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Master of Public Health in Urban Health (MPH) | Northeastern University

Master of Public Health in Urban Health (MPH)

Program Overview

Through innovation in experiential education, research, and service, the Master of Public Health Program in Urban Health at Northeastern University trains diverse and skilled professionals who promote and protect the health of urban communities.

In order to help prepare the next generation of urban public health leaders and professionals, the MPH Program in Urban Health offers our diverse graduate students a variety of course options.

Online, In-Class, or Hybrid

Evening Classes
Part-time or Full-time

Course Offerings

Supportive Learning Environment
with Outstanding Student Mentoring

Click each box to learn more about our program

Urban Health Focus

Rapid urbanization worldwide drives the need for innovative public health approaches that take into careful account the unique characteristics, challenges, and opportunities that exist in urban environments.

The Master of Public Health Program in Urban Health at Northeastern University has been developed specifically to meet the growing demand for public health professionals who have the ability to navigate the complex issues inherent to the urban context.

One of the few of its kind, our program brings together interdisciplinary faculty with expertise in working with diverse urban populations and builds upon Northeastern’s rich history of community engagement to provide students with the experience and skills needed to address urban public health issues.

With a focus on racial and ethnic health disparities, students examine how the characteristics of the urban environment can effect health and well-being. Sample topics include:

  • The built environment
  • Poverty, violence, and substance abuse
  • Health education and promotion
  • Barriers to health and healthcare
  • Preventing and controlling chronic diseases
  • Immigration, migration, and suburbanization
  • Childhood obesity
  • Adolescent health behaviors
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Health and political advocacy
  • Evaluation techniques
  • Municipal policy and administration
  • Global health concerns
  • Containing outbreaks and epidemics
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Theories of social and behavior change

We are committed to building an effective and diverse public health workforce. Our students are motivated by the urgent need to address the inequities in health that burden urban populations, both within the United States and abroad. Graduates from our program have both the technical expertise to handle complex urban health problems, as well as the cultural sensitivity to interact effectively with and advocate for diverse urban populations.


Program Goals

Education Goals

  • Educate students in program-identified core public health competencies with an accredited curriculum
  • Provide students with practice-oriented education that will prepare them to effectively address the multi-level public health risks faced by diverse urban communities

Research Goals

  • Generate public health knowledge using interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary approaches that emphasize urban, community-engaged, and translational research
  • Provide opportunities in urban settings for students to apply research and evaluation skills

Service Goals

  • Facilitate engagement in public health advocacy, policy, and practice at local, regional, national, and global levels
  • Improve the health of diverse urban communities in collaboration with community organizations; federal, state, and local agencies; and the private sector


The MPH Program in Urban Health has identified the following core public health and urban health competencies, which guide all program activities:

General Public Health Competencies

Analytic/Assessment Skills

  • Assess the health status of populations and their related determinants of health and illness
  • Selects variables that measure public health conditions
  • Interprets qualitative and quantitative data
  • Utilizes data to address scientific, political, ethical, and social public health issues

Policy Development/Program Planning Skills

  • Articulates the implications of policy options

Communication Skills

  • Communicates in writing and orally, in person, and through electronic means, with linguistic and cultural proficiency
  • Applies communication strategies in interactions with individuals and groups

Cultural Competency Skills

  • Explains the dynamic forces that contribute to cultural diversity

Public Health Sciences Skills

  • Describes the scientific foundation of the field of public health
  • Applies the basic public health sciences (including, but not limited to: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and social and behavioral health sciences) to public health policies and programs
  • Determines the limitations of research findings

The MPH Program has one area of specialization, which is “Urban Health”. The specific competencies selected for this specialization mirror the general competencies the guide the entire program and have been amended to take into account the health of urban populations:

Urban Health Competencies

Analytic/Assessment Skills

  • Describes the characteristics of an urban population-based health problem
  • References sources of urban public health data and information

Policy Development/Program Planning Skills

  • Articulates policy options to address an urban health issue

Communication Skills

  • Solicits input from individuals and organizations in urban environments
  • Presents demographic, statistical, programmatic, and scientific information for use by professional and lay audiences

Cultural Competency Skills

  • Considers the role of cultural, social, and behavioral factors in the accessibility, availability, acceptability and delivery of urban public health services

Community Dimensions of Practice Skills

  • Establishes linkages with key stakeholders in an urban environment

Public Health Sciences Skills

  • Conducts a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to an urban public health issue, concern, or intervention
  • Retrieves scientific evidence from a variety of text and electronic sources

Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills

  • Promotes individual, team, and organizational learning opportunities

All graduates fulfill the competencies that guide the MPH Program.



