Master of Public Health Graduate Program Student Handbook

3. Program & Degree Requirements

3.1 Program of Study


Major: Community Health  

Concentration: Health Promotion/Health Ed

Degree: Master of Public Health

  

 Core Requirements (21 credits)

  • PHC6102 3 Public Health Policy and Management
  • HSC6215 3 Environmental Health
  • HSC6505 3 Epidemiology
  • PHC6050 3 Public Health Biostatistics I
  • HSC6603 3 Theory of Health Behavior
  • HSC6735 3 Health Science Research
  • PHC6103 3 Public Health Practice

Concentration Requirements (15 credits)  

  • HSC6585 3 Health Promotion/Health Education Strategies
  • HSC6587 3 Program Plan Health Promo/Education
  • HSC6716 3 Health Program Evaluation
  • PHC6940 3 Public Health Capstone 
    • Prerequisite: Completion of or current enrollment in all required MPH courses and permission of the PHC6940 Public Health Capstone Instructor
     
  • PHC6945 3 Public Health Internship 
    • Prerequisite: PHC6940 and Permission of the Capstone Instructor  
    • *A comprehensive examination is required in this course.
     

Major Electives (9 credits)

A list of approved electives is posted on the MPH website. Other graduate level courses may be taken with approval of the MPH Program Director.



    3.2 Required Courses Descriptions


    HSC6215: Environmental Health 3 An ecological examination of the relationships between environmental conditions and human health. Special emphasis will be given to principles, processes, priorities, and current research in the study of environmental problems and their impact on health and disease in human populations.  

     

    HSC6505: Epidemiology 3 This course covers epidemiological concepts and methods for measuring and interpreting data related to the distribution and determinants of morbidity and mortality in human populations. The knowledge and skills acquired should enable one to plan, develop, conduct, and interpret findings from epidemiologic investigations and other types of studies, and to make meaningful recommendations for methods of disease control and prevention.

     

    HSC6585: Health Promotion and Health Education Strategies 3 An examination of the implementation, coordination and effectiveness of health promotion and health education strategies and methods.

     

    HSC6587: Program Planning in Health Promotion/Education 3 An analysis of the essential aspects of planning procedures used in the development of community-based health promotion and health education programs.

     

    HSC6603: Theory of Health Behavior 3 An exploration of the theoretical and conceptual models and factors underlying public health behavior and health promotion programs and their application in planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs for behavioral change.

     

    HSC6716: Health Program Evaluation 3 This course focuses on principles and methods employed in program evaluation and evaluative research. Issues of conceptualization and design in evaluation are emphasized. The course also addresses operational procedures used in evaluation studies ranging from identification of variables to instrument design and use of findings. The course reviews applications of evaluative research in health services decision making.

     

    HSC6735: Health Science Research 3 Prerequisite:  HSC 6505. A study of the investigative and analytical methods used in health related research. Emphasizes design, sampling techniques, data collection and processing, interpretation of the results and ethics.

     

    PHC6050: Public Health Biostatistics I 3 Prerequisite:  Undergraduate statistics course or equivalent Description: This course focuses on the principles and methods of reasoning that underlie modern biostatistics, providing the basis for further study in epidemiology and biostatistics. The course will provide information concerning specific descriptive and inferential techniques commonly used in public health research.

     

    PHC6102: Public Health Policy and Management 3 This course examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health and personal health services, with emphasis on major current health policy and management issues related to access, quality and cost.

     

    PHC6103: Essentials of Public Health Practice 3 This public health core course provides an overview of the three fundamental areas in public health practice including assessment, policy development and assurance. Purpose and examples of each area are examined within the context of an operating county level public health department.

     

    PHC6940: Public Health Capstone 3 Prerequisite:  Completion of or current enrollment in all required MPH courses and permission of the PHC 6940 Public Health Capstone Instructor This course prepares students for entry into a public health career through development of professional skills, securing an internship site, developing the internship project proposal, obtaining necessary approvals, and preparation for national certification. This course must be completed the semester immediately prior to Public Health Internship. This course is offered spring term only.

     

    PHC6945: Public Health Internship 3 Prerequisite:  Completion of PHC 6940 and permission of the Capstone Instructor This course consists of two major components: 1) a planned, supervised practice experience with an approved public health organization; and 2) the comprehensive examination. During the practice experience students will apply the knowledge and skills learned in MPH core and health education specialization courses to actual public health problems. The comprehensive examination will assess student proficiency in the concepts and skills learned in MPH core and health education specialization courses. This course is offered summer term only.

     



    3.3 Public Health Capstone & Internship


    The UNF MPH Capstone and Internship consists of two 3-credit courses taken over 2 semesters.  Students set up the internship in the spring semester (PHC 6940 Public Health Capstone) and complete the internship hours in the summer semester (PHC 6945 Public Health Internship).  The internship is the final culminating field experience required for the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and serves as an opportunity for the student to put into action the knowledge, skills and abilities which they have acquired during their degree program.  The MPH Internship Handbook and a List of Potential Internship Sites are posted on the MPH Bb site.

