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the USC online MPH?

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Academics Overview


The Master of Public Health (MPH) online program at USC offers a rigorous curriculum that attracts dedicated and ambitious professionals with a passion to serve in the public health arena. The program’s core coursework aims to develop your key public health competencies and skills through the use of cases and examples from industry — ranging from local to global.

Core Courses

PM 501 Foundations in Health Education and Promotion (4 units)

Overview and application of behavioral theories to the field of health education and promotion. Examines the determinants of health behavior and strategies for change at the individual, group and community level.

PM 508 Health Service Delivery in
the U.S. (4 units)

Historical development of the American health care system, determinants of health care utilization, role of health care providers, health policy, public health services and health care finance.

PM 510 Principles of Biostatistics (4 units)

Concepts of biostatistics; appropriate uses and common misuses of health statistics; practice in the application of statistical procedures; introduction to statistical software including Excel, SPSS, nQuery. Laboratory.

PM 512 Principles of Epidemiology (4 units)

Terminology/uses of epidemiology and demography, sources/uses of population data, types of epidemiologic studies, risk assessment, common sources of bias in population studies and principles of screening.

Track Total: 16


As an MPH online student, you can tailor your studies by choosing a concentration:

Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Community Health Promotion

Global Health


Health Services and Policy



The MPH online program includes a practicum that combines field training with a leadership seminar and capstone course. With the help of your practicum advisor, you’ll select a public health agency within your desired geographic location (domestic or international) — such as a health department, community-based organization or research center — and you’ll practice leveraging what you’ve learned in a guided, hands-on experience. Then, in the capstone course, you’ll write a research paper, often related to what you do for your field training, on the competencies you’ve built throughout the program. For students already working in public health settings, you may have the opportunity to complete your practicum at your place of work. If you are interested in hosting a student for a practicum experience, please contact us at

Practicum Components

PM 596 Practicum in Public Health (1 unit)

Field placement in a public health agency, such as a county health department or community-based organization.

PM 564 Public Health Management and Leadership Seminar (4 units)

Introduction to business and management concepts, tools and practices in the context of domestic and global health care delivery, public health and allied health industries.

PM 597 Capstone (1 unit)

Provides the culminating, integrative curricular experience for students during their last semester prior to graduation. Course draws on students’ prior training in the five core areas of public health, their additional track coursework and their real-world experience gained in the field prior to graduation. Designed to challenge students to reflect and integrate their training and experience with the goal of developing their own individual point of view regarding the role of public health in contributing to the improvement of the health and well-being of populations in the United States, as well as abroad.

Practicum / Capstone Total: 6 units

*Practicum units are intended to be taken concurrently.

Faculty-Led Trips

Students in the USC Master of Public Health Online program are encouraged to participate in our unique faculty-led international trips (usually two weeks). These opportunities offer hands-on public health experience in clinics, government organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and in communities around the world. Students can typically earn course credit for the two-week faculty-led trip and then, if desired, set up a practicum and extend their time in country. Through our expert faculty, opportunities have been made available to students to work in Switzerland, India, Ghana, Honduras, Mozambique, Uganda, Mexico, Chile, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Panama, Japan and more. As an example, our course in Geneva investigates the way health is organized and administered at the global level by integrating students directly into the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, and exposing them to the inner workings of key global health organizations.
In Panama, students develop skills in implementing qualitative and/or quantitative research methodologies and health interventions in a community field setting. Students receive hands-on community experience by engaging with diverse organizations and communities: local health clinics and hospitals; a public health research institute; a local high school participating in nutrition and vaccine promotion efforts; field visits to local public health agencies and NGOS; and a day tour to an indigenous community living in a protected area of Panama. Such opportunities are one of the unique advantages offered by USC’s Online MPH—unparalleled by other online programs.

Faculty-led Trip to Uganda

Faculty-led trip to Geneva

2015 WHA in Geneva, USC MPH student interview with Kathleen Sibelius on NCDs

Faculty-led trip to Panama

  Photo Credit [Top]: Courtesy of Phil Channing