Contemporary public health emphasizes a community and population-based approach to health promotion and disease prevention that encompasses social and environmental influences, in addition to individually-focused determinants that explain health behavior. Taught by leading faculty from the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at USC, students in this MPH concentration will take courses designed to prepare community health practitioners to assess the needs of populations, and to design, implement and evaluate health promotion programs to diverse audiences.

This concentration provides the curriculum to properly equip students to take the Certified Health Education (CHES) exam, a highly recognized credential for public health professionals in the health education field. For more information on the exam registration, go to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing website. 


  • MPH students in this concentration will take the public health core courses plus 24 units of concentration-specific coursework (16 units of concentration core courses + 8 units of elective courses) in topics that include health education and promotion, health communication, and child and family health.

  • PM 501 Foundations in Health Education and Promotion (4 units)

    Overview and application of behavioral theories to the field of health education and promotion. Examines the determinants of health behavior and strategies for change at the individual, group and community level.

    PM 528 Program Design and Evaluation (4 units)

    Core concepts, methods and values of public health program planning and evaluation, including community needs assessment, writing objectives, designing health promotion programs, process and outcome evaluation.

    PM 563 Organizing and Mobilizing Communities for Public Health (4 units)

    Survey of effective community organizing and mobilization efforts in the U.S. and abroad, using participatory, organizational, community empowerment and public-private partnership models.


    In addition, students will choose one of the following to complete their core coursework:

    PM 526 Communications in Public Health (4 units)

    Application of communication theories and methods to community health problems. Includes background assessment, program design, evaluation, social marketing, media advocacy, and a review of major health campaigns.

    PM 536 Program Evaluation and Research (4 units)

    Overview of concepts, tools, data collection, analysis methods and designs used to evaluate health promotion programs. Examples from substance abuse prevention, family planning and reproductive health programs.

    PM 562 Intervention Approaches for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (4 units)

    Approaches for modifying health behavior in various settings and within diverse populations. Emphasis on practical considerations necessary to design and implement interventions with demonstrated effectiveness.

  • Elective options can be found on the concentration Course Plan.

Careers in the Field

What are some agencies students could work for?
  • Program Manager
  • Project Director
  • Health Education Specialist
  • Health Education Coordinator
  • Patient Education Coordinator

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