Make an impact.
It starts with you.

The UNC Gillings School’s Master of Public Health (MPH), offered on-campus, online and distance by the top public school of public health in the country, is a comprehensive, integrated program that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to solve urgent public health problems in North Carolina and around the world. Upon entering the program, you’ll begin gaining knowledge and skills in the Gillings MPH Core, the foundation of the MPH program.

At the Gillings School, you can choose from among 12 concentration areas, matching your education to your passions. You will join a diverse, dynamic, “open doors” community of world-class faculty, student colleagues and exceptional staff. Together, you will gain the knowledge, skills, experience and networks to make a difference right away.


Gillings MPH Core
15 credits
Concentration courses
15 credits
Comprehensive Exam
Culminating experience
3 credits
Practicum
1 credit +
200 (minimum) hours
Electives
9 credits
Gillings MPH
42 total credits from start to finish

The Gillings MPH will help you achieve your dreams of making a difference locally and globally. Which path will you pursue?

Discover your concentration
  • About the Concentrations
  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health Solutions
  • Global Health
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership in Practice
  • Maternal, Child and Family Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics Concentration
  • Nutrition
  • Place-Based Health
  • Population Health for Clinicians
  • Public Health Data Science
Concentration Overview
More

About the Concentrations

Our 13 concentration areas include a wide range of research and practice portfolios – from helping to solve the opioid abuse epidemic, to preventing and controlling cancer, to improving water access and quality, to using big data and machine learning. Explore all of these areas and see how our engaged faculty, students and staff members work with communities and across disciplines — in North Carolina and around the world — to solve some of our most challenging health problems.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Dogwoods, North Carolina's state flower, blossom around a sign at the entrance to the Gillings School.
Dr. Aiello describes a new health app.

Applied Epidemiology

Epidemiology — the study of the distribution and determinants of disease or other influencing risk factors in a population — is the cornerstone of public health inquiry and problem solving. Unlike clinical medicine that predominantly focuses on an individual’s well-being, epidemiology uses a broader lens to examine the health of populations. As part of this concentration, you’ll learn to use epidemiologic tools to drive solutions to public health issues affecting diverse groups of people.

Elizabeth Christenson, environmental sciences and engineering student, tests the water quality in a local waterway. As a Boren Fellowship awardee in 2018-2019, Christenson will use her scientific training to work on community-based public health and disease prevention initiatives in the Middle East.

Environmental Health Solutions

The environments in which we live, work and play invariably affect public health. In fact, environmental exposures – most of which can be prevented – account for nearly one quarter of all diseases worldwide. The Environmental Health Solutions concentration is designed to equip future public health professionals with the skills and know-how to predict and identify environmental problems and mitigate their impacts on human health.

Hayley Welgus (far right) works with Save the Children colleagues in Haiti.

Global Health

Designed to train professionals to solve public health problems locally and globally, the Global Health concentration provides students with skills to advance the health and well-being of populations in diverse global settings. Students will gain skills in the development, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and projects that are aligned with local culture, contexts, and resources. This concentration is available only in a residential format.

Students visit Puerto Rico to help with disaster relief.

Health Behavior

The Health Behavior concentration prepares students for leadership positions in public health practice. Through coursework and a year-long service-learning project, you will gain experience using social and behavioral science to develop, implement and evaluate programs and policies. Graduates of this concentration are equipped to promote health, prevent disease and injury, foster social justice and reduce health inequities at all levels of the social ecological framework – from the individual to organizations, communities and policies.

Minority Health Conference attendees stop to chat.

Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights

Students in the interdisciplinary Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights (EQUITY) concentration develop the skills to improve population health through identifying health inequities and eliminating them with innovative approaches. Graduates possess a foundational understanding of how social determinants contribute to health inequities and have hands-on experience applying strategies, methods and interventions to advance social justice and human rights.

A student visits the VA to provide a survey.

Health Policy

The Health Policy concentration trains future leaders in policymaking and practice so they can produce cutting-edge analyses that address the complex challenges of health care delivery. Students learn the skills to design, implement and evaluate health care and public health policies in a variety of settings, and to advocate for and lead changes in a policy setting. Graduates can demonstrate an intricate understanding of the current U.S. health care system, have expertise in analysis and advocacy, and possess the skills to effectively manage financial and human resources.

