San Diego State University's fully online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science is offered through the SDSU School of Public Health, and administered by SDSU Global Campus.

Upon graduation from this rigorous 20-month health science/public health degree, students will be able to develop, implement, evaluate, and critique public health programs. Developed exclusively for early- to mid-career professionals, this fully online program allows students to study on their own time while continuing to pursue their careers.

This program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Applications Now Open!
Fall 2022:
Oct. 1, 2021-March 1, 2022

How to Apply


SDSU’s online MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science program is a rigorous 20-month program designed to help early-career professionals advance their career in public health without putting their life on hold.


About the program

San Diego State University's fully online Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science program is focused on the unique interactions of health science and public policy, with a specific focus on group behaviors and health-related issues in diverse communities. With this online MPH program, you can put yourself in a better position to develop, implement, evaluate, and critique public health programs.

Estimated CostTotal Estimated Cost
Completion Time Min. Completion Time
As short as 20 Months
Course Format Course Format

SDSU’s expert instructors will show you how to use multiple sources of data to assess the health needs of a population and how to improve the health of that population. You’ll also learn how to identify personal, social, political, and environmental determinants of health-related behaviors, morbidity, mortality, and health disparities. Through this advanced degree, you’ll acquire the skills you need to expand access to public health resources at a community level.

All instructors are shared with SDSU’s School of Public Health, many of whom are world-renowned experts in public health research. SDSU’s online MPH programs are all fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

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Is This Program Right for Me?

This program is designed for early-career professionals in healthcare and health-related fields who want to learn how to develop their own public health programs. SDSU’s online MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science program will put you in a position to attain a high-level position in a number of fields, including:

  • Nonprofits
  • Research
  • Education
  • Public Policy
  • Corporate Wellness

This program is designed with today’s busy professionals in mind. The coursework is entirely online, which means that you can earn your degree while also navigating a busy work schedule, family obligations, and other responsibilities.

What can I learn?

With a practical curriculum reinforced by on-site experiences and expert instructors, earning your Master’s Degree in Public Health online from SDSU will help you address public health inequities and facilitate far-reaching changes in your own community. You’ll learn how to:

  • Use multiple sources of data to assess the health needs of a population
  • Identify personal, social, political, and environmental determinants of health-related behaviors, morbidity, mortality, and health disparities
  • Identify the most efficient and effective intervention strategies for improving population health
  • Evaluate health promotion programs
  • Develop scientific papers and presentations

The coursework in SDSU’s 20-month online MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science program is broken up into 51 units. You’ll take two 3-unit courses every eight weeks, with a one-week break between sessions. The curriculum includes ten foundational public health courses, which cover a range of essential public health-related topics, including:

  • Health Promotion Program Planning and Assessment
  • Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health Communication

You’ll also choose from several electives, which will help you specialize your degree to fit your needs as a public health professional. Topics include disease prevention and control, behavioral medicine, and human behavior.

Essential to your success in the program is a 180-hour field placement experience. You’ll get invaluable on-site training and experience with public health organizations and institutions in your own community. These field experiences take place in a variety of professional environments, which include, hospitals, managed care organizations, health care organizations, government agencies, community organizations, research institutions, advocacy and policy programs, and private institutions.

The field practicum is non-residential; you will not need to travel to SDSU to complete the requirement.

Field Practicum Objectives

  • Apply classroom knowledge to real world work experience by aligning internship work/duties with the SPH learning objectives and public health competencies.
  • Obtain hands-on experience in the design, development and/or implementation of a project(s) that aims to address a public health issue and results in tangible products.
  • Gain public health professional and interprofessional (IPE) development experience by working and collaborating with diverse populations and groups including community members, leaders and government officials across sectors and throughout the world.
  • Develop cultural competence and global leadership skills to meet evolving public health needs

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What Do Our Students Have to Say?

Michelle Young, SDSU MPH GraduateDespite all of the courses being taught online and off campus, the instructors’ willingness to spend critical time thoroughly explaining each topic per module, before and after a regular class session, really helped me comprehend the objectives by the end of each course. They truly cared about my future goals and inspired me to make a greater impact on the lives of those in need.”

- Michelle Young, SDSU MPH Graduate

Why Should You Choose Us?


Earning your master’s in public health online means that you don’t have to put your life on hold. The coursework is fully online, making it ideal for highly-motivated early- to mid-career professionals who are currently working in a public health-related field. The program is also highly intensive, which means that you’ll be able to earn your master’s degree in just 20 months.

