College of Public Health Catalog 2015/2016

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(also see the USF Graduate School Catalog at

The Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) degree is offered by each of the academic departments of the college. The M.S.P.H. provides a focus in research design, data collection, analysis and application of research in public health intended to improve and protect the health of populations.  The program is designed for students with good quantitative and/or qualitative skills and an interest in the science of public health and a comprehensive research experience.  Students are prepared for research roles in academic or professional public health careers by incorporating epidemiological principles and biostatistical methods with their focus within the core areas of public health.

The M.S.P.H. involves course work in biostatistics and epidemiology and one of the other three core courses. In addition to the core courses, students further focus their skills by completing course work in one of several concentration areas: socio-health sciences, health education, maternal and child health, behavioral health,, health care organizations and management, health policies and programs, environmental health, toxicology/risk assessment, global communicable disease, epidemiology, or biostatistics.

The M.S.P.H. degree is a minimum of 42 credit hours.

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools. The College is fully accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health. The M.S.P.H. in Industrial Hygiene is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Degree Details

Concentration specific competencies are in addition to the following college wide competencies. Within the context of a specific public health career that emphasizes research activities, the Master of Science in Public Health graduate will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate scholarly research in public health in terms of scientific rigor, appropriate use of methods and measures, and contribution to science.
  2. Investigate and determine socio-ecological factors that affect the health of a population.
    1. Apply statistical reasoning and methods to address, analyze, and solve problems in public health.
    2. Apply the study of patterns of death, disease, and disability to the prevention (primary, secondary, and tertiary) of health issues.
    3. Apply the principles of systems thinking to program planning, implementation, and evaluation in organizational, community, and policy initiatives.
    4. Apply principles of evidence-based public health to assessment and prevention (primary, secondary, and tertiary) of public health issues.
  3. Demonstrate research and evaluation skills pertaining to public health issues.
  4. Apply ethical principles guiding the conduct of research on human subjects.


The M.S.P.H. in Industrial Hygiene is a professional degree thus includes the same core degree competencies as our M.P.H..

 Required Application Documentation

Applicants to the M.S.P.H. program are required to complete both a SOPHAS application. Required Documentation (all items are required regardless of GPA or GRE scores):

  • Completed SOPHAS application (requires the following)
    • Transcripts
    • GRE taken within five years preceding application or equivalent scores (see section 6.2 Admissions Tests Information for more information)
    • Minimum of two letters of recommendation. Check concentration requirements as some programs require three.
    • Statement of purpose and objectives
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States must also submit TOEFL scores earned within two (2) years of the desired term of entry. A minimum total score of 79 on the internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 550 on the paper-based test are required. Applications submitted with TOEFL scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied with no exceptions. (see section 6.2 Admissions Tests Information for more information)
  • USF Graduate School application fee (applicants will receive a request for the $30 fee once the SOPHAS application enters our USF system).
 Degree Admission Criteria

The admission committee reviews and considers all required application documentation (listed above). To be admitted to an M.S.P.H. program, applicants must meet the following criteria.

USF Graduate School Admission Criteria

  1. An applicant must have one of the following (a, b, or c):
    1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:
      1. “B” average or better in all work attempted while registered as an undergraduate student working for a degree, or
      2. “B” average or better  in all work attempted while registered as an upper division undergraduate student working for a baccalaureate degree.
    2. A bachelor’s degree with a “B” average or better from a regionally accredited institution and a previous graduate degree with a “B” average or better from a regionally accredited institution.
    3. The equivalent bachelors and/or graduate degrees from a foreign institution.
  2. Submission of standardized test scores if required by the graduate program.  For Graduate Programs that require the GRE, the Personal Potential Index (PPI) may be required.  Refer to individual program admission requirements for information
  3. Applicants from countries where English is not the official language must also demonstrate proficiency in English* in one of the following ways:
    1. By providing scores of 79 or higher on the internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT)
    2. By providing a score of 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
    3. By providing a score of 53 or higher on the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE-A)
    4. By earning a score of 153 (or equivalent) on the GRE Verbal exam.
    5. By earning a baccalaureate or higher degree at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.
    6. By earning a baccalaureate or equivalent degree at a foreign institution where English is the language of instruction (must be documented on the transcript  or on an official Certificate of Medium of Instruction from the Institution).
  4. Details of USF Graduate School admission information may be found at

Additional College of Public Health Master of Public Health Admission Criteria

  • M.S.P.H. applicants must meet the minimum GRE scores for their program (defined in the GRE Scores Table is section 6.2 Admissions Tests Information) AND the minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in upper division courses (GRE scores must be submitted regardless of GPA and GRE scores).
  • M.S.P.H. concentrations may have additional prerequisites. Find your concentration of interest below for more information.
  • Applicants with insufficient background or training in public health or other health and biological sciences may be required to take prerequisite courses.  Check specific department web sites for more information. 
  • Basic computer competency is expected.
  • Students in all online public health courses are expected to meet certain technology requirements in order to successfully participate in their courses. It is the student's responsibility to ensure all requirements are met prior to the start of the semester. For more information, visit:
  • Meeting of these criteria shall not be the only basis for admission.

To start the application process,  see section 6.1 Application Procedures.

 Degree Requirements

All M.S.P.H. students are required to successfully complete:

  • 9 credits of college core courses including Biostatistics I* and Epidemiology, plus one other core course approved by the academic advisor (select from Principles of Health Policy and Management, Environmental and Occupational Health, or Social and Behavioral Sciences Applied to Health);
  • PHC 6051Biostatistics II (3 credit hours);
  • Courses in specialty areas as designated by advisory committee ( 12 credit hours minimum);
  • Research methods as determined by advisory committee (6 credit hours minimum);
  • Comprehensive exam while enrolled for a minimum of 2 credits or Thesis proposal defense (some concentrations may require a core and/or concentration exam);
  • Thesis for a minimum of 6 credit hours;
  • Electives (variable credit hours);
  • Complete a minimum of 42 credit hours.

*Students in the Biostatistics M.S.P.H. program who have previously taken introductory statistics courses and have a strong mathematical background must take the more advanced level biostatistics course "PHC 6057: Biostatistical Inference I" instead of "PHC 6050: Biostatistics I". However, if a student does not have this prior training in introductory statistics coursework then she/he can take both PHC 6050 Biostatistics I and PHC 6057 Biostatistical Inference I.

Download Program Check Sheets here: Check Sheet Index  

Concentrations Offered

Click column header to sort by that column.  

M.S.P.H. Concentrations     DeptFormatCredit
Maternal & Child HealthCFHTrad.44
Public Health EducationCFHTrad.44
Behavioral HealthCFHTrad.44
Socio-Health SciencesCFHTrad.44
Environmental HealthEOHTrad.42
Industrial HygieneEOHTrad.47
International Public Health ResearchEOHTrad.42
Occupational HealthEOHTrad.46
Occupational SafetyEOHTrad.46
Toxicology & Risk AssessmentEOHTrad.44
Occupational Medical ResidencyEOHTrad.46
Epidemiology EPBTrad.48
Genetic CounselingGLHTrad.42
Global Communicable DiseasesGLHTrad.42
Bioinformatics (being terminated)GLH--
Peace Corps Master International*C-W Trad.


*Special program available in all MSPH concentraitons
Format = Format Online  or Traditional; Credit Hours = Minimum Credit Hours required; Check Sheet = Link to program check sheet;
Concentration = Link to concentration details

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