Residential Master's Curriculum & Degree Requirements
Residential Master’s Quick Links
The residential master’s degree curriculum emphasizes a balance between systematic learning about health services and public health issues on the one hand and management and policy analysis, concepts, and techniques on the other. Emphasis is placed on both classroom and experience-based learning.
The residential master’s program emphasizes a team approach to learning. In many of the courses, students are grouped in teams of three to six students to complete course-related projects, assignments, and team-based exams. In addition to assigned teams, most students form ongoing, informal study groups to enhance individual learning.
Degrees and Concentration
The residential master’s program offers three degrees:
- Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
Students also select a secondary area of concentration, such as: policy analysis, managed care, health economics, financial management, quality management, marketing or international health.
Description of Residential Master’s Programs
Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)
The MSPH is a professional degree designed to prepare students for careers in health policy analysis, planning, development, evaluation, and advocacy at local, state, federal, and international levels as well as in the private sector. The MSPH degree is particularly appropriate for individuals interested in pursuing careers in public policy, public advocacy organizations, consulting research organizations, federal and state government entities, public health departments, non-governmental organizations, and international health organizations. Students obtain a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare system, policy analysis, and analytic methods.
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
The MHA is a professional degree for students wishing to pursue management careers in health systems, hospitals, consulting firms, managed care organizations, insurance firms, non-governmental organizations, medical group practices, government agencies and other settings. The MHA degree is designed to provide strong preparation in the management disciplines, a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare sector, experiential elements, and an opportunity to pursue an area of concentration. All students will enter the program with some work experience; those choosing to continue full-time work are counseled to study in the distance program. The intended outcome for those working full-time, and for those who bring more management experience to either the residential or distance program, is postgraduate employment in the health care industry with more, or more significant, management responsibility than that held previously. For those in either the residential or distance program with more limited management experience, the intended outcome is a responsible health care management position, which for some of those who already hold full-time positions may entail a change of organization.
PLEASE NOTE: The MPH is a professional degree intended for those students who hold a doctoral-level professional degree (e.g., JD, MD, DDS, PhD), or are in the process of completing a doctoral-level degree.
The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health is now participating in SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service). All MPH applicants must submit a SOPHAS application and a Graduate School application. Please see detailed instructions here.
Students gain a comprehensive understanding of public health philosophy, methods, and values and are provided with an orientation to management and policy-related careers in the health field. The degree is suitable for individuals who have an interest in either healthcare management or health policy. MPH graduates successfully pursue careers in health systems, hospitals, consulting firms, managed care organizations, medical group practices, government agencies, public policy organizations, public health departments, and international health organizations. Those interested in board certification in preventive medicine or public health dentistry should pay special attention to this degree.
Additionally, there is the opportunity for students currently pursuing a professional doctoral degree (or a PhD in another field) to earn simultaneously an MPH degree. Such students are awarded the MPH degree after, or concurrently with, the doctoral degree. For these students, eligibility for award of the MPH degree requires completion of the doctoral degree. Students who do not complete the doctoral degree may subsequently apply to either the MSPH or MHA program, but must meet the admissions requirement for the two-year programs, including submitting current GRE scores. Course credits previously earned through the MPH program can be applied toward the MSPH or MHA degree requirements if the student is admitted.
Curriculum Comparison by Degree MPH MHA MSPH School of Public Health MPH MHA MSPH Department CORE MPH MHA MSPH Degree CORE Total Credits Required for Graduation 42 60 60
See our Course Listings for course descriptions
School of Public Health
Total Credits Required for Graduation
* Note: Credits earned for HPM 701, HPM 702, and HPM 703 are not counted towards the degree requirements for graduation.
The following curriculum and graduation requirements apply to the Residential Master’s Program:
- At least two full semesters of residence credit, either by full-time registration or by part-time registration over several semesters.
- All requirements for the degree must be met within five years from the date of matriculation.
MHA and MSPH Students
- Successful completion of 60 credit hours comprising School of Public Health, Department and degree core courses, and elective courses for MHA and MSPH students
- Successful completion of a 12-week internship (HPM 793)
- Enrollment in three semesters of Professional Training (HPM 701, HPM 702 and HPM 703)
- Successful completion of the master’s paper and comprehensive examination Graduate School requirement.
- MHA students meet the comprehensive examination requirement through business plan development and presentation through HPM 734 and HPM 735.
- MHA students meet the master’s paper requirement through case analyses in HPM 735.
- MSPH students meet the comprehensive examination requirement through successful development and defense of a master’s paper proposal through HPM 789.
- MSPH students meet the master’s paper requirement through completion of a master’s paper (HPM 992).
- Successful completion of 42 credit hours comprising School of Public Health, department, and degree core courses, and elective courses
- Successful completion of 6-week internship (HPM 793)
- Enrollment in one semester of Professional Training (HPM 701)
- Successful completion of a master’s paper HPM 992.
Content for this page provided by the Department of Health Policy and Management. Please contact the webmaster with any questions or comments on content. For admission questions, please contact the HPM Student Services Office. For questions or problems with the online admissions form, contact the Graduate School.