Health Policy

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Public Health
  • Dual Degree MPH/MBA

Master of Public Health

The MPH degree in Health Policy offered by the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership is designed for students with a keen interest in using population-based approaches to understand and improve the health status of large groups within society. The degree is focused on examining social and political systems that influence the health status of populations and then learning how to influence and/or design, implement, and manage broad, system-level instruments to improve population health outcomes. These instruments might include programs in public health agencies, not-for-profit organizations, or healthcare provider settings, or policies at the local, state, national, or international governmental levels.

The Health Policy MPH degree has a dual emphasis on acquiring both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students are also offered the opportunity to select electives that will allow for additional focus in areas such as, but not limited to: healthcare management and leadership, health services research, health policy, and environmental policy.

Thus, this degree is ideal for recent graduates or early- and mid-career public health professionals seeking to develop or advance their careers in a variety of health care settings. Additionally, the professional practice component of the program has been designed to place students in public health settings and apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to address real-world problems. Upon completion of the MPH, students will be prepared to continue developing their careers as leaders, managers, public health professionals, policy analysts, program evaluators, advocates, or health program managers in a variety of public health, government, health care, or other professional settings. In addition, our MPH students will be prepared to continue their graduate education at the doctoral level.

Dual Degree MPH/MBA

The Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership has an approved Dual Degree Program with the MBA program in the College of Business and Economics.  Program details are available from either program upon request.

Admission Guidelines (MPH in Health Policy)

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a preferred overall GPA of 3.0
  • GRE scores of 150 (verbal), 144 (quantitative), 4.0 (analytical writing)
  • TOEFL scores (minimum 550 paper-based) (minimum 213 computer-based) (minimum of 80 internet-based)

MPH Applicants (Fall Admissions Only)

If you are ready to apply to West Virginia University School of Public Health, the admissions team is here to assist you. Our School of Public Health is CEPH accredited, and we participate in SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service). Our MPH process is a two-step process. All MPH applications must be submitted through the national SOPHAS service and applicants must also submit a WVU Graduate application.

In addition to the general application, applicants must submit to SOPHAS a statement of purpose and objectives, official GRE test scores, three letters of reference, a current resume/curriculum vitae, and all university transcripts. SOPHAS requires original transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended. (Including Study Abroad) Please see each Major’s website for additional application requirements.

There is a $120 SOPHAS application fee. Applicants must indicate their first choice of MPH major, and may also indicate a second choice. A maximum of two choices is allowed. 

  • E-submit your application as soon as the applicant entered information is complete. Do NOT wait for SOPHAS to receive transcripts, recommendations or test scores.
  • Plan Ahead! Allow up to 4 weeks for SOPHAS to verify grades, process, and mail your application to your designated institutions after your documents have been received.
  • SOPHAS grants fee waivers based upon financial need for Peace Corps Volunteers, McNair Scholars, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, AmeriCorps, U.S. and International applicants.

Once the department has reviewed the SOPHAS application, students will receive a communication from the WVU School of Public Health regarding their recommendation for acceptance and instructions to complete the WVU graduate application and pay the $60.00 WVU application fee.

Admission decisions to the West Virginia School of Public Health are conducted in two rounds. Fully completed SOPHAS applications received by April 15 will be considered first. Incomplete applications and new fully completed applications received by June 1 will be considered for those degree programs/concentrations that have openings after the April 15 decisions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their completed applications by the April 15 deadline in order to be considered during the first round.

Important: When sending GRE scores for consideration for admission to WVU, please use the WVU School of Public Health College GRE code: 0157. This code MUST be used, otherwise your GRE score will not be reported to SOPHAS and your application will be incomplete. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed for an admissions decision. [Each program at West Virginia University has a specific code]

All other degrees and certificate programs will use the WVU application system.

Master of Public Health

Major Requirements

MPH Core Courses:
BIOS 601Applied Biostatistics 13
BIOS 602Applied Biostatistics Lab1
EPID 601Public Health Epidemiology3
HPML 602Principles of Health Policy3
OEHS 601Environmental Health3
PUBH 696Graduate Seminar1
SBHS 601Social and Behavioral Theory3
Concentration Curriculum:
HPML 610Health Economics for Population Health3
HPML 620Public Health Leadership and Management 13
HPML 622Analytic Methods for Health Policy, Management and Leadership3
HPML 624Policy Tools for Population Health3
HPML 696Graduate Seminar1
Practice-based/Culminating Experiences:
PUBH 622MPH Practice-Based Experience3
HPML 629Capstone3
Approved Elective Courses9
Total Hours45

 Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
BIOS 6013OEHS 6013
BIOS 6021SBHS 6013
EPID 6013HPML 6013
PUBH 6961HPML 6223
HPML 6203HPML 6961
 11 13
Second Year
HPML 6103HPML 6293
HPML 6243Elective3
PUBH 6223Elective3
 12 9
Total credit hours: 45


Students must select at least nine credit hours for electives. The Department of Health Policy, Management and Leadership offers several elective courses; additionally, any course offered by any department within the School of Public Health may be an acceptable elective. Students may select a course not listed specifically, but only with approval, in advance, from their faculty advisor and the Department Chair.  