     

    To accomplish the internship objectives, prospective practice experiences may focus on, but are not limited to:

     

     

    1. Increasing proficiency in the Core Competencies for Providing Essential Public Health Services:
     
    • Monitor health status to identify community health problems
    • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community
    • Inform, educate , and empower people about health issues
    • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems
    • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
    • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
    • Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
    • Assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
    • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
    • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems
     
    2. Increasing proficiency in the Responsibilities & Competencies for Health Educators as delineated by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC):
     
    • Assess individual and community needs for health education
    • Plan effective health education strategies, interventions, and programs
    • Implement health education strategies, interventions, and programs
    • Conduct evaluation and research related to health education
    • Administer health education strategies, interventions, and programs
    • Serve as a health education resource person
    • Communicate and Advocate for health and health education
     
    3. Integrating public health theory with community-based practice
    4. Expanding understanding of the role of health-related agencies in the community setting
    5. Analyzing the role of public health professionals/health educators in the community and through agency activities
    6. Gaining an understanding of the organization and policy issues, administration, research, funding sources, program activities/ evaluation and challenges faced by public health organizations

    7.

    Improving communication and professional skills through on-the-job training
    8. Increasing leadership, management, problem-solving, decision-making and administration skills

     

    Choosing an Internship Site

    Internships must be completed at an approved and affiliated site as determined by the MPH Capstone Committee.  Sites are not required to provide any salary or benefits to interns; payment is at the individual agency’s discretion.  It is not recommended to complete internships at agencies where family and/or friends are employed.

    Unaffiliated Internship Sites

    Students wishing to intern at a site that does not have an established affiliation agreement with UNF should meet with the Faculty Internship Coordinator at least one semester, preferably one year, prior to the desired internship semester to allow adequate time for the affiliation agreement completion.  It is highly recommended that students choose an approved alternative site in the event the affiliation agreement is not able to be executed.

    Out-of-Area Internship Sites

    It is expected that the internship experience will be completed in the Northeast Florida area (50-mile radius of the University of North Florida) at an approved and affiliated agency. Out-of-area internships are granted only in extenuating circumstances and are left to the discretion of the MPH Capstone Committee.  The MPH Capstone Committee reserves the right to deny the out-of-area internship proposal if it does not meet the internship program requirements.  Students who desire to intern out of the area should meet with the Faculty Internship Coordinator at least one year prior to the desired internship semester to allow adequate time for affiliation agreement completion and other arrangements.

     

    It is highly recommended that students choose an approved alternative site in the Northeast Florida area in the event the affiliation agreement is not able to be executed.  It is important to note that there will be required meetings on campus during the internship semester and the out-of-area intern will be required to attend these meetings in order to receive full course credit.  No exceptions will be made for the course requirements, the comprehensive examination, or internship poster session.

    Dual Employment & Internship Location

    The policy of the MPH Program only allows students to intern at their current community health-related place of employment in rare circumstances.  In order for students to complete the internship experience at their current place of employment, they must complete the required minimum 175 hours in addition to their regular employment hours and report to someone other than their current supervisor.

     

    The duties completed must extend beyond, or be something other than his/her regular work duties and allow application of the knowledge and skills learned during the student’s degree program.  A Dual Place of Employment and Internship Site Agreement Form must be signed by the student and site preceptor prior to internship approval.

    The Internship Project Proposal & Practical Experience

    Students must complete a minimum of 150 hours during the 3 credit hour summer internship and may complete an additional 50 hours during the spring capstone course.  The internship project is a graduate level culminating project and should comprise the majority of these hours.  This project will be proposed in the Internship Project Proposal paper during the spring Capstone course.  If the intern and/or preceptor are not sure if the proposed project is appropriate for a graduate level project or will fit the project proposal paper format, please contact the Faculty Internship Coordinator to discuss. It is NOT acceptable for graduate level interns to only focus on a variety of small projects such as conducting a presentation, developing some print materials, attending some meetings or completing routine daily tasks. 

    It is recognized that interns will also work on a variety of daily tasks to learn about the agency, to assist the agency in achieving its mission, and to gain practical experience and competence in the profession.  The distribution of these hours will be determined by the intern, their preceptor and the nature of the internship project. 

     

    The Internship Project Proposal should delineate the specific plans for how the internship project will be accomplished. It is essential for the student and the site preceptor to communicate about the work that will be accomplished during the internship and set reasonable deadlines well before the internship semester commences. 

