the M.S.P.H. Program at meharry

The M.S.P.H. and the M.P.H. are equivalent degrees; however, at Meharry, we emphasize the "S" in M.S.P.H. because the scientific knowledge and competencies our students acquire will allow them to thrive as health professionals upon graduation. We expect our graduates to make their public health decisions on "evidence based" data.

This program is a 45 credit-hour course of instruction, plus a field externship. The core courses consist of 24 required credit hours and 21 electives; students may choose a concentration and select their electives accordingly. There is a variety of courses from which to choose to fulfill the course requirements for the M.S.P.H. degree.

Graduateprograms.com ranked Meharry's MSPH program as one of the Top 25 Public Health Programs for Value. 


The mission of the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) program at Meharry Medical College is to contribute to the public health workforce by increasing representation of individuals from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds through instruction, research and service that is evidence-based and culturally sensitive. These MSPH-trained additions to the public health workforce will be providers who have the knowledge, skills and training to understand, address and inform the public about problems and issues faced by underserved populations.


The MSPH program's goals is to:

  • Provide a quality educational experience in public health that provides the student population with the tools to address public health needs of all communities with sensitivity to the needs of underserved populations.
  • Provide a public health experience that results in employment in public health or continued education after graduation.
  • Provide opportunities for students to engage in scholarly activity that includes research.

To view additional program goals, please see section 1.1.c of our self-study report.


The MSPH program is guided by the following values:

  • Excellence: consistently achieving outstanding levels of performance while uploading the highest standards of ethical behavior, intellectual honesty, and professional conduct.
  • Service: establishing and maintaining a nurturing community-based service-orientated culture and environment that exceeds expectations.
  • Accountability: accepting individual and collective responsibility for preserving and effectively managing the resources of the program.
  • Teamwork: encouraging, supporting and valuing the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff and students to advance the quality of education, and research.
  • Innovation: promoting creativity and the development of ideas that stimulate improvements in our intellectual and operational endeavors.
  • Diversity: fostering ethic, intellectual, social, and cultural diversity.
  • Advocacy: advocating for local, state and national health and public policies and training directed at improving the status of health of all individuals with an understanding of health care needs of underserved populations.


Students are required to complete a 400-hour externship in a public health agency. The externship is an on-the-job experience of at least ten 40-hour work weeks, totaling 400 hours. It is generally held during the summer months between the first year and second year of academic study. The Externship Manual must be downloaded and maintained by the student throughout the externship. M.S.P.H. students have participated in externships at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Partner organizations have included Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tennessee Hospital Association, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Veterans Affairs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Harvard University, and the Minority International Research Training (MIRT) Program in Ethiopia Africa.


To complete the M.S.P.H. degree, the student has the option of writing a thesis or sitting for a comprehensive exam. Both the thesis and exam cover all the core courses of public health and test the knowledge the student has attained in the core areas of public health. They equally test the student's ability to integrate the knowledge that he/she has attained during matriculation in the program. The M.S.P.H. Thesis Manual has been developed to assist students with preparation and writing of the thesis.


Meharry's M.S.P.H. program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (C.E.P.H.), the official accrediting body for all public health Programs and Schools of Public Health in the United States.

Re-accreditation was awarded at the meeting held during fall 2014 for the full seven-year term, extending to December 31, 2021.

Please visit the CEPH Accreditation page to learn more about the program's re-accreditation process.