New York Medical College

School of Health Sciences and Practice

Core Course Requirements and Competencies


All degree students, except those in the Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology programs, must successfully complete several required core public health courses. Upon graduation, a student with an MPH degree, regardless of program must satisfy the core competencies also listed below.

The core course requirements for the MPH degree are:

Health Care in the United States (3 credits)
Introduction to Biostatistics
(3 credits)
Introduction to Epidemiology
(3 credits)
Environmental Influences on Human Health
(3 credits)
Behavioral and Social Factors in Public Health
(3 credits)
(1 credit)
Culminating Experience

- Thesis or Capstone: on-campus students only
(3 credits)
- Comprehensive Exam: distance education students only
(0 credits – fee equivalent to cost of 1 credit)

A student who completes master’s degree requirements later than the fourth anniversary of the semester of entry into the School of Health Sciences and Practice may also be required to pass a comprehensive written examination in addition to any culminating experience as part of the requirements for the degree.

Core Courses

HPM 5001 Health Care in the United States
This course provides comprehensive overviews of the American healthcare systems, their organization, administration and financing. In addition, lectures, exercises and papers are structured to provide an understanding of the major stakeholders involved in health care; the issues driving the health care reform agenda; the use of community-based needs assessment in planning the delivery of healthcare services; and methods for measuring and monitoring the quality of care.

BIOST 5001 Introduction to Biostatistics
This course presents the fundamental statistical approaches employed in clinical and public health research. Lectures cover basic probability, common distributions, samples and populations, interval estimation, and inferential statistical approaches. Students learn how data are presented and interpreted in the professional literature by considering published articles, professional reports and public health data.

EPI 5002 Introduction to Epidemiology
This course introduces students to epidemiology and provides them with a population-based perspective on health and disease. Students learn the basic measurements and methods employed in describing, monitoring, and studying health and disease in populations.

ENV 5001 Environmental Influences on Human Health
This survey of the major environmental determinants of human health covers physical, chemical, and biological sources of exposure; routes of exposure in humans; etiology of environmental disease and mortality; and the complexities of environmental public policy. Topics include airborne pollution, contaminated water and food, solid and hazardous waste, and risk assessment as a tool for regulation. Students have the opportunity to tour a local water treatment facility.

BSHP 5001 Behavioral and Social Factors in Public Health
This course provides an overview and introduction to the way in which behavioral and social factors contribute to health. It covers a wide range of topics: theories of behavioral science which have been applied to health behaviors; socio-cultural factors in disease etiology and the role of social conditions and social policy in addressing critical public health problems; individual, group, community, and technology-based strategies for health behavior change; and current issues in behavioral science for health promotion including its application to achieving the Healthy People 2010 Goals. The course provides students with the opportunity to critically analyze current literature, use library and internet sources of information, and gain an understanding of how the role of behavioral and social factors as determinants of health has evolved.

Thesis (Catalog Number by Department)
It is expected that the thesis will include some independent research and integration of skills acquired by the student through coursework. The thesis includes formulation of research questions, methods to carry out the inquiry and presentation of results of the research. Some theses may require approval of the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to initiation of any thesis work. The student should work through the department chair/program advisor to determine if their thesis will require IRB review. The student must maintain regular contact with the Program and Thesis Advisors during the thesis work.

Capstone (Culminating Experience for On-Campus Students – Catalog Number by Department).
The capstone is a culminating experience designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills they have acquired through their Masters in Public Health (MPH) education. Students work cooperatively in groups on real-time public health issues appropriately applying, theory, methods and tools learned in the MPH program.

CORE 7098 Comprehensive Examination (Distance Education Students Only)

The Comprehensive Examination is the culminating experience for distance education students. This is a proctored comprehensive examination that covers all core areas of knowledge offered by the School of Health Sciences and Practice as well as the program areas of knowledge offered by the Environmental Health Science, Health Policy and Management, and Behavioral Science and Health Program concentrations (see core and program requirements). Distance Education students must earn a minimum score of 80% to complete this degree requirement. A reading list as well as more details regarding content will be available upon registration for the examination. (Note: The comprehensive examination requires a fee that is equivalent to the cost of 1 credit.)

