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Community Oriented Primary Care - MPH



The mission of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Community Oriented Primary Care program at is to train health professionals and public health practitioners to become innovators in the field of community health. Our graduates create and evaluate evidence-based interventions to improve public health, clinical care outcomes, and patient experience. These reforms contribute to lower health care costs and decreased health disparities.

In addition, the MPH in Community Oriented Primary Care degree coursework helps enhance students' capacity to think critically and creatively. At the George Washington University, we are proud to educate students who are committed to improving public health and engaging in and promoting public service. We emphasize these qualities in the MPH Community Oriented Primary Care program because they are essential for future health professionals and public health practitioners. In addition, we’re certain that Community Oriented Primary Care graduates can:

  • Read and interpret literature to inform future intervention design.
  • Work with stakeholders to prioritize interventions that will have a high likelihood of improving both health outcomes and patient experience while lowering health care costs and decreasing health disparities.
  • Conduct in-depth assessments to shape intervention design and serve as baseline data to evaluate intervention impact.
  • Implement social marketing campaigns, advocacy campaigns, mobile health interventions, individual brief behavioral interventions, peer interventions, quality improvement projects using data from electronic health records, structural interventions to impact health behaviors, and health system innovations to improve the ability of community-based organizations to educate, test, and link to care patients with preventable and chronic health conditions.
  • Analyze qualitative, quantitative and cost data.
  • Lead health improvement projects in community, health department, academic and clinical settings.

Flexible Programming

To help students fit graduate school into their daily life, Milken Institute SPH provides flexible course offerings, which allows Community Oriented Primary Care students to take up to 15 credits online.

Program Prerequisities

There are no specific pre-requisites for entering the COPC Program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. This program is a good fit for anyone (clinicians and non-clinicians) with an interest in health care innovation and management of community health programs. Students who are especially interested in working with vulnerable populations and those who wish to eliminate health disparities are great candidates for this MPH in community health.


MPH Core Requirements

PUBH 6001 | Biological Concepts for Public Health
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology
PUBH 6004 | Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World
PUBH 6006 | Management & Policy Approaches to Public Health
PUBH 6007 | Social & Behavioral Approaches to Public Health


PUBH 6014 | Practicum
PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience


Course Descriptions

COPC Requirements

Required Department Courses

PUBH 6500 | Planning & Administration of Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Programs
PUBH 6501 | Evaluation of Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Programs

Required Program-Specific Courses 

PUBH 6504 | Social & Behavioral Science Research Methods
PUBH 6510 | Community Oriented Primary Care
PUBH 6512 | Community Oriented Primary Care Policy & Issues
PUBH 6513 | Community Health Management
PUBH 6514 | Preventing Health Disparities
PUBH 6516 | Community Health Information Resources


SPH Course Descriptions

COPC Electives

(6 credits from recommended list or other PUBH courses)

For the most up to date list of electives, please reference the program guide.

Non-Academic Requirements

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities are pre-approved by an advisor and may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.




**For graduation requirements, please download the program guide.**

To view sample schedules and learn about the core competencies developed within the program, see the degree program guide.

Practicum / CE

Students in the GW MPH programs gain practical skills and knowledge through their practice experiences. It is important for MPH Community Oriented Primary Care graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Community Oriented Primary Care MPH program complete both a Practicum and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

In the Department of Prevention and Community Health, the Practicum is a course designed to engage students in a Practice Activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, or collecting and analyzing data.

The Practice Activity for the MPH Community Oriented Primary Care degree may not be directly related to the student's day-to-day work. This is to ensure that students learn and apply new skills in the context of public health. If the student does conduct the Practice Activity at his/her place of employment, it must be work for which the student is not remunerated.

Culminating Experience

The Culminating Experience (CE) integrates the knowledge and skills students acquire through their academic work and the Practice Activity. The CE requires students to identify and define a specific public health issue and formulate hypotheses to address that issue. The CE for the Department of Prevention and Community Health will include a major written paper such as a thesis or applied research project, which presents the results of a needs assessment, development and pilot testing of an intervention program or components of a program, development and implementation of community advocacy programs, evaluation of programs or policies, or development and evaluation of case studies.

Some previous CE research topics in the MPH Community Oriented Primary Care program include:

  • Assessing Latino health needs
  • Early childhood literacy
  • Hospice care
  • Childhood obesity
  • Medication coverage for elderly
  • Defining homeless communities
  • Using geographic information systems to improve access to care
  • Impact of co-morbidities: Diabetes, Hepatitis, and HIV
  • Community health promoter training in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Community-based rehabilitation programs in La Estancia, El Salvador
  • Accessing community health resources for children
  • Understanding barriers to care management and meeting clinical standards in the patient centered medical home setting


There are numerous opportunities for Community Oriented Primary Care program graduates. MPH community health graduates are in high demand in clinic systems, managed care organizations, governmental organizations, private foundations, non-profit research centers, and educational institutions. Graduates with an MPH Community Oriented Primary Care degree find careers in health care delivery, health care management, teaching, research, and consulting.

Jobs You Will Be Prepared For

Public Health Analyst
Health Communication Specialist
Research Associate
Program Manager
Account Executive

Organizations You Are Prepared to Help

Office on Women’s Health- HHS
National Committee for Quality Assurance
FHI 360
National Coalition of STD Directors
Edelman Public Relations
DC Dept of Health


Students pursuing an MPH in Community Oriented Primary Care have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in both community and clinical settings. Some of the areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Community Oriented Primary Care Master of Public Health program include intervention design, patient experience research, and advocacy campaigning.