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Master of Public Health (MPH)


Program Director: Kathleen C. Brown, PhD, MPH

The MPH curriculum consists of 42 semester credit hours and is a nonthesis professional preparation degree program. To meet the educational needs of working students, the MPH degree can be earned on a part-time basis with most classes offered during late afternoons and evenings. Based on the experience of other part-time students, the degree program typically can be completed in two to three years.


The Graduate Public Health program at UT provides quality education and leadership to promote health in human populations through interdisciplinary instruction, research, and community service.


The MPH program is recognized for its empowerment of students pursuing public health careers which focus on community health improvement.

Program Values

  • Respect—To engage in experiences that obligate a person to take responsibility for the public’s good, to recognize human dignity, and to value the worth of individual and collective behaviors
  • Holistic Consideration—To emphasize a socio-ecological systems approach for understanding and promoting optimal health and well-being of individuals, families and communities
  • Excellence—To commit to the highest quality in teaching-learning and in practice.
  • Collaboration—To advocate networking, partnering, consensus building, and participatory approaches for improving population health
  • Diversity—To recognize the benefits of diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives and prepare culturally competent public health professionals
  • Equity—To promote equality of opportunity for individuals, families, and communities

The University of Tennessee MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), which is the nationally recognized accrediting body for this discipline. In late June 2016, the council officially notified the MPH program that accreditation has been extended for seven years, which is the maximum term possible.

Accreditation was first achieved in 1969 with the MPH program becoming the first outside a school of public health to receive this recognition. Since 1969, the program has been successful in securing extensions of accreditation through a self-study and review process that requires approximately two years to complete.

Program accreditation offers substantial value to students, alumni, faculty and the university because of the distinction offered. This recognition of quality, consistent with that of other accredited MPH programs, indicates that the professional preparation offered at UT has met the criteria defined by the council. These criteria have become more rigorous over time, requiring extensive documentation.

Our 2016 CEPH Self-Study Report is now available. Contact Associate Professor Kathleen Brown if you have any questions.

In August 2011, the Department of Public Health signed a memorandum of understanding with the Knox County Health Department to create Tennessee’s first Academic Health Department (AHD). The purpose of the AHD is to bridge public health practice and academia. Read more about the UT-Knox County AHD here.

The Department of Public Health fosters working relationships between academicians and practitioners to participate in leadership development. In 1995, these efforts were formalized by co-establishing the East Tennessee Public Health and Preventive Medicine Forum. Other member organizations are: the Knox County Health Department, the East Tennessee Regional Office of the Tennessee Department of Health, the UT Department of Family Medicine, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and the UT College of Nursing.

Since 1985, the MPH program has been an institutional member of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR), formerly the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine. Within the APTR organization is a council of graduate programs in public health. The council includes more than eighty MPH programs which are located outside schools of public health. Directors of MPH programs assemble as a council twice each year to exchange information and work on mutual issues of interest.

Instructional Goal

Preparation of future professionals competent in public health core content and methodological approaches.

Instructional Objectives for 2011–2015
  • By 2015, 60 percent of the learner objectives for all required core courses reflect higher-order learning per Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • By 2015, 35 percent of MPH  courses incorporate team and group process skill building. 
  • Field preceptors each year rate 95 percent of interns as “exceeding expectations.”  
  • By 2015, 10 percent of MPH students seek opportunities for self-directed learning with faculty by proposing a specific plan to develop advanced critical thinking skills.
  • By 2015, 35 percent of MPH students score 85 or higher each year on the MPH comprehensive exam.
  • By 2015, 80 percent of MPH students self-assess their perceived level of achievement with the defined core competencies as five or higher on a seven-point scale.

Research Goal

Public health faculty and students engaged in research projects that address health concerns, contribute to community health improvement, and add to the knowledge base.

Research Objectives for 2011–2015
  • By 2015, 10 percent of MPH students are involved in research activities with faculty on an annual basis.
  • By 2015, 20 percent of MPH students prior to graduation participate in peer-reviewed publications or peer-reviewed (research and/or project) presentations.
  • By 2015, 70 percent of faculty present at one or more national or regional/state peer-reviewed conferences per year.
  • By 2015, 50 percent of faculty annually co-author with one or more students at least one article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • By 2015, 100 percent of faculty achieve at least two published articles per year, measured on a three-year rolling average.
  • By 2015, 90 percent of faculty without current grant funding submit at least one external grant or contract each year.
  • External funding per full-time-equivalent (FTE) faculty will increase by 10 percent each year.

Service Goal

Public health faculty and students engaged in community, government, and professional service to benefit populations at the local, state, and national levels

Service Objectives for 2011–2015
  • Service-learning projects are incorporated in at least 33 percent of the MPH courses offered annually.
  • By 2015, 50 percent of MPH students each year participate in service projects sponsored by the Public Health Graduate Student Association (PHGSA).
  • By 2015, 70 percent of faculty provide community consultations or technical assistance to external organizations annually.
  • By 2015, 35 percent of faculty hold positions on professional or community-based committees or boards.
  • By 2015, 40 percent of faculty each year conduct training workshops for practitioners.

The MPH program is administratively housed in the Department of Public Health, which is one of eight academic departments in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Within the department, the MPH Academic Program Committee (MPH/APC) includes the MPH faculty representatives from each concentration of study plus the dual MS-MPH program, the MPH field practice coordinator, and a student representative from each concentration of study. The committee provides program governance, curricular direction and integrity, and academic policy development. Student representatives have full discussion and voting privileges with all academic matters except review of applications for admission. To ensure MPH graduates are prepared to enter a competitive workforce, public health practitioners from various public health and health-related organizations are regularly invited to committee meetings to offer suggestions on skills, knowledge, and attitudes that MPH graduates should possess in today’s market. For example, the program evaluation core course is a curricular addition that grew out of workforce speaker input.

Core MPH Competencies and Courses

Official CEPH accreditation badgeAvailable Concentrations

The MPH program currently offers three concentrations. Please use the links below for an in-depth description or each concentration.

Dual MPH Degrees

The Department of Public Health is proud to offer dual degrees with the University of Tennessee College of Law and the Department of Nutrition. Click here for more information on each of our dual degrees.

MPH Program Requirements for Admission

  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, as well as a 3.0 GPA for any previously taken graduate level courses.
  • Official GRE scores—The MPH program does not specify minimum scores. Official scores can be obtained from the nonprofit Educational Testing Service (ETS) for up to five years following the date the exam was taken.
  • Admission to the University of Tennessee Graduate School. An application that has been fully completed by the appropriate deadline.

Application Deadlines *

  • February 1—Summer admission
  • April 1—Fall admission
  • October 1—Spring admission**

*These dates are for domestic applicants only. International applicants should visit Graduate Admissions for current international deadlines.

** Only new, part-time students are accepted for spring admission. No full-time students will be admitted for spring entry to the MPH program.


Two graduate minors are available to MPH students: the epidemiology minor and the Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics program (a statistics minor). Click here for a for more information about those programs.

MPH Memos Newsletter

Our program newsletter is released six times each academic year (three during fall semester and three during the spring semester). Read the latest edition and archives here.

Interested in learning more about the MPH program?

Click here for a history of our program.

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