Our Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited MPH Program in Community Health Education offers an innovative 44 unit curriculum in community health education that promotes social justice and develops culturally and professionally competent leaders in the field of public health. A new cohort of students enters the program together each fall semester, and progresses as a learning community through most of the courses in a set sequence. The program requires a minimum of five or six semesters to complete, including the summer semester between the first and second years. We require our entering students to have had at least two years full-time equivalent health-related work experience, preferably in the public health field. To accommodate working professionals, courses and activities are usually held one weekday afternoon or on one of two evenings per week. Our applied curriculum emphasizes collaborative learning, teamwork, leadership, presentation and writing skills and includes a supervised team practice experience, culminating experience project, and the development of a professional elctronic portfolio.
Competencies and Responsibilities
The national competencies for all public health professional preparation programs published by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) guide our CEPH accredited community health education MPH program. Additionally, because our public health degree is specific to community health education, we also ground in the ten responsibilities and 200 competencies and sub-competencies developed by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) and the American Association of Health Education (AAHE). An eleventh responsibility was added to include health equity and cultural competence as critical components of public health practice.
The 44 unit curriculum consists of 18 courses. Click on course title to view course description
- H ED 810 Public Health and Principles of Community Orgainizing (3 units)
- H ED 811 Community Health Education skills ePortfolio (1 unit)
- H ED 815 Theories of Social Behavioral Change in Community Health Education (3 units)
- H ED 820 Community Health Assessment (3 units)
- H ED 821 Community Health Assessment Practice (2 units)
- H ED 822 Advanced Community Health Assessment Practice (3 units)
- H ED 825 Epidemiology (3 units)
- H ED 828 Biostatistics and Public Health Laboratory (1 unit)
- H ED 829 Biostatistics and Public Health (3 units)
- H ED 830 Program Planning for Community Change (3 units)
- H ED 831 Program Planning Practice (2 units)
- H ED 835 Public Health Policy (3 units)
- H ED 840 Program Evaluation Design and Research (3 units)
- H ED 855 Environmental Health (3 units)
- H ED 884 Seminar in Applied Community Health Education Research (1 unit)
- H ED 885 Advanced SEminar in Applied Community Health Education Research (1 unit)
- H ED 895 Applied Research Project in Health Education (3 units)
- Elective Course (3 units)
View course sequencing and time to completion options in our curriculum chart. The curriculum incorporates three multi-semester elements: the team practice experience, culminating experience project, and electronic portfolio. More information about each of these curriculum components is provided below.
Team Practice Experience in Community Assessment and Program Planning
The SF State MPH program includes a rigorous team practice experience. Over the course of the two semesters and a summer, student teams work with a community based organization to plan and conduct a community assessment and develop a program plan. In a third semester student teams are reconfigured, and acting as “external” evaluation teams, develop an evaluation plan for each program.
Plan Community Assessment - End of January through May (coursework HED 820 and HED 821)
The team practice experience begins at the end of January when students begin the second semester of their first year in the program. During the spring semester, students take a community assessment course in which they learn technical skills and work with the community organization to develop a plan for conducting the community assessment.
Conduct Community Assessment - June through beginning of August (Coursework HED 822)
Over the summer, between early June and early August, students implement the community assessment, collecting and conducting a preliminary analysis of their data.
Development Program Plan - September through Mid-December (Coursework HED 830 and HED 831)
At the beginning of the fall semester the team finalizes the assessment and develops a set of recommendations for action. The rest of the fall semester, student teams work with the community based organization to develop a program plan based on the assessment findings and recommendations and the organization’s interests. By early December, the team will complete a full program plan that includes goals and objectives, program design, a workplan and a budget.
Final Team Presentations - Mid-December
The end of the semester culminates with each team presenting their assessment and program plan at a public forum in mid December. Each community organization receives electronic and hard copies of both the final community assessment and the final program plan.
Develop Evaluation Plan - End of January through May (Coursework HED 840)
In this semester, students are placed in new teams to develop an evaluation plan for each of the programs that were developed in the previous semester. This semester students do not work with the community based organization and all of the work is based in the classroom. However, the final product of the semester is available to the organizations. During this semester, students learn about evaluation and develop practical skills while completing the real-world cycle of assess, plan and evaluate.
