UTHealth Fact Book

Fact Book Profile: School of Public Health

The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) has been making health happen by protecting and transforming the health of people in Texas, across the nation and around the world since 1967. With six campuses throughout the state, the school has established a strong reputation as a leader in public health. In addition to being nationally ranked, UTSPH is the #1 ranked program in health promotion and prevention and is a premier program for students interested in genetics, epidemiology and disease prevention.

The School has four divisions of study: Biostatistics; Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences; Management, Policy and Community Health; and Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. There are also fourteen research centers within the school focusing on specialized research needs in the diverse areas of public health.

History
Authorized in 1947, the Texas State Legislature appropriated funds for the UT School of Public Health in 1967. The first student was admitted in 1969. Enrollment grew by leaps and bounds during the first 10 years, a testimony to the previously unfulfilled need for public health professionals.

By the end of 2012, more than 6,000 students graduated from the school. Approximately 50% of the school’s graduates work in Texas with the remainder addressing public health issues in the US and around the world.

Locations

The main campus of the school is located in Houston at the world renowned Texas Medical Center. The main structure, the Reuel A. Stallones building, was named for the school’s first dean. The 10-story, 220,000 gross-square-foot building is located in a park setting with outstanding library, classroom, computer and research laboratory facilities. The UT School of Public Health is one of the only schools of public health to have a dedicated public health library on site. The school’s location in the Texas Medical Center allows students and faculty to collaborate in research and service with many outstanding health related institutions in the world’s largest medical center, as well as in the local community.

To address the need for graduate level public health education across the state of Texas, Regional Campuses were established in San Antonio (1979), El Paso (1992), Dallas (1998), Brownsville (2001), and Austin (2007).

Degree Programs
The University of Texas School of Public Health offers four degree programs leading to the skills necessary for public health careers. Professional degrees can be used for practicing public health outside of higher education – the Master of Public Health (MPH) and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). Academic degrees are primarily used for teaching and research – the Master of Science in Public Health (MS) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (PhD).

Students learn to conduct research on important public health concerns at the UT School of Public Health while working with faculty teams who uncover answers to urgent public health issues.

MPH - Master of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is the basic professional degree in the field. It is required for many supervisory and managerial positions in public health and is recommended for many others. Students are admitted to one of the Divisions or Regional Campuses through which they complete a series of courses that cover the breadth of public health and develop competencies appropriate for their elected discipline. Many courses and educational activities are available to qualified students across all disciplines.

The majority of full-time students take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete the degree. Requirements of the MPH degree are: completion of coursework; a planned, supervised, and evaluated practice experience (Practicum); and a culminating experience demonstrating a substantial knowledge of public health.

DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree signifies distinguished scholarly accomplishment in the professional field. It is primarily designed for those who plan careers involving professional practice, teaching or research. Students will be affiliated with one of the four Divisions; however, courses may be taken in any Division.

DrPH programs are available at regional campuses as well as at the main campus in Houston.

In order to complete a DrPH degree, students are required to complete one major and minor area of study in one of the five public health disciplines and one public health breadth area. For completion of the degree, students must complete all required coursework, a practicum experience, a preliminary exam and a dissertation.

MS - Master of Science
The Master of Science (MS) degree signifies academic accomplishment in a public health discipline and is offered to those who plan careers in teaching and research. The MS student is expected to focus in one field of study while gaining an understanding of the interrelations within the public health disciplines. Currently, the MS degree is offered in two public health disciplines, Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

Students are encouraged to draw upon the resources of the school but may also work with faculty at other institutions of higher learning. The academic plan will be guided by the faculty advisor, the student, and the Advisory Committee to meet the student’s specific educational goals. A student elects one field as a major and selects another public health discipline as a minor area of study. The majority of full-time MS students take at least two years to complete all degree requirements – coursework and a thesis.

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Public Health represents outstanding scholarly attainment and signifies a capacity for independent study. It is primarily a research and teaching degree.

PhD students select one major and one minor area in addition to one public health breadth area to study. PhD candidates must complete coursework, a preliminary exam, and an original research dissertation.

Concentrations

Any student in a degree program can choose to focus their studies in one of several available concentrations. A concentration is defined as a problem-based area that spans disciplinary fields and therefore draws upon faculty expertise from two or more divisions. Concentrations are supported by a specific curriculum and consist of 9-14 credit hours of coursework. The concentration will be noted on transcripts but not on a final diploma.

Concentrations are open to students at all campuses. The areas of concentrations available to students are: Global Health; Health Disparities; Leadership; Maternal and Child Health; and Physical Activity and Health.

Dual Degree Programs

The University of Texas School of Public Health collaborates with many universities to provide our students every opportunity to expand their knowledge base and achieve advanced degrees. The following dual degree programs are currently being offered:

Non-Degree Programs
The UT School of Public Health offers opportunities for education and training that do not lead to a public health degree. Non-degree programs provide an opportunity to those students to take UT School of Public Health courses for credit. The non-degree student generally is allowed to take a maximum of sixteen credits in School of Public Health courses unless the student is associated with a formally recognized educational collaboration or a certificate program.

Certificate Programs
The certificate programs are intended for public health practitioners and individuals considering a graduate degree in the field. The five courses in these non-degree programs cover core content of the disciplines that are basic to public health as well as specific in-depth specialty content and are available at all campuses. Current certificate programs are:

  • General Public Health Certificate
  • Public Health Informatics Certificate
  • Health Disparities Certificate
  • Maternal and Child Health Certificate

Professional Training Opportunities
The University of Texas School of Public Health provides graduate-level academic training and continuing education for professionals in government, business and the general community. Continuing education courses and professional training opportunities are available in the following areas:

  • Continuing Education in Health Promotion through The Center on Health Promotion and Prevention Research
  • Occupational & Environmental Health through The Southwest Center on Occupational and Environmental Health

Continuing Education in various areas and through mu;tiple partnerships via The Texas Public Health Training Center

source: Sylvia Salas, School of Public Health

Organizational Chart

School of Public Health Organization

source: Shon Bower, School of Public Health