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PBHC 600-4, 6: Public Health Field Study (4 or 6 units)

The Public Health Field Study is required for all MPH students. As part of the MPH Culminating Experience, this field study is a structured and practical experience in a professional public health setting which allows the student to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic period into public health practice.  The Field Experience is an opportunity for students to explore public health careers, cultivate their public health skills, and to develop their professional goals and contacts for future employment through networking.  It allows them to apply their academic knowledge to "real world" situations, projects or tasks and make meaningful contributions to public health organizations. 

Course Prerequisites: To be eligible to begin the Public Health Field Study, students must have completed all MPH core and concentration-required courses.  In addition, all new students are required to complete the TRAIN.org courses listed below through Canvas as part of the TUC_MPH Program Assignments Organization.  Effective Fall 2016, these online prerequisites are required for all students (new and continuing). 

Students who are solely pursuing the MPH degree (Independent MPH students) are required to enroll in PBHC 600-6:  Public Health Field Study (6 units) and complete the Field Study over a 10 to 12-week period.

Part-time Independent MPH and MPH Dual Degree students enrolled in the Community Action for Health Concentration may complete part-time field study placements over the course of two academic sessions (approximately 12-24 weeks).  Students who receive approval to conduct part-time field studies are required to complete a minimum of 20 field study hours per week.

DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)/MPH) and (PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy)/MPH) Dual and Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS/MPH) degree students must enroll in PBHC 600-4 (4 units) and complete the Field Study over a 6-week period.  (Two units are transferred from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM),  College of Pharmacy, (COP) and PA Program curricula towards the Field Study for MPH dual and joint degree students.)

Students enrolled in either the Community Action for Health, Health Equity and Criminal Justice, or Global Health concentrations conduct their field studies under the guidance of preceptors at affiliated public health field study organizations that serve as field study placement sites. Community Action for Health Concentration field study sites include, but are not limited to: county, state and federal  health agencies, community health organizations, hospitals, clinics, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations.  The HECJ Concentration requires students to complete a Field Study at either a California correctional facility or with community-based organizations that serve people with a history of incarceration, their families, and communities.  Global Health Concentration students conduct their field studies at sites in Bolivia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Uganda under the guidance of course coordinators and preceptors at public health institutions, universities, ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies.  

PBHC 600A Field Placement Continuation Course (0 units)

This course is available to students who have received an “Incomplete” for the Field Study course. These students are required to register for the zero-unit Field Study Continuation course in the following academic session in order to begin or continue the Public Health Field Study. By enrolling in this zero-unit credit course, students will maintain "active MPH student status" while completing their field study placement. Students may register for PBHC 600A for up to a maximum of two (2) times following initial registration in the Field Study course.

PBHC 602A Emerging Health Threats (3 units) 

The course is an overview of current emerging and re-emerging infections worldwide and contributing factors. TB, Malaria and other re-emerging infectious diseases; SARS, Mad Cow’s disease, Avian flu and other new viral communicable diseases; and biological weapons, made of bacterial, viral, fungal, and toxins will be examined. Special attention is directed toward local, regional, national, and international response preparedness and effectiveness. The role of public health workers in the prevention, and management of such pandemics will be examined critically.

PBHC 603 Maternal and Child Health (3 units)

The purpose of the course is to orient students to a maternal and child public health perspective for meeting the health needs of women, children, adolescents and families by examining the historical and current principles, programs, policies, and practices related to these populations.  It is also designed to introduce students to global MCH, the presence of wide gap in maternal child health outcome between the developed and developing countries and its effect internationally.

PBHC 604A Health Policy and Management (3 units)

Health policy and management is a multidisciplinary field of inquiry and practice concerned with the delivery, quality and costs of health care for individuals and populations.  This definition assumes both a managerial and a policy concern with the structure, process and outcomes of health services including the costs, financing, organization, outcomes and accessibility of care.

PBHC 606 Community Health Promotion (3 units)

This course is designed to provide an introductory understanding of the basic concepts, skills, models and resources currently utilized in the field of health education and promotion.  Health care professionals have an obligation to educate their clients as well as promote healthy lifestyles towards the community.  This course will assist health care providers and public health professionals to holistically approach their work and acquire the essential tools to deliver information and strategies to improve health with a focus on underserved populations.

