Master of Public Health Graduate Program Student Handbook 1. Professional Orientation

1.1 Overview of the MPH Degree

The MPH degree is the most widely recognized professional credential for leadership positions in public health. This degree is appropriate for those who wish to pursue careers in developing, planning, managing, or evaluating health promotion and disease prevention programs, or in conducting public health related research. MPH graduates are able to integrate and apply their knowledge to address public health problems, and possess skills and competencies necessary for public health practice in a wide range of public and private institutions. Graduates are typically employed in governmental or non-profit health agencies, health care facilities, work site wellness programs or school settings. 


UNF’s MPH Program provides students with the professional education necessary to become competent and committed Public Health practitioners by preparing them with a broad understanding of the core areas of public health combined with a focus on competencies specific to the health promotion and education concentration area.  Public health core courses are designed around the “Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals” developed by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice . Epidemiology and Biostatistics are the basic sciences necessary to measure the extent of health problems, investigate disease causation and risks in populations, and identify effective interventions. Training in social and behavioral sciences related to public health examines the political, economic and socio-cultural context of community health and teaches skills necessary for successful health education and health promotion efforts. The organizational aspects of public health administration, policy development, and inter- organizational cooperation are part of the discipline of health services administration. Instruction in environmental health sciences acquaints students with biophysical aspects of public health.


Additionally, students receive training in Health Promotion/Health Education, preparing them to enter a career in planning, implementing, coordinating and evaluating health promotion and disease prevention programs as well as conducting research.  The MPH concentration area is aligned with the seven “Responsibilities and Competencies of Health Educators” delineated by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC) .


Throughout the program, the values of ethical public health practice such as equity, honesty and the balance of individual rights and community responsibilities are taught. Interpersonal skills such as cooperation with other professionals and staff, and working with individuals and community groups in a sensitive and unbiased way are emphasized. The improvement of the public health knowledge base through both basic and applied research is stressed.


1.2 Program Accreditation & Professional Certification

The UNF MPH Program is nationally accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) . Graduates are eligible to earn the Certified in Public Health (CPH) certification by passing the CPH exam offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) . This certification is only available to graduates of CEPH accredited programs. Graduates are also eligible to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) by passing the exam offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) .


1.3 MPH Program Mission Statement

The mission of the University of North Florida MPH Program is to prepare public health professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve population health.  This mission is accomplished through excellence and innovation in graduate teaching and public health research, with a commitment to diversity, community involvement and professional service. Students will acquire knowledge and develop skills in the five core areas of public health: biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health policy and management, and social and behavioral sciences.

1.4 Goal Statements & Measurable Objectives

Instructional Goal

The MPH Program’s instructional goal is to provide a relevant and high quality educational program that prepares graduates for successful careers in public health.

Instructional Objectives:

    1. Each academic year, at least 80% of required MPH courses will receive a UNF student ISQ item average of very good to excellent for “overall rating of instructor.”
    2. Each academic year, at least 80% of graduating MPH students will report “agree” or “strongly agree” when reporting their overall satisfaction with the internship experience on the exit survey.
    3. Each academic year, at least 80% of graduating MPH students will report “agree” or “strongly agree” when reporting their overall satisfaction with the MPH program on the exit survey.
    4. Each academic year, at least 80% of alumni will report "agree" or "strongly agree" when asked if the UNF MPH program adequately prepared them to practice as a public health professional on the alumni survey.
    5. The MPH program faculty will annually review and incorporate feedback as necessary from the Public Health Advisory board regarding the relevance of the program of study to current public health practice trends and issues.
    6. Each academic year, at least 50% of required MPH courses will include information on the appreciation of diversity relevant to course content. 

      Research Goal


      The MPH Program’s research goal is to engage in innovative research leading to new discoveries and practices that impact public health and prevention of disease. 

