Master of Public Health

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit Any changes will appear on our errata page.

Graduate Advisors: Chávez, Cushing, Eliason, Fernández Peña, Geisse, Harvey, Love, Mamo, Martinson, Moore, Sanchez-Vaznaugh, van Olphen

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program in Community Health Education at San Francisco State University shares the department’s mission to prepare public health professionals to work at individual and community levels for health equity and social justice, through a participatory learning environment that integrates theory, research and practice; honors diversity through a cultural humility lens; and fosters teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills.

To further this mission, the MPH program:

  1. Provides professional preparation in the core competencies, functions, and responsibilities required of master level community health educators.
  2. Embraces an ecological approach, including a curriculum that addresses determinants of health at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy levels.
  3. Builds the specialized professional competencies required to promote health and prevent disease among culturally diverse populations.
  4. Incorporates the principles of adult learning in the application of knowledge and skills to specific problems.
  5. Integrates theory, research, and practice in a community-based public health framework.
  6. Emphasizes collaborative leadership and team building through a cohorted learning community approach.
  7. Engages students in applied public health research that addresses the social determinants of health, reduces social inequalities in health, and contributes to building healthy communities.
  8. Serves the campus community and the communities of the Bay Area through developing mutually beneficial partnerships with communities, community-based organizations, health care departments, and other public and private institutions.

Admission Criteria

  • A minimum of 4,000 total hours (two years full-time work equivalent) of previous health-related work experience, paid and/or volunteer positions; application strengthened by public health/health equity positions, particularly post-baccalaureate and leadership roles, and by additional public health/health equity work experience years beyond the minimum required
  • Evidence of academic excellence, as reflected in a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in a baccalaureate degree or in the last 60 attempted semester (90 quarter) units of higher education coursework, or a previously earned post-baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test
  • Graduate-level proficiency in written English, as demonstrated by a 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing Section of the GRE General Test
  • A completed college course in each of four areas: statistics or calculus, social science, composition, and cultural, ethnic, or social diversity (CESD). Strong academic performance in the four prerequisite course areas further strengthens the application. View detailed information about the prerequisite courses on the departmental website. The statistics/calculus course must have been completed with a grade of C+ or higher within six years of the MPH program application year. If an applicant has not completed the statistics/calculus course within six years of applying to the program, or has not met the minimum C+ course grade requirement, admission to the program may still be recommended, but with the admission condition that a a refresher statistics course is completed with grade of C+ or higher before the first fall semester of intended enrollment.
  • If applicable, TOEFL test or equivalent:
  • Linguistic competence in English and a second language strengthens the application.

Admission Procedures

  1. Strongly Recommended: Attend a Prospective MPH Student Information Session. See the Department Events webpage for the calendar of information sessions offered during the fall semester of each academic year. These faculty-led sessions provide detailed information about the program, curriculum, admission criteria, selection procedures, and the application process. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions. RSVP required; reserve a space by emailing with your name, your email address, and the date of the session. For directions, parking and a campus map, view the SF State Parking & Transportation website. Out-of-area applicants unable to attend an information session can email to receive a set of program informational documents by email.
  2. Application Process: The graduate admission application to San Francisco State University is a two-part process. You must submit Part A and Part B of your graduate admission application by March 1st to be considered for fall admission that calendar year. All application materials must be submitted or postmarked by the March 1st application deadline.
    1. Submit online University application to the Division of Graduate Studies via CSU Mentor for a Graduate Program. Further University application requirements can be found here.
    2. To complete the required Department of Health Education application process, follow the steps for applying and download the departmental application materials available on the Department of Health Education website.
  3. Admission Decision Notification. By mid-April applicants will receive an admission decision notification from the Division of Graduate Studies.
  4. MPH Student Move to Classified Status. Admitted MPH applicants enroll in the program with conditionally classified status. To be moved to classified status, a student must meet all of the conditions specified by the Division of Graduate Studies and the Department of Health Education. These include any specialized conditions indicated in the Department of Health Education admission recommendation letter and MPH Student Handbook, both the Level One and Level Two written English proficiency requirements for Master of Public Health students, completion of at least two consecutive semesters of coursework of 3.0 or higher grade point average, and the demonstration of professional ethics and effective collaborative learning skills. In addition, in order to continue in the program, a student must make satisfactory progress toward degree completion each semester, including meeting all standards as stipulated by the department. Departmental standards, detailed in the MPH Student Handbook, include meeting departmental grade thresholds for individual courses. MPH students are allowed a maximum of two attempts to complete a required course at or above the threshold grade specified in the MPH Student Handbook. A course withdrawal counts as a course completion attempt. Students who do not meet the grade threshold after two attempts at a course will be declassified.

Application Period

The application period is October 1st through March 1st for admission to the subsequent fall semester. New students are admitted as a cohorted learning community for fall semesters only - there are no spring admits.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different levels.

Level I

Students must demonstrate graduate-level proficiency in written English prior to admission with a score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing Section of the GRE. An applicant who scores below a 4.0 on the Analytical Writing Section of the GRE may be admitted to the program, but with the stipulation that the student engage in additional writing skills development activities before program commencement and/or during program enrollment, and that the student progress in the program by meeting the Level II written English proficiency as specified below.

Level II

The student’s ability to write in a scholarly manner in the major field must be demonstrated by successful completion of the first semester, first year courses of H ED 810, H ED 815, and H ED 884.


The MPH curriculum emphasizes critical thinking skills, collaborative learning, problem solving, practical experience, social justice, and advocacy. The program consists of 44 units, scheduled to accommodate working professionals while maintaining sound pedagogy. The program can be completed in a minimum of five semesters, which translates into two academic years, including a summer semester between the first and second year. More moderately paced degree completion plans are also available.

Master of Public Health — 44 units

Required Courses (44 units)

H ED 810Public Health and Principles of Community Organizing3
H ED 811Community Health Education Skills ePortfolio1
H ED 815Theories of Social Behavioral Change in Community Health Education3
H ED 820Community Health Assessment3
H ED 821Public Health Profession Practice3
H ED 822Advanced Public Health Profession Practice3
H ED 825Epidemiology3
H ED 828Biostatistics Lab1
H ED 829Biostatistics and Public Health3
H ED 830Health Education Planning, Management, and Administration for Community Change3
H ED 835Public Health Policy3
H ED 840Program Evaluation Design and Research3
H ED 845Educational Processes, Training and Curricula in Public Health3
H ED 855Environmental Health1
H ED 884Seminar in Applied Community Health Education Research (Public Health Inquiry)2
Elective Course- a faculty advisor-approved upper division or graduate level course
H ED 890Master of Public Health Culminating Experience Seminar3