PBHC 607 Biostatistics (3 units)

This course covers statistical techniques and data analytical approaches for graduate-level study in public health.  It includes central tendency measures, variability, sampling distribution, t-tests, analysis of variance, chi-square tests, correlations, and regression analyses.

PBHC 608 Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health (3 units)

This course provides grounding in the behavioral sciences with applications to public health. It examines individual, institutional and societal responses to the psychosocial factors influencing health and illness.

PBHC 610 Public Health in Times of Conflict (3 units)

This course will provide an overview of the direct and indirect effect on health and the challenges public health workers confront in times of armed conflict.  It will begin with a review of the history and the consequences of conflict for public health and health care delivery.  It will then move to discussion about the health challenges and ethical dilemmas a health professional goes through in times of conflict and lessons learned from such experiences.  The proactive strategies to challenge health crisis and to prevent conflict will conclude the course.  Class discussion will be enhanced by visits from people who have had first-hand experience of armed conflict and the challenges it presents to health workers.  Active student involvement highly encouraged.

PBHC 611 Grant Writing (1 unit)

Public health institutions are financed through a combination of public and private sources.  An important component of this financing for many public health programs is grant funding.  These funds are available from a variety of private foundations and government sources.  Every healthcare professional in a public health institution must be aware of these sources of funding and the means by which these funds are awarded.  This course provides the student with an understanding of the grant writing process from proposal development, to funding, and on to implementation.  Students will explore grant funding sources and prepare sample submissions based on real life scenarios from local Bay Area non-profit programs.

PBHC 613 Public Health Advocacy and Policy:  A Global Perspective (3 units)

This three-unit course introduces students to the global health policymaking process and provides them with the information and skills needed to become effective advocates for health policies globally.  Through lectures, the information and skills needed to become effective advocates for health policies globally.  Through lectures, case studies, and class discussions, the class will discuss the organization and financing of global health initiatives, describe the main policy actors and their changing influence in the international arena, review key policies and treaties, and examine innovative arrangements aimed at overcoming critical global health governance challenges.  Students will also gain practical experience in identifying, developing, and using advocacy tools for policy change through interactive exercises and class projects. 

PBHC 614 Essentials of Global Health (3 units)

This course introduces students to the field of global public health with an emphasis on the developing world. The course orients students to the skills necessary for understanding patterns of health and illness in resource-poor countries. It explores the continuum between health and sickness in populations around the world, and emphasizes the influence of both global and domestic factors in contributing to variation in health. Students are introduced to the major health problems currently impacting the developing world, and alerted to the importance of global approach to solving these health problems. Additionally, they will be introduced to the major players in international health: the donor communities, Ministries of Health, and UN agencies.

PBHC 618 Epidemiology (3 units)

Descriptive and analytic epidemiology, determinants of health and disease in populations and application of the epidemiologic methods to disease control and prevention are introduced in this course.

PBHC 619 Research Methodology (2 units)

This is a course on interdisciplinary research methodologies widely used in the social sciences and public health prevention studies. As such, this course is an introduction to social theory, conducting a literature review, framing research questions, research design, data collection and/or conducting fieldwork, and analyzing or interpreting research findings for presentation in a report or thesis. The course will address mixed methods, and qualitative data collection and analytical techniques.

PBHC 620 Social Inequities and Health (3 units)

This course will examine the contextual factors of primary health care and health disparities within the US. Current trends will be described and discussed utilizing case study methodology to examine health indicators among the US population. Students will gain an increased understanding of the impact of current trends such as increased negative health outcomes among minority and underserved populations. Issues of community organizing, community partnerships, empowerment, and community participation and their relevance in public health strategies, interventions, and policy-making efforts that address health disparities will also be examined.

PBHC 621 Global Health Economics (3 units)

This course examines global public health interventions from an economic perspective and looks at the role that economic factors play in shaping health systems and driving health outcomes. It gives students a general introduction to micro-economic theory as it relates to health and introduces them to the tools used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of health interventions and policies. 

