Our program prepares graduates to become boundary spanners between public health and their professional fields, emphasizing data and analytic skills. Graduates will be poised to address complex public health challenges on a local, national, and global scale.
Our Master of Public Health (MPH) Program offers two variants designed to meet student needs:
- Part-time (Evening): Designed to meet the needs of working professionals and health care practitioners. This evening program is also ideal for students completing other academic coursework during the day.
- Full-time (1-Year) Program: Designed to provide students with a comprehensive MPH experience in a 12 month span. Ideal for students seeking intensive study & practical experience before moving on to the next stage in their academic or professional careers.
Our program also offers opportunities for Non-Degree Special Students (NDSS) to enroll in courses without having to pursue a full MPH degree. Non-degree students are usually professionals from a variety of backgrounds looking for professional enrichment opportunities as well as researchers fulfilling the training component of their grant. NDSS students must apply for admission to the program, however they can apply/enroll for any term in the academic year. Full information is below.
MPH Students choose the generalist option or one of the following concentrations:
WHO? Recent college graduates, career changers, and health professionals who are interested in careers in public health practice and advocacy for population health
WHY? The Generalist Option equips students with a broad public health skill-set and allows maximum flexibility to take coursework across the curriculum and tailor one’s education toward specific career goals in the practice of public health
HOW? Evening classes meet on the Chicago campus and the typical schedule includes four to seven hours of classes per week over two to three years starting in Fall or Summer Quarter. The degree may also be completed over 12 months of full-time study including some daytime classes starting in Summer Quarter. In addition to core public health courses and a field experience, students take additional coursework in research methods as well as electives in preparation for the culminating experience project
- Community Health Research:
WHO? College graduates or students with professional degrees who are interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating community-based research studies that actively involve patients and community stakeholders in the research process
WHY? Students completing the Community Health Research concentration will be prepared to work in academic and community settings in research, program evaluation, and project management roles. Given the increasing calls for patient and community engagement in research, this concentration will prepare students for a variety of work settings
HOW? The Community Health Research concentration will equip students to understand issues affecting health equity in communities and the role of engaging patients and community stakeholders in developing research that improves community health. This is accomplished through a field and culminating experience in a community setting and a 4-course CHR sequence
WHO? College graduates or individuals with professional degrees (e.g. MD, DPT, allied health professionals) who are interested in careers in public health with an emphasis on data analysis
WHY? To learn how to design studies, collect data, analyze data, and disseminate results to answer critical questions about the distribution and determinants of disease and health
HOW? Epidemiology concentration coursework is typically completed in 1 year, although the degree can be pursued over multiple years so long as the student has some daytime availability. In addition to core public health courses, students take advanced courses in epidemiology and data analysis and have a field experience placement assisting with data analysis for a local community partner
- Global Health:
WHO? College graduates or students with professional degrees who are interested in examining and responding to major global health issues in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders
WHY? Students completing the Global Health Concentration will be prepared to critically examine major health issues affecting global populations and assume leadership, evaluation, and program management roles both domestically and abroad
HOW? The Global Health concentration focuses on an interdisciplinary breadth of coursework led by faculty who are engaged in global health research and practice in settings around the world. Coursework, field and culminating experiences provide opportunities for critical analysis, dialogue, skill-building, and real-world application
Our interdisciplinary program bridges theory and practice through coursework, a field experience, and a culminating experience.
For a list of MPH course descriptions, please click here.
To view the MPH degree requirements, please click here.
Northwestern’s Public Health education is competency-based. NU MPH graduates should be able to:
Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
1. Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health
2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public
3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based
programming and software, as appropriate
4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice
Public Health & Health Care Systems
5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and
regulatory systems across national and international settings
6. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine
health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and
Planning & Management to Promote Health
7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of
public health policies or programs
9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs
Policy in Public Health
12. Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics
13. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for
influencing public health outcomes
14. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health
in diverse populations
15. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity
16. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a
vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges
18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
19. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral
20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content
21. Perform effectively on interprofessional teams
22. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue
Beyond these core competencies, students completing MPH concentrations work toward achieving additional competencies. NU MPH graduates completing concentrations should be able to:
Community Health Research Concentration Competencies:
- Describe behavioral, social, and cultural factors that contribute to the health and well-being of communities.
