Public health is about more than medicine. Our MPH program focuses on social justice as a framework for promoting health equity in local and global communities.
You'll learn the importance of the historical roots and structural causes of health inequities as well as strategies to improve community health.
MPH Program Highlights
In Touro University California's MPH program, you will:
Conduct extensive fieldwork
Whether you have an internship with Solano County's Public Health Department or participate in a partnership in another country, you'll have a chance to see your lessons unfold in the field. Our students have worked on a midwifery program in Ethiopia, a reproductive health project with women in Cambodia, and many other projects.
Join a progressive program
Our MPH program has always emphasized how social and environmental factors are predictive of health in different groups. But those factors can also predict whether individuals will be exposed to the criminal justice system. Our new criminal justice track is the first of its kind in the country.
Be part of a close-knit group
Our classes feature a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Work with faculty as invested in social justice as you are
You're coming to Touro because you want to make a difference. Our faculty came here for the same reason. Many of our faculty work on projects in Vallejo, the surrounding communities, and around the world, and welcome the chance to involve students in their research.
Participate in important community conversations
You'll take part in our Social Justice Seminar Series, which addresses topics that are important to the entire community. This open-to-the-public event, sponsored by the College of Education and Health Sciences, engages you in conversations about environmental justice, the unhoused, economic injustice, and more.
Be part of an accredited program
Our MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Our public health program is a 42 credit master’s degree. As a full-time student, you can finish the degree program in as few as four academic terms. Part-time students must complete the program within 5 years. Typically, our students complete the program in about two years. Credits include core courses (19 units), concentration courses (6 units), electives (10 units), and your culminating experience (7 units).
No matter which of the three concentrations you choose, you'll take coursework that covers the five core disciplines of public health. These are:
- Biostatistics (3 units)
- Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health (3 units)
- Epidemiology (3 units)
- Health Policy & Management (3 units)
- Environmental Health (3 units)
- Program Evaluation
- Research Methods
You'll complete your studies with 400 hours of field study and either an applied project or comprehensive exam. The 19 core credits are:
PBHC 604 Health & Policy Management (3 units)
This is a lecture-based course with interactive discussion sections, intended to introduce students to the policy making process in the health sector and to give them an overview of the organization, management and financing of the US health system. We discuss the accessibility, cost, and quality of health care. The health care system in the community and its environment are examined to determine how they impact Health Services Administration.
PBHC 607 Biostatistics (3 units)
This course provides students with statistical concepts and methods for analyzing continuous and categorical data, with an emphasis on learning analytical methods through hands-on experience with real data. Public health applications of descriptive statistics, basic probability concepts, one and two sample statistical inference, analysis of variance and simple linear regression are discussed. Students are introduced to a statistical computer package such as SPSS.
PBHC 608 Behavioral & Social Aspects of Public Health (3 units)
This course provides students with an introduction to behavioral and social science theory in the context of public research and practice. This course exposes students to a broad range of theories and frameworks commonly employed in the public health arena, and applicable to other health professions as well (e.g., medicine, nursing, social work). Theories of health behavior help researchers, practitioners, and participants (patients, community members) identify targets and opportunities for change as well as methods for accomplishing change. These theories are discussed using examples of their applications to numerous public health problems including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, material and child health, violence, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and global health. In addition, this course emphasizes developing strong scientific literacy and skills to interpret empirical evidence in the context of research methods.
PBHC 618 Epidemiology (3 units)
This course introduces the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrates its applicability in the field of public health. Topics to be covered include the historical perspective of epidemiology, ethics in epidemiology, measures of disease occurrence and association, study design, screening for disease in a population, causal inference, error, bias, and confounding. Students will learn to evaluate and interpret epidemiological literature.
PBHC 619 Research Methodology (1 unit)
This is a course in interdisciplinary research methodologies widely used in the social sciences and public health prevention studies and provides an introduction to social theory, conducting a literature review, framing research questions, research design, data collection and/or conducting fieldwork, and analyzing or interpreting research findings for presentation in a report or thesis. The course will address mixed methods, and qualitative data collection and analytical techniques. Students will learn how to identify an area of interest, formulate research questions, conduct a research method, and identify the appropriate data collection and analysis strategy.
PBHC 631 Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series (0 units)
This course is a 6-part lecture series which includes individual and panel presentations from experts in the field of public health and social justice. Each 2-hour session will include a lecture or panel presentation followed by a question-and-answer period.
