The Public Health Leadership Program's Leadership Track - Online and Residential MPH

GPS-logo-smallCheck out more program details for the Online Leadership MPH and the Residential Leadership MPH programs via the Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students.


The mission of the Public Health Leadership Program is to develop leaders in health and medical care and to train our students to meet the public health and medical care challenges of the community and society at large. To accomplish this mission, students are provided an integrated, practice-based curriculum with flexibility in selecting courses both within the Leadership Program and other departments to meet PHLP core requirements.

The Leadership MPH is designed for individuals who already have a professional identity and who have three to five years of health-related experience but who desire to broaden their knowledge and skills in public health philosophy and sciences. The School of Public Health recognizes that these individuals represent a variety of disciplines, have a wide range of experiences and often have a limited amount of time in which to complete an MPH curriculum. Therefore, the hallmarks of the program are its flexibility and the opportunity it affords students to custom-design their programs of study.

The curriculum of study includes:

  • School of Public Health core courses: Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Policy and Management, Health Behavior, and Environmental Science
  • Leadership core courses in the areas of assurance, assessment and policy development
  • Electives drawn from School of Public Health courses
  • Practicum
  • Master’s paper

In consultation with his or her adviser, each Distance Student selects a concentration area that reflects his or her individual interests. Concentration areas include Public Health Practice, Public Health Nursing, Field Epidemiology, and Global Health.

Graduation requires a minimum of 42 credits. The structure of the program is as follows:

Online Leadership MPH

  • The online program is designed to be completed over a period of 3-4 years.
  • All classwork may be completed online, with the exception of two sessions which are held in Chapel Hill — one in August prior to the start of classes, and one either midway through the spring semester or at the beginning of the summer, usually during the student’s first year. Students are assigned advisers with whom they create a plan of study.
  • Students usually take two courses each semester, fall and spring, and may also elect to take classes during summer.
  • Online courses are delivered using the Sakai platform. Lectures and resources are accessed by students asynchronously, responses are posted in forums, and projects and papers are often prepared in teams.
  • Up to 8 previously earned credits may be counted toward the 42 hours necessary for your degree. Students who are enrolled or have graduated from a Certificate Program in the Public Health Leadership Program are allowed to transfer up to 15 credit hours, pending approval by the program, from that Certificate program towards a Master’s degree in Public Health. See the Graduate School Handbook (pdf).

Residential Leadership MPH

  • The residential program is designed to be completed over a period of 1.5-2 years.
  • Students are assigned advisers with whom they create a plan of study.
  • Students usually take four to five courses–in residential, online and hybrid formats–in spring and fall semesters, and may elect to take courses during the summer as well.
  • Online courses are delivered using the Sakai platform. Lectures and resources are accessed by students asynchronously, responses are posted in forums, and projects and papers are often prepared in teams.
  • Up to 8 previously earned credits may be counted toward the 42 hours necessary for your degree. Students who are enrolled in or who have graduated from any of the PHLP Certificate programs are allowed to transfer up to 15 credit hours, pending approval of the program, from that Certificate Program towards a Master’s degree in Public Health. See the Graduate School Handbook (pdf).

Register for an  Online Information Session to learn more about the PHLP Leadership track.

Application for admission is a two-step process. Go the the Gillings Program Search (GPS) for a breakdown of tasks for application to the Residential or Online programs.  For further information on process or other related issues, please contact:

PHLP Admissions  (phlp@unc.edu)
(919) 843-2385
Public Health Leadership Program
School of Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CB# 7469, 4113 McGavran-Greenberg Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7469

Application deadline:
The Leadership MPH admits for fall and requires submission of all application materials by the preceding January 2. However, applicants who wish to apply for scholarships, awards and financial assistance should apply no later than December 1.

Go to the Graduate School site for further information regarding applications. The Graduate School also has information regarding North Carolina Residency. If you have specific questions regarding residency, you can email inquiries to grad_residency@unc.edu.