COREHS 7099 Practicum
All students pursuing an MPH degree must complete a practicum. This ensures that students have practical experience to support academic skills and information acquired within the broad field of public health before entering the world of public health practice. To fulfill this requirement, students will generally register for a one-credit pass/fail course. In exceptional circumstances, a student who can demonstrate appropriate practice experience prior to beginning MPH studies may apply for a waiver. Such a student must apply for the waiver in writing under the advisement of his/her department chair/program advisor, with accompanying documentation, during the first year of matriculation at the School of Health Sciences and Practice. Waivers are granted infrequently. There is no automatic waiver.

Core MPH Competencies
Upon graduation, a student with an MPH degree, regardless of program, should be able to manifest the following core (C) competencies:

Behavioral and Social Sciences (Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion)

  1. BSHP C1 -Identify basic theories, concepts and models from a range of social and behavioral disciplines that are used in public health research and practice.
  2. BSHP C2 -Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect the health of individuals and populations.
  3. BSHP C3 -Describe the steps and procedures for the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions.
  4. BSHP C4 -Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social and behavioral science interventions.



  1. BIOST C1 -Describe the roles biostatistics serves in the discipline of public health.
  2. BIOST C2 -Describe basic concepts of probability, random variation and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
  3. BIOST C3 -Distinguish among the different measurement scales and the implications for selection of statistical methods to be used based on these distinctions.
  4. BIOST C4 -Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data.
  5. BIOST C5 -Apply common statistical methods for inference.
  6. BIOST C6 -Apply descriptive and inferential methodologies according to the type of study design for answering a particular research question.
  7. BIOST C7 -Apply appropriate computer technology to characterize and analyze public health data.
  8. BIOST C8 -Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health studies.


Environmental Health Science

  1. ENV C1 -Describe the direct and indirect human ecological and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.
  2. ENV C2 -Describe federal and state regulatory guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues.
  3. ENV C3 -Specify current environmental risk assessment methods.
  4. ENV C4 -Specify approaches for assessing, preventing, and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.



  1. EPI C1 -Identify key sources of data for epidemiologic purposes.
  2. EPI C2 -Identify the principles and limitations of public health screening programs.
  3. EPI C3 -Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, time and place.
  4. EPI C4 -Explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical, economic and political discussion of health issues.
  5. EPI C5 -Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of epidemiologic data.
  6. EPI C6 -Apply the basic terminology and definitions of epidemiology.
  7. EPI C7 -Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data.
  8. EPI C8 -Evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic reports.


Health Services Administration (Health Policy and Management)

  1. HPM C1 -Identify the main components of the development, organization, and financing of healthcare services and public health systems in the United States.
  2. HPM C2 -Recognize the legal and ethical bases for public health and healthcare policies and procedures.
  3. HPM C3 – Identify planning methods for public health emergencies.
  4. HPM C4 -Outline the policy process for improving the health status of populations.
  5. HPM C5 -Describe the principles of community-based needs assessment and the development of programs to address those needs.
  6. HPM C6 -Outline quality and performance improvement concepts to address organizational performance issues.


General -Computer Proficiency

All students are expected to be proficient in the use of the computer applications of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, in the use of the New York Medical College network, and in the use of the Internet on the World Wide Web.

Core DrPH Competencies

A graduate of a DrPH degree program is expected to achieve the following doctoral core (DC) competencies:

  1. DC1 -Determine and interpret appropriate analytical tests for both quantitative and qualitative data including written and oral presentations based on these analyses.
  2. DC2 -Integrate environmental health considerations into the practice and analysis of public health issues.
  3. DC3 -Understand and apply the epidemiologic analysis of disease determinants and distributions to the development, implementation and review of public health policy.
  4. DC4 -Demonstrate the ability to integrate ethical, economic and political considerations in developing public health policies to improve the health status of populations.
  5. DC5 -Understand the importance of behavioral and social factors in the development of public health interventions; the role of social and community factors in both the onset and solution of public health problems; and be able to assess these factors within communities taking into account the local stakeholders and their interests.
  6. DC6 - Develop appropriate research questions and hypotheses, research designs and analytic approaches to conduct applied health services and policy research.