Master of Public Health

Protect and educate public health practices

Be part of the change via an online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at St Ambrose University.

Public health works to protect the health of entire populations, ranging from local neighborhoods to entire countries and regions of the world. Public health professionals work in multidisciplinary teams to identify root causes of health problems and to develop solutions to improve access to health care and reduce inequities.

St. Ambrose University is pleased to offer this online degree due to its established success in delivering a range of accredited undergraduate and graduate health and human services programs as well as its emphasis on inter-professional education, social justice, and person-centered service.

Scholarships available for Spring entry!

Contact our Recruiter to learn more

Ambrose Advantages

  • Established Leader in Healthcare Programs
  • 100% Online Program to Learn Anytime, Anywhere
  • Mentoring from Expert Faculty Committed to Your Success
  • Dual Degree with MSW

Student in Library

Campus in Fall

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The SAU public health program emphasizes health equity which reinforces St. Ambrose University's mission of social justice and service. More specifically, SAU students will build their skills in epidemiology, research, and applying evidenced-based interventions to solve global/national/regional/state/community public health issues.

Read our fact sheet on the MPH program (pdf)

More Information on the Master of Public Health Program

Why get my MPH at St. Ambrose?

St. Ambrose University leads the way with top-notch graduate and undergraduate healthcare programs that focus on health equity, inter-professional education, and person-centered service, of which the latest addition is an online Master of Public Health program.

Additionally, the Quad Cities area affords many opportunities for off-campus experiences. These include the public health departments in Rock Island as well as Scott County, the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, the Community Health Care Center, and the American Red Cross.

Having the MPH housed within the College of Health and Human Services reinforces the continued global focus of the College, which prioritizes excellence in teaching, scholarship, practice, and also increases the options for study abroad opportunities that align with other programs such as the Master of Speech-Language Pathology program.

Our Faculty and Staff

St. Ambrose University is proud of the high quality of faculty and staff who take on their role not only as educators, but also as mentors. They're with you every step of the way, guiding you through coursework, research, and practicum.

What Will I Learn?

You will take courses covering the broad spectrum of public health which includes quantitative and qualitative research methodologies; quality, management, and outcomes in health systems; health policy, law, and ethics; and translational and community-engagement strategies.

Students will meet regularly with their advisor on a jointly agreed-to schedule. The full-time option will require students to take classes during the first 18 months – inclusive of approximately 200 hours of applied practice experience throughout the country – under the supervision of public health and other specialists in selected practice areas.

The curriculum will be comprised of asynchronous, online classes that cover subjects such as:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Qualitative Research
  • Behavioral/Social/Environmental Health
  • Ethics and Health Equity
  • Health Systems
  • Policy
  • Evidence-Based Practice/Application

In addition, students will complete elective courses, internships, and a capstone project.

What is my career outlook with an MPH degree?

Public health is one of the fastest growing academic majors in the United States, and career opportunities in this field are expected to grow substantially in the near future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), public health is a rapidly growing field and will increase its workforce by more than 21 percent. According to the Educational Advisory Board market study, job postings revealed a 31 percent increase in national demand and a 12 percent increase in regional demand (defined as Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota).

Specifically for Iowa, the U.S. Department of Labor projects steady job growth for public health professions through 2022.

Your Impact as Public Health Professional
Graduates with a public health degree work with individuals and communities to enhance health by identifying health threats and needs as well as resources to meet those needs. Public health professionals also advocate for and develop policies to address health inequity and increase access to health care for all.

As a leader in healthcare education and proponent of social justice, SAU offers this graduate degree to help solve healthcare inequities locally and abroad.

Graduates of the MPH program at SAU will embark on a career having satisfied these objectives through their coursework and experiences:

1) Use evidence-based decision making to propose novel solutions and policies for public health challenges;
2) Utilize quantitative and qualitative data to address public health problems;
3) Articulate approaches to the development of public health policy and programs focused on increasing access of vulnerable and marginalized populations; 
4) Apply principles of cultural competence, ethical reasoning, and human rights when interacting in organizational and community settings; 
5) Advocate for ethical and professional strategies in the management of public health programs and organizations; 
6) Demonstrate communication and collaboration in inter professional community partnerships.

Career and Internship Opportunities

Explore career and internship opportunities in public health. Check out resources below to learn more about local, regional and global opportunities to gain experience and begin your career with an MPH! 

