The UC Irvine Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) was established in 2010 as the first professional degree of the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, and as an essential component of an envisioned School of Population Health at UC Irvine. The mission of the UC Irvine M.P.H. is to create public health practitioners who are trained to work independently and collaboratively to develop and implement effective strategies to reduce the burden of disease and disability in culturally diverse communities in Southern California and around the world. The MPH curriculum educates students in the global dimensions of public health principles and prepares them to lead and work collaboratively on the assessment of health-risk factors and the management of prevention strategies. In 2012, following a rigorous self-study process and a site visit by experts in the field, the M.P.H. program was accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (www.ceph.org).
In addition to providing a strong foundation in the core competency subjects recommended by the "Framing the Future" exercise of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), students enrolled in the UCI M.P.H. program have the opportunity for in-depth pursuit of one out of four emphasis areas:
Biostatistics, which is implemented in collaboration with the Department of Statistics, School of Information and Computer Sciences. The emphasis in biostatistics trains the development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing, and solving problems in public health; health care; and biomedical, clinical and population-based research and practice. Recipients of the MPH-Biostatistics degree will have excellent opportunities in translational public health sciences and art of disease prevention, addressing critical real-world challenges including disease outbreaks, pandemics, environmental health hazards assessment, and interpretation of clinical intervention outcomes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the occupational outlook for statisticians for 14% growth between 2010-2020, consistent with the rapid increase expected in all health care employment;
Environmental Health students examine how the health of a population is affected by biological, chemical, and physical factors in the environment. Public health practitioners in environmental health evaluate workplaces, homes, and other environments for potential hazardous materials and human risk factors. They conduct studies to assess the role of the environment in the development of diseases such as asthma, lung disease, cancer, and mental health. Topics studied in this emphasis include air/water quality, climate change, food safety, natural disasters, toxicology, and the environmental component of emerging issues such as the spread of antibiotic resistance among pathogen;
Epidemiology emphasis students study the patterns of disease and injury in populations in order to prevent and control health problems. Trained epidemiologists investigate occurrences of chronic and infectious diseases to determine what causes them, who is at risk, how the diseases spread, and how to contain them to protect the general public. They also analyze social and demographic data on disease and injury in an effort to develop strategies for disease in specific populations and prevent future incidences of illness. Topics studied in this emphasis include vector control, infectious disease, etiology of cancer and genetic diseases, and the global burden of disease;
Sociocultural Diversity and Health emphasis students are trained to identify and respond to the effects of social, cultural, and behavioral factors on individual and population health. Specialists in this area describe how culture, social inequities, and biological factors influence health and apply their knowledge to create preventive interventions to decrease health-damaging behaviors and increase health-promoting behaviors. They study the interaction between policies and the social and behavioral sciences, and identify ways to address health inequalities and promote health equity.
Most M.P.H. students generally need 5 academic quarters to fulfill degree requirements. Before graduating, every M.P.H. student completes practical experiential training in the field at an approved public health organization dedicated to advancing population health and disease prevention. Graduates of UC Irvine's M.P.H. program find employment in both public and private agencies and institutions that are committed to preventing diseases and promoting health at the population level.