Students chat during a poster presentation.

Leadership in Practice

The Leadership in Practice concentration is designed for professionals interested in transforming health systems in all areas of public health practice. Our program, offered on-campus and online, will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead teams, projects, organizations, and systems in local and global communities. The curriculum fosters relational skills needed to co-design systems with community partners in order to identify and prevent problems, mitigate and eliminate inequities, and improve and advance health outcomes. Leadership MPH students gain skills and expertise in systems and design thinking, evidence-based problem-solving and decision-making, and community engagement and conflict management strategies. Graduates of the Leadership in Practice MPH students are equipped to mobilize change at the community level to advance equity and social justice, address underlying conditions that affect individual and population health, and innovate to improve the social determinants of health.

Maternal, Child and Family Health

The Maternal, Child and Family Health concentration focuses on determinants and systems that promote the health and safety of women, children and their families — with the goal of enhancing the welfare of society and subsequent generations. With a strong foundation in frameworks and methods for program planning and impact evaluation, this concentration equips graduates with an adaptable toolkit for leading interdisciplinary efforts requiring multiple perspectives and competencies in domestic and global contexts.

Dr. Ammerman visits a farmer's market with students.

Nutrition

The Nutrition concentration focuses on nutrition science as well as on behavior change, communication, counseling, and the effects of dietary culture on the individual and within communities. Students gain the skills to assess scientific evidence for nutritional guidelines, effectively communicate nutritional information to the public, evaluate how social, cultural and environmental factors affect nutrition-related health outcomes, and practice in compliance with federal regulations and state statutes.

Nutrition and Dietetics Concentration

The Nutrition and Dietetics concentration integrates the scientific study of nutrition and dietetics with a foundation in public health practice and research. Meant for aspiring clinical dietitians who are motivated to help people live healthier lives through better nutrition, the program offers students customized internship placement services to help fulfill the requirements to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration exam.

The sun sets in the Asheville mountains.

Place-Based Health

The concentration in Place-Based Health centers people and their communities as the catalyst for transforming systems to promote wellbeing for all. The joint MPH program features small cohorts of up to 24 students, case and community-based activities, and instruction by interdisciplinary faculty and community practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom.

Two clinicians study a map.

Population Health for Clinicians

The Population Health for Clinicians concentration is designed for medical students, practicing physicians, and other clinicians who wish to increase their knowledge in public health and population science to better serve their communities. This concentration offers a unique interdisciplinary focus on clinical, prevention, population, and policy sciences which enable students to improve clinical environment when they complete the program. This concentration is available only in a full-time, residential format.

Dr. Kosorok analyzes data.

Public Health Data Science

The Public Health Data Science concentration — one of the first applied data science programs situated within a school of public health — gives students the skills and knowledge to employ cutting-edge data science tools and respond to pressing public health issues with effective solutions. Data science combines the statistical skills to manipulate data and make inferences, the mathematical skills to model phenomena and make predictions, and the computer science skills to manage and analyze large data sets.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Applied Epidemiology

Epidemiology — the study of the distribution and determinants of disease or other influencing risk factors in a population — is the cornerstone of public health inquiry and problem solving. Unlike clinical medicine that predominantly focuses on an individual’s well-being, epidemiology uses a broader lens to examine the health of populations. As part of this concentration, you’ll learn to use epidemiologic tools to drive solutions to public health issues affecting diverse groups of people.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Dr. Aiello (right) discusses an app with a student.
Concentration Overview
News And More

Environmental Health Solutions

The environments in which we live, work and play invariably affect public health. In fact, environmental exposures – most of which can be prevented – account for nearly one quarter of all diseases worldwide. The Environmental Health Solutions concentration is designed to equip future public health professionals with the skills and know-how to predict and identify environmental problems and mitigate their impacts on human health.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

A student takes a water sample.