The MPH Program in Urban Health is a professional (non-thesis) master’s degree program offered by the Bouvé College of Health Sciences Department of Health Sciences. Characteristics of the curriculum include academic rigor and competency-based education in a supportive and engaging learning environment. The curriculum components meet the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) accreditation requirements.

All MPH degree candidates must complete a total of 42 credits consisting of:

5 courses, 3 credits each = 15 credits

  • Biostatistics in Public Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health Administration and Policy
  • Society, Behavior, and Health

3 courses, 3 credits each = 9 credits

  • Principles and History of Urban Health
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Health in the United States
  • Urban Community Health Assessment

1 course, 3 credits = 3 credits

Students choose either:

  • Health Education and Program Planning
  • Techniques of Program Evaluation

3 courses, 3 credits each = 9 credits

Elective courses may be taken on a range of public health topics. Cross-departmental offerings are included in elective courses and provide MPH students with unique opportunities to focus their interests in emerging areas of urban public health practice. Some areas of interest and sample electives include:

Health Promotion/Education

  • Health Advocacy
  • Health Education and Program Planning
  • Techniques of Program Evaluation


  • Advances in Measuring Behavior
  • Advanced Methods in Biostatistics
  • Applied Regression Analysis
  • Intermediate Epidemiology
  • Principles of Population Health
  • Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness


  • Economic Perspectives on Health Policy
  • Evaluating Healthcare Quality
  • Food, Food Policy, and Health
  • Health and Human Rights
  • Strategic Management and Leadership in Healthcare

Special Interest

  • Exercise in Health and Disease
  • Global Health
  • Neighborhood and Public Health
  • Public Health Nutrition

MPH students are also able to use their electives to pursue certificate opportunities. Currently, the MPH Program has joined with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern to offer a certificate pathway specifically for MPH students. To learn more about the WGSS certificate option, please click here.

Minimum 200 hour, community-based internship (3 credits)

The goal of the Practicum is to provide the opportunity to integrate and apply classroom learning in a public health work environment, enabling students to observe and learn from professionals in the field. The student contributes to a community’s resources and to the solution of public health problems, while developing practical skills and personal confidence as a public health professional. The practicum serves as a transition point for the student from education to professional practice.

The nature and location of the practicum is flexible. Students have completed their practicum in many different settings, including:

  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Veteran’s Association Medical Center
  • Brookline Public Schools
  • Multicultural AIDS Coalition
  • Boston Urban Asthma Coalition
  • Granada Health Clinic, Nicaragua
  • Harvard Catalyst Public Communication Program
  • Synthesis Health Systems
  • Massachusetts Joint Committee on Health Care Finance
  • MyTown
  • Beacon Health Strategies
  • Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
  • Massachusetts Internation Community Economic Development
  • JRI Health
  • John Snow, Inc.

To learn more about how public health internships, like our program’s Practicum requirement, can be used to gain pre-professional experience, click here.

Capstone Project (3 credits)

As a culminating experience, students are required to complete a Capstone Project, an extension of the required Practicum. The Capstone Project provides students with the opportunity to develop or take on projects of mutual interest to a public health agency and the student in a range of diverse public health practice settings reflective of a particular urban health focus.

The Capstone Project provides students with the opportunity to integrate their theory and practice experiences in a major research, program planning, policy development, management, service delivery, or evaluation project. Community-based participatory projects are actively encouraged and, to the extent possible, Capstone Projects have as a goal the active contribution to the health of the local community.

Capstone Projects are student led and designed in consultation with community partners. Faculty members provide guidance and mentoring. Students participate in a Capstone Seminar intended to support the integration of their practice and analytic experiences.

