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Graduate School of Public Health

The Graduate School of Public Health consists of programs offered by the Departments of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Human Genetics, and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, the multidisciplinary MPH program for doctoral-level health professionals, and nine certificates. Programs and specialty tracks, including joint programs, are detailed under individual department sections.

The mission of the Graduate School of Public Health (Pitt Public Health) is to promote health, prevent disease, and achieve health equity for everyone through leadership in education, research, and service. Visit our Web site,, for more information.

Contact Information

Office of Student Affairs
114 Parran Hall
Fax: 412-624-3755


Degree Programs Degrees
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences MPH, DrPH, PhD
Biostatistics MS, MPH, PhD
Environmental and Occupational Health MS, MPH, PhD, DrPH
Epidemiology MS, MPH, PhD, DrPH
Genetic Counseling MS
Health Policy and Management MHA,MPH
Health Services Research and Policy MS, PhD
Human Genetics MS, PhD
Infectious Diseases and Microbiology MS, MPH, PhD
Multidisciplinary MPH MPH
Public Health Genetics MPH

Joint, Dual, and Cooperative Degree Programs


Behavioral and Community Health Sciences/Arts and Sciences (Anthropology)

MPH and PhD
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences/Social Work MPH and PhD or MPH and MSW
Genetic Counseling and Public Health Genetics MS AND MPH

Behavioral and Community Health Sciences/Public and International Affairs

MPH and MPA or
MPH and MID or MPH and MPIA

Health Policy and Management/Law

MPH and JD
Human Genetics and Epidemiology PhD and MD
Certificate Programs  
Community-Based Participatory Research  
Environmental Health Risk Assessment  
Evaluation of Public Health Promotion and Health Education Program  

Global Health

Minority Health and Health Disparities  
Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response (Admission to this program has been suspended until further notice.)  
Public Health Genetics  
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Health and Wellness  
Healthcare Systems Engineering  
Health Systems Leadership and Management  




Early Admission

University of Pittsburgh undergraduates may apply for early admission to a number of master's degree programs. Students must have completed all required undergraduate major courses before starting graduate courses.

Financial Aid

Almost all Pitt Public Health doctoral students and many master's students receive financial aid. Most financial aid is provided through the departments, and the amount of aid available varies among programs. Applicants should contact departments directly for information about available financial aid.

Academic Standards

Students are expected to exhibit academic honesty and to uphold the ethical standards of public health professionals. A student who is not in satisfactory academic standing will be placed on probation and may be subject to dismissal. Students should refer to the Pitt Public Health academic handbook for complete information on the school's academic performance standards.

Grading Policies

The Graduate School of Public Health follows the University's letter grade system in evaluating student performance in course work, though a variety of options are detailed below.

Pitt Public Health school-wide core courses are graded A, B, C, etc.

Students electing to audit a course must register for the course as for any other course, and must also complete a grade option form in the Office of Student Affairs and obtain the instructor's permission to audit the course. Students receive a grade of N for audited courses and receive no academic credit for the course.

See the Grading and Records section of this bulletin for detailed discussion of University Grading System and Grading Options.

Course Repeat

A student may repeat a course in which a grade of B- or lower is received if authorized by the student's advisor. Students may not repeat a school-wide core course or required departmental course more than once (i.e., course may only be taken twice), and students who fail a school-wide core course or required departmental course twice are subject to dismissal. (See Pitt Public Health academic dismissal and probation guidelines. See also Repeating Courses for more information.)

GPA Calculation

In general, a student's Grade Point Average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the total number of letter grade credits taken in the graduate program into the total number of quality points earned in the graduate program. When the GPA is computed manually, usually only letter grades with GPA values are used to compute the GPA, but for courses that are not school-wide core courses and which are taken under the H/S/U option, students who receive a U grade will have the grade included in their GPA with a value of 0 points.

Courses taken to correct undergraduate course deficiencies and courses taken at other institutions are not included in the calculation of the GPA.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credits

For details on advanced standing and transfer credits, students should consult the Pitt Public Health academic handbook. Acceptance of transfer credits is at the discretion of the program.

Acceptance of a maximum of 12 credits taken as a non-degree student at Pitt Public Health is at the discretion of the program.

Students enrolled at Pitt Public Health may take credits in another school or institution, providing that their department has approved application of those credits to the degree requirements. In all cases, any combination of advanced standing credits and credits taken from another school or institution during enrollment at Pitt Public Health may not exceed the limits established by the University or the Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh.

Advising and Placement

The Graduate School of Public Health considers effective academic advising an essential component of educating students. Departments have the primary responsibility for identifying and assigning to each student a major advisor, who, in consultation with the student, plans a program of study and research in accord with school and departmental guidelines. Departments are expected to provide students with a copy of school and departmental regulations appropriate for their program, and students are expected to become familiar with University, Pitt Public Health, and department regulations concerning graduate study and to accept responsibility for the completion of all degree requirements.