NC appropriates $5M for multi-university study of GenX; Surratt to serve as lead investigator

The N.C. Policy Collaboratory has received a $5 million appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly to support water quality testing for a set of chemicals including GenX, a potentially toxic industrial compound that has been detected in the Cape Fear River. The Gillings School will manage the study, and Dr. Jason Surratt will serve as lead investigator. Graphic courtesy of The Intercept.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Global Health

Designed to train professionals to solve public health problems locally and globally, the Global Health concentration provides students with skills to advance the health and well-being of populations in diverse global settings. Students will gain skills in the development, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and projects that are aligned with local culture, contexts, and resources. This concentration is available only in a residential format.

Hayley Welgus (far right) works with Save the Children colleagues in Haiti. Photo credit: Reginald Louissaint

New study finds fake, low-quality medicines prevalent in the developing world

A new study by Drs. Sachiko Ozawa and James Herrington, and colleagues, found that substandard and falsified medicines, including medicines to treat malaria, are a serious problem in much of the world. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 13 percent of the essential medicines that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population fall in this category. Map design by UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Health Behavior

The Health Behavior concentration prepares students for leadership positions in public health practice. Through coursework and a year-long service-learning project, you will gain experience using social and behavioral science to develop, implement and evaluate programs and policies. Graduates of this concentration are equipped to promote health, prevent disease and injury, foster social justice and reduce health inequities at all levels of the social ecological framework – from the individual to organizations, communities and policies.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Barrington and team win research award for HIV/AIDS project in Guatemala

Central America’s first study to critically document the process of creating a community-based clinic for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for gay men has been selected to receive the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations’ (ICASO) 2018 Robert Carr Research Award. Dr. Clare Barrington is the leader of the UNC research team on the collaborative project.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights

Students in the interdisciplinary Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights (EQUITY) concentration develop the skills to improve population health through identifying health inequities and eliminating them with innovative approaches. Graduates possess a foundational understanding of how social determinants contribute to health inequities and have hands-on experience applying strategies, methods and interventions to advance social justice and human rights.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Participants at the 2016 Minority Health Conference examine materials from related organizations at UNC.

Study finds behavioral changes insufficient to prevent early childhood obesity

Results from the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention ever tested in young children showed that children and their families in low-income communities were able to make some sustainable behavioral changes to their diet and activity level. In the end, however, rates of early childhood obesity were unchanged.

New study finds fake, low-quality medicines prevalent in the developing world

A new study by Drs. Sachiko Ozawa and James Herrington, and colleagues, found that substandard and falsified medicines, including medicines to treat malaria, are a serious problem in much of the world. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 13 percent of the essential medicines that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population fall in this category. Map design by UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Health Policy

The Health Policy concentration trains future leaders in policymaking and practice so they can produce cutting-edge analyses that address the complex challenges of health care delivery. Students learn the skills to design, implement and evaluate health care and public health policies in a variety of settings, and to advocate for and lead changes in a policy setting. Graduates can demonstrate an intricate understanding of the current U.S. health care system, have expertise in analysis and advocacy, and possess the skills to effectively manage financial and human resources.

The Department of Health Policy and Management also offers two residential master’s degrees, a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) and a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH). To make sure you are applying to the program that is most aligned with your career goals, please carefully compare these two degrees with the MPH Health Policy concentration.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Ama Achampong spent her summer at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, N.C.
Concentration Overview
News And More

Leadership in Practice

The Leadership in Practice concentration is designed for professionals interested in transforming health systems in all areas of public health practice. Our program, offered on-campus and online, will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead teams, projects, organizations, and systems in local and global communities. The curriculum fosters relational skills needed to co-design systems with community partners in order to identify and prevent problems, mitigate and eliminate inequities, and improve and advance health outcomes. Leadership MPH students gain skills and expertise in systems and design thinking, evidence-based problem-solving and decision-making, and community engagement and conflict management strategies. Graduates of the Leadership in Practice MPH students are equipped to mobilize change at the community level to advance equity and social justice, address underlying conditions that affect individual and population health, and innovate to improve the social determinants of health.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

A student shows off her group's interactive nutrition display for the annual North Carolina Science Festival.
Concentration Overview
News And More