PBHC 624 Public Health and the Media (3 units)

This course will introduce students to the basic components of media in the U.S., and analyze how the media environment may serve as an influence on and determinant of individual and population health. Through lectures, in-class viewings, readings, assignments and lively class discussions, students will be challenged to explore the relevance of the media in their own lives, to connect this awareness to public health, and to consider how the media environment may be shaped to contribute to a society that promotes and enhances the public’s health.

PBHC 627 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues (3 units)

This course provides a background in the field of drug abuse prevention and cessation. Basic definitions used in the field are taught, along with predictors of drug abuse, types of drug abuse prevention program, types of drug abuse cessation programs, and relapse of prevention programs. Additionally, basic needs for mental and emotional wellness are explored. 

PBHC 628 (A, B, C) Independent Study A (1-3 units)

Independent Study is a specialized study between 1 and 3 units arranged by a student in conjunction with and the approval of a faculty member in studying a particular area of interest. Students must have completed at least 15 units of the core courses in Public Health, have a GPA of 3.0 (average of 80) or above and should come prepared with a specific area of interest or project in which they would like to pursue further study. Unit value of a particular Independent Study course is arranged with the faculty sponsor. The workload determination should take into consideration the following formula: 1 unit = 3 hours of work per week over the 15 week semester (including meetings with the faculty member, research, etc.). All Independent Study courses must be taken Pass/No Pass, and a maximum of 3 units of Independent Study may be counted toward the requirements of the MPH degree. Application requires faculty sponsorship and approval of the Program Director prior to enrollment.

Independent Study (PBHC 628) provides an opportunity for students to learn more about a specific topic of interest that is not included among existing TUC course offerings. Study is conducted under the guidance of a PH faculty sponsor who assists the student in planning and implementing the course of study. The independent study topic must be approved by the student’s academic advisor to ensure that the proposed course of study is relevant to the student’s educational goals. The faculty sponsor for the course must agree to be available to the student throughout the duration of the course.

Independent Study is available for the following students:

  • MPH graduates who join the Joint program;

  • MPH students who already completed PH core and concentration courses; and

  • For exceptional circumstances where a student is 1-2 credit units deficient in meeting graduation requirements


  • An Independent Study cannot be substituted for any Core or Concentration Required requirement;

  • Independent Study credits cannot be used to improve a grade in a course the student has already taken; and

  • The Independent Study must be conducted in the semester in which the grade is awarded.

Student Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the student to initiate, conduct and complete an Independent Study. The phrase "Independent Study" means that the student proceeds independently with only periodic checks with the supervising professor. Periodic contact between the student and professor ensures satisfactory student progress. At the end of the semester or session, the student submits to the professor the completed study. Grades are based on the quality and scholarship of the completed work and are determined by the professor who directed the study. Independent Study projects are not initiated by PH Faculty.

Application Procedures

Students are expected to take the initiative in developing their Independent Study plans. A student should first  consult with the faculty who will supervise the Independent Study/advisor to ensure that the description of the activity is accurate and complete. The student then completes the Independent Study form, secures the appropriate signatures, and submits the form to the Director’s Office. Once approved the student submits the application to the Registrar’s Office. The Proposal application is available on the PH Website. Students must complete the Independent Study Proposal form, have it signed by the course instructor prior to being registered for the course. Once approved, the student may register for the course.

Any assignments required for the project must be submitted to a course at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. The structure of the assignments will depend on the type of project and must be determined in detail as part of the proposal process. The course instructor will assign the grade for the course based on the evaluation criteria stated in the independent study proposal. To obtain credit and a grade for your independent study, students must submit the outcome materials specified in your proposal to the course instructor.

PBHC 630 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Public Health (3 units)

This course is designed to provide an overview of the role and applications of GIS within the public health sector.  GIS or Geographic Information Systems allows integration, analysis, and visualization of geographic data.  It has many applications and has increasingly been used in the public health sector.  This class will teach some of the basic tools of GIS, provide public health case examples with data for practice in class labs, and review the role of GIS in variety of public health contexts.  The class will learn how GIS can be used to map and analyze distributions of public health risk factors and health outcomes to address health problems.