      Research Objectives: 

      1. Each faculty member will produce at least 1 scholarly work annually as indicated by peer-reviewed publications, internal/external grants or contracts, or presentations in the public health field.
      2. At least 25% of faculty will address the impact of diversity within at least one research project per year.
      3. At least 20% of MPH students will collaborate with faculty in research activities.

      Service Goal:

      The MPH Program’s service goal is to provide service that improves the health of individuals and groups within the communities we serve.

      Service Objectives:


      1. Each faculty member will participate in at least one local, state or national public health organization or community based service effort annually.
      2. At least one MPH faculty member per year will participate with a public health agency that addresses underrepresented populations.
      3. At least one MPH faculty member will facilitate a public health service or training event in the local community each year.
      4. The UNF student health education honorary, Eta Sigma Gamma, will participate in at least two service projects annually.

      1.5 Graduate Academic Learning Compacts (GALCs)

      UNF MPH Core GALCs

      Graduates will be able to:

      1. apply biostatistics and research methodology for effective collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of health related scientific data.
      2. analyze the distribution and determinants of health related states or events in human populations in order to provide information for public health decision-making and action.
      3. examine complex issues in the ecology of public health problems related to aspects of the environment for purposes of developing/implementing a plan to mitigate environmental risk factors.
      4. demonstrate knowledge of the areas of policy, economics, finance, marketing, quality and accessibility that are necessary to effectively manage public health care organizations and services.
      5. identify, organize, and critically appraise peer-reviewed research findings relevant to specific public health topics.
      6. develop and complete an independent public health practice or research project focused on a specific health related program or problem.
      7. effectively communicate public health issues, data, and information.

      UNF MPH Health Promotion/Health Education GALCs

      Graduates will be able to:

      1. plan and implement an evidence-based health program that reflects social, economic cultural, and behavioral factors of the community.
      2. design and implement theoretical-based, and developmentally and culturally appropriate learning strategies.
      3. evaluate a public health program.

      1.6 Values Statement



      The MPH Program provides a positive learning environment that supports quality teaching, research and service through its commitment to the following values:

      • Mutual Respect : We treat each individual in our diverse community with consideration and dignity.
      • S ervice : We provide service to the University, communities and professions and promote public health through knowledge and training.
      • Accountability : We are responsible for our attitudes and actions.
      • Innovation : We encourage and support creativity in our teaching, research and service.
      • Cooperation : We support a culture characterized by open communication, collaboration and collegiality.
      • Excellence : We strive for the highest standard of performance by continually monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the Program’s goals, objectives, and outcomes.
      • Well-being : We promote physical, emotional and social well-being of the community.
      • Fulfillment of Potential : We are committed to professional development through lifelong learning.
      • Ethical Behavior : We support fair, just and equitable treatment of individuals, families and communities.

      1.7 Commitment to Diversity

      The MPH faculty are committed to achieving diversity and cultural competence within the Program. We support the University Mission, Vision, Goals, Strategies and Values reflecting the value of diversity, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity’s mission and policies.

      UNF Mission Statement


      The University of North Florida’s academically talented students receive individualized attention and opportunities to engage in transformational learning: e.g., community engagement, internships, international study, and research. Dedicated faculty and staff create a rich learning environment on a beautiful campus that provides an inspiring setting for our diverse community. Together, we enhance the economic and cultural development of our growing metropolitan region.

      UNF Vision Statement


      The University of North Florida will be an institution of choice, nationally recognized for high-caliber students, faculty, and staff. We will be known for engaging students with experiential learning grounded in critical thinking, effective communication, and analytical skills. We will expand our reach and relevance through innovative programs and research that drive the economy, build upon our extensive partnerships, and position our students for lifelong success. Students will develop the global perspectives and cultural understanding needed to address future challenges.

      University Values

      • the pursuit of truth and knowledge carried out in the spirit of intellectual and artistic freedom;
      • ethical conduct;
      • community engagement;
      • diversity;
      • responsibility to the natural environment; and
      • mutual respect and civility.

      Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Statement

      UNF “is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all who interact in our community.  In building this environment, we strive to attract students, faculty and staff from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. While embracing these concepts, including our obligations under federal, state and local law, UNF is equally committed to ensuring that educational and employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, admission, hiring, compensation and promotion, are based on the qualifications, skills and abilities of those desiring to work, study, and participate in our community. 


      To accomplish this intent, UNF shall not commit or permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of genetic information, race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or veteran status in any educational, employment, social or recreational program or activity it offers.  Similarly, UNF will not commit or permit retaliation against an individual who complains of discrimination or harassment or an individual who cooperates in an investigation of an alleged violation of University Regulation.  In exercising these standards, the University will not abridge either free speech or academic freedom based on its context.”  

      1.8 Ethical & Professional Conduct

      Code of Ethics

      The MPH Program subscribes to the basic standards underlying the professional codes of ethics developed and adopted by professional public health associations.  These include the Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health developed by the Public Health Leadership Society, and the Code of Ethics for the Health Education Profession , developed by the Coalition of National Health Education Organizations.  As a student in the program, you are expected to be familiar with and follow these professional standards of ethics.

      Professional Behavior

      The MPH faculty have developed a number of Program and course policies to benefit students.  As your professors, one of our roles is to help you develop professionalism.  We expect students to present themselves as professionals both in class and when interacting in the community as a representative of the UNF MPH Program.  You are a reflection of our Program.  When you are applying for jobs, you will be competing against other highly qualified graduates from various states and related programs.  We want you to stand out, to be professional, and to be successful in your future career.


      Students in the MPH Program are expected to demonstrate professional behaviors such as: 1) honesty; 2) commitment to learning, 3) appropriate interpersonal and communication skills, 4) effective use of time and resources, 5) use of constructive feedback, 6) problem-solving, 7) responsibility, 8) critical thinking, and 9) stress management. The MPH Program Faculty strongly believes that professional behavior patterns begin during the student’s academic preparation. Class attendance, promptness, preparation and active participation in class activities and discussions are prime indicators of mature and professional behavior. Non-compliance with professionalism policies may result in a reduced grade or failure in a given course.  

      The Free and Open Pursuit of Knowledge

      UNF encourages the free and open pursuit of knowledge; we consider this to be a fundamental principle and strength of a democratic people. To this end, UNF expects its students, its faculty, its administrators, and its staff to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity.  UNF expects all members of the University community to both honor and protect one another’s individual and collective rights.  

      Academic Integrity


      Students are expected to abide by the policy on academic integrity as stated in the UNF Graduate Catalog


      Claiming One's Own Work 

      Each student is honor-bound to submit under his or her name or signature only his or her own work; to fully acknowledge his or her use of any information, ideas, or other matter belonging to someone else, and to properly document the source in question; and to offer for credit only that work which he or she has completed in relation to the current course.  

      Violations of Academic Integrity

      Under this heading, the UNF Student Handbook identifies several types of violations; these include but are not limited to: cheating; fabricating and falsifying information or citations; submitting the same work for credit in more than one course; plagiarizing; providing another student with access to one’s own work to submit under this person’s name or signature; destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material; and helping or attempting to help another person commit an act of academic dishonesty. UNF authorizes any instructor who finds evidence of cheating, plagiarism, or other wrongful behavior that violates the UNF Academic Integrity Code to take appropriate action. Possible action includes, but is not limited to, failing the student on the work in question, failing the student for the course, notifying the appropriate academic dean or Vice President for Student Affairs, and requesting additional action be taken.  


      The consequences of a breach of academic integrity may result in an F, which is unforgivable, regardless of withdrawal status, and dismissal from the MPH Program. 

      Course Content

      MPH courses may address subject matters, issues, or perspectives to which some might object. Such objections will not exempt a student from course requirements. UNF stands behind the right of its instructors to include material that is challenging in any number of ways. The faculty urges students to discuss any concerns they might have concerning the content of their courses with their instructors.