The student's academic advisor is to direct and assist the student in the selection of classes and the conduct of research. Waivers from program requirements are processed at the program level, and waivers from school requirements by the Office of Student Affairs. The Application for Graduation is processed through the Pitt Public Health Office of Student Affairs after clearance has been received from the academic advisor. A student will be certified for graduation only after the academic advisor has confirmed that all degree requirements have been met.

For students required to take preliminary, comprehensive, or defense examinations, the academic advisor, in consultation with the student, designates faculty members to act as the examining committee.

Each doctoral student, together with the student's doctoral committee, is responsible for assuring accomplishment of all elements of the student's course of studies, including the core requirements, the research tools requirement, course work in the field of specialization, advanced standing, the qualifying and comprehensive examinations, and the dissertation overview and its final oral defense.

Pitt Public Health-The Career Services office offers services and resources to help students with their career development needs as they prepare for employment as a public health professional. These services include Pitt Public Health Pitt Bridges, an online tool for career development and job hunting where jobs and training positions are posted weekly, and the availability of career counseling appointments that include resume and cover letter critiques. Students can also register for career development workshops that are held regularly on a variety of topics as well as participate in networking functions and public health job fairs sponsored by the School.

General Degree Requirements

The following section details the general requirements for all degrees, general requirements for master's degrees, and general requirements for doctoral degrees. (Exceptions are EOH and other certificate requirements, which are detailed under the relevant department descriptions or below.)

General Requirements (all degrees)

Students in the master's-level programs and some doctoral programs are expected to demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of public health, with an understanding of human-environment relationships; techniques of investigation, measurement, and evaluation; and health services. The subject areas covering these fundamentals are currently defined as human biology, behavioral sciences, environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and health services administration.

Students should consult individual program descriptions for program core course requirements. Students in some programs may be automatically exempt from certain core courses. Students who wish to request exemption from a core course must submit a waiver form (available in Office of Student Affairs, Room 114 Parran Hall).



PUBHLT 2011 Essentials of Public Health*
PUBHLT 2014 Overview of Public Health
PUBHLT 2015 Public Health Biology
PUBHLT 2016 Capstone: Problem Solving in Public Health
BCHS Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health
BIOST 2011 Principles of Statistical Reasoning
BIOST 2041 Introduction to Statistical Methods I
BIOST 2042 Introduction to Statistical Methods II
EOH 2013 Environmental Health and Disease
EPIDEM 2110 Principles of Epidemiology
HPM 2001 Health Policy and Management in Public Health
PUBHLT 2022 Public Health Grand Rounds


General Requirements for Master's Degrees (Note: This is not a complete list of requirements)

All master's degree-seeking students must:

  • Complete the school-wide core courses required for their program, and complete and submit the thesis or essay (see below).
  • Fulfill the program's core course requirements, including required courses, and any field work, and examinations.
  • Register for two terms of Public Health Grand Rounds.
  • Complete the online Academic Integrity Module in the first semester.
  • Submit a master's thesis or essay (see:
  • Thesis or Essay

    All master's students must complete a minimum of two essay/special study credits and meet the master's thesis/essay requirement. Program listings will specify the type of master's paper required. The form of the essay or thesis must be in accord with specifications stipulated in the University's Style and Form Manual or the ETD Format Guidelines Manual. The electronic copy of the thesis/essay must be uploaded and all required paperwork submitted to Joanne Pegher by the deadline posted for that graduation term.

    MPH students who have been permitted to submit an article accepted for publication in lieu of the essay must meet the margin requirements and submit a committee signature sheet and title page patterned after that in the Style and Form Manual or the ETD Format Guidelines Manual. If there are multiple authors, a statement should be included explaining the role of each author. All essays must be read and approved by two faculty representing two different University of Pittsburgh Pitt Public Health departments. MS thesis require approval by a third reader.

    General Requirements for Doctoral Degrees (Note: This is not a complete list of requirements.)

    For an overview of University-wide regulations for doctoral students, see Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees. All Pitt Public Health doctoral students must:

  • Complete specific courses as determined by the program or the school, including at least 3 credits of 3100 (dissertation) or one term of FTDR (full-time dissertation research).
  • Fulfill the University's residency requirement.
  • Satisfactorily complete the preliminary/qualifying examination, the comprehensive examination, and the dissertation examination.
  • Meet the requirement for proficiency in tools of research, e.g., computers, as determined by the individual departments and verified to the Office of Student Affairs in writing by the academic advisor.
  • Register for two terms of Public Health Grand Rounds.
  • Complete the online Academic Integrity Modules in the first semester.
  • A description of these and other requirements appears in the Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees. Individual programs will provide specific information on fulfillment of these requirements.