     

    The MPH Capstone Committee will review and approve internship sites and project proposals before the internship semester commences.  The Internship Project Proposal paper is a working draft and may need to be revised before the project proposal is given final approval based on review by the MPH Capstone Committee to ensure goals are appropriate for the MPH Capstone experience.  (However, all versions of the Internship Project Proposal paper turned in should be of ‘final paper’ quality).  While it may be necessary during the internship to modify strategies for completing internship goals, the site preceptor and Faculty Internship Coordinator must first approve the changes.



    3.4 Comprehensive Examination


     

     

    The comprehensive examination represents the culmination of the academic experience in the MPH Program.  This examination assesses each student’s understanding of the UNF MPH Graduate Academic Learning Compacts, which are based on the core areas of public health and specialization in health promotion/education.  Additionally, the exam assesses student’s ability to apply this knowledge to contemporary public health issues.  The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions divided into six sections representing each public health core area and the health promotion/health education concentration.   The five core areas of public health include: Biostatistics & Research, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Administration, and Social & Behavioral Health.  The health promotion/health education section includes questions addressing: Assessing, Planning, Implementing & Evaluating Health Programs, Acting as a Resource Person in Health Education, and Communicating and Advocating for Health Education.  All questions are subject to review by the Program Director and Program Faculty.

     

     

    The examination will be taken during the last semester of the program.  The examination is given on campus at a set time via Blackboard early in the final semester.  The exam will be closed book and timed.

     

    *Important Note:   Although the comprehensive examination is administered through the Internship course, it is a requirement of the UNF MPH Program. Students must pass all sections of the Comprehensive Examination in order to graduate from the UNF MPH program.  Students who do not pass on the first attempt will be allowed one additional attempt during the internship semester. 

     



    3.5 Required Service Hours


     UNF MPH students are required to complete public health related service hours each year; 10 hours per academic year for full-time students and 7 hours for part-time students.  Students must keep a log and documentation of their hours served throughout the program.  The log should include dates, times, events and responsibilities.  Documentation may include a brochure, flyer, signed note or picture at the event.  It is the student’s responsibility to keep the log and documentation until it is collected in the PHC 6945 Public Health Capstone course.  The hours will count toward the Capstone course grade.  Service hours that completed for another MPH course or work should not be counted.  Opportunities to receive service hours will be advertised through the UNF MPH Bb site.  Examples of events that will be counted toward the service hours include:

    1. Mentoring of 1 st year MPH students. The PHC 6103 Public Health Practice Instructor will email information about a ‘meet and greet’ with new students and the process for becoming a mentor. 
    2. Tutoring of Community Health undergraduates or MPH students. Faculty will email information about tutoring opportunities through the UNF MPH Bb site.

    3. Attending/staffing UNF MPH Program events such as the MPH Student Advisory Board, MPH recruitment fairs, ESG events, etc.

    4. Attending/participating in local public health events such as coalition meetings, conferences, presentations, etc.

    If you are unsure whether an event will count toward service hours, ask an MPH faculty member.  If you have an event you would like to share with other MPH students, please email it through the MPH Bb site.



    3.6 Field Experiences


    MPH students may complete 3 credit hours of Field Experience (HSC 6816-Field Experiences in Health) as one of their program electives. Students who would like to choose this elective must receive permission from the MPH Program Director.  Students must have completed one full time academic year of coursework before they will be allowed to register for field experience (e.g., 6 MPH courses, typically 3 in fall and 3 in spring).  Students will only be allowed to complete a field experience and their internship with the same agency in very rare circumstances and with permission of the Capstone/Internship Committee.

     

     

    After approval from the MPH Program Director, the student will work with the Field Experience Instructor and must follow the guidelines and deadlines set forth in the MPH Field Experience Handbook.  There are a number of deadlines that must be met the semester before the field experience in order to complete the required documents.   Students must complete all required field experience forms and assignments by the deadlines determined by the Field Experience Instructor.  



    3.7 Elective Courses


    Students take three electives courses as part of the UNF MPH program.  Approved electives and graduate Certificate Programs are posted on the UNF MPH Program website. Students must obtain approval from the Program Director prior to enrolling in any elective courses not on this list.  Study abroad courses are also offered regularly through the Brooks College of Health and students may seek approval to use these courses as electives. Elective courses must be graduate courses at the 5000 or 6000 level or higher. 

     



    3.8 Transfer of Credit


    Course Validation for Course Work Completed More than Five Years Ago

    UNF requires that a student who has taken courses at UNF or elsewhere more than five years prior to the completion of a graduate degree program or admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree must petition his or her graduate program director to validate these courses before the Graduate School will apply them toward the student’s fulfillment of degree requirements. Graduate program directors have the authority to require the student to demonstrate his or her knowledge of the material covered in those courses. 

    Credit Transfers – Up to Nine Hours

    The residency requirement at UNF is 24 semester credit hours; 18 of which must be taken at the 6000 level.

