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Maternal & Child Health MPH


This program focuses on improving the health of mothers, children, youth and families, including socially vulnerable populations and the environments and policies that affect their wellbeing. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, but share a common interest in social justice and public health principles.

Maternal & Child Health MPH Program Highlights

Maternal & Child Health graduates take leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, research settings, public health agencies, and healthcare organizations. Students may choose from a standard, on-campus curriculum or an online curriculum.

The Maternal & Child Health program offers three different curricula. Students in all programs are able to attend full- or part-time:

Standard Curriculum (48 cr)
The standard curriculum is for students without advanced degrees or who have limited professional experience. Students can complete a minimum of 48 credits in two years.

Epidemiology Emphasis Curriculum (48 cr)
Students selecting the standard curriculum have the option of choosing an epidemiology emphasis, which is ideal for those interested in a career involving data collection, management and analysis.

Online Curriculum (42 cr)
The online program is designed for individuals who already have an advanced degree OR three or more years of work experience in the field of maternal and child health or a related field.

Interdisciplinary Concentrations and Dual Degree

Interdisciplinary Concentrations are available to students pursuing an MPH in the standard or MCH epidemiology emphasis programs. Typically, the concentration consists of an additional 12 credits, with two required courses and electives. Currently, students may complete the following concentrations:

  • Global Health
  • Public Health Policy
  • Health Disparities

Dual degrees are available with law and social work. Students interested in a dual degree need to apply to and be accepted by each program individually. Once admitted into both programs, the student will work jointly with both programs to determine an enrollment plan.

Field Experience

The goal of the field experience is to provide an opportunity for Maternal and Child Health students to strengthen their philosophy and understanding of public health and to begin developing an identity as a professional in MCH.

This goal is achieved by working with MCH professionals in a field agency outside of the University of Minnesota to introduce the student to:

  • The broad practice and philosophy of public health as it relates to MCH
  • The administrative and organizational framework for MCH programs and services at state and local levels
  • The application of theory and skill to practice through work experiences with professional and community colleagues

The field experience should increase the students’ confidence and ability to assess their strengths and weaknesses as members of a public health team. Field experiences provide opportunities for personal involvement in developing, planning, executing, and evaluating public health activities for MCH populations.

 See photos from an MCH student’s field experience in Uganda

How to Meet the Field Experience Requirement

The field experience should be started after students have completed half of their required coursework. Students are encouraged to begin seeking an appropriate site six months before they are prepared to begin.

Students should consult with their academic advisor in selecting a site appropriate for achieving their educational and professional objectives. A minimum of two semester credits in PubH 7696 is required. Each credit requires 60 hours of work with the agency/site.

Students who want to positively influence the health of women, infants, children, youth and families should apply. Our MCH program also offers a specialized track in MCH epidemiology for students who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in data collection, management and analysis.

We also offer an accelerated degree for advanced students that can be completed through online coursework and one short (1-3 week) visit to the Twin Cities’ campus.

Applicants’ interests typically include developing, implementing, and evaluating MCH programs; working collaboratively with multidisciplinary professionals from communities, public and private organizations and agencies, clinicians, policymakers, and researchers to develop initiatives for health promotion; or managing programs that serve the needs of MCH populations.

MCH Admissions Qualifications

The qualifications for admission to the Maternal and Child Health MPH program are:

  • At least one year’s work or volunteer experience in a clinical, community-based, public health or managed-care agency/program that focuses on women, children, adolescents, and/or families

  • Basic understanding of physiological and/or psychological human development as demonstrated by coursework, experience, and/or referenced readings

Preferred performance levels

  • GPA of 3.00

  • GRE score of 300 (verbal and quantitative combined), with a 3.5 on the AWA

  • TOEFL score of 600/250/100 (international students)

Applicants to the epidemiology emphasis program are expected to demonstrate stronger quantitative skills. Both prior coursework and GRE scores will be examined to assess each applicant’s quantitative ability.

Online Applicants

Applicants to the online MCH program must hold an advanced degree (e.g. MD, MSW, MSN, MS, PhD) OR if they do not have an advanced degree, must have 3-5 years of professional experience in the field of maternal and child health.