PBHC 647 Program Evaluation and Needs Assessment (3 units)
This course serves as an introduction to evaluation methodology and evaluation tools commonly used to assess programs. Students will become familiar with the concepts, methods, and applications of program evaluation and will be able to propose an appropriate evaluation plan to assess the implementation and effectiveness of a program. This course also explores community health needs assessment methods. Emphasis is placed on methods for ensuring data integrity by exploring data collection, maintenance, and dissemination. Instructional techniques will include traditional lectures to highlight course readings and provide practical examples of “real life” program evaluation experiences. Students will also regularly work in small groups to reinforce course concepts from readings and lectures.
PBHC 648 Environmental Health (3 units)
This course explores the challenges our population faces from health risks from environmental hazards, and our role in their creation and exacerbation. Students will explore the meaning of environmental health and the wealth of human health threats posed through factors in air, food, water, climate, and the built environment. The class will provide an overview of the main tools used in the field of environmental health to understand, quantify, and minimize these health risks. Case studies from domestic and international examples will be used to illustrate variations in risk with differences in exposure pathway, mode of action, susceptibility, and regulation. Close attention will be paid to exposure distribution as it relates to social inequity and injustice. Students will examine their own role in the globalized economy of today, and look for opportunities to improve on the future prognosis of environmental health.
Public Health Electives
To finish your 42 credits for the MPH degree, you’ll choose 10 credits from the courses below, or the other innovative courses we continue to develop and offer in collaboration with our community partners.
PBHC 602 Emerging Health Threats (CAH & HECJ) (3 units)
Emerging bacterial, protozoal, and viral diseases represent an increasing threat to human health. This course aims to examine the impact of emerging and re-emerging disease agents which affect public health in the United States and worldwide. More specifically, this course will explore the challenges and strategies public health professionals will face in the diagnosis, prevention, control and surveillance of emerging health threats. This course will highlight the role of person, time and place in specific emerging health threats such as Malaria, Ebola, West Nile Virus, Influenza, MRSA, and Tuberculosis among many others.
PBHC 603 Maternal and Child Health (3 units)
The purpose of the course is to orient students to a maternal and child public health perspective for meeting the health needs of women, children, adolescents and families by examining the historical and current principles, programs, policies, and practices related to these populations. It is also designed to introduce students to global MCH, the presence of a wide gap in maternal child health outcomes between the developed and developing countries and it effect internationally. This course will explore health issues affecting women and children throughout their life course with a focus on the social determinants of health, health disparities and social justice.
PBHC 606 Community Health Promotion (GE & HECJ) (3 units)
This course is designed to provide an introductory understanding of the basic concepts, skills, models and resources currently utilized in the field of health education and promotion. The course will assist health care providers and public health professionals to holistically approach their work and acquire the essential tools to deliver information and strategies to improve health with a focus on underserved populations. Through lectures, weekly readings, assignments, in-class discussions/presentations, guest lectures from local public health experts and Community Health Promotion Work Practice, students will explore various approaches to community-based health promotion. We will explore how these approaches connect efforts to promote social justice and to end health disparities.
PBHC 610 Public Health in Times of Conflict (3 units)
This course will provide an overview of the direct and indirect effect on health and the challenges public health workers confront in times of armed conflict. It will begin with a review of the history and the consequences of conflict for public health and health care delivery. It will then move to discussion about the health challenges and ethical dilemmas a health professional goes through in times of conflict and lessons learned from such experiences. The proactive strategies to challenge health crisis and to prevent conflict will conclude the course. Class discussion will be enhanced by visits from people who have had firsthand experience of armed conflict and the challenges it presents to health workers. Active student involvement highly encouraged.
PBHC 611 Grant Writing (1 units)
Public health institutions are financed through a combination of public and private sources. An important component of this financing for many public health programs is grant funding. These funds are available from a variety of private foundations and government sources. Every healthcare professional in a public institution must be aware of these sources of funding and the means by which these funds are awarded. This course provides the student with an understanding of the grant writing process from proposal development, to funding, and on to implementation. Students will explore grant funding sources and prepare sample submissions based on real life scenarios from local Bay Area non-profit programs.