Practice-Based Experience

Students will be required to complete a practice-based experience as part of the MPH program in the department of Health Policy, Management & Leadership. The practice-based field experience will include identification of site preceptor, learning objectives, field reports, and final evaluation. All students must complete a minimum of 180 hours of field experience.

Culminating Experience/Capstone

This course is to be taken in the last semester of study. Students are required to demonstrate the ability to synthesize and integrate knowledge and competencies across the full breadth of the MPH-HP curriculum.

The MPH degree will be awarded based on successful completion of all academic requirements and demonstrated achievement of competencies. The department chair, using a faculty panel, will review competency performance evidence and based on the evidence reviewed, determine if the student has achieved the expected competencies. If a determination is made that competencies have not been achieved, the department chair will inform the student what must be accomplished to demonstrate achievement and therefore be recommended for awarding of the MPH degree. This may include taking additional courses.

Applied Public Health Management Area of Emphasis

This Area of Emphasis will provide students with the opportunity to develop depth and breadth in both knowledge and skills, including the following competencies:

  1. Apply basic human relations skills to internal collaborations, motivation of colleagues and resolution of conflicts.
  2. Analyze internal and external factors that affect the delivery of health care.
  3. Synthesize the skills and knowledge required to conduct a quality improvement project.
  4. Evaluate how leadership styles affect client outcomes in the field of public health.
  5. Evaluate normative decisions facing public, private, and non-profit organizations.

Area of Emphasis Requirements

HPML 681Applied Health Care Leadership3
HPML 682Managing Quality Improvement in Healthcare3
HPML 683Ethical Leadership in Public Health3
Total Hours9

Applied Public Health Management Area of Emphasis Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
BIOS 6013SBHS 6013
BIOS 6021HPML 6223
HPML 6013HPML 6243
HPML 6203HPML 6961
PUBH 6961HPML 6813
 11 13
Second Year
EPID 6013HPML 6293
HPML 6103OEHS 6013
PUBH 6223HPML 6823
HPML 6833 
 12 9
Total credit hours: 45

Work-site Wellness Area of Emphasis

Competencies include:

  • Design needs and resource assessments relative to the implementation of a work-site wellness program
  • Create and evaluate work-site wellness interventions
  • Discern the individual, organizational, structural, and societal factors that contribute to health and safety in the workplace
  • Derive the value of public health and wellness programs and policies to justify investment by business organizations

Area of Emphasis Requirements

PUBH 536Worksite Wellness3
HPML 680Performance and Economic Evaluation for Public Health3
OEHS 623Occupational Injury Prevention3
SBHS 633Women and Violence3
Total Hours12

worksite Wellness area of Emphasis Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
EPID 6013OEHS 6013PUBH 6223
BIOS 6013HPML 6013 
BIOS 6021PUBH 6961 
SBHS 6013SBHS 611 or 6603 
SBHS 6103  
PUBH 6961  
 14 10 3
Second Year
SBHS 6133HPML 6803 
SBHS 615 or 6143SBHS 6333 
OEHS 6233SBHS 6292 
PUBH 5363  
 12 8
Total credit hours: 47

Major Learning Goals

Health Policy

  1. Explain health care and public health services within the context of U.S. policy system.
  2. Propose policy strategies for improving the health status of populations.
  3. Explain how health care resources are allocated.
  4. Explain the market structures within the U.S. health system.
  5. Expound the leadership and management principles in public health.
  6. Critique a research study.
  7. Design an evaluation study.
  8. Write a paper that uses a pathway diagram and describes how a non-medical determinant of health influences health.
  9. Select and use a community based policy tool that can be used to explain to a community how a social determinant of health and related policies shape population health.
  10. Prepare a budget with justification.
  11. Apply MPH Health Policy competencies in a Practice-Based Experience.
  12. Integrate and synthesize MPH health competencies in the context of a culminating experience.


HPML 601. Foundations of Health Policy. 3 Hours.

Students acquire a fundamental understanding of current health policy as well as the policy making system. Students will learn how health policy is made in the larger context of social structures and social choices.

HPML 602. Principles of Health Policy. 3 Hours.

In-depth examination of current health policy and policy making system, including concepts and challenges related to how health policy is made in the larger context of social/political structures, and social choices. Students apply concepts to contemporary health policy and population health problems. Intended for MPH Health Policy majors; students cannot receive credit for both HPML 601 and HPML 602.

HPML 610. Health Economics for Population Health. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOS 601 and HPML 601. Students acquire fundamental knowledge of health economics and economic approaches and methodologies to analyze critical issues in health care and health policy.

HPML 620. Public Health Leadership and Management 1. 3 Hours.

