Core Disciplines of Public Health Graduate Certificate

The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health offers an online graduate certificate in Core Disciplines of Public Health. The courses that make up this certificate serve as the core courses required of students who are pursuing a Master of Public Health degree from MSU. This certificate is designed to provide students with a basis for understanding the breadth and scope of the public health field. The core public health disciplines include biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy and management, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health sciences. Students gain competence in all of the core disciplines through these courses.

This certificate is appropriate for an endless variety of students. Current public health professionals benefit by enhancing their existing skills and gaining an official credential. Medical students find this certificate enhances their education by learning the population-based side of medicine in addition to their traditional patient-centric training. Other professionals who also benefit from this certificate include, as examples, nurses who want to broaden their clinical perspectives, accountants who work in health and want to gain a greater understanding of the health care industry, or an attorney who wants to utilize this certificate to help specialize in public health and health policy. Since public health affects every aspect of modern society, the applications of this knowledge are far-reaching into many other professional disciplines.


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Core Disciplines of Public Health Graduate Certificate Application Requirements  

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*Core Disciplines of Public Health graduate certificate applicants are not required to submit graduate or professional school test scores.

Required Courses

Please note: All courses previously had a prefix of HM; beginning Spring of 2024 the prefix changed to PH.

Course Number

Course Name

Course Description

Semester Offered


PH 801

Introduction to Public Health

Introduction to public health philosophy and core knowledge areas. Ethical, legal and political considerations. Emphasis on principles and tools for population health, disease prevention and health promotion, health determinants, healthcare and public health systems.  Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer

PH 802

Biostatistics for Public Health

Practical applications and methods using software (SAS, Epi-Info) for statistical analysis, database construction, data visualization and interpretation. Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer

PH 803

Epidemiology for Public Health

Distributions and determinants of disease in population. Epidemiologic research, quantitative methods, study designs pros/cons. Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer

PH 804

Public Health Policy & Administration

Structural, operational, leadership and components of health policy and public health administration. Community health assessment, advocacy and evaluation within public health agencies and programs. Major business systems used for administration of public health agencies and programs. Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer

PH 805

Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health

Concepts and methods of social and behavioral sciences applied to public health problems and issues. Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer

PH 806

Environmental Factors of Health

Biological, physical and chemical factors that affect health of populations. Regulatory approaches to environmental hazards. Potential impact of environmental agents on health and preventive management approaches. Every Year: Fall, Spring, Summer