PBHC 614 Essentials of Global Health (CAH & HECJ) (3 units)
This course introduces students to the field of global public health with an emphasis on the developing world. The course orients students to the skills necessary for understanding patterns and illness in resource-poor countries. It explores the continuum between health and sickness in populations around the world, and emphasizes the influence of both global and domestic factors in contributing to variation in health. Students are introduced to the major health problems currently impacting the developing world and alerted to the importance of a global approach to solving these health problems. Additionally, they will be introduced to the major players in international health: the donor communities, Ministries of Health, and UN agencies.
PPBHC 620 Social Inequities & Health (GH & HECJ) (3 units)
This course will examine the contextual factors of primary health care and health disparities within the US. Current trends will be described and discussed utilizing case study methodology to examine health indicators among the US population. Students will gain an increased understanding of the impact of current trends such as increased negative health outcomes among minority and underserved populations. Students will have an increased understanding of the complexities associated with addressing health disparities in the United States. Issues of community organizing, community partnerships, empowerment, and community participation and their relevance in public health strategies, interventions, and policymaking efforts that address health disparities will also be examined.
PBHC 624 Public Health and the Media (3 units)
This course will introduce students to the basic components of media in the U.S., and analyze how the media environment may serve as an influence on and determinant of individual and population health. Through lectures, in-class viewings, readings, assignments and lively class discussions, students will be challenged to explore the relevance of the media in their own lives, to connect this awareness to public health, and to consider how the media environment may be shaped to contribute to a society that promotes and enhances the public’s health.
PBHC 630 GIS and Public Health (3 units)
This course is designed to provide an overview of the role and applications of GIS within the public health sector. GIS or Geographic Information Systems may be implemented using a variety of software to integrate, analyze and visualize geographic data. The class will familiarize students with ESRI’s software ArcGIS and its (or that of similar software) increasing applications in public health. This class will teach some of the basic tools of GIS, provide public health case examples with data for practice in class labs, and review the role of GIS in variety of public health contexts. The class will learn how GIS can be used to map and analyze distributions of public health risk factors and health outcomes to address health problems.
PBHC 632 Social Justice Seminar (1-3 units)
This course is the discussion section and seminar for the Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series. In addition to the lecture series, this 3-unit course requires participation in a 2-hour discussion section and a final paper. Discussion sections will include small group discussions and activities designed to understand and synthesize the topics from the previous week’s lecture/presentation.
PBHC 633 Criminal Justice and Public Health (GH & CAH) (3 units)
This course will provide students with an overview of the intersection between the criminal justice system and public health. Students will gain an understanding of how U.S. mass incarceration is a public health issue. Topics will include the history and philosophy of incarceration, criminal justice and policy, health issues in prisons, women and incarceration, reintegration after incarceration, the impacts of incarceration on families and communities, prevention, restorative justice, juvenile justice, disability justice, as well as institutional racism, police violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of incarceration.
PBHC 634 Criminal Justice Law & Advocacy (GH & CAH) (3 units)
This course will provide students with a foundation in constitutional law and civic education while focusing on a wide range of important issues in public health law, regulations, and the factors at play when developing advocacy strategies on issues that intersect public health and the criminal justice system. Students will gain an understanding of seminal and precedent-setting public health law cases that have led to policy reform in incarceration, prevention, correctional health, and reentry health.
Public Health Concentrations
In addition to the core public health curriculum, you’ll tailor your degree to your interests with one of our three concentrations for your elective courses.
Community Action for Health
Respond to the health needs of vulnerable communities. Courses include Social Inequities in Public Health and Community Health Promotion.Learn More
Learn how a nation's economic status is linked to the overall health of its people, and explore ways to solve these problems. Courses include Essentials of Global Health and Emerging Health Threats.Learn More
Health Equity & Criminal Justice
Understand how individual, family, and community health is influenced by mass incarceration and exposure to the criminal justice system. Courses include Criminal Justice and Public Health.Learn More
After completing core and elective courses, you will take your culminating experience courses, which are:
- Field Study (400 hours). Field study sites vary by concentration.
- Capstone Project or Exam Prep.
The field study is followed by the Capstone Course – the integration of coursework and field experience. You may choose a singular applied project, which requires a formal written manuscript and public presentation, or a comprehensive exam demonstrating your mastery and ability to integrate and apply core public health principles to issues that may confront public health professionals.
The Public Health Field Study is an opportunity for you to apply and integrate the skills and knowledge you acquire during your graduate didactic coursework, translating that experience to programs, policy development, educational campaigns, and research that benefit communities.
The Public Health Program has successfully developed collaborations with local departments of health, community organizations and non-governmental organizations engaged in public health activities.
