Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

MPH/MPA Requirements

Students in the dual-degree program must complete:

  • 20 Courses (14 required core courses, 5 concentration courses, one MPH/MPA elective)
  • Internship
  • Global Policy Experience
  • Master's Level Thesis

The program can be completed in two years, although students can extend the program over a longer period of time. All degree requirements must be met within a five-year period. Find a sample two-year schedule here.

Required Full-Credit Courses (7)

  • Epidemiology (PHP 2120 or PHP 2150)
  • Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations (MPA 2160)
  • Program Evaluation and Policy Analysis (MPA 2040)
  • Biostatistics and Applied Data Analysis I (PHP 2507)
  • Biostatistics and Applied Data Analysis II (PHP 2508)
  • Designing and Evaluating Public Health Interventions (PHP 2355)
  • Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective (MPA 2055)

Required Half-Credit Courses (7)

  • Economics for Public Policy (MPA 2460) 
  • Introduction to Public Policy (MPA 2445)
  • Communications and Public Policy (MPA 2015)
  • Policy Problems of the 21st Century (MPA 2475)
  • Systems Dynamics: Policy Analysis for a Complex World (MPA 2765)  
  • Applied Public Health: Systems and Practice (PHP 2071) 
  • Applied Public Health: Policy, Leadership and Communication (PHP 2072) 

If students have taken the equivalent of a core course, he/she may request to take an upper level course in that area as a substitute. The program directors will review these requests with input with the relevant course instructors. As future changes are made in the core requirements of individual degree programs, appropriate changes will be made in the joint program.

Concentration Courses (5)

Concentrations must be declared in the spring semester of year 1. Students choose one of the following concentrations in which to take 5 courses. Details for each concentration can be found MPH website or by clicking the links below.

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Generalist 
  • Global Health
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services
  • Maternal and Child Health

Elective (1)

One MPH/MPA elective selected from the approved list.

Master's Level Thesis

Thesis projects may be descriptive research, investigative research, public health policy development and assessment, or a program evaluation. The thesis must have an analytic component, which may be qualitative or quantitative. A standard thesis will have three components, including:

  1. A publishable paper of superior quality (or a policy analysis, ten to twenty pages in length, with recommendations related to the topic of the publishable quality paper)
  2. A 10-20 page literature review documenting the relevant research studies relevant to the topic of the publishable quality paper
  3. Appendices, which may include supporting materials, such as a survey instrument. If completed by the student, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) proposal for the research project and all supporting materials, as well as documented IRB approval to complete the study should be included in the appendix.

First year: Choose your thesis advisor and submit proposal by April 17

The development of the thesis should reflect the guidance of the student’s advisors. The thesis constitutes significant effort often requiring several semesters. Students must choose their thesis advisor and reader and submit the thesis proposal by April 17 of their first year (Appendix A). Students whose thesis projects require review and approval by the Brown Institutional Review Board (IRB) will require several additional months of preparation before they can begin data collection. By April 17 of the first year, the thesis project should be well conceptualized and designed and have received approval from the thesis advisor, reader, and the program directors. Once the thesis project and the thesis advisor and reader are approved by program directors, it is the responsibility of the thesis advisor and thesis reader to determine when the thesis project has been satisfactorily completed.

Year of graduation: Progress report signed by the thesis advisor due by January 15; final thesis due March 1

Students are advised to allow sufficient time to make corrections and prepare the thesis for submission to the Graduate School. This should include developing a timeline with the thesis advisor and reader to be sure that they have sufficient time to read the thesis, return comments (multiple times) and sign the approval form prior to the deadline. Students are advised to meet with their thesis advisor and reader on a regular basis. It is important to plan a meeting schedule with the thesis advisor throughout the development of the thesis. Students must submit a progress report signed by their thesis advisor by January 15 for graduation in that year. The advisor should indicate whether or not the student has made adequate progress toward completion of the thesis and if the student will be able to complete the thesis in a timely manner prior to graduation.

The final thesis (with the signatures of the thesis advisor and reader) is due March 1 of the year of graduation. Upon submission of the completed thesis, each student’s thesis advisor will verify which thesis competencies the student has achieved.