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MPH Interdisciplinary Concentrations


The Global Health Interdisciplinary Concentration will no longer be available after June 1. Please see the Global Health certificate.

Questions? Contact Carol Francis (612-624-6952,, interdisciplinary concentrations coordinator.

Students do not have to identify or apply to an interdisciplinary concentration prior to being admitted into an MPH program. Working with their academic advisors, students select from required and elective courses for a designated number of credits.

If you would like to add an interdisciplinary concentration to your curriculum, you must be enrolled in one of the following MPH degree programs at the School of Public Health:

  • Biostatistics
  • Community Health Promotion
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Maternal & Child Health
  • Public Health Administration & Policy
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Public Health Practice (Executive)
  • Public Health Medicine
  • Veterinary Public Health


Public Health Policy Concentration

The Public Health Policy Interdisciplinary Concentration (PHPIC) focuses on promoting the health of populations and groups through public and organizational policy. The 12-credit curriculum includes coursework that explores the way in which federal, state, local and institutional entities affect the financing, structure and delivery of public health and medical care.

PHPIC coursework provides a better understanding of the health care system as a whole and prevention policy. The challenging curriculum helps MPH majors hone practical skills that are highly sought after in the public health and policy arenas, including:

  • Understanding community dynamics
  • Developing advocacy skills for public health
  • Analyzing legal and policy structures
  • Evaluating and implementing policies and programs
  • Influencing community health
  • Motivating and educating stakeholders and decisionmakers
  • Using policy as prevention strategy
  • Eliminating health disparities through policy


A minimum of 12 credits is needed for the concentration. Each PHPIC student is required to complete:

  • 3 credits in policy coursework from their home division
  • 2 credit policy course from outside their division
  • Capstone Policy Seminar (PubH 6045)
  • 2-credit practicum or internship focused in public health policy

An additional required two credits focused in public health policy will be taken through coursework or a Plan B paper based on the approval of the policy advisor in concert with the student’s academic advisor.

The required two credit policy course that is from outside a student’s division may be from another division within the SPH or elsewhere in the university. It must be approved by the policy advisor as providing sufficient depth beyond courses already taken.

The Policy Capstone Seminar (PubH 6045) is a one credit, required, interdisciplinary course focused on the skills needed to be effective in the policy arena.

All courses must be at a level acceptable for graduate credit (i.e., no courses below the 4,000 level and at least 75 percent must be at the 6,000 level or above).

Required Course:
PubH 6045, Skills for Policy Development – Capstone Policy Seminar (1 cr)

Public Health Elective Course Options:
PubH 6020, Fundamentals of Social and Behavioral Science (3 cr)
PubH 6049, Legislative Advocacy Skills for Public Health (3 cr)
PubH 6078, Public Health Policy as a Prevention Strategy (2 cr)
PubH 6105, Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (2 cr)
PubH 6114, Foundation of Environmental and Worker Protection Law (1 cr)
PubH 6115, Worker Protection Law (1 cr)
PubH 6116, Environmental Law (1 cr)
PubH 6564, Managed Care (2 cr)
PubH 6569, Healthcare Policy (2 cr)
PubH 6600, Topics: Maternal & Child Health – Global Reproductive Health (2 cr)
PubH 6606, Children’s Health: Issues, Programs, and Policies (2 cr)
PubH 6607, Adolescent Health: Issues, Programs, and Policies (2 cr)
PubH 6627, Sexuality Education: Criteria, Curricula and Controversy (1 cr)
PubH 6630, Foundations of MCH Leadership (3 cr)
PubH 6634, Advocacy and Children’s Rights (2 cr)
PubH 6711, Public Health Law (2 cr)
PubH 6724, The Health Care System and Public Health (3 cr)
PubH 6730, International Comparative Health Systems (2 cr)
PubH 6835, Principles of Health Policy (2 cr)
PubH 7200, World Food Problems (1 cr)
PubH 7200, Community Organizing and Advocacy: Building Political Power & Moving People to Action (1.5 cr)
PubH 7226, Media Relations Practicum (1 cr)

Other Course Options:
PA 5002, Introduction to Policy Analysis (1.5 cr)
PA 5011, Public Management and Leadership (3 cr)
PA 5012, Politics of Public Affairs (3 cr)
OLPD 5356, Disability Policy and Services (3 cr)
PA 5401, Poverty Inequality and Public Policy (3 cr)
PA 5412, Aging and Disability Policy (3 cr)
PA 5421, Racial Inequality and Public Policy (3 cr)
PA 5601, Survey of Women, Law, and Public Policy in the United States (3 cr)
SW 8505, Community Organizing and Advocacy (3 cr)
SW 8693, Social Welfare Politics and Programs in South Africa, the Netherlands and USA (1-3 cr)

Health Disparities Concentration

The Health Disparities Interdisciplinary Concentration (HDIC) addresses the unequal burden of health risks, morbidity and mortality experienced by minority cultural and social groups in the U.S., as well as unequal quality of and access to healthcare.