PBHC 600-6 Field Study (6 units)
The Public Health Field Study course is a structured and practical experience in a professional public health setting which allows students to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic period into public health practice. Independent Master of Public Health students complete the 400 hours required for PBHC 600-6 Field Study over 10-12 weeks. Joint and Dual degree students are required to complete 200 hours for PBHC-4 during a 6-week block. Through the Field Study, students apply their academic knowledge to “real world” situations that address public health issues. Students conduct field work as interns at public health organizations, which serve as field study placement sites. The role of the MPH student intern is to assist partnering organizations with specific public health projects, locally and abroad. Student participation should contribute to strategic resolutions, be valued by the Organization, and contribute to meeting its mission and goals. Through their field work, students help to build and strengthen working partnerships between field study placement sites and TUC.
Capstone Project or Comprehensive Exam
The MPH Capstone Project
The MPH Capstone Project is an exciting and significant undertaking that gives you the opportunity to develop your analytical skills and to gain expertise in a subject area. Work on the project is conducted over the course of several semesters under the guidance of our capstone coordinator.
If you conduct a Capstone Project, you will produce a substantial, original, independently written manuscript concerning a significant public health problem and share and defend your work during an oral presentation.
Past student Capstone Projects have included:
- Examining Hospital Doula Policies: An analysis of doula policy within maternal and child health in the U.S.
- Strategies to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Recommendations for Solano County
- Implementing Food Policies for Healthy Eating in Jamaica: A Policy Analysis
- Nonylphenols and Female Fertility: A Systemic Review
The Capstone process usually takes three to four semesters and consists of three phases:
- Planning and project development (usually occurring in the first and second semesters of the program)
- Conducting the project (usually occurring in the second or third semester of the program)
- Analyzing and summarizing project results (the fourth, or last, semester of the program)
Joint PA/MPH and Dual Degree (MPH/DO & MPH/PharmD) students have different timelines.
PBHC 645 Capstone Thesis (1 unit)
Students conducting a Capstone project produce a substantial, original, independently written manuscript concerning a significant public health problem and share and defend their work during an oral presentation. The goal of the Capstone project should be to create a body of knowledge on which others can build. However, the overarching principle for determining suitability of a Capstone project is whether it provides students the opportunity to apply the skills and competencies acquired in the MPH program to a problem likely to be encountered in public health practice. All Capstone projects will be conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, secondary faculty advisor, and the course coordinator.
The Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam covers content relevant to the span of current public health practice. It is a timed exam, consisting of 200 questions. You have 4 hours to complete the exam. All questions on the exam are multiple choice and single-best answer. Questions include matching items; a series of questions related to a common vignette; and associated pictorials or charts. Accommodations are available.
CPH Content Areas
- Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
- Law and Ethics
- Public Health Biology and Human Disease Risk
- Collaboration and Partnership
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Program Management
- Policy in Public Health
- Health Equity and Social Justice
The CPH exam is given by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). Per TUC Policy, students have one year to pass the 1 unit CPH exam course, but must pay the national board for each attempt during the year.
CPH Exam cost – $250.00. The regular price of $385.00 will be automatically adjusted to $250.00 for all TUC public health students upon submission of the application.
The CPH exam is offered year-round at both computer-based testing centers and by live remote-proctor. There are over 1,400 computer-based testing centers which are open Monday-Saturday all year long, and live online proctored exams are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Candidates who pass the exam will be provisionally certified until their TUC graduation. Following confirmation of TUC graduation, they will be Certified in Public Health (CPH).
PBHC 646 Certified in Public Health Exam Prep (1 unit)
Students who enroll in PBHC 646 are required to take the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam sponsored by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Students register for the 1-unit TUC course PBHC 646 CPH Exam Preparation and also register with the National Board of Public Health Examiners (www.nbphe.org) for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam. Students must register for PBHC 646 in the same semester in which they take the CPH exam - following the completion of core and concentration courses. Students must pass the CPH exam to pass PH 646. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam covers the core areas of knowledge offered in CEPH-accredited schools and programs, as well as crosscutting areas relevant to contemporary public health. The examination was crafted to assess a person’s knowledge of these competencies, regardless of his or her academic concentration.
Our students come to us with a wide range of experience and go on to diverse careers that match their interests.
- Health educator
- Program analyst
- Infectious disease tracking
- Evaluator and program planner
- Kaiser Permanente
- Solano County Health and Social Services
- Various health systems