Students may enroll in the MPH program on a part-time (1 to 2 courses per semester) or full-time (4 courses per semester) basis. In general, the curriculum requires two years of full-time study to complete, but can be completed in up to five years, if done on a part-time basis.

The on campus versions of the 8 core Public Health and Urban Health courses meet once a week and are taught from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, facilitating enrollment for students who work full or part-time. Various electives are also offered during the evening, the summer, as intensive courses, or in hybrid on-campus/online formats.

Curriculum subject to change


The MPH Program accepts students for entry in both the Fall and the Spring. Specific details and deadlines are outlined below.

Fall Entry

Spring Entry

Applicants accepted On Campus: Domestic and International

Online: Domestic and International

On Campus: Domestic only
Online: Domestic and International
Delivery options Hybrid on campus/online
100 percent online
Hybrid on campus/online
100 percent online
Student status Full time
Part time
Full time
Part time
Application deadline 2/1 priority*, 5/15 final 10/15

* The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications for the Fall in February and recommends applicants interested in merit-based scholarships and financial aid submit by the 2/1 priority deadline. International students who need to change their visa status to F1 should also submit by the 2/1 priority deadline.

All applicants must apply via the SOPHAS application system:

The application process for the hybrid on campus online program and the 100 percent online program are the same. Select your preferred delivery option when applying via SOPHAS. Please note that international students holding study visas must take classes on site.

Dual degree applicants (eg, BS/MPH; JD/MPH; PA/MPHPharmD/MPH) apply via a separate application system; please visit those programs’ websites for more information.

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

Completed Application via SOPHAS

Completed Application via SOPHAS

Our program accepts applications through SOPHAS, the centralized application system for schools and programs of public health: Please note that application waivers are granted solely through SOPHAS.

Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher

Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher

Our program welcomes applicants from diverse academic backgrounds. While we do not have any course or discipline prerequisites, a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required.

Official Transcripts

Official Transcripts

Applicants are required to submit via SOPHAS all transcripts of all college-level study. WES-evaluated transcripts (also via SOPHAS) are required for any study that took place outside the United States.

Official Test Scores

Official Test Scores

Our program requires the following official test scores. Exceptions and the process for requesting waivers are outlined below.

GRE (code #7533)

GRE scores (taken within the last five years) are required of all non-Northeastern University graduates. The Admissions Committee typically looks for scores at or above the 50th percentile in each domain. In very rare circumstances, when the applicant has already obtained a PhD, MD, JD, or similar advanced degree, this requirement may be waived. If an applicant wishes to submit a petition to have the GRE waived, the GRE Waiver form should be sent to the MPH Program Director with supporting materials (CV and/or transcripts). The petition will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and the applicant will be notified directly of the decision.


Starting with the Fall 2017 application cycle, the MPH Program will accept MCAT scores from 2015 onward. You must contact AAMC to have your MCAT scores released to SOPHAS in order for them to be added to your application.

TOEFL (code #5688)

TOEFL scores are required from all international students, in addition to the GRE. The Admissions Committee looks for TOEFL score of >100. Exemptions to this policy are reviewed on a case by case basis. To request a petition to waive the TOEFL, the TOEFL Waiver form along with supporting materials (CV and/or transcripts) should be sent to the MPH Program Director. Exemptions to this policy are in very rare cases when an applicant’s education has taken place in an English-speaking country. The petition will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and the applicant will be notified directly of the decision.

Please note that other comparable standardized test scores (eg, IELTS, GMAT) are NOT accepted by our program in place of those outlined above.

Three Evaluations

Three Evaluations

These letters of recommendation should include academic references and professional references only.

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Approximately two to three double-spaced pages in length, describing your interest in and commitment to urban public health, including:
  • Your interests and experiences in the field of public health
  • What your goals are for a career in urban public health
  • Why you would like to complete your MPH degree at Northeastern University
  • You may include any other information that you feel might be useful to the Admissions Committee.


The Admissions Committee reserves the right to request an in-person or telephone interview with certain candidates; you will be notified directly if we would like to schedule an interview with you.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the tuition costs for the MPH Program in Urban Health?

