Master of Public Health

About the MPH

Western Michigan University’s program in public health is a 21st century program that moves beyond the traditional public health definitions, but encompasses the ideas of physical, mental and social well-being. The World Health Organization defines health as "physical, mental, and social well-being, not simply the absence of disease." The Master of Public Health at WMU is designed for innovative individuals who are interested in these aspects of health, as well as the traditional areas of public health.

The Master of Public Health program incorporates solutions that include social, political, cultural and economic aspects of health so that action can be taken in concert with other sectors of the local, national or global community. We aim to do this by synthesizing public health core courses with these aspects demonstrating the practical use of a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving, program development and leadership models.

The Master of Public Health degree is an exciting offering from the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs and the College of Health and Human Services at WMU. The field of public health is growing and evolving rapidly. The MPH at WMU is designed to prepare leaders for this generalist degree, including these core areas within public health:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services administration
  • Health education and health behavior

Through our curriculum and course assignments, students will be introduced to topics and public health theories and practices so that skills will be developed so that graduates with a WMU MPH will be confident entering into their careers adding to the well-being of their community.

Public health, as envisioned by the Institute of Medicine, has three core functions: 1) to assess the status of health and the health care system; 2) to assure that programs and services that achieve and maintain health are in place; and, 3) to lead the development of public policy on health issues. WMU’s MPH graduates need to be equipped to lead their communities in performing these functions.

The degree is offered in a hybrid format, which means that much of the coursework is completed online. Face-to-Face meetings, which occur two weekends each semester and one week during the summer, are at the WMU-Grand Rapids location.

What is new in the program?

Student and community leaders’ participation in:

  • Opioid epidemic summit
  • Symposium on leading public health issues in Michigan

There is active student involvement in a Practicum with local and state based public health organizations in which students apply what they learn in class to real world issues. 

Students also produce an integrative project incorporating course study where the final product can be at state or national meetings.

How do I get started?

Contact Mark Kelley at or Nancy Kibler at for more information or for an appointment to discuss the program.