Master of Public Health in the Field of Health Policy

Program and Practicum Director L. Cartwright-Smith

Mission Statement

The Department of Health Policy and Management of the Milken Institute School of Public Health is an intellectual and practice-oriented community in the nation’s capital dedicated to advancing innovative and effective health policy education, research, and service to improve public health and health services domestically and globally.

We are committed to:

  • Offering a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides students with deep content knowledge and the analytic, communication, and professional skills needed to be the next generation of health policy leaders.
  • Conducting rigorous multidisciplinary research that addresses significant health challenges, is objective, and is translated to inform and impact health policy and public health practice.
  • Being a trusted resource for shaping and advancing health policy options because of our research rigor, the real-world health policy leadership experiences of our faculty and staff, our deep expertise regarding a wide range of policy issues, and our exceptional students.
  • Leveraging our unique location which allows for strong collaborations with health policy leaders and practitioners in Washington, DC.
  • Improving the health and health care of underserved and vulnerable populations.
  • Learning from the diversity among our faculty, staff, and students in terms of background, experience, and thought.


The Department of Health Policy and Management is the home for health policy studies and research at the Milken Institute SPH. The Department focuses on virtually all facets of U.S. health policy related to both public health and health services, and emphasizes preparing students to understand and analyze health policy matters in a broad, cross-cutting, and real-world context. Among schools of public health, the Milken Institute SPH Department of Health Policy and Management is unique, having been created to take maximum advantage of its location in Washington, DC, the nation’s health policy-making epicenter. The MPH in Health Policy is for students who wish to develop in-depth policy analysis skills for use in various practice settings, including both federal and state levels of government, private-sector health policy consulting, and not-for-profit advocacy. Additionally, this program is available to GW law students (the JD/MPH and LLM/MPH programs), lawyers seeking to develop expertise in all facets of health policy and practice, and to GW medical students (the MD/MPH and PA/MPH programs) who wish to enhance their clinical training with a thorough understanding of health policy. 

Visit the program website for additional program information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 45 credits, including 12 credits in core courses, 20 credits in program-specific courses, 9 credits in elective courses, a 2-credit practicum, and a 2-credit capstone.

Program Requirements

Required core (12 credits):
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 6007Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
Required program-specific (20 credits):
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6315Introduction to Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
or PUBH 6335 Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
Health services management requirement selectives (2 credits)
One of the following:
HSML 6203Introduction to Health Management
HSML 6204Quality and Performance Improvement
HSML 6209Health Services Finance
HSML 6213Health Services, Marketing, and Planning
HSML 6216Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior
HSML 6231Management of Acute Care Hospitals
HSML 6238Ambulatory Care Management
HSML 6246Service Line and Project Management
HSML 6247Consulting in Health Care
Electives (9 credits):
A personalized combination of elective courses.
Practicum and culminating experience (4 credits):
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6350Health Policy Capstone

Graduation Requirements

  1. Graduate credit requirement: 45 graduate credits.
  2. Course requirements: Successful completion of core and program-specific courses.
  3. Minimum 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 minimum grade (or grade-point average) of B (3.0) 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.