Maternal, Child and Family Health

The Maternal, Child and Family Health concentration focuses on determinants and systems that promote the health and safety of women, children and their families with the goal of enhancing the welfare of society and subsequent generations. With a strong foundation in frameworks and methods for program planning and impact evaluation, this concentration equips graduates with an adaptable toolkit for leading interdisciplinary efforts requiring multiple perspectives and competencies in domestic and global contexts.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Peace Corps volunteer Charlotte Lane (center) cooks with villagers in Burkina Faso.
Concentration Overview
News And More

Nutrition and Dietetics Concentration

The Nutrition and Dietetics concentration integrates the scientific study of nutrition and dietetics with a foundation in public health practice and research. Meant for aspiring clinical dietitians who are motivated to help people live healthier lives through better nutrition, the program offers students customized internship placement services to help fulfill the requirements to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration exam.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Graduates of the RD program provide their test menus.

Study finds behavioral changes insufficient to prevent early childhood obesity

Results from the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention ever tested in young children showed that children and their families in low-income communities were able to make some sustainable behavioral changes to their diet and activity level. In the end, however, rates of early childhood obesity were unchanged.

Alice Ammerman: Hometown health hero

An article in UNC's Endeavors magazine features Dr. Alice Ammerman, praising her for being "a powerful force for nutrition research and community-based health promotion."

Concentration Overview
News And More

Nutrition

The Nutrition concentration focuses on nutrition science as well as on behavior change, communication, counseling, and the effects of dietary culture on the individual and within communities. Students gain the skills to assess scientific evidence for nutritional guidelines, effectively communicate nutritional information to the public, evaluate how social, cultural and environmental factors affect nutrition-related health outcomes, and practice in compliance with federal regulations and state statutes.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Study finds behavioral changes insufficient to prevent early childhood obesity

Results from the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention ever tested in young children showed that children and their families in low-income communities were able to make some sustainable behavioral changes to their diet and activity level. In the end, however, rates of early childhood obesity were unchanged.

Alice Ammerman: Hometown health hero

An article in UNC's Endeavors magazine features Dr. Alice Ammerman, praising her for being "a powerful force for nutrition research and community-based health promotion."

Concentration Overview
News And More

Place-Based Health

The concentration in Place-Based Health centers people and their communities as the catalyst for transforming systems to promote wellbeing for all. The joint MPH program features small cohorts of up to 24 students, case and community-based activities, and instruction by interdisciplinary faculty and community practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom.

The sun sets in the Asheville mountains.
Concentration Overview
News And More

Population Health for Clinicians

The Population Health for Clinicians concentration is designed for medical students, practicing physicians, and other clinicians who wish to increase their knowledge in public health and population science to better serve their communities. This concentration offers a unique interdisciplinary focus on clinical, prevention, population, and policy sciences which enable students to improve clinical environment when they complete the program. This concentration is available only in a full-time, residential format.

Clinicians discuss their work in Africa.

Bringing implementation science to Africa

Drs. Rohit Ramaswamy and Audrey Pettifor are interviewed about implementation science courses they teach at University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Concentration Overview
News And More

Public Health Data Science

The Public Health Data Science concentration — one of the first applied data science programs situated within a school of public health — gives students the skills and knowledge to employ cutting-edge data science tools and respond to pressing public health issues with effective solutions. Data science combines the statistical skills to manipulate data and make inferences, the mathematical skills to model phenomena and make predictions, and the computer science skills to manage and analyze large data sets.

Questions about the MPH? Visit the Residential MPH Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Dr. Kosorok analyzes data.

Looking for more flexibility? Explore the online version of our MPH program.

Inclusive excellence is one of our core values.

At the Gillings School, we cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment to better prepare students for the world that awaits them – a world that seeks culturally competent people to serve as its leaders. When we embrace the myriad differences of our students, faculty and staff, we enrich the quality of coursework, research and practice within the School and beyond.

It's more than what you do, it's where you'll do it.

The Gillings School's MPH program consistently is ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty and alumni include some of the most renowned researchers and practitioners in the field of public health.

Our students collaborate inside the classroom and out in the world, engaging with communities to help prevent cancer, reduce health inequities, improve access to clean water, prevent obesity and create practical, cost-effective solutions that improve health policy.