Program Competencies

The Graduate Program in Public Health adopted the following 22 foundational public health competencies in January 2019. The foundational competencies are put forth by the Council on Education for Public Health. These competencies are informed by the traditional public health core knowledge areas, (biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration and environmental health sciences), as well as cross-cutting and emerging public health areas. The Program also maintains a list of track-specific competencies and curriculum development.

The competencies shall be the primary guide against which student achievement is measured in the classroom, in the Applied Practice Experience, in the Culminating Experience, as well as in other service-learning opportunities. Going forward, the Program Competencies herein replace those in previous iterations of the Student Handbook and all other program materials.

Students should understand that the Program Competencies are not intended to represent an endpoint that is reached at the time of graduation or expect in every case a one-to-one correlation to a particular class or exercise. Rather, these competencies provide a baseline overview of the knowledge, skills, and other attributes that might be expected for emerging public health professionals. The foundational competencies serve as a framework for Program development, and for continual professional development that is driven by the student. Completion of the program will assure that all students have demonstrated the student’s ability to perform the foundational competencies.

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  1. Apply epidemiological methods to settings and situations in public health practice

  2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context

  3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming, and software, as appropriate

  4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy, or practice

Public Health & Health Care Systems

  1. Compare the organization, structure, and function of health care, public health, and regulatory systems across national and international settings

  2. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels.

Planning & Management to Promote Health

  1. Assess population needs, assets, and capacities that affect communities’ health

  2. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design, implementation, or critique of public health policies or programs

  3. Design a population-based policy, program, project, or intervention

  4. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management

  5. Select methods to evaluate public health programs

Policy in Public Health

  1. Discuss the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence

  2. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes

  3. Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations

  4. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity


  1. Apply leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue

  2. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges


  1. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors

  2. Communicate audience-appropriate (i.e., non-academic, non-peer audience) public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation

  3. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content

Interprofessional Practice

  1. Integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health

Systems Thinking

  1. Apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative

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