Campus News

SPHHP offers new online MPH

Online degree program concept.


Published September 13, 2019

Portrait of UB researcher Greg Homish in his office.
“The addition of this program to our department’s academic offerings within SPHHP is a direct response to the ever-growing need in the field... ”
Gregory G. Homish, interim chair
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior

To address the increasing demand for public health skills, the School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP) has added a new online MPH program, providing a degree pathway for traditional students, as well as international students and working professionals.

The program is designed to give students the flexibility to tailor the program to meet their unique interests. Through coursework and hands-on practice activities, students can take advantage of the same foundational public health education as the classroom-based individualized MPH.

“The addition of this program to our department’s academic offerings within SPHHP is a direct response to the ever-growing need in the field, coupled with the fact that working professionals or students with other personal responsibilities need a flexible online option,” said Gregory G. Homish, interim chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.

“We’re excited to now offer this format of the program, which will provide an educational opportunity to many individuals who are not able to participate in our seated program,” Homish added.

The program consists of 44 credits, which includes online courses addressing foundational knowledge and competency areas basic to public health, elective courses, and a field training experience and an integrative project, both of which can be completed off campus. Full- and part-time options are available.  

As practitioners with training in core public health principles, graduates of the program will be involved with advocacy, planning, programming, implementation and evaluation for disease prevention and health promotion of populations.

Graduates will be prepared to work in a wide range of settings, including local, state, national or international public health agencies; health care delivery systems; non-profit health agencies; and research organizations.

Its first class currently in session, the new program gives people who are already in the workforce the flexibility to gain the education they need to move forward in public health.

“We often see people who are established in their careers who want to get to the next level but can’t,” says Sarah Cercone Heavey, director of MPH programs and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.

The program is designed to be convenient and flexible. For example, students can talk back and forth with faculty and other students via technology that lets them post short video clips of themselves or engage in virtual meeting spaces.

In addition, prospective students who might want to ease into a program can complete the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Public Health to start. They can transfer their certificate credits into the MPH program if they maintain their grades, so the transition is “seamless,” says Heavey. Plus, certification is a recognized milestone in public health training and thus a credential that employers value.

The “individualized” aspect of Online Individualized MPH program lets students organize their studies in a way that’s conceptually integrated and tailored to their interests. For instance, someone attracted to holistic wellness and mindfulness could pursue electives in these issues through UB’s Graduate School of Education, which are also online.

To learn more about the program and to apply, visit