Expert Faculty

Your courses are taught by the same faculty and lecturers who teach on-campus courses with the School of Public Health. This faculty is augmented by expert practitioners in specialized fields related to public health, many of whom come from a variety of professional settings such as the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), HMOs, hospitals, managed care agencies, military services, and other academic institutions.

Practical Experience

You’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience through 180 hours of supervised field experience with a public health organization in your own community. If you’re based in San Diego or the surrounding Southern California border region, the School of Public Health has developed deep professional ties through a series of jointly sponsored binational research and service projects designed to improve public health conditions and health services on both sides of the border. Local students will have many opportunities to work with Latinx populations located throughout San Diego and Baja California.


In order to earn your MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science from SDSU, you’ll need to complete 51 units of courses, which include:

  • Foundational Courses — 36 Units
    • 180-Hour Field Placement — 3 Units
    • Capstone Project — 3 Units
  • Elective Courses — 15 Units

Foundational Courses (36 Units)

PH 661: Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion (3 Units)
PH 666: Health Promotion Program Planning & Assessment (3 Units)
PH 602: Biostatistics (3 Units)
PH 662: Motivating Health Behavior (3 Units)
PH 601: Epidemiology (3 Units)
PH 607: Research Methods (3 Units)
PH 663: Health Communication (3 Units)
PH 605: Health Services Administration (3 Units)
PH 604: Environmental Determinants of Human Health Elective (3 Units)
PH 672: Public Health Program Evaluation (3 Units)
PH 650R: Field Practice: Required Community Practice (3 Units) Cr/NC
PH 799A: Thesis
PH 798: Alternative Capstone

Electives Courses (15 Units)

Elective offerings will be determined by the department chair, SDSU Global Campus, and faculty availability on a term-by-term basis. Decisions are based on the list of approved elective courses in the SDSU Graduate Bulletin.

Current Electives
PH 700F Seminar: Health Disparities (3 Units)
PH 667 Seminar: Prevention & Control Chronic Illnesses (3 Units)
PH 700F Seminar: Women, Children, & Adolescent Health (3 Units)
PH 700A Seminar: Migration and Global Health (3 Units)
PH 700F Seminar: Qualitative Methods (3 Units)



Out-of-State Applicants
While we welcome out-of-state students, SDSU Global Campus currently cannot accept applications from students residing in the specific states. Please check back often, as this list of approved states does change. View the list of authorized states here.

Admission Requirements

Below is a list of general admission requirements for the online Master of Public Health program.

We understand that every student's academic journey is unique, and we encourage you to contact one of our Student Service Representatives to find out what you'll need to successfully apply to the program.

  • Hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited university. A specific major is not required for admission; in fact, our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Have satisfactorily completed an introductory statistics course prior to admission.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.85 (overall, or in the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units) for admission to SDSU. International students should have a GPA of at least 3.0. The average GPA for students enrolling in the SPH is 3.3.
  • Be currently employed full-time, preferably in a public health-related position/organization (e.g. research organizations, public health departments, corporate wellness, health education). You should also have the ability to demonstrate a minimum of 3 years of full-time work experience, preferably in a public health-related position/organization.
  • Demonstrate English proficiency if you’re an international applicant.

Application Instructions

To apply for the online Master of Public Health program, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Complete a SOPHAS Application, which includes:
    • Personal Statement (approximately 1500 word limit) should address all of the following items:
      • Describe one academic experience that has meant the most to you in your educational career;
      • Outline your professional goals and objectives, immediate and long term;
      • Discuss why you are interested in attending the School of Public Health at San Diego State University, the strengths you bring with you, and those areas in which you would like to increase your expertise and personal growth;
      • Describe your interest in a topical area and any faculty members you would like to work with.
    • Proof of English Proficiency
      • If your medium of instruction was in a language other than English, you’ll need to demonstrate English proficiency by submitting one of the following test scores (taken within the past two years):
        • TOEFL — scores should be submitted to Code 5688 SOPHAS, Massachusetts. The minimum acceptable scores for the TOEFL are 80 iBT, 550 PBT
        • IELTS — scores should be uploaded in the “Applicant Uploaded Documents” section of the SOPHAS application. The minimum acceptable scores for the IELTS is 6.5
        • PTE — scores should be uploaded in the “Applicant Uploaded Documents” section of the SOPHAS application. The minimum acceptable scores for the PTE is 58
        • Duolingo English Test — scores should be uploaded in the “Applicant Uploaded Documents” section of the SOPHAS application. The minimum acceptable scores for the Duolingo test is 105
    • Official Transcripts
      • One copy of official transcripts (sent directly by the institutions) from all colleges and universities you have attended should be sent to SOPHAS. SOPHAS only accepts electronic transcripts from Credentials Solutions, Parchment, and National Student Clearinghouse. If your school does not offer any of these services, your transcript should be sent by mail, to the following address:

        SOPHAS Transcript Processing Center
        PO Box 9111
        Watertown, MA 02471
      • If you’ve completed international coursework, you should submit a Course-by-Course evaluation report from the World Education Services (WES) instead of submitting your official transcripts. SOPHAS will not accept official transcripts for international coursework; only the evaluation report will be accepted.
    • Letters of Recommendation
      • Three letters of recommendation are required. Two should be academic references, from professors who have taught you in class. The third letter can be another academic reference or a professional reference (employer, volunteer work, etc.). Letters of recommendation should be submitted to SOPHAS directly. Please see the SOPHAS application instructions for details.
    • Résumé/CV
  • Complete an SDSU Application
    • Apply to the University through Cal State Apply
    • Submit Official Documents, which include:
      • Official transcripts sent in sealed envelopes (issued by the school) from all postsecondary schools attended. Do not send transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application as this may result in processing delays.
      • If you have international coursework, you should have your school send one record of all academic coursework and proof of degree, both in the original-language. For each original-language document you should also send a certified literal English translation, which can come directly from the school itself or from a professional, certified translator. The translation should contain all information shown on the original-language documents and in the same format.
      • Official documents should be mailed to:

        Graduate Admissions
        San Diego State University
        5500 Campanile Drive
        San Diego, CA 92182-7416
      • Electronic transcripts are highly encouraged. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use
    • Submit Official Test Scores, which include:
      • English Proficiency
        • All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants (regardless of citizenship status) applying to SDSU from an international institution where the medium of instruction was not English, should submit passing TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE as proof of English proficiency.

For a more detailed description of the application process and admission requirements, please visit the Admission Requirements and Instructions page on the SDSU School of Public Health website.

Financial Aid

This program is approved for financial aid. To begin the financial aid process, visit SDSU’s Financial Aid webpage. There, you'll be able to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you have any questions regarding the financial aid process, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships on weekdays from 10 am–3 pm at (619) 594-6323.

We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

Program Cost

  Unit Cost Program Unit Range* Cost
Tuition $543 51 $27,693
Associated Students $19 51 $969
Technology $21 51 $1,071
Student Engagement $21 51 $1,071
Total Estimated Costs $604   $30,804

* Everyone is unique, your admissions advisor will work with you to determine the right path that suits your needs.

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Contact Information


2021 Summer2021 Fall2022 Winter2022 Spring
P H 0602 Biostatistics
Statistical reasoning applied to public health; probability, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation, analysis of variance, measurement theory and modeling.
Course Date(s)

Hector Lemus
P H 0604 Environmental Determinants of Human Health
Environmental determinants and their influence on human health. Biological, physical, and chemical factors which affect the health of a community.
Course Date(s)

Zohir Chowdhury
2022 Spring
P H 0605 Health Services Administration
Overview of health services administration and delivery in U.S. Characteristics of utilization of health care, financing and system structure, types of providers, nonfinancial resources, and assessment and regulation.
Course Date(s)
March 20 - May 14
Charles Matthews
2022 Spring
P H 0607 Research Methods & Proposal Writing
Direct observation measurement, group and intensive experimental designs. Laboratory exercises and proposal writing applicable to public health. Two lectures and three hours of laboratory.

Prerequisites: Public Health 601, 661, and consent of instructor.

Recommended: Public Health 602.
Course Date(s)
January 18 - March 12
Michelle Black
P H 0650R Field Practice: Required Community
Field instruction in public health settings. Application of public health principles and skills to practical problems. Maximum credit six units of Public Health 650 applicable to a master’s degree.
Course Date(s)

Leticia Cazares
P H 0661 Theoretical Foundations of Health Promotion
Psychological, sociological, economic, and political theories relevant to the mission and processes of health promotion.
Course Date(s)

Emily Schmied
P H 0662 Motivating Health Behavior
Application of behavioral change techniques and health education methodology to health promotion targeting individuals and whole communities.
Course Date(s)

Justine Kozo
2022 Spring
P H 0663 Health Promotion Communication
Theory, design and implementation of health education communications in community contexts. Extensive use of student design, analysis, and projects.