PBHC 631 Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series (Required - 0 unit):

This course provides an introduction to topics of public health and social justice through a speaker series, viewing and analyzing segments of relevant documentaries, and facilitated discussions on social determinants of health.  Each year, the course has a different focus:  2016: Poverty and homelessness; 2017: Health equity and criminal justice; 2018: Immigration and public health; 2019: Environmental justice and public health.

PBHC 632-1 Social Justice in Public Health Seminar (1 unit):

This course is the discussion section and seminar for the Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series.  In addition to the lecture series, this 1 unit course requires participation in 2 hour discussion sections.  Discussion sections will include small group discussions and activities designed to understand and synthesize the topics from the previous week's lecture/presentation.

PBHC 632-3 Social Justice in Public Health Seminar (3 units)

This course is the discussion section and seminar for the Social Justice in Public Health Lecture Series.  In addition to the lecture series, this 3 unit course requires participation in 2 hour discussion sections and a final paper.  Discussion sections will include small group discussions and activities designed to understand and synthesize the topics from the previous week's lecture/presentation.

PBHC 633 Criminal Justice and Public Health (3 units):

This course will provide students with an overview of the intersection between the criminal justice system and public health. Students will gain an understanding of how the U.S. mass incarceration is a public health issue.  Topics will include the history and philosophy of incarceration, criminal justice and policy, health issues in prisons, women and incarceration, reintegration after incarceration, the impacts of incarceration on families and communities, prevention, restorative justice, juvenile justice, disability justice, as well as institutional racism, police violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of incarceration.

PBHC 634 Criminal Justice Law and Public Health Advocacy (3 units)

This course will provide students with a foundation in constitutional law and civic education while focusing on a wide range of important issues in public health law, regulations, and the factors at play when developing advocacy strategies on issues that intersect public health and the criminal justice system. Students will gain an understanding of seminal and precedent-setting public health law cases that have led to policy reform in incarceration, prevention, correctional health, and reentry health. 

PBHC 635 Migration and Public Health (3 units)

The Migration and Public Health course will focus on many public health aspects of the migrant experience, including experiences of refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants. The course will introduce key terminologies and migrant organizations, data and information on migration and migrants and the complex and new rmerging migration issues. Issues such as leadership and governance, disinformation, child migrants and unaccompanied minors, climate change, determinants of migrant health, health worker migration, legal frameworks, health risks including mental health, LGBTI migrants, human trafficking, and cccess to healthcare will be discussed. This hybrid course will be based on case studies of migrants, both within a country and across national borders, on the move in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. Guest speakers will share their migration experiences as well as the work of humanitarian organizations that serve this vulnerable population.  The course will review migrant vulnerabilities but will also focus on the cross cutting themes of human rights and migrants’ contributions to societies. Students will be required to complete quizzes, contribute to class discussions and online discussion groups, work in small groups and write a final paper related to migration and public health.

PBHC 636 School Health and Wellness: Equity and Opportunity (3 units)

This class will focus on Youth Participatory Action Research/YPAR approaches that engage schools, communities, youth and families in collaborative efforts to address problems of health and educational equity and opportunity in K-12 schools. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model endorsed by the CDC and Centers for School Health and Wellness (APHA) will frame our course study. Students will have  opportunities to actively engage with current advocacy, policy and practice priorities established by local, regional and national School Health and Wellness organizations (i.e., California School-Based Health Alliance). A core component of class will include supervised work practice with local school health projects where students will gain exposure to a wide range of school health issues and gain skills in approaches used to address these issues. Student group projects may include assisting local school health projects with developing/implementing interventions in school, family and neighborhood settings, analyzing/summarizing data, writing abstracts and developing grants. 

PBHC 647 Program Evaluation and Needs Assessment 
(3 units) 

This course serves as an introduction to evaluation methodology and evaluation tools commonly used to assess programs.  Students will become familiar with the concepts and methods and applications of program evaluation and will be able to propose an appropriate evaluation plan to assess the implementation and effectiveness of a program. This course also explores community health needs assessment methods. Emphasis is placed on methods for ensuring data integrity by exploring data collection, maintenance and dissemination. Instructional techniques will include traditional lectures to highlight course readings and provide practical examples of “real life” program evaluation experiences.  Students will also regularly work in small groups to reinforce course concepts from readings and lectures. 

