Graduate Academic Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Public Health Degree (MPH), Physical Activity Major

Description of Program

Public health organizations have recently turned their attention to physical inactivity, a modifiable behavior, as it has been recognized as a major risk factor for chronic diseases. The Master of Public Health concentration in Physical Activity trains professionals to effectively quantify physical activity, monitor populations, and design interventions focused on improving health through the promotion of physical activity. You will learn how to assess physical activity behavior, to apply behavioral theories when designing physical activity interventions, use epidemiology techniques to describe the relationship between physical activity and health and to develop public health policies aimed at impacting physical activity behavior. You will have the opportunity to work with faculty with interdisciplinary interests such as health games, worksite wellness, recreation, and disabilities.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 43 graduate credit hours is required for this program.  A minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) is required for graduation. A minimum grade of C– is required in each course. All electives for completing the degree must be approved by the advisor. Prerequisite courses may be prescribed for students lacking sufficient background for graduate study in public health.

Master of Public Health Degree Requirements (43 credits)

MPH Degree Common Course Requirements (22 credits)

Complete each of the following public health core courses (15 cr.):

  • SPH-B 589 Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-E 651 Epidemiology (3 cr.)
  • SPH-P 510 Organization and Administration of Public Health Programs (3 cr.)
  • SPH-Q 501 (Formerly: HPER-T 591) Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-V 541 (Formerly: HPER-V 512) Environmental Health Science (3 cr.)

Complete each of the following required public health courses. (7 cr.):

  • SPH-K 696 Field Experience in Public Health (5 cr.) (prerequisite: GPA of at least 3.0)
  • SPH-K 698 MPH Culminating Experience (2 cr.)

Physical Activity Concentration (21 credits)

Complete each of the following courses (15 cr.):

  • SPH-B-602 Intervention Design in Public Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 524 Exercise and Physical Activity for People with Disabilities (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 553 Physical Activity & Health (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 554 Seminar in Physical Activity and Wellness (3 cr.)
  • SPH-K 556 Physical Activity Assessment in Public Health (3 cr.)

Complete six credits of graduate-level electives selected in consultation with the student's advisor (6 cr.):

Special Opportunities

Faculty will identify opportunities to work within the academic and broader community to allow for skill building, networking, research, and practical experience. Degree programs in public health balance theoretical knowledge with professional experience through internships and opportunities to work with faculty on research, teaching, and service projects. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program is accredited by the Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH).


Public interest in a healthy lifestyle is increasing the demand for public health professionals. Below is a list indicating a few of the settings in which you could work:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Businesses and corporations
  • County and state health departments
  • Universities
  • Health foundations and health-based grant projects.

Individuals who earn a public health degree with a concentration in physical activity will be well suited to play an integral role in multidisciplinary team centered on health promotion and disease prevention. A public healthy degree in physical activity can lead to career positions such as the following:

  • Community Health Promotion Specialist
  • Community Physical Activity Specialist
  • Physical Activity Epidemiologist
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Manager
  • Physical Activity Policy Analyst
  • Public Health Advisor

Academic Bulletins