Master of Public Health in the Field of Physical Activity in Public Health

Program Director L. DiPietro

Mission Statement

The sedentary lifestyle and its consequent metabolic and cardiovascular complications now assumes a considerable public health burden in the United States. Indeed, the promotion of physical activity for people of all ages has become a top priority on public health agendas around the world. The mission of the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences is to develop and train graduate students to integrate physical activity into the core of public health practice. The program encompasses an ecological perspective to the role of physical activity in the etiology, prevention, and treatment of chronic diseases at the community, national, and global levels. The program is designed to train students as public health scientists and practitioners in order to assist public and private agencies with program development and evaluation with regard to physical activity, health promotion, and disease prevention.


The goals of this MPH program in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences are to ensure that graduates:

  • Understand the pathophysiology of selected chronic disease processes.
  • Understand exercise physiology and the role of physical activity and exercise in health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Develop skills in physical activity assessment using state-of-the-art technology.
  • Utilize epidemiological methods to develop and test hypotheses pertaining to physical activity and health and disease outcomes at the population level.
  • Develop skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for improving physical activity at the community level.
  • Appreciate the role of public health policy in altering physical activity patterns at the community level.

Course Requirements

All GW SPH, MPH students who select the Physical Activity in Public Health program enroll in core courses (15 credits), program-specific courses (20 credits), and electives (6 credits). Program-specific courses include options to focus in epidemiology or program design and evaluation. The 45 credit degree program includes a practicum (2 credits) and a culminating experience (2 credits).

Program Requirements 

EXNS 2111Exercise Physiology I
Required core courses:
PUBH 6001Biological Concepts in Public Health
PUBH 6002Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
PUBH 6003Principles and Practices of Epidemiology
PUBH 6004Environmental and Occupational Health in a Sustainable World
PUBH 6006Management and Policy Approaches to Public Health
PUBH 6007Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
Required department courses:
EXNS 6202Advanced Exercise Physiology I
EXNS 6203Advanced Exercise Physiology II
EXNS 6208Physical Activity: Physiology and Epidemiology
EXNS 6212Exercise in Selected Chronic Diseases
Required program-specific courses:
Select Option A or B
Option A: Epidemiology option
PUBH 6247Design of Health Studies
PUBH 6249Use of Statistical Packages: Data Management and Data Analysis
PUBH 6252Advanced Epidemiology Methods
Option B: Program design and evaluation option
PUBH 6500Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs
PUBH 6501Program Evaluation
PUBH 6502Practical Data Analysis for Prevention and Community Health
PUBH 6503Introduction to Public Health Communication and Marketing
Sample electives:
6 elective credits (5 credits in EXNS or PUBH):
EXNS 6242Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle
PUBH 6260Advanced Data Analysis for Public Health
PUBH 6262Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PUBH 6536Workplace Health Promotion
PUBH 6556Maternal and Child Nutrition
PUBH 6560School Health and Safety
Practicum and culminating experience courses:
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience

Graduation Requirements

  1. Graduate credit requirement: 45 graduate credits.
  2. Course requirements: Successful completion of core and program-specific courses.
  3. Grade point requirement: 3.0 (B average) overall grade-point average.
  4. Time limit requirement: The degree must be completed within four years.
  5. Transfer credit policy: Up to 12 graduate credits that have not been applied to a previous graduate degree may be transferred to the Master of Public Health program. External credits must have been earned from an accredited institution in the last three years with a grade of 3.0 (B) or above. SPH graduate certificate students can transfer as many credits as meet program requirements—up to 18 credits—to the MPH degree. Graduate certificate students wishing to transfer to a degree program may apply to do so via the online change of concentration petition after completion of three or more courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. A grade of B or above is required for a course to be eligible for transfer.