Students gain a foundation in the principles of leadership and management for public health and health care settings. Topics addressed include aspects of both strategic planning and human resources.

HPML 622. Analytic Methods for Health Policy, Management and Leadership. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOS 601 and HPML 601. Students acquire a foundation in essential evaluation approaches and methods needed as professionals in health policy, management, and leadership including policy analysis, health services research, program evaluation, and decision analysis.

HPML 624. Policy Tools for Population Health. 3 Hours.

Students advance their proficiency and ability to understand the policy system and work successfully within it to develop and advance evidence-based policy alternatives in order to improve population health.

HPML 626. Internship. 1-6 Hours.

(May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.) The internship provides students the opportunity to develop their practical skills and enhance professional competencies by applying the knowledge and techniques gained from their MPH coursework to public health practice.

HPML 629. Capstone. 3 Hours.

PR: PUBH 622. A required course for HPML students, this course is to be taken in the last semester of study. Students are required to demonstrate the ability to synthesize and integrate knowledge and competencies across the full breadth of the MPH-HPML curriculum.

HPML 660. Methods for Health Services Research 1. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOS 601 and HPML 622. Students acquire proficiency in health services research methodologies used to assess how health care services are organized, financed, assessed and delivered, and how these arrangements affect health care quality and outcomes, and population health.

HPML 661. Health Services Research Informatics. 3 Hours.

This course provides students with the applied practical understanding of and skills needed to access and use health care information systems used in performing health services research analysis.

HPML 670. Policy Analysis for Population Health 1. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOS 601 and HPML 601 and HPML 622. This course provides students an intermediate understanding of policy analysis approaches during the formation, implementation, and outcome stages of a policy's lifespan. A wide variety of healthcare and public health policies will be analyzed.

HPML 671. Population Health Policy Analysis Informatics 1. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOS 601 and HPML 601 and HPML 622. This course provides students with the applied practical understanding of and skills needed to access and use public health and policy information systems used in performing health policy analysis.

HPML 672. Global Health Policy. 3 Hours.

Using a health equity and social justice perspective, students will examine the major health issues facing the global health community, including health disparities, and the international institutions and policies developed to address these global health challenges.

HPML 675. Healthcare and Insurance Policy: Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. 3 Hours.

Students will attain a thorough understanding of Medicaid, Medicare, and other healthcare delivery systems in the United States, with special attention paid to issues of Federalism, financing, and the political nature of health insurance delivery systems. The massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act legislation and its effect on the healthcare system in the United States will also be examined.

HPML 680. Performance and Economic Evaluation for Public Health. 3 Hours.

This course presents methods to demonstrate the business merit and worth of public health programs or policies. These commonly used techniques include measuring business performance, developing business case arguments, and performing economic evaluations.

HPML 681. Applied Health Care Leadership. 3 Hours.

An exploration of topics related to the theory and practice of leadership and activities designed to develop effective leadership skills that can be applied in both the healthcare management profession and society in general.

HPML 682. Managing Quality Improvement in Healthcare. 3 Hours.

Introduces students to the latest healthcare quality and patient safety improvement thinking through didactic sessions, interactive exercises and case studies with direct relevance for public health practitioners, healthcare administrators or clinicians. Examines healthcare quality and patient safety from a strategic viewpoint to make healthcare administrators effective decision makers. Provides students necessary theoretical knowledge to obtain a Six Sigma green belt.

HPML 683. Ethical Leadership in Public Health. 3 Hours.

Students will explore contemporary theory on both leadership and ethics and apply these to Public Health service.

HPML 691A-E. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of advanced topics that are nor covered in regularly scheduled courses.

HPML 695. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

HPML 696. Graduate Seminar. 1 Hour.

PR: Consent. Each graduate student will present at least one seminar to the assembled faculty and graduate student body of his or her program.



  • Robert Duval - PhD (Florida State University)


  • Jeff Coben - MD (University of Pittsburgh)

Associate Professor

  • Warren Eller - PhD (Texas A&M University)

Assistant Professors

  • Lauri Andress - PhD/JD (University of Texas/South Texas College of Law)
  • Thomas Bias - PhD (West Virginia University)
  • Sarah Woodrum - PhD (University of Illinois - Chicago)


  • Gillian Beach - PhD (West Virginia University)

Adjunct Faculty

  • Ann Chester - PhD
    Assistant Vice President for Education Partnerships
  • Rahul Gupta - MD/MPH (University of Delhi; Unibersity of Alabama-Birmingham)
    State Health Officer and Commissioner, West Virginia Bureau of Public Health
  • Chris Haddox - PhD/MBA (West Virginia University)
    Assistant Professor, Interior Design & Design Studies
  • Drema Mace - PhD
    Executive Director, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department
  • Patricia Moss - MSW (West Virginia University)
  • Nicholas Valcik - PhD/MPA (University of Texas at Dallas)
    Director, WVU Institutional Research
  • Richard Wittberg - PhD
    Independent Researcher