Prerequisite: Public Health 402.
Course Date(s)
March 20 - May 14
P H 0666 Health Promotion Program Planning and Assessment
Program planning and assessment, theories, systems and procedures relevant to health promotion and education.
Course Date(s)

Jessica Haughton
P H 0667 Prevention & Control of Chronic Illness
Health promotion strategies for modification of individual behaviors and social practices to lower risk of chronic disease. Prerequisites: Public Health 601 and 602.
Course Date(s)

P H 0672 Public Health Program Evaluation
Activities, processes, and skills to include communicating results, contextual issues, design, methods, steps, and ensuring summative findings are used.
Course Date(s)

Zohir Chowdhury
P H 0700A.01 Seminar: Migration and Global Health
We are currently experiencing the largest global immigration and refugee crisis in history. Human migration is one of the main driving forces in the globalization of health issues, including international epidemics such as SARS and Ebola. This course studies how immigration can have a significant impact on the epidemiology of diseases in host countries and in the strategies and resources needed to provide appropriate health care services.

Prerequisites: Public Health 601, 602, and 603.
Course Date(s)

P H 0700F.01 Seminar: Program Evaluation
This course will provide an overview of public health program evaluation skills, activities, and processes, including contextual issues surrounding evaluation, selecting the appropriate type of evaluation design, methodological issues, steps involved in conducting an evaluation, communicating evaluation results, and ensuring that evaluation findings are used by intended users.
Course Date(s)

Maggie Walsh
P H 0700F.02 Seminar: Health Disparities

At the conclusion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe how race and ethnicity are defined in the public health literature, and the strengths and limitations of the definitions.
  • Describe the epidemiology of health disparities in the United States.
  • Describe examples of disparities in health care access and quality for minority populations.
  • Describe the relationship between socioeconomic status and health.
  • Use a statewide dataset to analyze, draw conclusions, and report on health disparities in a specific content area.
  • Correctly describe two significant health issues each for African-Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic/Latinos.
  • Describe one or more examples of successful interventions designed to address health disparities in specific populations.
Course Date(s)

P H 0700F.03 Seminar: Women, Children, and Adolescent Health
During this course, students will examine issues related to the health of mothers, children, and adolescents in the United States. Students will learn to think about these issues using life course, cultural/social constructivist, and ecological perspectives. For each topic discussed, students will investigate epidemiology; causes and social determinants; disparities and health inequities; the impact of the issue on individuals, families, communities, and culture; and public health interventions designed to address these issues.

Prerequisites: Public Health 601, 602, and 603.
Course Date(s)

Martha Crowe
P H 0700F.04 Seminar: Qualitative Methods
This graduate-level course will introduce students to qualitative methods for public health practice-oriented research. Students will learn about the philosophical foundations of qualitative research, key approaches for study design, data collection, and data analysis in qualitative research, and strategies for effectively presenting and sharing qualitative research findings.

A. Epidemiology
D. Environmental Health
E. Health Management and Policy
F. Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
G. Preventive Medicine

Prerequisites: Public Health 601, 602, and 603.

Course Date(s)

Jennifer Felner
P H 0762 Behavioral Medicine
Behavioral management approaches to health care problems. Diseases and conditions that arise from physical, psychological and environmental causes; behavioral interventions that attenuate disease process and improve compliance.
Course Date(s)

P H 0797 Research
Research in one of the fields of public health. Maximum credit six units applicable to a master’s degree. Maximum combined credit six units of Public Health 797 and 798 applicable to a master’s degree. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Course Date(s)

P H 0798 Special Study: P H 798
Individual study. Maximum credit six units applicable to a master’s degree. Maximum combined credit six units of Public Health 797 and 798 applicable to a master’s degree.

Prerequisite: Consent of staff, to be arranged with the director and instructor.
Course Date(s)

P H 0799A Thesis
Preparation of a project or thesis for the master’s degree.
Prerequisites: An officially appointed thesis committee and advancement to candidacy.
Course Date(s)