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Arnold School of Public Health

Graduate Degrees in Health Promotion, Education & Behavior

Our certificate, master’s and doctoral programs prepare students to become successful researchers and practitioners who promote increased knowledge and understanding of the complexities of health behavior change and apply that knowledge in real-world settings.

In today’s world, we are called to find ways to improve the public’s health that are cost-effective, embedded in community structures and culture, and at a large enough scale to have real, sustainable impact. Our department seeks talented and motivated students dedicated to creating new knowledge and disseminating real-life applications to improve health of disadvantaged populations. As a Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) graduate, you will have opportunities to be an effective advocate for positive change in private and public, local and global, community and organizational settings. 

The goal of training public health researchers, practitioners and educators is to improve the health of individuals, communities and societies. Our programs have a strong, vibrant interdisciplinary and collaborative orientation and value strength in diversity. As a student in our department, you will have opportunities to develop intellectual skills for success as a public health professional.

The HPEB department offers graduate programs at the certificate (Certificate of  Graduate Study in Health Communication, Aging, and Global Health), master’s (Master of Public Health, dual Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health), and doctoral (Doctor of Philosophy) levels.

Interested in a career working with our growing aging population? This 18-hour post-bachelor's certificate will provide training in the (1) planning, administration, and provision of health programs and interventions, (2) sociocultural issues surrounding health, behavior, and aging, (3) health care services and community resources, and (4) long-term care policies. Students earning master's or doctoral degrees in related disciplines are offered the opportunity to obtain specialized preparation for career paths in the interdisciplinary field of aging. The Certificate provides opportunities to learn from educators within several USC academic units. You may enroll in the program on a stand-alone basis or while concurrently enrolled in another USC graduate program.

Modern society operates in a global environment with an increased need for clinical and public health professionals who understand health environments and policy that extend beyond local borders. The Certificate of Graduate Study in Global Health prepares students with the knowledge and skills that are necessary to conduct international work, by focusing on topics such as comparative health systems and policies; health care administration, finance and services; sociocultural perspectives on health; and development and evaluation of health promotion programs that are sensitive to local context.

Requirements for the Certificate of Graduate Study in Global Health are a total of 18 credit hours (i.e., six 3-hour courses), 9 credit hours in a required core and 9 credit hours as electives from one of four tracks: Population Health, Environmental Health, Food and Nutrition, and Health Care Policy and Systems. Students enrolled in both the certificate program and a USC graduate degree program can use up to 9 of the credit hours required for the certificate towards their degree program.

Interested in a career in health communication? This 18-hour post-bachelor’s certificate, offered in collaboration with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science, will broaden your skills and expertise in health communication activities while strengthening your understanding of the research the public needs to make healthy life decisions. Certificate graduates utilize their skills in social marketing, health behavior campaigns and creation of health education programming in diverse settings, such as non-profit organizations, health departments, hospitals, worksite wellness and governmental agencies. You may enroll in the program on a stand-alone basis or while concurrently enrolled in another USC graduate program.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program prepares graduates for professional careers in planning, implementing and evaluating health promotion and education programs in a variety of practice settings. The program is offered in a traditional campus-based format that has a dual-degree option with the College of Social Work.

Our graduates work as health educators, wellness specialists, health programs managers, health consultants and evaluation coordinators in settings, such as health-related non-profit organizations, consulting firms, local and state health departments and worksite wellness.

In Fall 2019, the Arnold School of Public Health launched our redesigned MPH programs to meet new accreditation criteria from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Visit the new MPH curriculum page for more information.

The HPEB MPH Professional Online Program is offered in a completely online, asynchronous format for current practitioners in health-related professional occupations. This program allows working professionals to earn the MPH with 24-26 months of continuous study.

The program provides a diverse set of highly transferable, interdisciplinary skills that helps health professionals become a more impactful agent of change in people’s lives.

The online degree program provides training in:

  • Leadership and advocacy for change in organizations and in the environment to facilitate healthful practices
  • Program development aimed at promoting good health at personal, organizational and public policy levels
  • Evaluation of health programs to ensure they are meeting program and societal objectives
  • Development and dissemination of knowledge through systematic research and evaluation.

Learn more about the online program in our Frequently Asked Questions [pdf].

The dual MSW/MPH degree program allows students to earn two complementary and distinct graduate degrees in a more streamlined time frame than if both degrees were pursued separately. This combination of degrees provides graduates with skills both in individual/family case management and program planning, implementation and evaluation. Students are allowed to utilize electives taken in one program as degree-filling requirements in the other.

With increasing demand for evaluation specialists, dual-degree graduates are employed in hospitals, health departments and healthcare corporation.

The Ph.D. program prepares graduates for leadership and skills in research, teaching and professional service. The Ph.D. prepares graduates to assume leadership roles that emphasize research and teaching activities; these positions are often located in academic or other research settings.


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