    A student pursuing the Doctor of Public Health degree cannot take the preliminary/qualifying examination until all the core course requirements—as interpreted by the department—for the Master of Public Health degree have been completed.

    General Requirements for Certificates

    Certificate in Community-Based Participatory Research and Practice (Department of BCHS)

    This program provides a comprehensive set of courses that will prepare students for a career in community-bases participatory research and practice. As part of the program, student interns will work with local community agencies to collaboratively address identified community public health issues.

    Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the MPH program.

    Students must complete 15 credits, including three courses (Community Development Approaches to Public Health; Community Based Leadership in Public Health; Advanced Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research and Practice in Public Health) and a six-credit internship.

    Certificate in Environmental Health Risk Assessment (Department of EOH)

    This program provides concentrated coursework relevant to human health risk evaluation.

    Students must have a graduate degree or be pursuing one concurrently. Students must complete 15 credits: 12 credits of required courses (EOH 2104, 2175, 2180, 2181, and 2504) and a 3-credit elective.

    Certificate in Evaluation of Public Health Promotion and Health Education Programs (Department of BCHS)

    This program trains students to apply both quantitative and qualitative methods for interdisciplinary evaluation of a range of community-based public health projects.

    Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the departments' MPH program.

    Students must complete 15 graduate credits, including a 3-credit applied evaluation internship experience under the supervision of a designated faculty member.

    Certificate in Global Health (interdisciplinary certificate)

    This program educates students about current health patterns and transitions occurring globally, as well as about the role of dynamic global environmental, political, economic, health care, and social changes to these patterns.

    Coursework consists of 7 credits of core courses and 8 credits of additional coursework aligned with the individual student’s specific area of interest and intended skillset.  Students must complete a field experience, which can be combined with the required practicum for the degree program provided the experience is relevant to global health. Students have the opportunity to complete this global health practicum in the form of local opportunities or in an international setting.

    Certificate in LGBT Individuals' Health and Wellness (interdisciplinary certificate)

    This interdepartmental (BCHS, Epid, IDM) certificate program prepares students to conduct research designed to improve the understanding of unique health concerns among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations, to participate in organized planning and delivery of health care for LGT populations, and to provide leadership in organizations serving the health and wellness needs.

    Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the MPH program.

    Students must complete 15 graduate credits, a practicum, and a thesis or project related to LGBT health and wellness.

    Certificate in Health Equity (Department of BCHS)

    This program addresses the system root causes of health disparities and trains students in appropriate interventions, providing an academic foundation for the promotion of health equity through conducting community-based interventions, mobilizing communities where disparities exists, advocating for health public policy and for culturally tailoring interventions that are appropriate to populations experiencing inequities.

    Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the MPH program.

    Students must complete 15 credits, including Overview of Health Equity, Introduction to Community Health, Health Equity: Research and Interventions, and the Integrative Seminar in Health Equity. A field experience is encouraged.

    Certificate in Public Health Genetics (Department of Human Genetics)

    This program examines the role of genetics in public health issues and provides students with a basic grounding in public health genetics that will enable them to respond to the many social, legal, ethical, and public health policy implications generated by advances in genetics.

    Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to the MPH program.

    Students must complete 15 credits, of which at least 12 must be traditional classroom courses, including Introduction to Public Health Genetics. The remaining three credits can be seminar, project, or practicum credits. In addition, all students must make one presentation at the Human Genetics Journal Club.

    Certificate in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response (interdisciplinary certificate) (Admission to this program has been suspended until further notice.)

    This program prepares students to participate in agency or organization planning, training, and drilling for public health emergencies.

    Students must complete 15 credits, including 10 required credits and 5 elective credits. Elective credits must be from graduate-level courses at GSPH.

    Certificate in Healthcare Systems Engineering (Department of HPM)

    This certificate, offered jointly by Pitt Public Health and the School of Engineering, trains individuals pursuing careers in healthcare systems management and process engineering. Students must earn 16-22 credits, depending on the student's home department and degree program.

    Certificate in Health Systems Leadership and Management (Department of HPM)

    This graduate certificate will provide rigorous training for health care clinicians and providers looking to enhance their careers and improve health care delivery through strengthened leadership and management skills. The certificate was initially designed for physicians in the School of Medicine, but is open to all health care clinicians and providers.

    The admission requirements for applicants are based on completion of at least an advanced health care provider degree (e.g. MD, RN, PharmD, PT, OT), job experience, and career plans.

    The proposed curriculum requires 15-16 total credits and will consist of coursework in leadership theory and practice; strategic management; financial management; health policy; quality and patient safety; and one applied project.



    Pitt Public Health Course Offerings

    A number of courses of general interest to all departments are offered. Descriptions may be found at

    A list of course offerings by department may be accessed through the departmental sections of this bulletin.

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