Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Michigan


Michigan’s public health efforts, largely created through the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), have resulted in the development of a wide array of community-based solutions for complex health system issues and research needs. Thanks to the dedicated network of academic, nonprofit, governmental, and healthcare provider partners, the MPHI has been able to devise innovative solutions for nearly every challenge the citizens and communities of Michigan face.


Featured Programs:

One such example is Michigan’s Blueprint for Health Innovation, a plan that guides the state as it pursues better coordination of care, lower costs, and improved health outcomes. In fact, Michigan received $70 million in federal funding aimed at supporting innovative health system enhancements such as Blueprint. The public health leaders of the MPHI assisted the State in developing Blueprint by engaging partners and supporting the move to draft the document.


Other valuable MPHI programs involve strengthening the public health system (e.g., Michigan’s Quality Improvement Guidebook), influencing policy and practice (e.g., Parents Partnering for Change), and improving healthcare (e.g., the Michigan Pathways to Better Health).


These programs, as well as the countless others implemented every year, demonstrate the state’s commitment to the health and well-being of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.


The size, depth, and complexity of many of these initiatives require leaders and groundbreakers in public health. Senior-level public health professionals provide unmatched leadership skills thanks, in part, to a multidisciplinary education in public health achieved through earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.


Master’s Degrees in Public Health Available in Massachusetts


Master’s degrees in public health are not all created equal, which is why accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is more important than ever. CEPH-accredited Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs must encompass a multidisciplinary curriculum that prepares students to take on leadership roles in a wide array of settings and sectors.


All CEPH-accredited programs must consist of study in the areas of public health identified by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health’s (ASPPH) MPH Core Competency Model. The MPH Core Competency Model consists of five, traditional core areas of public health, as well as seven interdisciplinary/cross-cutting areas of public health:


Traditional Core Competencies of Public Health


  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Biostatistics
  • Health Policy and Management


Interdisciplinary/Cross-Cutting Areas of Public Health


  • Communications and Informatics
  • Program Planning
  • Professionalism
  • Diversity and Culture
  • Leadership
  • Systems Thinking
  • Public Health Biology


Focus Areas


Although all accredited MPH programs include a comprehensive course of study in the areas of public health within the MPH Core Competency Model, many institutions allow students to personalize their program by choosing one or more focus areas that best complements their professional goals. Most focus areas consist of a plan of courses that total between 10 and 15 credits.


The following, although not available in all MPH programs, are indicative of some of the most popular focus areas for MPH graduate students:


Health Communication: Health communication involves strategically utilizing communications and marketing tools to influence any number of environmental conditions that affect and advance public health objectives.


The MPHI’s work in injury prevention aims to decrease serious injuries and deaths and improve the health of communities. The public health administrators, program directors, and educators involved in injury prevention and control work with national, state, and local coalitions, providing them with data, technical assistance, training, and leadership designed to promote injury prevention programs and partnerships. Projects associated with injury prevention and control includes the Michigan Child Death Review; the Neonatal Fetal, Infant, and Child Death Review Centers, and the National Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Case Registry.


Coursework in a health communication focus area includes:


  • Marketing and research for public health
  • Social marketing
  • Preventing health disparities
  • Global health communication interventions


Health Policy: Health policy aims to improve public health and health services by advancing innovative and effective health policy education, research, and services.


The MPHI’s public health professionals in health policy focus on health promotion and disease prevention, managing chronic disease prevention programs that address the circumstances under which people are born, grow up, live, and work and how these circumstances affect their health. The efforts of these researchers and program directors involve translating scientific research and evidence-based interventions into program development and evaluation, social marketing, and coalition development. Associated projects include Michigan’s Pathways to Better Health, the Michigan Healthy Worksite Platform, and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program.


Coursework in a health policy focus area includes:


  • Public health and law
  • Global health diplomacy
  • Leadership seminar
  • Qualitative research methods in public health


Program Planning and Evaluation


Program planning and evaluation in public health involves designing and implementing programs and research focused on health promotion and/or disease prevention.


An example of program planning and evaluation among public health leaders is MDHI’s maternal, child and adolescent health programs and initiatives, which focus on improving maternal, child, and adolescent health by identifying health disparities, understanding their causes, and addressing them through evidence-based solutions. Associated programs include the Healthy Native Communities-Healthy Native Babies and the Michigan Family-to-Family Health Information Center.


