University of Washington School of Public Health


Re-envisioning the MPH Curriculum

The UW School of Public Health is reshaping its popular MPH program into a cutting-edge curriculum that integrates research and practice skills while preparing students for an ever-changing public health landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the School redesigning its MPH?

Our MPH program is great, but needs modernizing. We aim to reshape the curriculum to better prepare students for the changing public health landscape. Our MPH would be an integrated research and practice degree that produces job-ready graduates equipped to tackle real-world problems. Our students will be prepared to continue learning new skills once they’re on the job.

When will the new curriculum take effect?

The 2019-2020 academic year. We hope to have a broad outline of the new degree in place by the fall of 2018 so prospective students can make informed decisions before they apply. We recognize this is an ambitious timeline and strive to balance the importance of delivering a responsive curriculum and the integrity of taking the time to get it right.

What will be different?

We envision a common core of foundational courses for all students. Students will gain a broad perspective of public health and an appreciation of students from other disciplinary backgrounds. Students can then decide whether to take a practice or research route, but will be skilled in both areas.

Can students still specialize?

Think core MPH with flavors. In addition to the foundational courses, graduate students will train in one of the School’s highly specialized concentrations. Exactly what options will be offered and how/when students would choose has yet to be decided.

Will tuition or length of time to complete degree be affected?

No. Re-envisioning our MPH curriculum has nothing to do with cost. It’s about creating the best educational product we can deliver. The current MPH typically takes 21 months to complete.

The UW SPH has 19 different MPH programs. Will they all be affected?

Most of them. The new MPH would be a single, School-wide degree with two exceptions: The Community-Oriented Public Health Practice MPH and the Executive MPH. The COPHP program uses a unique problem-based pedagogy and is run in partnership with the UW Continuum College. The executive MPH is geared to full-time professionals and is primarily online.

Are other schools revising their curricula?

Yes. Most leading schools of public health are in the process of transitioning from legacy curricula to a more modern MPH. Reimagining our MPH has been a priority for several years, and a broad consensus now exists across the School to make it happen.

Will current or entering students be affected?

No. The new curriculum would apply only to students accepted for the fall quarter of 2019 or later.

Will the program be accredited?

Yes. The new curriculum will meet the accreditation standards set the by Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH).

Who is redesigning the curriculum?

A steering committee led by Stephen Schwartz, Professor of Epidemiology. Also serving on the committee and representing the departments and programs are James Hughes (Biostatistics), Scott Meschke (Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences), Brandon Guthrie (Epidemiology), Carey Farquhar (Global Health), Donald Patrick (Health Services) and Jesse Jones-Smith (Interdisciplinary Programs). Rus Hathaway (Office of the Dean) is the MPH Curriculum Project Manager.

How will the committee and School share updates?

Through all-School messages, from committee members to their departments/programs, on this website, and via other School-wide communications. Listening sessions and presentations to key stakeholders will be planned.

How can I give input?

You can write to We welcome your ideas!

See Also: MPH Programs