What Students say about the Team Practice Experience
- "The team practice is a wonderful opportunity to learn a skill-set in real time..."
- "I love being in the field, working with people, and working in groups..."
- "I have been able to work with a community that i haven't had the opportunity to work with before..."
- "This has been a great learning experience. I feel that i have been able to grow as a provider, learn new practical tools and do introspective work on myself to be a better team member." Working with my team has been extremely positive. We came together almost immediately, and were a tream in the truest sense of the word."
- "The team seems like professional development...in that it is so hands on, and such practical skills that you know you will use once you leave the university setting."
Examples of Team Practice Community Partners
- California Pan Ethnic Health Network, Oakland, CA
- Dental Health Foundation, Oakland, CA
- Greenlining Institute, Berkeley, CA
- Health Initiatives for Youth, San Francisco, CA
- Lifelong Medical Services, Berkeley, CA
- Justice Now, San Francisco, CA
- Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, San Francisco, CA
- Marin Department of Health and Human Services, San Rafael, CA
- NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, San Francisco, CA
- San Francisco Breastfeeding Coalition, San Francisco, CA
- San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
- Tweaker.org, San Francisco, CA
Culminating Experience Project
Overview (Coursework HED 884, HED 885, HED 811, and HED 895)
The Culminating Experience (CE) includes a sequence of four supporting courses: HED 884, 885, 811 and 895, and is the capstone project that allows students to independently apply the required MPH competencies that they have learned throughout the program. The CE project is a typical applied research, service, theoretical, or policy project that allows a student to study a topic in a systematic and comprehensive fashion. Through the CE, the student integrates the knowledge and skills acquired from coursework into a final paper, oral presentation, and ePortfolio that together demonstrate mastery of core public health competencies. Although each student must address the same specific requirements for the CE, there is opportunity for unique individual expression in the choice of project topic and format.
Final Prodcuts of the CE Process
- A written paper of 20-25 pages
- A 15 minute oral presentation
- Reflective summaries in the ePortfolio relating the MPH coursework with the acquired competencies
Examples of Studnet CE Topics
- The effect of birthplace-US length of residence on diabetes among Chinese adults
- Centralized harm reduction service for drug users in San Francisco
- Health insurance status and quality of life among California cancer survivors
- Holistic practices and youth resilience
- Oral health of California Latino Immigrants: Foreign-trained dentists as agents of change
- Using photovoice to tell the stories of women with HIV/AIDS
- Tuberculosis in Peru: An Evaluation of Two Regions, Arequipa and Huánuco
- Documentary on LGBT Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Reproductive Health and Gender Equality in Yemen
- Unhealthy Marketing: Stemming the Tide of Childhood Obesity
- Strategic Plan for Launching an International Non-Profit Organization - OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief)
Examples of CE Paper Formats
- A critical review of the literature
- A position paper
- A grant proposal
- Development of an evaluation plan
- Development of a curriculum
- Creative projects such as a short documentary film, photovoice, or artistic works that also include a written paper.
Electronic Portfolio Project
MPH ePortfolio Objectives
- Provide students with the ability to develop an electronic portfolio demonstrating core competence in community health education through archived evidence (signature assignments, presentations, multimedia work, web-links etc.) from academic classes, practice courses, and culminating experience projects;
- Develop ePortfolios using the portfolio process to “collect, select, reflect, build, publish, link and share” their academic work and their mastery of the responsibilities and competencies required for a master level health education;
- Share their ePortfolios with Advisors, Faculty CE Committee members, and participate actively in a peer review for both formative and summative assessment of their MPH work;
- Encourage students to showcase the professional, leadership, team, and communication skills that they have gained from the MPH program;
- Support future employment opportunities and utilize ePortfolios to showcase skills in public health practice for further academic and professional development and international outreach as public health professionals;
- Use ePortfolios to assess the MPH curriculum effectiveness in developing the master level core competencies in community health education.