Despite Minnesota’s ranking as one of the nation’s healthiest states, Minnesota has some of the largest gaps among cultural and social groups in health indicators. For example, according to the Minnesota

Required Courses: 

CSpH 5115 Cultural Knowledge, Health, and Contemporary Cultural Communities (3 cr)

Or PubH 6066 Building Communities, Increasing Health: Preparing for Community Health Work (2 cr)
Or PUBH 6055 Social Inequalities in Health (2 cr)
Or PUBH 6855 Medical Sociology

And PubH6772 Capstone Seminar (1 cr)

CSpH 5155 Cultural Knowledge, Health, and Contemporary Cultural Communities: How knowledge can become resource for individual, family, community health. Interactive glimpse of wisdom of cultural communities. Develop capacity to see culture within professional education/practice. Cultural constructs underpinning medical system, role of culture in  interaction between practitioner/patient, role of  reconnection to cultural heritage in healing.

PUBH 6066 Building Communities, Increasing Health: Preparing for Community Health Work: Taught with Powderhorn-Phillips Cultural Wellness Center. Introduction to community building/organizing. Using culture as a resource for health, reducing barriers, identifying community assets, planning organizing strategy, understanding the impact of history. Emphasizes self-reflection and skill-building for authentic, grassroots community

PUBH 6055 Social Inequalities in Health: Extent/causes of social inequalities in health. Degree to which understanding of these inequalities is hampered by methodological limitations in health research. Focuses on individual, community, and policy approaches to reducing social inequalities in health.

PUBH 6855 Medical Sociology: Introduction to common theoretical/empirical approaches used by sociologists to study health/illness. How content reflects social inequalities in health/illness. Social processes that shape experience of health/illness.

PUBH 6772 Health Disparities Capstone Seminar: Readings and discussion-based seminar. Readings emphasize practice and policy solutions to health disparities.


Public Health Elective Course Options:
PubH 6055, Social Inequities in Health (2 cr)
PubH 6066, Community Building and Health (2 cr)
PubH 6370, Social Epidemiology (2 cr)
PubH 6601, Born a Girl: Global Women’s Health (1 cr)
PubH 6606, Children’s Health: Issues, Policies & Programs (2 cr)
PubH 6634, Advocacy and Children’s Rights (2 cr)
PubH 6675, Women’s Health (2 cr)
PubH 6805, Community Health Assessment (3 cr)
PubH 6804, Community Mental Health (2 cr)
PubH 6855, Medical Sociology (3 cr)
PubH 6811, Health Disparities Research: Measures, Methods and Data (2 cr)
PubH 7200, Community-Based Participatory Research (2 cr)
PubH 7241, Culturally Responsive Communication (1 cr)
PubH 7242, War and Public Health (1 cr)

Other Course Options:
ANTH 5031, Science as Cultural Practice (3 cr)
ANTH 5045, Urban Anthropology (3 cr)

Complementary Alternative Medicine
CSpH 5115, Cultural Knowledge, Health and Contemporary Cultural Communities (3 cr)

Public Affairs
PA 5211, Land Use Planning (3 cr)
PA 5401, Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy (3 cr)
PA 5421, Racial Inequality and Public Policy (3 cr)
PA 5451, Immigrant Health Issues (3 cr)
PA 5452, Immigration and Public Policy (3 cr)

NURS 5040H, Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues (3 cr)
NURS 5800, Topics: Refugee Health: Trauma, Stress & Coping (3 cr)
NURS 5803, Transcultural Nursing: Theories and Issues (2 cr)
NURS 5808, American Indian Health and Health Care (2 cr)
NURS 6800, Topics: Public Health Nursing for Refugee Populations (1 cr)

Political Science
POL 8360, Social Science Approaches to the Study of Inequality (3 cr)

Social Work
SW 8105, Social Policy & Economic Security of Disadvantaged Populations (3 cr)

SOC 8201, Social Stratification and Mobility (3 cr)
SOC 8211, Race Theories (3 cr)
SOC 8221, Sociology of Gender (3 cr)
SOC 8735, Sociology of Culture (3 cr)

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