Physical Activity in Public Health - MPH


Physical Activity in

Public Health - MPH





MPH- Physical Activity in Public Health Program Overview from GW Public Health on Vimeo.

The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Physical Activity in Public Health program is to train the next generation of health professionals to integrate physical activity into all aspects of public health practice. Graduates will contribute to the development and improved efficacy of health programs related to physical activity, health promotion, and disease prevention.  In addition, the MPH in Physical Activity in Public Health degree coursework helps professionals to evaluate the best physical activity interventions to use at the community, national, and global levels.

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 Physical Activity in Public Health program because they are essential for future health professionals and public health practitioners. In addition, we’re certain that Physical Activity in Public Health graduates can:

  • Describe the role of physical activity in the health and function of the general population.
  • Explain various physiological and psychosocial mechanisms that mediate the relation between physical inactivity and chronic disease morbidity and mortality.
  • Design physical activity interventions that are consistent with current social and behavioral theories.
  • Perform physical activity assessments using state-of-the-art technology.
  • Apply statistical and epidemiological methods to develop and test hypotheses pertaining to physical activity and health and disease outcomes at the population level.
  • Design and evaluate interventions for improving physical activity at the community level.
  • Integrate the science and practice of exercise science and public health in promoting an active lifestyle at the community and population levels.

Flexible Programming

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

Program Prerequisites

The only prerequisite for the Physical Activity in Public Health master’s program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree, is a course in Exercise Physiology (i.e. EXNS 2111). This program is a good fit for anyone with an interest in improving human health through physical activity. Students who are especially interested in working with diverse populations and those who wish to study broad categories of health programs are great candidates for this MPH in Physical Activity in Public Health.

MPH Core Requirements

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 6009* | Fundamentals of Program Evaluation (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Environmental & Biological Fundamentals of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care (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 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6015 | Culminating Experience (2 credits)

*Option B students do not take this course.

CORE TOTAL: 19 CREDITS (option A) 17 CREDITS (option B)


Physical Activity in Public Health Requirements

Required Department Courses

EXNS 6202 | Advanced Exercise Physiology 1 (3 credits)
EXNS 6203 | Advanced Exercise Physiology 2 (3 credits)
EXNS 6208 | Physical Activity: Physiology and Epidemiology (2 credits)
EXNS 6620 | Design of Healthy Communities (2 credits)

Option A: Epidemiology Concentration

PUBH 6247 | Epidemiology Methods I: Design of Health Studies (3 credits)
PUBH 6252 | Epidemiology Methods II:  Advanced Epidemiologic Methods (3 credits)​
PUBH 6853 | Use of Statistical Packages for Data Management and Data Analysis (3 credits)​

Option B: Program Design and Evaluation Concentration

PUBH 6500 | Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs (3 credits)​
PUBH 6501 | Program Evaluation (3 credits)
PUBH 6503 | Introduction to Public Health Communication and Marketing (3 credits)​
EXNS 6204 | Biostatistical Methods and Research Design (3 credits)



Physical Activity in Public Health Electives

6-7 credits - any SPH (PUBH, HSML, EXNS) graduate level course. See 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 Physical Activity in Public Health 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 Physical Activity in Public Health graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Physical Activity in Public Health MPH program complete both an Applied Practice Experience (practicum) and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Your Applied Practice Experience (APEx)

In the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, the APEx is designed to engage students in a Practice Activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The APEx can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, designing ad campaigns, or collecting and analyzing data.

The APEx for the MPH Physical Activity in Public Health 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 practicum at his/her place of employment, it must be work for which the student is not remunerated.

Your 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. Students work with data obtained through either primary research or from an existing dataset. The process of proposal development, data analysis, interpretation, and extrapolation of the results culminates in a written report or manuscript and an oral presentation.

Students pursuing an MPH in Physical Activity in Public Health have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in research, governmental, clinical, and educational settings. The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Physical Activity in Public Health Master of Public Health program include pathophysiology, chronic disease prevention, program design and evaluation, research methods, design theory, and policy advocacy.

Dr. Loretta DiPetro, Program Director

Dr. Matt Barberio

Dr. Kyle Levers

Dr. Todd Miller

Dr. Melissa Napolitano

Dr. Jennifer Sacheck

Dr. Rob Van Dam

Michelle Stevens, MS - Advising

There are numerous opportunities for Physical Activity in Public Health degree program graduates as new health initiatives are developed and tested. MPH Physical Activity in Public Health 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 Physical Activity in Public Health degree find careers in teaching, research, and consulting.