MPH Culminating Portfolios Include:
- A professional mission statement
- Evidence of work across national competencies in public health
- Community based and professional experience
- Culminating experience report and presentation
- Evidence of leadership skills
Professional competencies in Health Education are based upon the standards for the preparation of graduate public health practitioners established by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) and the American Association for Health Education (AAHE). The Diversity and Culture competency has been added by the SF State Health Education Department and involves evidence of the ability to work with diverse communities.
ePortfolio Project Overview
In 2004, the MPH Program at SF State joined a growing international practice across many disciplines in higher education by requiring students to prepare an electronic portfolio. The MPH pioneered the use of ePortfolios at San Francisco State, which now has a more extensive Portfolio Project.
Portfolios are used for assessment, development, and presentational purposes. During their MPH program, students use their "eFolio" sites to archive evidence from their academic classes, practice courses, internship and culminating experience projects. Portfolio development is a process allowing students to collect, select, reflect, build and publish their best work.
The electronic format of these portfolios allows students to archive a wider range of their work, using many different media sources. The MPH eFolios have been designed to support assessment, advising, and a deeper reflection on academic and professional development – ultimately demonstrating core competence in Community Health Education.
Our MPH portfolios are created using eFolio software, an easy to use, web-based platform, widely used in the Minnesota State College and University systems. Students register online for their eFolios, and spend several hours in initial computer-lab training on campus getting familiar with the software. No web-authoring skills are required – a text editor enables users to manage and update text in a simple to use Microsoft Word-like text editor window, as well as E–Z link technologies, to make building the portfolio similar to using a word processor. eFolio provides a quick and easy system for uploading images, video, audio, or documents throughout each site, allowing for a highly personalized and comprehensive portfolio.
A new cohort of MPH students begins the program annually in the fall semester only. The application deadline is February 1st prior to the desired fall semester program admission.
A minimum of two years full-time equivalent health-related work experience, volunteer or paid. More weight is given to public health-related work, especially that with an emphasis on community health education and social justice.
A college course in each of these four areas: statistics or calculus/composition/social science/cultural, ethnic, or social diversity. View detailed information about these course requirements.
Academic excellence—a 3.0 or higher GPA in the undergraduate degree or in the last 60 semester (or 90 quarter) undergraduate and/or graduate-level units attempted, or a previously completed graduate degree.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test. GRE scores will serve only as a diagnostic of an admitted student’s academic support needs and will not affect the applicant’s admission decision.
Although not a requirement, admission preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate linguistic competence in a second language in addition to English.
Step 1 - Attend one of the MPH Program Information Sessions (strongly recommended)
These faculty-led sessions provide detailed information about the program, admission criteria, selection procedures, and the application process. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions. For directions, parking and a campus map, see the SF State transportation website.
RSVP required: Please reserve a space in the information session you intend to attend by emailing email@example.com with your name, your email address, and the date you would like attend. You may also call the Health Education Department Office at 1.415.338.1413.
Step 2 - Submission of Application Materials
The application deadline for all materials is the February 1st prior to fall admission in the MPH program. Admitted MPH students begin the program in the fall semester only. The February 1st application deadline applies to both the university’s Division of Graduate Studies required application materials and the separate Health Education Department required application materials. All required application materials must either be submitted or postmarked by this February 1st deadline.
Applicants must complete and submit separate application materials to the Division of Graduate Studies and the Health Education Department.
Part A: Division of Graduate Studies Portion of the Application Process.
To complete the required Division of Graduate Studies portion of the application process, follow the steps to applying to the university available on the Division of Graduate Studies website. Note: Use institution code 4684 when requesting ETS to send your official GRE scores to the SF State Division of Graduate Studies.
Part B: Health Education Department Portion of the Application Process.
To complete the required Health Education Department portion of the application process, submit the following to our Health Education Department:
- Health Education MPH Application accompanied by a statement of purpose, resume, unofficial photocopies of your transcripts, and an unofficial photocopy of your GRE score report
- Three References using the Reference Form
- Program Requirements Contract
- Health Education Department Checklist
Step 3 - Notification of Admission Decision by the University
Applicants will be notified by the university’s Division of Graduate Studies about the status of their application in early spring. To be admitted to the MPH Program, applicants must be admitted to the university as well as recommended for MPH program admission by the Health Education Department. All students are admitted into the MPH Program with graduate conditionally classified status. After a semester of coursework earning a 3.0 grade point average or better and receiving a satisfactory evaluation of their graduate level writing skills from their first semester instructors, students are officially moved from graduate conditionally classified status to graduate classified status.