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Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice

Academic Experience

students smiling in class

The UW Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program is designed for students interested in master's-level training in applied public health practice. The degree prepares you for a fulfilling career as a leader in the field of community health.

Program Format

COPHP is a full-time, two-year program. To earn this degree, students must complete a minimum of 63 credits, including the practicum and capstone project. Classes meet weekdays on the UW Seattle campus.

COPHP is an intense, immersive program. Students balance classes, work outside of class, fieldwork and sometimes paid employment, which models the type of commitment that public health careers often demand.


With the COPHP curriculum, you'll build a solid foundation in the major disciplines of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, maternal and child health, social and behavioral sciences and global health. At the same time you'll develop essential competencies in areas such as communication, management, teamwork, assessment and policy development. Learn more about COPHP courses.

Problem-Based Learning

The program teaches the core public health competencies through a problem-based learning (PBL) approach that creates engaged, self-directed learners. Rather than using traditional methods such as lectures, tests and textbooks, you'll work in small teams to analyze case studies about public health issues and develop your own solutions, with guidance from a faculty facilitator. This approach offers a powerful way to prepare you for the types of challenges faced in public health today. 

The PBL process isn’t for everyone. We strongly encourage prospective students to learn more about the PBL pedagogy to see if this process is the best fit for your learning style. For more information on course dynamics and PBL, reach out to or attend a bi-monthly webinar

Service Learning

Because of its focus on real-world practice, the COPHP program requires a more substantial service-learning component than most MPH programs. All students complete a practicum in the first year and a capstone project in the second year at community-based agencies or organizations in Washington state. You’ll also engage in fieldwork projects as part of your coursework in community development and community organizing. See the Practicum & Capstone Project page for more details. 

Specialization Options

Students have a variety of options for developing expertise in specific areas of public health while completing the COPHP program.

One option is to complete a graduate certificate, which generally requires 12 core course credits and 3 capstone credits. Graduate certificates are available in these areas:

Another option is to concentrate all your electives in one area of study. For example, students who want to focus on environmental health could follow a schedule of courses relating to that area.

We also offer a concurrent degree program that combines a Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice with a Master of Urban Planning or a Master of Social Work. Please contact us for more information.

Who Should Apply

The COPHP program is designed for students interested in master's-level training in applied public health practice in order to lead change in community health. A bachelor's degree is required, and at least one or two years of post-college work experience is strongly recommended.

Because the COPHP program is not a traditional university experience based on lectures and reading, prospective students should consider their comfort level with alternative learning styles. Applicants should be able to communicate their fit with the problem-based learning approach and demonstrate how their previous academic, work and life experiences have prepared them for this rigorous, self-directed program. For more details on the application process, see the Admissions page.