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Arnold School of Public Health redesigns master of public health programs to maximize student learning

November 11, 2018 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health will be rolling out a new format for its master of public health (MPH) programs for students matriculating in fall 2019. A cross-disciplinary committee redesigned the MPH core curriculum as the foundation for degrees in five concentration areas: environmental health sciences; epidemiology; health promotion, education, and behavior; health services policy and management; and physical activity and public health.   

Revisions to accreditation requirements from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) served as the catalyst for these changes—prompting universities across the country to think creatively about how to best address the new requirements while maintaining best practices. Although CEPH-accredited schools took a range of approaches to meet these requirements, the Arnold School chose to redesign its MPH programs around an integrated, multidisciplinary core curriculum based on the foundational competencies [pdf] required of all MPH students.

“We looked at these changes as an opportunity to design a curriculum that offers students the skills and knowledge they need to address current and emergent public health challenges,” says Lucy Ingram, assistant dean for academic affairs and online education. “Our goal is to prepare the next generation of public health practitioners and scholars to serve our communities and impact disease prevention through public health surveillance, education and intervention. This new program allows us to do that better than ever.”     

MPH students have the opportunity to learn from faculty members who are leaders in public health research and practice in an environment that prioritizes mentorship. The Arnold School’s collaborative and interdisciplinary atmosphere can be found in the MPH core curriculum, which integrates perspectives, approaches and applications from diverse disciplines and brings together students from the various concentration areas to complete their core courses.

“Our students are emerging leaders in their fields,” says Ingram. “We’ve had MPH graduates who have gone on to lead their own consulting organizations, serve in key positions at government agencies, blaze their own trails in research and service, and many other exciting roles within the public health field.”

Based in Columbia, South Carolina, the Arnold School is located in an area with ample opportunities to learn about and work to improve public health, particularly among the state’s rural and underserved populations.

“The Arnold School is the go-to public health research and education resource in South Carolina,” says Ingram. “Our location in the state capital, our comprehensive programming, and our long-standing relationships with other public health agencies and organizations within the state have positioned us well to both make an impact on public health and provide our students with opportunities for hands-on experience.”

Toward the end of the MPH program, students will engage in an applied practical experience (i.e., practicum, internship, or residency) to demonstrate the competencies they have acquired in a practice setting. They will also complete an integrated learning experience to demonstrate their ability to synthesize foundational and concentration competencies.

Learn more about our redesigned MPH programs.