Program History

From 2006 to 2008, the online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program was conceptualized and created, with the first students enrolling in 2008. This was accomplished by Dr. Michael Rip with the support of Dr. Denise Holmes and Dr. Kathleen Oberst, and was realized as a collaborative effort among six units on campus:

  • College of Social Science (under the direction of Dean Marietta Baba)
  • International Studies and Programs (under the direction of Dean Jeffrey Riedinger)
  • College of Nursing (under the direction of Dean Mary Mundt)
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine (under the direction of Dean William Strampel)
  • The Graduate School (under the direction of Dean Karen Klomparens)
  • College of Human Medicine (under the direction of Dean Marsha Rappley)

Based in the College of Human Medicine, the MPH degree program began with 18 students, 9 courses, and 16 faculty members. Since those early days, the program has grown to over 120 current students, over 700 alumni, and 22 faculty members.

The MPH degree was developed to address the public health workforce shortage, increase interest in public health careers among high school and undergraduate students, and to offer a highly applied, accessible, affordable, competency-based MPH degree.

In 2015, the College Human Medicine introduced the Division of Public Health, a governing division encompassing four units: the Master of Public Health degree, Flint Research, Flint Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and the Institute for Health Policy. The introduction of the Division of Public Health allowed for the creation of the Flint Research and Flint Pediatric Public Health Initiative units. Shortly thereafter, the Master of Public Health degree moved their administrative offices to Flint where they were housed in the old Flint Journal Building along with the public health researchers, a division of the School of Social Work’s FAME (Fostering Academics, Mentoring Excellence) program, and a number of Flint-based MD students. Currently, the Master of Public Health administrative office is located in the Capitol Theatre building in downtown Flint.

In 2022, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the independent accrediting agency for U.S. schools and programs of public health, acted to approve the MPH degree for accreditation for a five-year term (June 2022 – June 2027).  

In 2024, Michigan State University added two new concentrations to the MPH program. Academic programs now include the Master of Public Health Generalist, Master of Public Health in Rural Public Health, a Master of Public Health in Public Health Data Management and Analytics, and a Graduate Certificate in the core disciplines of public health.

Our students come from a variety of academic backgrounds:

  •    Biological Sciences
  •    Cognitive Sciences
  •    Nutrition/Dietetics
  •    Health Education/Health Sciences
  •    Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science
  •    Medicine (MD, DO)
  •    Nursing
  •    Physiology
  •    Social Work/Social Science/Sociology
  •    Veterinary Medicine/Animal Science/Zoology

Our Alumni work in a variety of careers:

  • Health educators
  • Data analysts
  • Research coordinators
  • Health communication specialists
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • And more

Some MPH program statistics:

  • Approximately 47 percent of our students are non-traditional graduate students.
  • Our students complete their MPH degree in an average of 8 semesters.
  • Our alumni graduated with an average of a 3.76 GPA.
  • 16 percent of our graduates earned their MPH while dually enrolled in a second graduate or doctoral degree at MSU.