- Describe the role and importance of community and stakeholder engagement in community health research, intervention, and evaluation.
- Apply program planning, assessment, and evaluation principles and develop logic models to create and evaluate community health programs and interventions.
- Use relevant theories, methods, and research principles for designing and conducting community health research.
Epidemiology Concentration Competencies:
- Identify key sources of data for descriptive and analytic epidemiology studies.
- Describe disease frequency and major risk factors for major causes of disease in the US after critical evaluation of the scientific literature and public health bulletins.
- Develop appropriate plans for sample selection, data collection, data analysis (using statistical software), and data interpretation, for a given research question.
- Describe the principles and limitations of public health screening programs.
Global Health Concentration Competencies:
- Critique major global public health priorities and the reasons for their prioritization
- Apply demographic, epidemiologic and anthropologic methods to assess health disparities at local and global levels.
- Develop systems to monitor progress toward targets, objectives, and goals and evaluate programs and their operational components
- Operate in partnership with local, national and international organizations engaged in the health and social sectors
- Apply systems thinking to promote integrative global health across different disciplinary domains and organizational levels
The Northwestern Program in Public Health is a professional program with students coming from a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds. Successful applicants have met the following qualifications:
- A baccalaureate or professional degree.
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- GRE scores at or above the 50th percentile in verbal & quantitative reasoning. Note: applicants with an earned doctoral degree from a US or Canadian institution are not required to submit GRE scores.
- A minimum of two years full-time, professional work experience in health care, public health, or medically related research OR three years of medical or dental school in the US or Canada OR an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher (in lieu of work experience).
- For foreign medical graduates, a minimum of one year of residency or fellowship training in the US or Canada prior to matriculation is preferred.
If your native language is not English, you must certify your proficiency in the English language in one of the following ways:
- Provide official scores for either the TOEFL or IELTS exam. The test must be taken no more than two years before the desired quarter of entry. For the TOEFL, you must score 600 or higher on the paper-based test, 250 or higher on the computer-based test, or 100 or higher on the internet based test. For the IELTS, you must receive a score of 7.0 or higher.
- Provide official transcripts verifying an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution or equivalent, where the language of instruction is English.
- Provide official transcripts verifying a graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.
Students applying for the MPH Program (Part-Time and Full Time) use the Public Health Common Application (SOPHAS). This common application for most accredited public health schools/programs requires:
- A statement of purpose
- Three references
- Transcript(s) from any college/university you have attended
- GRE and/or MCAT Score Submission
MPH (Part-Time, evening)
- Summer 2018: March 1, 2018
- Fall 2018: June 1, 2018
MPH (1-Year, Full-Time)
- Summer 2018: March 1, 2018
- International Students: January 15, 2018
Non-Degree Special Students
Non-degree special students apply using SOPHAS Express. This option is for those wishing to take one or more classes for enrichment or as continuing education but who are not planning on pursuing a degree.
- Winter 2018: November 1, 2017
- Spring 2018: February 1, 2018
- Summer 2018: April 1, 2018
- Fall 2018: July 1, 2018
Tuition differs for full-time (three or more units per quarter) and part-time students (one or two units per quarter). Current tuition rates and fees can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
Financial Aid & Considerations
Financial Aid Office
- Please visit The Graduate School’s Office of Financial Aid for information on graduate funding, loans and other institutional resources.
Earned Credit Transfer
- Some of our students have credits from prior or concurrent professional/graduate school coursework that may be applied towards their MPH degree. Graduate school courses applied toward an undergraduate degree cannot be applied toward the MPH. Please contact Maureen Moran to inquire about credit transfer.
Fellowships & Employer Tuition Credits