Division of
Public Health

College of Human Medicine

Core Disciplines of Public Health Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate 

The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health offers an online Graduate Certificate in Core Disciplines of Public Health for graduate students. The courses that make up this certificate serve as the core courses required of students who are pursuing a Master of Public Health degree from MSU. This certificate is designed to provide students with a basis for understanding the breadth and scope of the public health field. Core public health disciplines include biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy and management, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health sciences. Students gain competence in all of the core disciplines through these courses.

This certificate is appropriate for an endless variety of students. Current public health professionals benefit by enhancing their existing skills and gaining an official credential. Medical students find this certificate enhances their education by learning the population-based side of medicine in addition to their traditional patient-centric training. Other professionals who also benefit from this certificate include, as examples, nurses who broaden her/his clinical perspective, accountants who work in health gain a greater understanding of the healthcare industry, an attorney who may utilizes this certificate to help specialize in public health and health policy. Since public health affects every aspect of modern society, the applications of this knowledge are far reaching into many other professional disciplines.

Required Courses 

HM 801 Introduction to Public Health Introduces core public health concepts of protection, disease prevention, and health promotion. Discussion covers the history, development, and philosophy of the profession with ethical, legal, and political considerations.

HM 802 Biostatistics for Public Health Students learn data management, analysis, and presentation of public health data. The course includes techniques and methods for calculating population-based statistics and utilizes instruction with the Epi-Info software package.

HM 803 Epidemiology and Public Health Provides students instruction in the distributions and determinants of disease at the population level. Students develop skills in epidemiological research and quantitative methods as they gain knowledge of various study design strengths and limitations.

HM 804 Public Health Administration Offers instruction on public health planning, organization, administration management, evaluation, and policy analysis. Students gain knowledge of the legal and ethical considerations of public health programs. 

HM 805 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health Discusses concepts/methods of social and behavioral sciences concerned with individual public health and well-being, globally and domestically. Students learn about physical, social, and cultural factors that shape individual and community health, providing an interdisciplinary perspective on public health programs.

HM 806 Environmental Factors of Health This course examines the biological, physical, and chemical factors that affect the health of populations. Discussion involves potential impact of environmental agents on health, regulatory approaches to environmental hazards, and preventative management approaches.

Application Requirements

Core Disciplines of Public Health Graduate Certificate Application Requirements

  • Application for Graduate Study at Michigan State University (with associated application fee)
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university*
  • Official transcripts (in an envelope sealed and stamped from the registrar’s office) containing your transcripts from each post-secondary university attended, including MSU
    • For international transcripts, an attested copy of the diploma must also be requested directly from the institution.
    • Chinese transcripts require an official verification report from the China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) ( www.cdgdc.edu.cn). This official verification report must come to our academic office in an official sealed, unopened envelope from the CDGDC – the student is not to open the official sealed envelope as that will make the transcripts unacceptable.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement describing interest/experience in the public health discipline and career goals
  • Resume or CV

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

  • Official test scores from an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, MELAB, MSUELT, or IELTS) Institution code: 1465

Application Steps

1.  Submit the Appropriate Application:

Choose the MSU Application for Graduate Certificate Study.  Complete the application and submit the $50 application fee.

It is imperative to provide a valid e-mail address as decision letters are sent via e-mail.

An MSU applicant ID number is provided after submission of the appropriate application.  This is needed for submission of application requirements specific to the Master of Public Health program.

 2.  Create a "Be a Spartan" account:

Create a Be a Spartan account following the directions received by email.  Your applicant ID number (provided with submission of your MSU application) is required.

If you have submitted your application and have not received an email with instructions regarding "Be a Spartan", please contact the university’s Office of Admissions at 517.355.8332. The Office of Admissions should also be contacted if difficulties with "Be a Spartan" arise during your application process.

3.  Submit Application Materials Required by the Division of Public Health academic office:

a.  Submit the following materials using the "Be a Spartan" portal:  

  • 3 letters of recommendation 
  • Personal statement 
  • Resume or cv 
  • Academic statement (if necessary)   

b.  Submit official transcripts directly from the institution.    

  • Via mail to: Division in Public Health 200 East 1st Street Flint, MI 48502
  • Electronically: through the use of a secure transcript service such as AVOW (powered by Parchment) or eSCRIP-SAFE directly to MSU Office of Admissions (admis@msu.edu).
  • All electronic official MSU transcripts are to be submitted to pphinfo@hc.msu.edu

c.  Non-Native English speakers should request official English language proficiency test scores be sent electronically using the institution code: 1465.  

waiver request of the graduate or professional school test scores or the English language proficiency test may be submitted for situations defined by the Graduate School. International graduate applicants should consult MSU's Graduate School for minimum English language requirements.  

Application Status

Questions regarding your application status can be directed through the Be a Spartan student portal messaging system. 

Direct Be a Spartan questions to the Office of Admissions at 517.355.8332

MPH Degree

small degreeThank you for your interest in the online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Michigan State University. All of the courses offered within this degree are all delivered in an online learning environment. There are no on-campus courses offered as part of the MPH degree.

Apply Today!


State Authorization: Distance Education Restrictions Based on Permanent Residence

Michigan State University is obligated to comply with existing state laws regarding distance education (programs/departments offering courses delivered exclusively online). State laws regarding distance education vary state-by-state, and even program-by-program within a state. The Master of Public Health offered through the College of Human Medicine’s Division of Public Health at Michigan State University requires a practicum experience that constitutes a physical presence in some states, therefore restricting enrollment in our program to residents of those states.

Prior to applying, please visit, https://esp.msu.edu/StateSummary.pdf, for the most up-to-date approved and restricted states.  For more information, please visit MSU's State Authorization website, https://esp.msu.edu/stateauth.asp.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Contact Us:

Online Master of
Public Health Degree Office

200 East 1st Street
Flint, MI 48502
(810) 600-5601
(810) 600-5699