What is an Executive Master’s in Public Health?

An executive master’s in public health is designed for working professionals who want to advance into public health leadership roles. These individuals are committed to advancing their careers and getting the knowledge needed to become public health proponents and stakeholders. Any accredited Executive MPH program should be approved by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).


Students enter Executive MPH programs from a variety of professional public and private sector backgrounds. Most programs require candidates to have a minimum of three to five years of relevant professional experience. Submitted resumes must demonstrate a clear career direction and commitment. Candidates must have completed a four-year from a regionally accredited American higher learning institution. Those who want to specialize in applied epidemiology must have their abilities assessed by standardized test scores, such as the GRE or MCAT. Those who want to specialize in health care informatics must have a strong technical background.

Core Courses

An Executive MPH program will have plenty of introductory classes on various public health topics. Introduction to public health surveillance will review the processes that public health agencies use to collect, interpret and disseminate relevant data. The classes will teach about the tools needed to design and manage a successful public health surveillance system. The purpose of studying social behavior in public health is to learn how social science theories and research methodologies are used to minimize public health problems. This involves understanding the personal and community factors that interact to influence individual health behaviors.

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Advanced Electives

There are many opportunities for students to take interesting electives that teach them how to translate knowledge and evidence-based interventions into collective action. Courses on perspectives in environmental health are designed to introduce public health professionals to basic environmental science concepts. Students learn how about the public health impacts of various environmental exposures and processes. Coursework on global public health issues covers standard topics, such as population growth and infant mortality, and global health topics, such as future public health trends that are impacting domestic conditions. Learning about public health advocacy prepares students to drive the transformation of relevant laws and policies.

Specialization Tracks

Many Executive MPH programs offer standard specializations. Applied epidemiology is for graduates who want to track and understand disease indicators in target populations. This discipline provides the scientific data that drives public health research and contributes to better public health practices. These students will learn about advanced epidemiology concepts and how to apply them to public health. Topics covered include study designs, such as for clinical trials and control studies, as well as disease measurements, such as through statistical models and techniques. Students who want to be more involved in the community may choose a disease prevention concentration where they will learn how to develop and assess community and population-based disease trends.

As a final option, some students select to become public health informatics specialists in order to provide the future leadership needed to ensure that technology is successfully integrated into public health programs. Those who have an executive master’s in public health may find work in their state’s department of health or the federal governments’ Department of Human Health and Services.