WVU Master of Public Health program provides greater flexibility, more competitive

In an ongoing, strategic effort to give graduates a competitive edge, the West Virginia University School of Public Health has revamped one of its longstanding graduate degree programs.

The Master of Public Health program, established nearly 25 years ago, was recently reshaped to enhance its core curriculum and provide students with an even higher level of professional preparation. The renovated program welcomed its first cohort at the start of the fall 2022 semester.

“After our 2020 site visit with the Council on Education for Public Health, which resulted in our reaccreditation through December 2027, we identified several strategic opportunities to strengthen our MPH program,” said Dr. Jeff Coben, dean of the School of Public Health. “In close coordination with external advisors and our faculty, we made several improvements to the program, adjusting our concentrations and making the program even more student-centric.”

The MPH program now consists of three areas of concentration: applied epidemiology and biostatistics, public health practice and leadership, and social and behavioral sciences.

The program was previously structured, internally, as separate programs that were aligned with five different areas: epidemiology; biostatistics; health policy; occupational and environmental health sciences; and social and behavioral sciences.

Highlights regarding the recent changes:

  • Epidemiology and biostatistics were merged;
  • Health policy was retooled into public health practice and leadership, which will also be offered fully online beginning fall 2023; and
  • Occupational and environmental health sciences was phased out to provide better focus on the M.S. in industrial hygiene program, acquired in May 2021, as well as the development of a new M.S. in occupational and/or environmental health and new tracks in preventive medicine and occupational medicine in the recently launched M.S. in Population Health program.

On Friday, Nov. 11, the WVU Board of Governors completed the final step of retiring the former version of the program by voting to terminate it—a necessary formality. Students who enrolled in the MPH program prior to fall 2022 will complete the former program as it was structured when they initially enrolled.

Erik Carlton, DrPH

“As public health and healthcare workforce needs continue to evolve and grow, the School of Public Health continues to position itself to readily meet those needs,” said Erik Carlton, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. “The renovation of one of our school’s cornerstone programs, our Master of Public Health, is evidence of our ability to meet those needs, as it provides our applicants and students greater flexibility and a competitive edge upon graduation.

“I’m grateful for the expert guidance of our faculty and external advisors who helped us through the process.”

To learn more about the MPH program and the School of Public Health’s diverse offering of graduate programs, visit publichealth.wvu.edu/students/graduate-programs.

Pictured at top: Dr. Jeff Coben, dean, welcomes graduate students during Graduate New Student Orientation on Aug. 12, 2022. (WVU Photo/Tyler Mertins) 



CONTACT: Nikky Luna, Director of Marketing and Communications
WVU School of Public Health
304.293.1699; nikky.luna@hsc.wvu.edu