Community Oriented Primary Care - MPH


The Community-Oriented Primary Care (COPC) Program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University offers a unique Master of Public Health (MPH) designed to train health professionals and public health practitioners to develop and evaluate interventions to improve community health, clinical care outcomes, and patient experiences, while maximizing resources and eliminating health disparities. 

The MPH in Community-Oriented Primary Care coursework provides to enhance students’ capacity to innovate in the integration of community health and primary care. We are proud to educate students who are committed to improving public health by conceptualizing, implementing, evaluating, and disseminating interventions that bridge public health and clinical medicine. We are certain that Community-Oriented Primary Care graduates will be able to:

  1. Develop characterizations of communities and identify its health needs using the principles of COPC.
  2. Assess community-based interventions using COPC principles, by gathering best practice models, together with qualitative and quantitative information about community needs.
  3. Build partnerships and manage community health organizations.
  4. Evaluate community-based interventions and COPC programs.
  5. Apply COPC process and principles to eliminate health disparities.
  6. Analyze policies and social determinants of health that affect community health and primary care services.

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 Prerequisites

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 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Environmental & Biological Foundations of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy (2 credits)
PUBH 6021 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6022 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 2: Managing Organizations & Influencing Systems in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6023 | Interprofessional Education Experience (IPE) (0 credits)


PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience (2 credits)



COPC Requirements

Required Department Courses

PUBH 6500 | Planning & Administration of Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Programs (3 credits)
PUBH 6501 | Evaluation of Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Programs (3 credits)

Required Program-Specific Courses 

PUBH 6504 | Social & Behavioral Science Research Methods (3 credits)
PUBH 6510 | Community Oriented Primary Care Principles & Practice (3 credits)
PUBH 6512 | Community Oriented Primary Care Policy & Issues (2 credits)
PUBH 6513 | Community Health Management (2 credits)
PUBH 6514 | Preventing Health Disparities (2 credits)



COPC Electives

10 credits - any SPH (PUBH, HSML, EXNS) graduate level course

For the most up to date list of recommended 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 may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or 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 [email protected].

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.

Past Program Guides

Program Guides from prior Academic Years

Students in the MPH in COPC program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.


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 an Applied Practice Experience (practicum) and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

In the Department of Prevention and Community Health, the Applied Practice Experience 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:

  • Formative evaluation of HIV, STI, and pregnancy services in Washington, DC
  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of a video training program for obesity prevention 
  • A policy analysis of primary palliative care education in medical schools
  • Need assessment of Ethiopian and Eritrean children in Washington, DC
  • An examination of the "sports protective hypothesis" in a national sample of cisgender female college students 
  • Analysis of e-cigarette marketing on social media
  • Immigrants' health in the DMV area
  • Community engagement in local health policy success
  • Assessment of the implementation of HIV prevention services with transgender people in Puerto Rico 
  • Evaluation of equity implications in state Medicaid policies for telehealth services in the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Process evaluation of "Crowdsourcing PrEP: A community-engaged open contest approach to increasing PrEP among young people"
  • The effectivesness of telemedicine in opiod use disorder treatment
  • 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, community-based organizations, governmental agencies, private foundations, non-profit research centers, and educational institutions. Graduates with an MPH Community Oriented Primary Care degree find careers in prevention services, health care delivery, health care management, research, and consulting.
Jobs For Which You Will Be Prepared
  • Community Health Specialist
  • Health Education Specialist
  • Health Promotion Specialist
  • Supervisor of Community Health Worker Program
  • Community Health Research Coordinator
  • Patient Centered Medical Home Team Leader
  • Supervisor of Patient Care Coordination
  • Public Health Analyst
  • Health Communication Specialist
  • Research Associate
  • Program Manager
  • Account Executive
Organizations You Are Prepared to Help
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Pan American Health Organization 
  • National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors
  • Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Human Right Campaign 
  • Departments of Health 
  • 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 healthcare 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, program evaluation, community-based research, and community mobilization.