    With approval of the Program Director and the MPH Program Curriculum Committee, a student may transfer up to nine (9) semester hours of course work from another regionally accredited graduate program at an approved institution if those courses are determined to have met the necessary MPH Program competencies.

     

    Students wishing to enroll in courses at another institution while also enrolled at UNF for the purpose of transferring credits into their UNF graduate program of study must complete a “Concurrent Enrollment” form and have prior approval from the Program Director. 

    1. The student must have completed the course work subject to the time limits applicable to his or her current graduate program.
    2. The student must have earned grades of 3.0 or higher in the courses.
    3. The student is not entitled to apply transfer credits toward the 18 hour minimum of 6000-level courses at UNF required for all master’s degrees.
    4. The student is not entitled to transfer credit for correspondence courses, courses included in a completed degree program, or portfolio-based experiential learning that has taken place prior to admission to the current graduate program.

    Students are strongly advised not to enroll in courses at another institution during their last semester at UNF. Graduation will most likely be delayed for students who do attempt concurrent enrollment in their last semester.

    Credit Earned as a Post-Baccalaureate – Up to 10 Hours

    A student may transfer up to 10 hours of graduate course work taken at UNF as a post-baccalaureate if that coursework is relevant to the MPH degree program. Such transfer credits will not be included in the student’s UNF graduate GPA.  The student must receive the approval of the Program Director, who will so inform One-Stop Student Services. Students who transfer 10 hours of coursework as a post-baccalaureate may not transfer any additional hours from another accredited institution.

     



    3.9 MPH Program Course Sequence for Students Starting Fall 2012 or Later


    *Note: Following the course sequence is mandatory to graduate according to the schedule shown in the MPH Handbook for your cohort and to be prepared for subsequent courses. Courses are only offered one time per year. Students who fail to follow the course sequencing will delay their graduation, possibly for a year or more. International students who do not follow the sequence will not be granted extensions of their stay in the U.S., and may forfeit their ability to complete the degree. When we make changes in the course sequencing, we will make appropriate accommodations for students who might be adversely affected for reasons out of their control. However, the program is not obligated to make special accommodations for students who fail to follow the course sequencing we provide.

     

     

    Full Time Students  

    Fall 1

    HSC 6505: Epidemiology & Disease Control

     

    PHC 6050: Public Health Biostats I

               

    PHC 6103: Essentials of Public Health    

    Spring 1

    PHC 6102: Public Health Policy & Management 

       

    HSC 6215: Environmental Health       

                

    HSC 6735: Health Science Research  

     

    Summer 1

    Elective 1   

                                                                     

    Elective 2

    Fall 2

    HSC 6603: Theory of Health Behavior

      

    HSC 6587: Program Planning in Health

             

    Elective 3

    Spring 2

    HSC 6585: Health Promotion/Ed Strategies  

     

    HSC 6716: Health Program Evaluation  

             

    PHC 6940: Public Health Capstone

    Summer 2

    PHC 6945: Public Health Internship  

     

     

     

     Part Time Students

    Fall 1

    PHC 6050: Public Health Biostats I     

          

    PHC 6103: Essentials of Public Health    

            

    Spring 1

    HSC 6215: Environmental Health    

                   

    HSC 6735: Health Science Research

    Summer 1

    Elective 1    

    Fall 2

    HSC 6505: Epidemiology & Disease Control

     

    HSC 6603: Theory of Health Behavior 

    Spring 2

    HSC 6585: Health Promotion/Ed Strategies

      

    PHC 6102: Public Health Policy & Management   

    Summer 2

    Elective 2 

    Fall 3

    HSC 6587: Program Planning in Health

             

    Elective 3

    Spring 3

    HSC 6716: Health Program Evaluation 

              

    PHC 6940: Public Health Capstone    

    Summer 3

    PHC 6945: Public Health Internship   

     



    3.10 Application for Graduation


    Students are required to apply for graduation by the published deadline during the first month of the term in which you expect to graduate. Failure to apply for graduation by the deadline may affect your ability to graduate and can result in the delay of your diploma and transcripts.

     

    Graduation applications are available on the web or from One-Stop Student Services. You may apply online in myWings by signing into Student Self-Service, then selecting Student Records, then Graduation Application.  If you are applying after the deadline, you will need to download the application here or pick up a copy at One-Stop Student Services. If applying after the deadline, you will need the signatures of your Advisor and the Dean on the form.



    3.11 Award of Degree


    The MPH degree will be awarded when the student:

    • Completes all course requirements within prescribed time limits.
    • M aintains a grade average of B or better in all work attempted on the program of study.
    • Meets all other academic and professional qualifications as published by the appropriate governing bodies of the university.
    • Satisfactorily completes the Capstone requirements including the practice experience and comprehensive examination.