The program is 42 semester credits. For up-to-date information regarding Northeastern University tuition per credit, please refer to the University’s tuition page. Tuition is the same for on-campus and online only students, as well as for domestic and international students.

What kind of financial assistance is available?

Merit-based aid

The MPH Program offers a limited number of merit-based scholarships to qualified students.

Dean’s Scholarship

Tuition scholarship subject to the following guidelines:

          • Full-time students in graduate degree and certificate programs are eligible for a graduate tuition scholarship of up to 1/3 of their tuition to a maximum dollar amount not to exceed the tuition charged for 4 semester hours in each term of full-time registration.
          • Part-time students in graduate degree and certificate programs are eligible for a graduate tuition scholarship of up to 1/4 of their tuition to a maximum dollar amount not to exceed the tuition charged for 2 semester hours in each term of part-time registration.
          • Provisional, special, and other students are not eligible for scholarships.
          • All applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship. Nothing additional, besides a completed application, is needed.

Double Husky Scholarship

The Double Husky Scholarship helps Northeastern alums returning to the institution to earn their graduate degrees by providing a tuition discount of 25 percent. Alums are automatically considered for the scholarship when they apply to the MPH Program.

Full-time students and part-time students starting in Fall 2014 and beyond are eligible. If students receive other grants or scholarships from Northeastern, the award of higher value will be given.

Full Circle Scholarship

The Full Circle Scholarship offers a 25% tuition discount to graduate applicants who embody Northeastern University’s values of experiential and global learning. If you have completed a term of service with the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or have spent 1-year abroad volunteering or teaching English Language Learners (ELL), you are likely eligible.

If you’d like to apply for the Full Circle Scholarship, please include in your SOPHAS application a letter from your director, supervisor or program manager on organizational letterhead verifying your service. If you are an Overseas ESL Teacher or Volunteer you may submit your contract showing your term of service.

Graduate Fellowships in Urban Health Research

This fellowship provides graduate students with valuable opportunities to gain hands-on experience working on urban health research studies, learn about preparation of grant applications, attend research seminars, receive mentoring from experienced researchers, and meet local and national experts in the field. To date, the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice (IUHRP) has funded 25 fellowships (2 undergraduates and 23 graduate students) in its Student Research Fellowship Program. Some of these student fellows have had multiple year awards. Student Fellows are assigned to an ongoing research project at the IUHRP through which they receive training in: data management, coding, and analyses; conducting critical literature reviews; grant writing; preparation of manuscripts and presentations; and field data collection. For further information please visit the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice‘s website.

Graduate Student Scholarship

These scholarships provide a predetermined tuition discount by awarding students a specific number of graduate semester hours in free tuition (typically MPH students are given awards that cover four to six credits). There is no work requirement, and applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship. Nothing additional, besides a completed application, is needed.

Lifetime Learning Membership

The Lifetime Learning Membership allows parents and siblings of full-time undergraduate day students to return to school and receive a 25 percent tuition discount. In order to be considered, MPH applicants should email to Alison Gillis, the MPH Program Manager at, the Northeastern University ID number of your son, daughter, or sibling (who must be currently enrolled at Northeastern as a full-time undergraduate day student) at the time of your application.

Martin Luther King Fellowship Scholarship

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Graduate Fellowship Program provides up to nine graduate student scholarships each year, covering full tuition and general fees for the student’s graduate program. The Program is administered by the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an accomplished scholar who exemplified the utmost qualities of leadership. In keeping with the high standards exemplified by Dr. King, recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Graduate Fellowship should be of African origin, demonstrate high standards of leadership, and have a record of community service.

Need-based aid

Federal financial aid and institutional scholarships may be available to qualified students. The Office of Student Financial Services provides the most up-to-date information and recommends that every student consider applying for financial aid, regardless of his/her income and assets. You may also call 617.373.5899 or email

We also encourage you to visit the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health webpage, Financing Your Degree, for more information.

How many students do you accept each year?

The MPH Program in Urban Health admits 25 students per year. We value small class sizes so that students are able to receive personal attention and have opportunities to learn in interactive, rigorous, and supportive learning environments.