Coursework in a program planning and evaluation focus area includes:


  • Qualitative research methods in public health
  • Researching violence against women and girls
  • Marketing research for public health
  • Social marketing


Global Health: Global health professionals in public health focus their efforts on contemporary global health issues, contributing to the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies at the local, national, regional, and international levels.


For example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works with partner organizations worldwide to tackle critical problems in global health, among others. The Foundation’s Global Health division aims to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries.


Coursework in a global health focus area includes:


  • Researching violence against women and girls
  • Global health diplomacy
  • Environmental and occupational epidemiology
  • Preventing health disparities


Program Structure/Design


In addition to the traditional, two-year master’s degree program, many institutions offer flexible scheduling options. For example, many programs allow students to complete the program on a part-time basis, while others offer accelerated programs that condense the program’s curriculum into a one-year track.


Still others appeal to working professionals through executive MPH programs, which offer students a number of unique scheduling options, including distance education and weekend courses, among others.


Admission Requirements


MPH programs require incoming students to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While some students possess undergrad degrees in areas like public administration, business administration, or a related clinical healthcare discipline, it is quite common for many MPH students to possess undergrad degrees in everything from accounting and finance to human resources and journalism, provided they have completed specific undergrad prerequisites, such as:


  • Math course (algebra, statistics, calculus, etc.)
  • Biology course
  • Health-related science course (physiology, anatomy, nutrition, etc.)


Other requirements for admission into an MPH degree program include:


  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA
  • Relevant work experience in public health (usually reserved for candidates of executive MPH programs)
  • Minimum GPA score (or other standardized test score, such as the MCAT)


Job Growth Projections for Public Health Professions in Michigan that Require a Master’s Degree


Michigan’s master’s-prepared public health professionals are policy leaders, program designers, administrators, and educators, among others. According to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, a number of management, scientific and administration careers will experience impressive job growth between 2012 and 2022:


  • Social and Community Services Managers: 13 percent
  • Statisticians: 32 percent
  • Sociologists: 13.3 percent
  • Microbiologists: 4.8 percent
  • Epidemiologists: 6.7 percent
  • Social Scientists: 6.6 percent
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: 10.1 percent


Salaries for Public Health Professions in Michigan that Require a Master’s Degree


The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget revealed salary ranges for the following public health professionals that often require a master’s degree, as of 2014:


  • Social and Community Services Managers: $53,705-$76,365
  • Statisticians: $82,014-$121,929
  • Sociologists: $75,587-$ 146,036
  • Microbiologists: $60,611-$ 89,668
  • Epidemiologists: $66,414-$             88,129
  • Social Scientists: $72,904-$ 107,806
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $41,350-$ 68,868


Career Opportunities for Michigan’s Master’s-Prepared Public Health Professionals


Thanks to the multidisciplinary aspect of public health, jobs in this sector are wide reaching. MPH graduates enjoy public health careers in everything from governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations to academia and research organizations.


Although the following job descriptions (sourced in December 2015) are not a guarantee of employment in public health, they do provide job seekers with a general idea of the opportunities available in Michigan (Examples shown for illustrative purposes only and not meant to imply a job offer or assurance of employment.):


Manager, Planning and Quality Assurance, Macomb County


  • Responsibilities:
    • Manages and coordinates public health planning and evaluation activities
    • Reviews and monitors programs, activities, and objectives for maintaining Health Department compliance
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in public health, health planning, health administration, or a related health field
    • Master’s degree in public health, health planning, health administration, or other health-related field preferred


Community Health Coordinator, Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Chronic Disease Coordinating Network


  • Responsibilities:
    • Forms collaborative partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders
    • Coordinates a complex work plan that addresses the prevention and treatment of chronic disease across an eight-county region
  • Requirements:
    • Master’s degree in public health, nursing, or a related field preferred


Assistant Project Manager, Health and Wellness, Greater Flint Coalition, Flint


  • Responsibilities:
    • Assists in the coordination of multi-sector committees, task forces, and collaborative projects d
    • Focuses on improving the health behaviors of adults and children in community-based, school, and workplace settings
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in health or a related field
    • Master’s degree (MPH, MHSA, or MS) a plus