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Arnold School of Public Health


Master of Public Health in Physical Activity

The Masters of of Public Health in Physical Activity is the first academic program in the nation designed to prepare health professionals who have a career interest in physical activity.

The program provides students with unique opportunities to:

  • study issues and concepts germane to physical activity and public health
  • acquire appropriate background knowledge and experience in an epidemiological approach to public health problems as related to physical activity
  • develop skills integral to the design, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs that are intended to promote increased physical activity in populations.

Program Objectives

Students in this program:

  • develop research-based knowledge of the relationships between physical activity and health
  • integrate physical activity into core functions of public health
  • use accepted public health methods to evaluate the impact of physical activity on communities
  • identify the benefits and risks of physical activity participation at community levels
  • develop skills for creating physical activity interventions in diverse community settings
  • understand how social and behavioral theories are used in programs designed to promote physical activity in community settings
  • work with public health educators and other professionals to promote physical activity in diverse community settings
  • apply public health surveillance methods to physical activity settings.

Curriculum/Program of Study

  • Public Health Core—15 hours
  • Physical Activity Core—18 hours (includes 6 hours of public health practice)
  • Program Emphasis—12 hours
  • Total Credit Hours—45

Program Emphases

Programmatic Emphasis: prepares the individual for employment as a physical activity specialist in community health promotion and intervention settings. Surveillance Emphasis: prepares the individual for employment as a physical activity research and measurement specialist in public health and private agencies.

General Information

  • The MPH in Physical Activity and Public Health is administered through the Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health.
  • Financial aid is available on a competitive basis, including graduate research and teaching assistantships and veterans benefits.
  • Students admitted to the program are assigned an advisor to assist in developing an emphasis area.
  • Final authority for all decisions remains with The Graduate School and is based on the Graduate Studies Bulletin and published University policy.

Application/Admission Requirements

  • open to students with baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees from an accredited institution
  • acceptance into the USC Graduate School
  • satisfactory GRE scores
  • an official transcript from each school/college previously attended
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a detailed statement of career goals and areas of interest
  • demonstration of a broad educational background that indicates public health interests and experiences in physical activity
  • international students: satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (570 paper/230 computer) or IELTS Academic Course Type 2 Exam (6.5)