities.

MPH 535. Public Health in the Political Arena. 4 Hours.

Examines the influence of politics on public health policy and practice. Presents a professional approach to engaging the political process at the local, state, and national levels. Course Information: Prerequisite: MPH 531.

MPH 541. Social Determinants of Health. 4 Hours.

This course introduces students to concepts of social determinants of health, health disparities, social epidemiology, and related interventions and policies. The goal of this course is to help students fulfill their social responsibilities to promote health within a large community. Students will practice awareness of cultural diversities among people in the United States and the world through the lens of population health.

MPH 561. Public Health Education. 4 Hours.

Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. Theoretical foundations of health education; skills required to communicate effectively with various audiences in the community. Core course.

MPH 575. Health Economics. 4 Hours.

Introduction to the basic principles of economics, particularly as they apply to public policy issues. It provides students with a clear view of the applicability of some basic economics concepts and tools as they apply to public health issues and resource allocation decisions, including the market mechanism, efficiency, and optimization. The main objective is to enhance students' understanding of economics and demonstrating the power of economics as input to health and environmental policy issues, and ability to conduct cost-benefit analysis of public policy and programs.

MPH 580. Seminar in Public Health. 4 Hours.

This seminar course is designed to expose and stimulate students’ interests in current and emerging global public health issues. Students will engage in critical thinking, public speaking, and in-depth research of pressing public health issues throughout the duration of the course.

MPH 581. Internship. 1-4 Hours.

Under faculty guidance, students gain practical experience in a public health setting relevant to their career goals and interests. Experience includes in-depth understanding of agency-specific mission, goals, and objectives, and working on special projects to demonstrate integration of public health competencies into practice. Requires periodic summary reports based on an activity log and reflective journal, and evaluative final paper. Requires a minimum of 50 contact hours for each credit hour taken. May be repeated to a maximum of 4 hours. Degree requires 4 hours of internship credit with minimum of 200 contact hours. Course Information: Prerequisite: completion of at least 24 hours of core courses. Internship Learning Agreement and instructor approval required.

MPH 582. Independent Research Project. 1-4 Hours.

An individual project to demonstrate ability to formulate, investigate, and analyze a problem in a practice setting. Students choose a topic with the advice and approval of the faculty members who agree to supervise and evaluate the students' work. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 4 hours.

MPH 583. Comprehensive Exam Continuing Enrollment. 0 Hours.

Encourages students to maintain contact with the department and allows them to use campus facilities such as the library and computer laboratories while preparing to take the department's master's degree closure exercise -- the comprehensive examination. NOTE: If students do not earn a passing grade on the comprehensive examination during their final semester, they must enroll in MPH 583 for zero credit hours (one billable hour) in all subsequent semesters until they pass the exam. Course Information: May be repeated.

MPH 584. Air and Water Quality. 3,4 Hours.

Clean Air Act and amendments and their effect on improving ambient air quality. Analysis of administrative procedures, standards, and regulations.

MPH 585. Introduction to Health Services and Administration. 4 Hours.

An overview of the healthcare system and the healthcare industry with an emphasis on Public Health. An introduction to the regulatory complexity of the healthcare environment and an in-depth exploration of key federal and state laws including medical malpractice and patient care laws.

MPH 586. Solid and Hazardous Waste. 4 Hours.

An interdisciplinary approach is used to examine both the technological and public policy tools that can be used to address solid and hazardous waste management. Public health and social justice implications are examined.

MPH 587. Food Safety Practice. 3,4 Hours.

This course analyzes the political, social, and economic effects on food safety practice and enforcement; food production; marketing; and product development, while identifying problems facing the delivery of healthy food from growth to consumption. Course Information: Students will have the option of taking an exam to become certified in food service sanitation.

MPH 588. Occupational Safety and Health. 3,4 Hours.

This course examines the history and status of occupational safety and health regulation at the state and national level; studies policy development and trends in workplace health and safety; and evaluates how policies are translated to organizational and administrative operating procedures.

MPH 599. Graduate Tutorial. 1-8 Hours.

Intended to supplement, not supplant, regular course offerings. Students interested in a tutorial must secure the consent of the faculty member concerned before registration and submit any required documentation to him or her.