MPH/MPA Dual Degree Program

The School of Public Health and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs offer a dual degree Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program. Emphasizing a learning-by-doing approach, this rigorous program will offer highly-qualified applicants the opportunity to gain training in public health and public policy to prepare them to address critical health policy issues in the United States and throughout the world. 

The dual degree program starts in summer and includes 20 courses (13 full courses and 7 half courses) as well as an internship, a Global Policy Experience (required, non-credit) and a master's thesis. Students will benefit from the rich academic resources at the School of Public Health and the Watson Institute. The program can be completed in two years, though students can extend the program over a longer period of time. All degree requirements must be met within a five-year period.

Applicants to the MPH/MPA dual degree program should apply via SOPHAS, a centralized application service used by the Brown University School of Public Health. Students from a variety of backgrounds and fields of study are welcome to apply; applications will be reviewed by both the MPH Program Admissions Committee and by the MPA Admissions Committee. Please visit the MPH admissions website for application deadlines and additional admissions information.  

The dual-degree degree program includes 20 courses (13 full and 7 half courses). The core courses include 7 full and 7 half courses), below:

7 Required Full Courses (1 credit each):

  • MPA 2160 Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations
  • MPA 2445 Policy Analysis and Problem Solving
  • MPA 2055 The Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective
  • PHP 2120/2150 Epidemiology
  • PHP 2507 Biostats and Applied Data Analysis I
  • PHP 2508 Biostats and Applied Data Analysis II
  • PHP 2355 Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions

 

7 Required Half Course (.5 credit each)

  • MPA 2460 Microeconomics for Public Policy
  • MPA 2450 Macroeconomics for Public Policy
  • MPA 2040 Statistics for Program Evaluation  
  • MPA 2475 Policy Problems of the 21st Century
  • MPA 2765 System Dynamics: Policy Analysis for a Complex World
  • PHP 2071 Applied Public Health: Systems and Practice
  • PHP 2072 Applied Public Health: Policy, Leadership, and Communication

If students have taken the equivalent of a core course, he/she may request to take an upper level course in that area as a substitute. The program directors will review these requests with input with the relevant course instructors. As future changes are made in the core requirements of individual degree programs, appropriate changes will be made in the joint program.

Students choose one of the following MPH concentrations, which includes five courses:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Generalist 
  • Global Health
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services
  • Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics 

Students in the dual-degree program will complete one elective from the currently-approved elective list.:

  • BIOL1820, Environmental Health and Disease
  • DEVL1802S, Human Security and Humanitarian Response
  • ECON 1360, Health Economics
  • PHP1070, The Burden of Disease in Developing Countries
  • PHP1100, Comparative Health Care Systems (If not taken to fulfill core requirement)
  • PHP1350, Prisoner Health Inside Out
  • PHP1500, Global Health Nutrition
  • PHP1530, Case Studies in Public Health: The Role of Governments, Communities and the Professions
  • PHP1600, Obesity in the 21st Century: Causes, Consequences and Countermeasures
  • PHP 1680I, Pathology to Power: Disability, Health and Community
  • PHP 1680N, Tobacco, Smoking, and the Evil Empire
  • PHP1700, Current Topics in Environmental Health
  • PHP1854, The Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Disease
  • PHP1920, Social Determinants of Health
  • PHP1964, Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
  • PHP1999, Public Health Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies
  • PHP2018, Epidemiology of Cardio-Metabolic Health
  • PHP2030, Clinical Trials Methodology
  • PHP2060, Qualitative Methods in Health Research
  • PHP2080, Public Health Law and Ethics
  • PHP2170, Injury As A Public Health Problem
  • PHP2200, Advanced Methods in Epidemiologic Research
  • PHP2220B, Nutritional Epidemiology
  • PHP2220C, Perinatal Epidemiology
  • PHP2220E, Topics in Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
  • PHP2222, Genetics, Human Population and Diseases
  • PHP2223, Statistical Genetics
  • PHP2230, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • PHP2240, Methods of Environmental Epidemiology
  • PHP2250, Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiologic Research
  • PHP2310, Physical Activity and Public Health
  • PHP2330, Behavioral and Social Approaches to HIV Prevention
  • PHP2350, Economics of Medical Therapies: Health Policy and Practice
  • PHP2360, Developing + Testing Theory-Driven, Evidence Based Psychosocial and Behavioral Health Interventions
  • PHP2365, Public Health Issues in LGBT Populations
  • PHP2300, Research Methods in Behavioral Science
  • PHP2325, Place Matters: Exploring Community-Level Contexts on Health Behaviors, Outcomes and Disparities
  • PHP 2340, Behavioral and Social Science Theory for Health Promotion
  • PHP 2370, Etiology of Substance Use Disorders
  • PHP2390, Quantitative Methods for Behavioral And Social Sciences Intervention Research
  • PHP2400, The U.S. Health Care System: Case Studies in Financing, Delivery, Regulation and Public Health (If not taken to fulfill core requirement)
  • PHP2410E, Medicare: A Data Based Policy Examination
  • PHP2420, Evaluating Public Health Programs and Policies
  • PHP2425, Doing Public Health: Getting It Done in the Real World
  • PHP2429, Medicine, Public Health, Law and Policy
  • PHP2430, Analysis of Population Based Datasets
  • PHP2450, Quality Measurement and Improvement in Health Care
  • PHP2490, Methods in Pharmacoepidemiology
  • PHP2690A, Advanced Topics in Biostatistics
  • PHP2550, Practical Data Analysis
  • PHP2690D, Advanced Topics in Biostatistics: Practical Tools for Data Analysis
  • PHP2980, Graduate Independent Study and Thesis Research (Full Credit)
  • PHP2985, MPH Independent Study for Thesis Preparation and Research (Half Credit)
  • PLCY1700K, Health Policy Challenges
  • PLCY1701D Aging and Public Policy
  • PLCY2710, GIS and Public Policy
  • SOC1550, Sociology of Medicine
  • SOC2612, Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for the Social Sciences

