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Health Policy - MPH


The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Health Policy program is to train the next generation of global health professionals to improve health and health systems on a local, national, and global scale. Graduates will contribute to the improved efficacy of healthcare. They will use research and evidence to inform decisions about policies that affect diverse populations. In addition, the MPH in Health Policy degree coursework helps professionals to evaluate the best use of investments and resources in underserved communities. Attending a school situated in Washington D.C., the nation’s health policy-making epicenter, ensures that graduates will become transformational leaders in healthcare.

At the George Washington University, we are proud to educate students who are committed to improving public health and policy and engaging in and promoting public service. We emphasize these qualities in the MPH Health Policy program because they are essential for future health professionals and public health practitioners. In addition, we’re certain that Health Policy graduates can:

  • Become innovative and effective leaders in public health and health policy, health services delivery, and health system transformation.
  • Conduct rigorous multidisciplinary research that addresses significant health challenges, is objective, and is translated to inform and affect health policy, health care management, and public health practice.
  • Be trusted resources for shaping and advancing health policy and management practices because of the research integrity and rigor of the MPH Health Policy degree program.
  • Leverage their attendance at our unique location in Washington, DC which allows for strong collaborations with health policy and management leaders and practitioners.
  • Improve the health and health care of under-served and vulnerable populations.
  • Promote and learn from the diversity among our faculty, staff, other students, and alumni in terms of background, experience, and thought.

Flexible Programming

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

Program Prequesities

There are no specific prerequisites for entering the Health Policy master’s program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. This program is a good fit for anyone with an interest in improving human health. Students who are especially interested in working with diverse populations and those who wish to study broad categories of health policy are great candidates for this MPH in Health Policy.


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 6007 | Social & Behavioral Approaches to Public Health


PUBH 6014 | Practicum
PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience


Course Descriptions

Health Policy Requirements

PUBH 6305 | Fundamentals for Health Policy: PH & Healthcare
PUBH 6310 | Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6315 | Introduction to Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325 | Federal Policymaking & Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330 or | Health Service & Law or PH & Laws
PUBH 6335
PUBH 6340
or | Health Economics & Finance or Clinical Epidemiology and Decision Analysis + Lab
PUBH 6242
PUBH 6243

Advanced Health Policy Analysis Selective Requirement 
(Choose one course from list below)

PUBH 6320 | Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6345 | Health Policy Research Design
PUBH 6242 | Clinical Epidemiology and Decision Analysis + PUBH 6243 course with the same name (lab requirement)
PUBH 6247 | Design of Health Studies
PUBH 6249 | Use of Statistical Packages for Data Management and Data Analysis
PUBH 6501 | Evaluation of Health Promotion/ Disease Prevention Programs
PPPA 6015 | Benefit-Cost Analysis
PPPA 6016 | Public and Non-profit Program Evaluation
EMSE 6740 | Systems Thinking & Policy Modeling I

Health Services & Management Selective Requirement
(Choose one course from list below)

HSML 6204 | Quality and Performance Improvement
HSML 6209 | Health Services Finance
HSML 6216 | Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior 
HSML 6231 | Management of Acute Care Hospitals
HSML 6238 | Ambulatory Care Management
HSML 6246 | Service Line and Project Management 
HSML 6247 | Consulting in Health Services


SPH Course Descriptions

Health Policy Electives

(9-10 credits of PUBH or HSML graduate courses or others with Advisor’s approval)

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


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.



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 Health Policy graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Health Policy MPH program complete both a Practicum and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Your Practicum

In the Department of Health Policy and Management, the practicum is a three-way partnership between MPH Health Policy graduate students, the School of Public Health, and sponsoring agencies/organizations where practicum takes place under the supervision of a site preceptor. The practicum is a planned, supervised, and evaluated practice experience in health policy that aims to provide students with an opportunity to synthesize, integrate, and apply practical skills, knowledge, and training learned through courses, to gain professional experience in a professional public health work environment, and to work on public health practice projects that are of particular interest to you. 

The practicum is a 2-credit requirement during which the student works at least 120 hours in the field under the supervision of the site preceptor who has agreed to supervise the work of the MPH Health Policy student. A practicum can be performed in a concentrated fashion in one semester, or can be carried out over multiple semesters.  Most full-time students undertake and complete the practicum requirement during their second full year of study, following the successful completion of the practicum course prerequisites.

Some previous Practicum topics in the MPH Health Policy program include:

  • Injury Prevention
  • Insurance Coverage for Kids
  • Community Health Centers
  • Vaccine Policy
  • Responding to National Mass Casualties
  • Newborn Screening Programs
  • Federal Health Initiatives
  • Mental Health of Kids in the Criminal System
  • Medically Underserved in DC
  • Public Insurance Programs

Culminating Experience

The Culminating Experience (CE) is designed to bring together all of the competencies learned throughout the MPH in Health Policy curriculum. This course serves as the culminating experience for the MPH Health Policy degree program. In addition to weekly lectures and/or guest speakers, this seminar requires the submission of a lengthy health policy analysis that will serve as a polished writing sample for the new graduate.  This requirement is separate and distinct from the Practicum in Health Policy.


There are numerous opportunities for Health Policy degree program graduates as new health initiatives and policies are developed and tested. MPH Health Policy graduates are in high demand at state and local governmental organizations, private health agencies and foundations, non-profit research centers, and educational institutions. Graduates with an MPH Health Policy degree find careers in teaching, research, and consulting.


Students pursuing an MPH in Health Policy have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in research, governmental, clinical, and multinational foundation settings. The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Health Policy Master of Public Health degree program include program planning, policy design and evaluation, research methods, economics and policy, and policy advocacy.