National and Global Opportunities

Local and State Opportunities 

How much does this degree cost?

2019-20 Tuition
$644/credit hour

Financial Aid
There are several ways to help pay for graduate school. You can see complete information about graduate scholarships, loans, and grants on the graduate admissions page under the heading Graduate Financial Aid.

Campus housing is available for students enrolled in a graduate program at SAU on an annual, semester, and monthly basis.

Faculty and Staff

Melissa Sharer, PhD, MPH, MSW, Program Director and Asst. Professor

Colleen Doak, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Kate Horberg, MSEd, Program Coordinator
Bill Parsons, PhD, Professor
Jessica Roisen, PhD, Professor
Erica Thomas, DHEd, CHES, Asst. Professor 

Adjunct Professors
John Bowser, PhD, Adjunct Professor
Malia Duffy, MSN-FNP, MSPH, Adjunct Professor

Guest Lecturers

Raed Ba Helah, MPH, PhD, MD
Dr. Raed Ba Helah is an epidemiologist teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in public health with a focus on current public health issues of relevance to the nation's health and globally.

He teaches Epidemiology, Introduction to Public Health, Biological Basis of Population's Health, Advanced Research Methods, and SAS Data Analysis.

As a Fulbright Scholar (2009-2011), Dr. Ba Helah has extensive expertise in global health. He enjoys working with students on analyzing national datasets such the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

His research mainly deals with substance abuse prevention, specifically novel tobacco products in youth with emphasis on nicotine dependence on waterpipes (also known as hookah and shisha). This research is supported by NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse ("NIDA" research grant R01DA035160) and NIH Fogarty International Center ("FIC" research grant R01TW010654).

He has expertise in longitudinal data analysis and meta-analysis research methods. He is also interested in developing novel interventions to prevent opioid abuse, promote women's health, and advance health policies targeting alcohol and other substance use in developing countries.

bruceBruce Chernof, MD, FACP, The SCAN Foundation
Education and Training: UCLA Medical School (MD); Fellowship in Medical Education, UCLA; Harvard University
Bruce Allen Chernof, MD, FACP, is President & Chief Executive Officer of The SCAN Foundation as well as a Senior Fellow at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California.

Previously, Dr. Chernof served as the Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Dr. Chernof has also served as a Regional Medical Director for Medicaid and SCHIP programs at Health Net, a network model HMO. 

In 2013, Dr. Chernof was Chair of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care which produced a bipartisan report to Congress recommending reforms for long-term care financing, delivery system, and workforce needs.

Nikki Davis, MPH, John Snow Inc.

Education and Training: Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPH) with concentration in epidemiology

Davis is a global health research, monitoring, and evaluation advisor currently working with JSI's Center for Health Information Monitoring & Evaluation (CHIME). She has experience designing and implementing both quantitative and qualitative studies and has worked in multiple technical areas including implementation research, health system strengthening, human centered design (HCD), HIV, Tuberculosis, and maternal and child health.

Walarigaton Coulibaly, MPP, FHI 360

Education and Training: University of Abidjan; Peace Corps; American University, school of Public Affairs, PMP affiliation

Walarigaton Coulibaly (Walas) is a passionate international development project management professional with over 15 years of experience designing, planning, and managing projects. His development areas of expertise include democracy and governance, civil society and institutional capacity strengthening, HIV, education and public-private partnership.

Walas is currently based in Kenya and works with FHI 360, where he supports the organization's East Africa portfolio, providing project, program and portfolio metrics, and analytics to support business and executive decision making. He also supports program quality assurance, risk management, monitoring and evaluation, financial and human resources management, and new business development. Previous to FHI 360, he served as Chief of Party on a USAID and NBA-funded youth empowerment project in Senegal.

Walas' past guest lecturer experiences include stints at the University of Abidjan (Abidjan), Conflict resolution and humanitarian studies; University Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar), Human Resources management; University of Pretoria (Pretoria), Public Health; Maryville College (Tennessee), African Studies; and MIT (Boston), Political sciences.

ian hodgsonIan Hodgson, PhD

Dr. Hodgson has been involved in the international health sector for more than 20 years. Areas of interest include: HIV and TB stigma, sexual and reproductive health rights, cultural determinants of HIV prevention, advocacy for HIV treatment access, and adolescents living with HIV. He has worked on a range of projects in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and much of his work involves project monitoring and evaluation using a systematic qualitative approach. In 2018, he worked on the mid-term review of a large HIV advocacy program focusing on key populations in nine countries.