Students may take an elective outside of the approved list with the approval of the Program Directors. Students should provide a copy of the syllabus for review and make the request prior to the start of the course. As future changes are made in the elective options of individual degree programs, they will be assessed for suitability for the dual-degree program.

The required two-week global policy experience (GPE) is an essential ingredient of the Brown program. Students use the experience as a case study to learn about the problems different communities face (i.e. health, transportation, development, etc.) and how policymakers identify and implement solutions to address these challenges.

After a rigorous core course sequence that focuses on the theoretical framework of policy studies, students apply what they have learned and explore how public policy is formulated and implemented in an international setting. Teams will travel to one of three Brown-affiliated programs such as Sweden, Brazil, and India to work with local policy makers to examine policy making from a comparative perspective.

Thesis projects may be descriptive research, investigative research, public health policy development and assessment, or a program evaluation. The thesis must have an analytic component, which may be qualitative or quantitative. A standard thesis will have three components, including:

  1. A publishable paper of superior quality
  2. A 10-20 page literature review documenting the relevant research studies relevant to the topic of the publishable quality paper
    or
    A 10-20 page policy analysis with recommendations related to the topic of the publishable quality paper
  3. Appendices, which may include supporting materials, such as a survey instrument. If completed by the student, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) proposal for the research project and all supporting materials, as well as documented IRB approval to complete the study should be included in the appendix.

The development of the thesis should reflect the guidance of the student’s advisors. The thesis constitutes significant effort often requiring several semesters. Students must choose their thesis advisor and reader and submit the thesis proposal by April 17th of their first year (Appendix A). Students whose thesis projects require review and approval by the Brown Institutional Review Board (IRB) will require several additional months of preparation before they can begin data collection. By April 17th of the first year, the thesis project should be well conceptualized and designed and have received approval from the thesis advisor, reader, and the Program Directors. Once the thesis project and the thesis advisor and reader are approved by Program Directors, it is the responsibility of the thesis advisor and thesis reader to determine when the thesis project has been satisfactorily completed.

Students are advised to allow sufficient time to make corrections and prepare the thesis for submission to the Graduate School. This should include developing a timeline with the thesis advisor and reader to be sure that they have sufficient time to read the thesis, return comments (multiple times) and sign the approval form prior to the deadline.  Students are advised to meet with their thesis advisor and reader on a regular basis. It is important to plan a meeting schedule with the thesis advisor throughout the development of the thesis. Students must submit a progress report signed by their thesis advisor by January 15th for graduation in that year. The advisor should indicate whether or not the student has made adequate progress toward completion of the thesis and if the student will be able to complete the thesis in a timely manner prior to graduation.

The final thesis (with the signatures of the thesis advisor and reader) is due March 1st of the year of graduation. Upon submission of the completed thesis, each student’s thesis advisor will verify which thesis competencies the student has achieved.

MPH/MPA Sample Schedule 2019/20

 

Summer 1

  • MPA 2460 Microeconomics for Public Policy (.5)
  • MPA 2450 Macroeconomics for Public Policy (.5)
  • MPA 2040 Statistics for Program Evaluation   (.5)
  • Global Policy Experience (no credit)

Total = 1.5

 

Fall 1

  • PHP 2120/2150 Epidemiology (1)
  • PHP 2507 Biostatistics and Applied Data Analysis I (1)
  • MPA 2055 The Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective (1)
  • MPA 2445 Policy Analysis and Problem Solving (1)

Total = 4

 

Spring 1

  • PHP 2508 Biostatistics and Applied Data Analysis II (1)
  • PHP 2355 Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions (1)
  • PHP 2071 Applied Public Health: Systems and Practice (.5)
  • Concentration Course (1 credit)

Total = 3.5

 

Summer 2

  • MPH Internship/Field Experience (no credit)

 

Fall 2

  • PHP 2072 Applied Public Health: Policy, Leadership and Communication (.5)
  • Concentration Course or Elective (1 credit)
  • Concentration Course (1 credit)
  • Concentration Course (1 credit)

Total = 3.5

 

Spring 2

  • MPA 2475 Policy Problems of the 21st Century (.5)
  • MPA 2765 System Dynamics (.5)
  • MPA 2160 Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations (1)
  • Concentration Course (1 credit)
  • Concentration Course (1 credit)

Total = 4

Program Contacts    
Patrick Vivier, MD, PhD Director, Master of Public Health Program [email protected]
Eric M. Patashnik, PhD Director, Master of Public Affairs Program [email protected]
Carrie Nordlund, PhD Associate Director, Master of Public Affairs [email protected]
Elizabeth Jackvony, MPH Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Education Programs [email protected]