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

Program Director and Advisor 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 the MPH in the field of physical activity in public health 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.

Visit the program website for additional program information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 45 credits, (varying by track – Option A or B) including 15 to 17 credits in core courses, 19 to 20 credits in program-specific courses, 7 to 8 credits in elective courses, and a 2-credit culminating experience.  

Program Requirements 

EXNS 2111Exercise Physiology I
Core courses
PUBH 6002Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
PUBH 6003Principles and Practices of Epidemiology
PUBH 6007Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
PUBH 6009Fundamentals of Public Health Program Evaluation (students following Option B track will not take PUBH 6009))
PUBH 6011Environmental and Biological Foundations of Public Health
PUBH 6012Fundamentals of Health Policy
PUBH 6021Essentials of Public Health Practice and Leadership I
PUBH 6022Essentials of Public Health Practice and Leadership II
PUBH 6023Interprofessional Education Experience
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
Departmental courses
EXNS 6202Advanced Exercise Physiology I (Departmental Courses)
EXNS 6203Advanced Exercise Physiology II
EXNS 6208Physical Activity: Physiology and Epidemiology
PUBH 6620Designing Healthy Communities
Program-specific courses: All courses in either Option A or Option 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 6503Introduction to Public Health Communication and Marketing
PUBH 6621Applied Data Analysis in Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
7 to 8 credits in any GW graduate-level courses. Sample electives include:
EXNS 6212Exercise in Selected Chronic Diseases
EXNS 6242Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle
PUBH 6260Advanced Data Analysis for Public Health
PUBH 6262Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PUBH 6502Practical Data Analysis for Prevention and Community Health
PUBH 6536Workplace Health Promotion
PUBH 6556Maternal and Child Nutrition

Graduation Requirements

  1. Graduate credit requirement: 45 graduate credits.
  2. Course requirements: Successful completion of core and program-specific courses.
  3. Practicum Requirement: Students are required to fulfill all requirements of the Applied Practice Experience (Practicum) to receive credit for PUBH 6022.
  4. Interprofessional Education Experience (IPE):  Students are required to enroll and participate in an authorized IPE activity (PUBH 6023).
  5. Minimum grade-point requirement: minimum 3.0 (B average) cumulative grade-point average.
  6. Time limit requirement: The degree must be completed within five years.
  7. Transfer credit policy: With approval, up to 12 graduate credits that have not been applied to any 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 minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course. Students in SPH graduate certificate programs can transfer as many credits earned toward the certificate to the MPH degree as meet MPH degree requirements, to a maximum of 18 credits.
  8. Graduate certificate students wishing to transfer to a degree program may apply to do so after completion of three or more courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 via the online change of concentration petition. A grade of B or above is required for a specific course to be eligible for transfer.  
  9. CITI Training requirement: All students are required to complete training regarding human subject protection regulation and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
  10. Integrity Quiz and Plagiarism requirement: All students are required to review the George Washington University Code of Academic Integrity and take the SPH Academic Integrity Quiz at GWSPH Source. within their first semester of study.
  11. Professional Enhancement requirement: Students must participate in eight hours of public health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia, related to their field of study.