Course Descriptions

Core Courses


BIOST 502: Introduction to Statistics

Instructor: Lloyd Mancl

Credits: 4

This course focuses on basic concepts in statistics as applied to the health sciences. Topics covered include data description, probability, confidence interval estimation, hypothesis testing, power and sample size determination, and correlation and simple linear regression. You will study a variety of statistical techniques, including one‐sample, two‐sample and paired t‐tests; one-way analysis of variance; nonparametric tests (Sign test, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Mann‐Whitney test and Kruskal‐Wallis test), one‐sample and two‐sample binomial tests; chi‐square test; Fisher's Exact test; McNemar's test; Pearson and Spearman rank correlation; and simple linear regression.


BIOST 503: Applications of Statistics

Instructor: Lloyd Mancl

Credits: 3

This course focuses on several multivariate statistical methods commonly used in the health sciences, paying particular attention to methods for determining the association between two or more variables. Statistical techniques covered include multiple linear regression and logistic regression.


ENV H 511: Environmental & Occupational Health

Instructor: Tania Busch Isaksen

Credits: 3

This course introduces students to basic concepts in environmental and health sciences, including methods used to study the links between the environment and health, the health impacts of various environmental processes and exposures and the environmental public health approach to controlling or eliminating risks and promoting health.


EPI 511: Introduction to Epidemiology

Instructor: Amanda Fretts

Credits: 4

The goal of this course is to give health professionals the knowledge and skills needed to analyze public health problems and make clinical, program and policy decisions based on the application of epidemiological concepts, methods and procedures. You will gain an understanding of the methods of epidemiologic research.


GH 514: Global Societal Determinants of Health

Instructor: Stephen Bezruchka

Credits: 3

What produces health in societies and why are there substantial differences in health outcomes for various segments of those societies? The goal of the course is to create awareness of the fundamental determinants of health in societies and how those operate to generate health inequities, namely health outcomes that are unfair. The societies to be considered include the United States, whose citizens have worse health outcomes than those in close to 50 other nations, and parts of Latin America and Africa where some of the worst health outcomes exist. What is the role of health care in producing health? What are fundamental biological concepts that underlie health inequities around the world? With gaining such awareness comes the need for community engagement with the concepts, which is a key operational goal.


HSERV 504: Health Promotion & Behavior Change Communication

Instructor: Hilary Karasz

Credits: 3

This course provides an overview of health communication theories, approaches and action areas, as well as considerations for communication intervention design, implementation and evaluation. Health communication is a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach to reach different audiences and share health-related information, with the goal of influencing, engaging and supporting individuals, communities, providers, special groups, policy makers and the public. The goal is to champion, introduce, adopt, or sustain a behavior, practice or policy that will ultimately improve health outcomes (Schiavo, 2007). The course is designed to help public health professionals apply sound judgment when making decisions about how to communicate with diverse audiences.


HSERV 516: Introduction to Public Health & Health Care Systems

Instructor: David Masuda

Credits: 4

In the United States we have, effectively, two health care systems. One of these focuses on personal health services, which we might term health care or medical care, and the other focuses on population-based health services, which we might call public health. While there is certainly an overlap between these two, for the most part they have operated separately from each other, with different goals, agendas, perspectives and outcomes – arguably to the detriment of health in general. Both public health and health care would benefit from a better understanding of the other. In this course, we will examine the history, current state and potential future of health services in the United States and around the world.


HSERV 517: Qualitative Methods

Instructor: Tao Kwan-Gett

Credits: 4

This course, designed for the inexperienced qualitative researcher, provides a basic introduction to research methods aimed at discerning the how and why of human behavior relative to health and well-being. Emphasis is put on the creation and development of a qualitative research protocol with applications for observations, interviews, analysis of documents and audio-visual interpretation of human behavior.


HSERV 520: Methods in Applied Community Research - Part I

Instructor: Ian Painter

Credits: 2

This course is designed to give students the basic public health research skills and ethics training they will need to conduct their MPH thesis or capstone project.


HSERV 520: Methods in Applied Community Research - Part II

Instructor: Ian Painter

Credits: 1

This course is designed to give students the basic public health research skills they will need to conduct their MPH thesis or capstone project.


HSERV 522: Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation

Instructor: Branko Kopjar

Credits: 4

Green & Krueter’s PRECEDE-PROCEED model for health program planning and evaluation is used as a conceptual framework for this course. Students employ the model in order to demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of how planning informs evaluation.


HSERV 559: Public Policy & Health

Instructor: Daniel Lessler and Mary Fliss

Credits: 3

In this overview of health policy making, we will explore the complex array of factors that affect the policy making process. We will consider how evidence and values work together in creating, understanding and promoting health policy; how social determinants and systems thinking provide a context for how we conceptualize and create health policy; how the interplay between government and the marketplace affects policy making; and how greatly important stakeholders are to our work: who they are, what they bring to the table and why. We will also look at ways to understand policy making issues and how to get them onto the policy making agenda.


HSERV 595: Practicum

Instructor: David Masuda

Credits: 3

Students gain experience in community health activities in agencies delivering and planning health services. Sites include neighborhood clinics, health planning organizations, medical practice settings, public health agencies, specialized clinics and facilities, and environmental programs and services. For more details, see the Practicum page.


HSERV 598: Capstone

Instructor: Ian Painter 

Credits: 1 or 4

The capstone is a supervised project on a selected public health topic. It includes literature review and the development and implementation of an approach to a public health problem or need. It requires a written paper summarizing the capstone experience and conclusions. For more details, see the Capstone Project & Master’s Thesis page.


HSERV 700: Master’s Thesis

Instructor: To Be Arranged

Credits: 1 or 4

The master's thesis is an original research study that is carried out using rigorous methods that are appropriate to the research questions. It should generate new knowledge, apply concepts and methods from one or more branches of science relevant to public health, and be presented in a scholarly format. The thesis demonstrates the student's comprehensive knowledge of the substantive area of study and the research methods used. It represents the culmination of the master's program and an opportunity to integrate and apply the concepts and methods learned in coursework. For more details, see the Capstone Project & Master’s Thesis page.


HSMGMT 560: Leadership & Management Practice in Public Health Organizations

Instructor: Nancy Campbell

Credits: 3

This course has two purposes. One is to assist current and future public health leaders and managers with the development of a conceptual framework that will enhance leadership and managerial functioning in public health organizations and programs. The other is to increase knowledge and provide an opportunity for practice of selected skills necessary for successful leadership and managerial functioning in public health organizations.


HSMGMT 572: Financial Management

Instructor: Wendy Baesler

Credits: 3

This course is designed to familiarize students with financial management in a health care organization. Because health care organizations can be for-profit, not-for-profit or governmental, this course will differentiate these organizational structures in terms of their objectives, their accounting rules and their budget setting processes. The course will look at financial statements and budgets of these organizations to show similarities and differences. Students will also learn many tools used by managers to make financial decisions such as budgeting, cost-volume profit analysis, cost allocation, variance analysis and performance evaluation, capital budgeting and fraud prevention.


Elective Courses

The Online Executive MPH Program offers five elective courses per year (one elective per quarter, plus an optional 1-credit writing course offered every quarter). Electives cover such topics as maternal and child health, global health, clinical epidemiology and environmental health. Students are also encouraged to work with our Student Services staff to identify electives from among the many School of Public Health course offerings and more broadly from across the University of Washington.