Dr. Hodgson is a member of the European AIDS Treatment Group and coordinator of the European HIV Nursing Network. He is also an Associate Editor of Ethnicity and Health, PhD supervisor for international health-based studies, and visiting lecturer at universities in the UK, Ireland, and Belgium.

katie meyerKatherine Meyer, MPH, 
Save the Children
Education and Training: Elon University; Peace Corps (West Africa); George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health, MPH

Meyer's work from the last 10 years has focused on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health across development and humanitarian projects in African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian countries. Meyer has worked for international non-governmental organizations, as well as the U.S. Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance.

In the last few years, Meyer has worked in adolescent sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings through the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG). She leads workshops to train first responders in emergency contexts on the importance of providing life-saving sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents from the onset of a disaster. Meyer also provides technical support to IAWG members implementing adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs in emergencies.

Degree Requirements

Master of Public Health (43 credits)

The Master of Public Health program (MPH) is a 43 credit hour, online curriculum sequence with an applied practicum (approximately 200 hours) and integrated learning experience.

It is the only graduate public health program offered by a private, comprehensive university in Iowa.

You will be able to complete the program in 1.5 years as a full-time student or 33 months as a part-time student.

Full-Time and Part-Time Degree Options

In addition to being a proven leader in healthcare studies, St. Ambrose University also offers flexibility with our part- and full-time degree options for the MPH.

Full Time 

By enrolling full-time, you will earn your degree in 1 ½ years. An outline of courses you will take is below.


Year 1

Fall 1: 510 Global Public Health Concepts and Practice
Fall 1: 515 Health Promotion and Communication
Fall 1: 516 Applied Practicum Experience (APE) and Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) Planning
Fall 2: 520 Epidemiology
Fall 2: 540 Behavioral, Social, Environmental Health
Spring 1: 525 Biostatistics, Quantitative Research
Spring 1: 620 Global Health Policy
Spring 2: 530 Qualitative Research
Spring 2: 630 Public Health Equity and Ethics
Summer 1: 610 Evidence-Based Practice in Public Health
Summer 1: 670 Global Health Systems

Year 2

Fall 1: 680 Management and Leadership in Public Health
Fall 1: 690 Community Health Analysis and Promotion
Fall 2: 695 Applied Practice Experience (APE)
Fall 2: 700 Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)


Year 1 

Spring 1: 510 Public Health Concepts and Principles
Spring 1: 515 Health Promotion and Communication
Spring 1: 516 Applied Practicum Experience Planning 
Spring 2: 530 Qualitative Research
Spring 2: Public Health Equity and Ethics
Summer 1: 520 Epidemiology
Summer 1: 670 Global Health Systems
Fall 1: 680 Management and Leadership in Public Health Systems
Fall 1: 525 Biostatistics
Fall 2: 540 Behavioral, Social, Enviornmental Health
Fall 2: 690 Community Health Analysis and Promotion

Year 2

Spring 1: 695 Applied Practice Experience (APE)
Spring 1: 620 Global Health Policy
Spring 2: 610 Evidence Based Practice
Spring 2: 700 Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)


By enrolling part-time, you can complete your MPH degree in three years.


Year 1

Fall 1: 510 PH Concepts and Practice
Fall 1: 516 Applied Practicum Experience (APE) and Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) Planning
Fall 2: 520 Epidemiology
Spring 1: 525 Biostatistics, Quantitative Research
Spring 2: 530 Qualitative Research
Summer 1: 610 Evidenced-Based Practice in Public Health

Year 2

Fall 1: 515 Health Promotion and Communication
Fall 2: 540 Behavioral, Social, Environmental Health
Spring 1: 620 Global Health Policy
Spring 2: 630 Public Health Equity and Ethics
Summer 1: 670 Global Health Systems

Year 3

Fall 1: 680 Management and Leadership in Public Health Systems
Fall 2: 690 Community Health Analysis and Promotion
Spring 1: 695 Applied Practicum Experience 
Spring 2: 700 Integrated Learning Experience


Year 1

Spring 1: 510 PH Concepts and Practice 
Spring 1: 516 Applied Practicum Experience Planning
Spring 2: 530 Qualitative Research
Summer 1: 520 Epidemiology
Fall 1: 515 Health Education/Communication
Fall 2: 540 Behavioral, Social and Environmental Health