PBHC 648 Environmental Health (3 units)

This course explores the challenges our population faces from health risks from environmental hazards, and our role in their creation and exacerbation. Students will explore the meaning of environmental health and the wealth of human health threats posed through factors in air, food, water, climate, and the built environment. The class will provide an overview of the main tools used in the field of environmental health to understand, quantify, and minimize these health risks. Case studies from domestic and international examples will be used to illustrate variations in risk with differences in exposure pathway, mode of action,
susceptibility, and regulation. Close attention will be paid to exposure distribution as it relates to social inequity and injustice. Students will examine their own role in the globalized economy of today, and look for opportunities to improve on the future prognosis of environmental health.

Culminating Experience Requirement (PBHC 645 MPH Capstone Thesis/PBHC 646 CPH Exam Preparation)

Students must choose between PBHC 646: CPH Exam Preparation or PBHC 645: MPH Capstone Project.  Students may enroll in one of these courses following the completion of core and concentration courses.  Students interested in the latter must submit a proposal to their capstone project advisor, and if approved, may proceed with the capstone project.  Students who enroll in PBHC 646: CPH Exam Preparation will take the National Board of Public Health Examiners CPH Exam.

PBHC 645 MPH Capstone Thesis (0 unit)

With approval from a faculty advisor, register for the Capstone course (PBHC 645) and complete a Capstone project.  Students may only register for the Capstone course if a) they have submitted a Capstone proposal that has been approved, b)  have received either IRB approval or exemption for their projects, and c) have made sufficient progress on their Capstone projects so that their advisors deem that they are able to write and present their work in a semester. This process takes at least two semesters.  The course requires that they be able to integrate coursework and field experience by synthesizing and applying acquired skills and core public health competencies to a specific public health problem. With a focus on underserved populations, students will select a target group of individuals and then either study a common public health issue or analyze a public health program that addresses a specific health concern. Their goal should be to improve the targeted population's health and to create a body of knowledge that can be built upon. All capstone projects will be guided by a faculty advisor, the Capstone Committee, and the course coordinators. The project also requires an oral presentation.

PBHC 646 CPH Exam Preparation (0 Unit)

Students who enroll in PH 646 are required to take the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam sponsored by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Students register for the 0 unit TUC course PBHC 646 CPH Exam Preparation and also register with the National Board of Public Health Examiners (www.nbphe.org) for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam.  Students must register for PBHC 646 in the same semester in which they take the CPH exam - following the completion of core and concentration courses.   Students must pass the CPH exam to pass PH 646. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam covers the core areas of knowledge offered in CEPH-accredited schools and programs, as well as cross-cutting areas relevant to contemporary public health. The examination was crafted to assess a person's knowledge of these competencies, regardless of his or her academic concentration. 

Below are the content areas that you need to have mastered within your academic career:

  • Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health (10%)

  •  Communication (10%)

  • Leadership (10%)

  • Law and Ethics (10%)

  • Public Health Biology and Human Disease Risk (10%)

  • Collaboration and Partnership (10%)

  • Program Planning and Evaluation (10%)

  • Program Management (10%)

  • Policy in Public Health (10%)

  • Health Equity and Social Justice (10%)

Registration for this course will include access to online study materials from the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) such as sample exam questions and practice exams.  Students will be encouraged to take practice exams supervised by TUC faculty to prepare for the exam.  There are also additional study resources such as webinars and a study guide offered by NBPHE.  Students may also work directly with the course coordinator for additional academic support.


One credit is defined as 50 minutes of classroom or contact time per week for a standard 15 week session.  The fall and spring sessions meet for approximately 15 weeks and the summer session is truncated, requiring that approximately half of all summer course content be available in a hybrid format.  All but two courses (Field Study and Capstone Project/CPH Exam Preparation) listed in the curricular plan are classroom-based courses and credit hours are awarded based on number of contact hours per week.                          


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