MPH Competencies

The UW–Madison Master of Public Health (MPH) program requires students to master a set of competencies before graduation. Students will master Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) 22 foundational competencies categorized into eight domains. This is a standard set of competencies required for all public health students worldwide. In addition, students will master five competencies that are unique to the UW–Madison MPH program.

22 CEPH Foundational Competencies

Evidence-Based Approaches to Public Health

  • Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice
  • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice

Public Health and Health Care Systems

  • Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels

Planning and Management To Promote Health

  • Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
  • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs
  • Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
  • Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
  • Select methods to evaluate public health programs

Policy in Public Health

  • Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence
  • Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
  • Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations
  • Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity


  • Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision-making
  • Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges


  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
  • Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
  • Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content

Interprofessional Practice

  • Integrate perspectives from other sector and/or professions to promote and advance population health

Systems Thinking

  • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue

UW–Madison-Specific Competencies

  • Utilize a global health perspective to confront the root causes of less-than-optimal health and promote wellness for all communities
  • Engage theory and evidence-based methods to lead multidisciplinary and professional public health practice and research
  • Employ a socio-ecological model to analyze dynamic interactions among human and social systems
  • Identify strengths and limitations of current public health models and approaches and design innovative solutions for today’s public health challenges
  • Practice public health with honesty and integrity using a respectful and collaborative approach that responds to the needs of the communities we serve