From February through May, the Admissions Committee meets monthly to review completed online applications for the Fall. From October through November, the Admissions Committee meets monthly to review completed online applications for the Spring. Typically, for the months in which the Admissions Committee meets, application decisions will be made within a four-week time frame.

Can I speak to a current student in the program?

Absolutely! Please email Alison Gillis, the MPH Program Manager, at who will put you in touch with a current MPH student who can give you his or her perspective on the program!

Can I take a class without being admitted to the MPH Program in Urban Health?

If you would like to take a class in the MPH Program without officially enrolling, you may register as a Special Student at Bouvé College of Health Sciences. You may complete up to 12 credits of MPH core courses and then apply to the program.

What employment opportunities are there for a graduate of the MPH Program in Urban Health?

A graduate from MPH in Urban Health program has both the technical expertise to address specific urban health issues as well as the strategic and cultural competency needed to interact effectively with and be an advocate for diverse urban populations. Completing your public health training at Northeastern University affords the opportunity to learn from and work with urban public health professionals striving to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities in the Greater Boston area and beyond.

Graduates with an MPH degree are employed in number of varied professional settings including: federal, state, and local health agencies; universities and colleges; hospitals; ambulatory medical centers; nonprofit organizations; community-based agencies; insurance and pharmaceutical industries; health maintenance organizations; and private foundations.

There are a number of online resources with open positions for individuals beginning or continuing their careers in public health. A few are listed below:

Where can I find information related to the MPH Program’s policies and regulations?

For an overview of the curricular policies that guide our program, please consult the Bouve College of Health Sciences Graduate Handbook

Upcoming Events

Check back here for upcoming MPH events at Northeastern.

2017 Diversity Matters Public Health Career and Internship Fair
April 6

14th Global Health and Innovation Conference
April 22 – 23

Contact Information

We welcome any questions you might have about our program! Please feel free to send general program inquiries and admissions-related questions to

Shan Mohammed MD, MPH

Professor Mohammed is a faculty member in the Department of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. He directs the Master of Public Health Program in Urban Health and oversees the program in areas of educational policy development, curricular design, public health workforce development and recruitment/outreach to public health professionals. The graduate program is committed to addressing a variety of urban health issues through interprofessional engagement. Dr. Mohammed also directs Interprofessional Research, Education and Practice Initiatives for Bouvé College of Health Sciences.  He is a board-certified family medicine physician and fellow of the American Association of Family Physicians who has been involved in competency-based curricular design, implementation and evaluation for the past 11 years. He also completed a three year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse” Fellowship worked as a Co-Investigator on a Center for Substance Abuse Prevention funded grant “Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention in African-American Families” which focused on training of primary care providers in community health centers on brief interventions to improve parenting skills and reduce risky adolescent behavior. Before joining Northeastern in 2007, Professor Mohammed served on the faculty of the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

1988 B.A. Univeristy of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
1997 M.D. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Cleveland, OH
1993 M.P.H. School of Public Health, Boston University. Boston, MA Dual Concentration: Social & Behavioral Sciences and Health Services

2007 Fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians
2005 Fundamentals of Management Certificate, Weatherhead School of Business, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
2001 Board Certified. American Academy of Family Physicians
1991 “Healthcare Delivery in Developing Countries Certificate” School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA


  • Public Health Workforce Development
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Primary Care Delivery

Parenting and prevention of risky substance abuse and sexual behavior among young urban adolescents


  • Community and Public Health
  • Principles and History of Urban Health
  • Health and Human Rights
  • Substance Abuse Prevention
  • MPH Capstones (1, 2, 3)

Key Experiential Learning Opportunities for Students (undergraduate and graduate):
Students (undergraduate or graduate) are invited to explore the growing field of interprofessional education which focuses on improving individual and community health outcomes through improved understanding of various health professions,  better teamwork skills, enhanced communication across professions, and demonstrating the highest caliber of ethical practice.

Faculty Page


Shan Mohammed MD, MPH
Program Director

Alison Gillis, MPH ’13
Program Manager

Lucy Fitzpatrick
Assistant Director of Admissions

Request Program Information

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Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health

The MPH Program in Urban Health CEPH Accreditation Self Study Document and CEPH Accreditation Final Report are available upon request from the Program Manager, Alison Gillis, at

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