Core Competencies

MPH Foundational Competencies

All MPH graduates must demonstrate the following competencies. These competencies are informed by the traditional public health core knowledge areas, (biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration and environmental health sciences), as well as cross-cutting and emerging public health areas.

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

Public Health & Health Care Systems

5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
6. 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 & Management to Promote Health
7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs
9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs

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

16. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges
18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
19. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content

Interprofessional Practice
21. Perform effectively on interprofessional teams

Systems Thinking
22. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue 

Biostatistics Concentration

  • Apply descriptive and inferential methodologies according to the type of study design for answering a particular research question.
  • Harness basic concepts of probability, random variation and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
  • Distinguish among the different measurement scales and the implications for selection of statistical methods to be used based on these distinctions.
  • Implement the appropriate analytic methods for calculating key measures of association.
  • Understand and apply ethical principles to data acquisition, management, storage, sharing, and analysis
  • Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health research studies.
  • Utilize relevant statistical software for data analysis.

Community Health Science and Practice Concentration

  • Gather and analyze community health data to identify and prioritize issues for program planning that promotes community health
  • Apply a social ecological framework to the assessment of behavioral, social, cultural, economic, environmental and institutional factors that contribute to health among diverse populations
  • Apply a social ecological framework to identify evidence-based interventions that promote population and community health
  • Apply a social ecological framework to the planning and evaluation of population-based intervention strategies to improve health and reduce inequities.
  • Adapt and implement evidence-based strategies to promote healthy communities and health equity
  • Design strategies to engage community stakeholders and to develop community partnerships for population-based health programs

Environmental Public Health Sciences Concentration

  • Describe the origin and pathways of contaminants in the environment and the mechanisms through which they are introduced
  • Identify the direct and indirect effects of environmental hazards on humans and ecological systems
  • Assess the qualitative and quantitative aspects of exposure, dose response, and risk characterization of environmental agents
  • Critically evaluate, synthesize, and interpret scientific findings in the environmental health literature, including relevant topics in epidemiology, toxicology, engineering, and medicine
  • Specify approaches for assessing, preventing, and controlling environmental hazards that pose risk to human health and safety
  • Define the role and impact of national and international environmental health regulatory programs, agencies, and organizations

Epidemiology Concentration

  • Identify methods for measuring the distribution of determinants of health outcomes and well-being within and across populations
  • Critically evaluate the application of epidemiologic methods to answer public health questions.
  • Identify data sources, manage large datasets, and conduct analyses using appropriate statistical software
  • Synthesize the extant epidemiologic literature and identify its limitations and gaps
  • Effectively communicate epidemiologic findings both orally and in writing.
  • Understand and apply principles of ethical conduct to epidemiological studies.

Global Health Concentration

  • Describe the major players in global health governance and institutions that conduct health/public health policy research and analysis
  • Perform strategic assessment and evaluation to analyze factors shaping individual and institutional behaviors and measure their impact.
  • Identify relevant sources for quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the global burden of disease.
  • Analyze causes, risk factors, interventions, and bottlenecks for the global burden of disease in different contexts.
  • Identify cost-effective interventions, strategies, and platforms to accelerate context specific progress towards the health related SDGs. 
  • Advocate for cost-effective policies and strategies to accelerate progress towards the health related SDGs.
  • Develop investment cases for maximum health returns on investment of intervention policies, implementation and financing strategies.

Public Health Nutrition Concentration

  • Identify and assess diet and nutritional status related health problems, of both undernutrition and over-nutrition, among diverse population groups in the United States and globally
  • Describe the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and institutional factors that contribute to the risk of undernutrition and over-nutrition among populations
  • Compare and contrast educational, community, institutional, and other population-based intervention strategies to improve nutritional health status, decrease food security and reduce obesity
  • Analyze and assess policies aimed at increasing access and reducing barriers to food insecurity and improved national health status in diverse population groups
  • Apply evidence-based research findings to the development and implementation of nutrition policies, programs, and interventions in the United States and globally

Public Health Policy and Management Concentration

Health Policy:

  • Analyze the main components and challenges in the organization, financing and delivery of health care and public health services
  • Describe the legal basis for public health and health services
  • Apply principles of leadership and management to work with and across organizations, sectors and agencies
  • Discuss processes for developing and implementing policies and programs to improve the health status of populations, especially vulnerable groups
  • Evaluate public policies and programs that promote health and health equity


  • Analyze the main components and challenges in the organization, financing and delivery of health care and public health services
  • Describe the legal basis for public health and health services
  • Apply principles of leadership and management to work with and across organizations, sectors and agencies
  • Apply the principles and tools of budgeting and resource management to improve the performance of public health and health care delivery organizations
  • Apply principles of strategic management to public health

Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration 

  • Critically assess the literature related to social and behavioral aspects of health
  • Explain major theories, trends, and debates in the social and behavioral sciences literature regarding health
  • Assess the means by which structural bias & social inequities undermine health & create challenges to achieving health equity at the behavioral, community & societal levels
  • Apply the methods and analytic tools of social and behavioral science to design, implement, and analyze evaluation or research studies
  • Apply ethical principles to public health research and evaluation
  • Disseminate research findings to diverse audiences

About MPH Core Competencies

The NYU MPH program uses an adaption of the MPH Core Competency model developed by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Our curriculum uses this model as a foundation for ensuring that our graduates are well-prepared to enter rewarding careers in public health. Read More.