In the fall of 2019, the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program will be introducing a new, innovative curriculum that better prepare our graduates to take on the challenges they will face as they enter the public health workforce. 

The program will still consist of a total of 42 credits that can be completed on a full or part-time basis. The timeline below reflects coursework for a full-time, single-degree student.

Year 1


  • Collecting and Using Data in Public Health (3 credits)
  • Determinants of Health and Health Equity: A Systems Approach (3 credits)
  • Evidence-Based Decision-Making (3 credits)
  • Communicating Public Health Effectively I (1 credits)


  • Public Health Data Analysis and Inference (3 credits)
  • Planning and Management to Promote Health (3 credits)
  • Public Health and Health Care Systems (3 credits)
  • Applied Practice Experience Seminar (1 credits)


  • Applied Practice Experience (6 credits)
  • Total of 240 hours *

Year 2


  • Culminating Seminar (2 credits) – spring or fall
  • Communicating Public Health Effectively II (2 credits)
  • Policy and Public Health (3 credits)
  • Electives/Methods/Certificates (1-3 credits)
  • Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)


  • Culminating Seminar (2 credits) – spring or fall
  • Public Health Leadership (2 credits) *
  • Electives/Methods/Certificates (3-6 credits)
  • Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) **


* All MPH students will be required to take a leadership course. Dual degree students may take this course or a leadership course in their home program.

** Single degree students take fewer credits in Year II to allow time to work on their ILE.

Applied Practice Experience (APE)

Master of Public Health (MPH) students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate competency attainment through applied practice experiences. All MPH students are required to complete a 240-hour, six-credit experience with a community-based component. The Applied Practice Experience (APE) provides a practical experience in a public health setting where students apply skills and knowledge they gained during didactic courses to attain at least five competencies.

Dual degree students have opportunities to integrate and apply their learning from both degree programs through applied practice experiences. The MPH Program structures APE requirements to support its mission and students’ career goals, to the extent possible.

Community engagement

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s MPH Program, community partnerships are integral to meeting student learning goals and community engagement outcomes. Beyond that, because of the MPH Program’s commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, a century-old aspiration that the benefits of the University extend not only to Wisconsin's residents, but beyond the state borders, we seek to consistently improve the quality and depth of our program’s impact with the surrounding community.

The MPH Program intentionally partners with local public health agencies, community nonprofits, public and private schools, and governmental agencies to provide meaningful Applied Practice Experiences. Because of this commitment, all students are strongly encouraged to complete their APE based in a community-setting such as local public health agency, community nonprofit, public or private school and governmental agencies. 


Students must be in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or above) and have completed eight of the 10 core courses prior to registering for the APE.

Applied Practice Experience Seminar

A one-credit required course, PUBLHLTH 787: MPH Applied Practice Experience Seminar, prepares students for the APE and must be taken prior to the APE. The Applied Practice Experience site must be chosen by the time the student enrolls in the seminar. The seminar provides students with useful skills needed to complete an APE and/or to work in a public health or community setting. During the seminar, students prepare their project abstract, learning objectives, work plan and an APE Learning Agreement. 

Time commitment

All master of public health students are required to complete 240 hours in the field regardless of whether they are dual degree students or single degree students. The Applied Practice Experience may be completed on a full-time basis (40 hours/week for six weeks) during the course of the summer or a single semester, or on a part-time basis over more than one semester.  If completing a part-time APE, use the following guidelines for the number of hours to be completed in a semester.

  • 1 credit = 40 hours
  • 2 credits = 80 hours
  • 3 credits = 120 hours
  • 4 credits = 160 hours
  • 5 credits = 200 hours
  • 6 credits = 240 hours


Every MPH student is required to develop a portfolio that describes the student’s experiences, accomplishments and mastery of competencies during the MPH Program. The portfolio is intended to be relevant to professional development, and to assess educational outcomes for students in the Master of Public Health Program.

Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)

Master of public health students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison complete an integrated learning experience (ILE) that demonstrates synthesis of foundational and discipline competencies. Students in consultation with faculty select foundational and discipline-specific competencies appropriate to the student’s educational and professional goals.

The integrated learning experience represents a culminating experience and takes many forms, including a practice-based project, integrated culminating seminar, participation in a graduation poster session and a written product. The student produces a high-quality written product that is appropriate for the student’s educational and professional objectives.

The written product may include the following:

  • Program evaluation report
  • Training manual
  • Policy statement
  • Legislative testimony with accompanying supporting research
  • Surveillance report
  • Manuscript for peer reviewed journal

Ideally, the written product is developed and delivered in a manner that is useful to external stakeholders, such as nonprofit or governmental organizations.

All students will be required to participate in a graduation poster session to be held during graduation week in the spring and fall. The poster that is presented at the graduation reception will be part of the integrated learning experience.

The integrated learning experience is completed at or near the end of the program of study (e.g., in the final year or term). The experience may be group-based or individual. In group-based experiences, the student must document the experience individually to allow for individualized assessment of outcomes.

The ILE is assessed by a team of two public health program faculty members who review each student’s performance in the ILE in a face-to-face meeting in which the student presents highlights of the products and ensures that the experience addresses the selected foundational and discipline-specific competencies. Faculty assessment may be supplemented with assessments from other qualified individuals (e.g., preceptors). Dual degree students will have opportunities to incorporate their learning from both degree programs in a unique integrated experience.

The public health program faculty team (two members) deems whether ILE is satisfactory/unsatisfactory using a strict rubric. In addition to the faculty review, opportunities for peer review will be incorporated into the curriculum.