Year 2

Spring 1: 525 Biostatistics/Research
Spring 2: 630 PH Equity and Ethics
Summer 1: 610 Evidence Based Practice in PH
Fall 1: 680 Management and Leadership in PH systems
Fall 2: 690 Community Health Analysis and Promotion

Year 3 

Spring 1: 620 Health Policy
Spring 2: 695 Applied Practicum Experience
Summer 1: 670 Global Health Systems
Fall 1: 700 Integrated Learning Experience


The dual master's degree program incorporates competencies of public health and social work education and practice to provide an epidemiologic/populations-based approach to preventing, addressing, and solving social health problems. This dual degree trains students in population-based prevention and multi-level intervention. Additionally, students gain practical experience in inter-professional practice, cultural competency, social justice, empowerment, leadership and management, research and evaluation, and policy development.

Dual degrees lower the total cost of both degrees (when taken separately) and articulates an intentional path for social workers wanting to explore the practice of public health. Together, these two degrees elevate social work's strengths in cultural and community responsiveness, empowerment, inter-professional teamwork, and care coordination through public health's strategic and epidemiological approach to caring for the underserved and most vulnerable.

Admission Requirements
Students typically enter the dual degree via the MSW Program then apply to the MPH program in their first year of MSW studies. Staggering application meets admissions standards for both programs and multiple decision points for students. Please see the MPH or MSW director if you wish to begin with the MPH.

Review MPH Admission Requirements

Review MSW Admission Requirements

MSW-MPH Fact Sheet (pdf)

Course Sequence

Download the MSW-MPH fact sheet (pdf)

Year 1

MSW 510 Generalist Practice I, 3 credits
MSW 610 Human Behavior Theories, 3 credits
MSW 710 SW Research Design, 3 credits
MSW 810 Social Welfare Policy, 3 credits
MSW 591 Field Instruction and Seminar I, 3 credits
Total semesters hours = 15

MSW 520 Generalist Practice II, 3 credits
MSW 620 Diversity and Social Systems, 3 credits
MSW 720 SW Program Evaluation, 3 credits
MSW 820 Social Policy Analysis, 3 credits
MSW 592 Field Instruction and Seminar II, 3 credits
Total semester hours = 15

Year 2

Fall I - First 8 Weeks
MPH 510 Global PH Concepts/Practice, 3 credits
MPH 515 Health Promotion & Communication, 3 credits
MPH 516 Applied Practicum Experience Planning,  credit 1
Total hours = 7

Fall II - Second 8 Weeks
MPH 520 Epidemiology, 3 credits
MPH 540 Behavioral-Social-Environmental Health, 3 credits
Total hours = 6

Spring I - First 8 Weeks

MPH 525 Biostatistics-Quant Research, 3 credits
*MPH 620 Global Health Policy, 0 credits
Total hours = 3

Spring II - Second 8 Weeks
MPH 530 Qualitative research, 3 credits
MPH 630 PH Equity and Ethics, 3 credits
Total hours = 6

Summer I - First 8 Weeks

MPH 610 EBP in PH, 3 credits
MPH 670 Global Health Systems, 3 credits
Total hours = 6

Summer II - Second 8 Weeks
MSW 550 Empowerment SW in Mental Health, 3 credits (elective)
Total hours = 3

Year 3

MSW 530 Empowerment Practice I, 3 credits
MPH 680 Management and Leadership in PH systems, 3 credits (counts as MSW Elective)
MPH 670 Community health analysis and promotion, 3 credits (counts as MSW Elective)
MSW 603 Field Seminar III: SW Ethics, 2 credits
MSW 593 Field Instruction III, 4 credits
Total semester hours = 15

MSW 540 Empowerment Practice II, 3 credits
MSW *** MSW Elective, 3 credits
MSW 604 Field Seminar IV: Ethical Decision Making, 2 credits
(Capstone project to be focused on public health social work)
MSW 594 Field Instruction IV, 4 credits
Total semester hours = 12

*Substitution available.

Ready to Apply?

Click Here

Before you can submit an application for admission to the MPH program, you'll need to gather some information first.

Click here to learn about MPH supplemental application materials.

Apply Visit Info


Kate Horberg

Program Coordinator
Center for Health Sciences Education, 1320 W. Lombard St.
Mail: 518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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