This is our flexible program that can be completed online. It was developed for working professionals and advanced students who are concerned about vulnerable populations and want to acquire leadership skills for addressing the health needs of families, women, infants, children, and adolescents.

Financial information

Students admitted into this program are charged in-state tuition rates, regardless of the state or country where they reside.

Course requirements

The M.P.H. in maternal and child health requires that students take courses in the following competency areas:

  • Public Health Core (15 credits) – Required courses include Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Public Health Management, Fundamentals of Social and Behavioral Science, and Ethics
  • Scientific Basis of Maternal and Child Health (5 credit minimum) – Required courses are chosen from several offerings, including Global Reproductive Health, Maternal and Infant Nutrition, Children with Special Health Care Needs, Children’s Health, and Immigrant Health
  • Methodologic and Analytical Skills (5 credit minimum) – Required courses include Program Evaluation and elective courses in data analysis, evaluation, needs assessment, and research methods.
  • Management, Communication, Policy/Advocacy Skills (6 credit minimum) – Required courses include Principles and Programs in Maternal and Child Health and Grant Writing and elective courses in areas such as leadership development, culturally responsive public health, and principles of public health
  • Application of M.P.H. Knowledge and Skills (4 credits) – A 2-credit field experience and a 2-credit master’s project are required. Elective courses in public health and related fields may be taken to complete the 42-credit minimum required for the MPH degree.

While the majority of courses are available online, students will need to complete some elective coursework at the annual Public Health Institute held in the spring on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

How to apply

All applicants must apply through SOPHAS, the School of Public Health Application Service. Applicants will be asked to provide SOPHAS with the following:

  • A letter of intent describing the applicant’s professional experience and leadership career goals
  • An up-to-date résumé or C.V.
  • Official transcripts or mark sheets from each college and/or university attended
  • Three letters of recommendation using the School Recommendation Form
  • GRE scores are required of all applicants except those who have earned a doctoral level degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution
  • TOEFL scores are required for all international applicants.

Application deadline

Students are considered for admission throughout the year. The application review and decision process takes approximately six weeks. The following application deadlines apply (all application materials must be received by these dates):

  • Fall admission: April 15
  • Spring admission: Oct. 15
  • May and Summer admission: March 15


This program is available to those who already hold an advanced degree (e.g., M.D., M.S.W., M.S.N., M.S., Ph.D.) OR to individuals without an advanced degree who have three or more years of work experience in the field of maternal and child health or a related field.

Those with completed applications that meet our priority deadline are given first consideration for all school-awarded funds. The following aid may also be offered each year to select admitted MCH applicants:

  • The Robert W. ten Bensel Scholarship
  • Colleen Berney Scholarship
  • Public Health Services grant(s)
  • MCH research assistantships

Several maternal and child health traineeships are available for MCH students who are U.S. citizens and wish to specialize in maternal, child, or adolescent health. Financial aid is generally awarded to the strongest applicants as defined by academic merit, congruence with the program’s goals and objectives, or public health experience.

All graduate students are also eligible to apply for any research or teaching assistant positions available.

To increase your chances of obtaining a graduate assistantship, consider learning a statistical software package like SAS or SPSS. Students with these skills are highly sought after.

Leaders in the field of maternal and child health identify and promote social and environmental conditions that contribute to the health of women, children, youth and families. Much of their work is focused on socially and economically vulnerable populations.

MCH leaders develop public health programs and policies that focus on health promotion, health care equity, disease prevention, and primary care services.

Epidemiologic skills focused on maternal and child health are increasingly required in city, county, and state health departments. Our graduates work in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, universities, school districts, and research institutes.

Sample job titles of our graduates:

  • Project coordinator
  • Director of program services
  • Lead health associate
  • Evaluation specialist
  • Policy advisor
  • Youth center coordinator

See program career spotlight

Contact Info

Program Coordinator
Kathryn Schwartz Eckhardt

Program Director
Wendy Hellerstedt

Student Spotlight

Meet Imee Cambronero, an MPH student and documentary filmmaker studying maternal and child health and global health. Watch the video

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