Public Health

The AUA Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) offers a two-year graduate program in Public Health – Master of Public Health (MPH). The MPH program engages experienced professionals from health care and other related fields in transformational education and training in population-based approaches to health and health services research, delivery, and evaluation. Our graduates are then prepared to lead in improving health and health services in Armenia, the Caucasus, Europe, and the World.

The MPH provides a thorough grounding in population-based approaches to health sector problem identification, investigation, analysis, and managed response. The overall objective of the MPH Program is to prepare health professionals to draw on the knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplines to define, critically assess the health needs of people, and translate that knowledge into improved health by designing, implementing, and evaluating programs to meet those needs. Thus, the intensive, modular curriculum emphasizes basic public health sciences and essential managerial and analytic skills including project planning and evaluation, epidemiologic investigation and data analysis, understanding complex determinants of health, effective communication to professional and lay audiences, and leadership.

The two-year curriculum is organized around a guiding framework, which first provides students a conceptual overview of the diverse profession of public health and the team-oriented approach to professional practice (Curriculum Map of the MPH Program).  The courses are taught in intensive, sequential blocks, which build upon and integrate with each other. The first year curriculum provides exposure to the breadth of public health disciplines. The second year curriculum provides advanced training in key methodological disciplines and concludes with a student-directed thesis-like project which integrates essential public health knowledge, skills, and methods in a professionally and personally relevant practice context. Students proceed through the program as part of a defined cohort, fostering group spirit and gaining experience in multi-disciplinary group problem solving, project leadership, and management.

While the program consists almost entirely of requirements, students infuse elective content through the multitude of individual and group projects associated with each module and through special studies activities. Students are encouraged to become involved with the Zvart Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development , which provides an opportunity for supervised, mentored practical experiences while addressing the health needs of Armenia and the region.

Degree Requirements

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Curriculum Map

Course Listing and Descriptions

Semester 1: Public Health Problem Solving and Techniques of Problem Investigation

PH302 General Principles of Public Health Problem Solving (3 credit units)

An introduction to the diverse profession of public health and a guiding paradigm for public health problems solving, this course emphasizes the development of essential skills in critical thinking and group process.  Student groups will complete an analysis of a current public health problem, including recommended courses of action.  Evaluation components consist of individual and group participation, an individual written critique and other written assignments, a group paper, and a group presentation.

PH321 Inferential Biostatistics (5 credit units)

This course introduces the major concepts of modern statistics as applied to problems in public health and medicine.  The topics begin with an understanding of life tables and survival curves, progress to concepts of probability and distributions, and conclude with inferential reasoning and simple regression.  Evaluation is based on problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

PH322 Epidemiology (3 credit units)

This course introduces the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation of infectious and non-infectious diseases.  Epidemiologic reasoning and assessment is demonstrated through faculty lectures and problem solving exercises.  Evaluation is based upon a mid-term and final examination.

PH310 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (3 credit units)

This course utilizes the PRECEDE-PROCEED framework for analyzing the behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of public health problems and the role of the individual, family, and community in addressing public health problems. Evaluation is based upon class participation, an examination, and a project carried out in the community or the AUA Health Center.

PH311 Problem Investigation in Environmental Health (3 credit units)

This course presents the broad concepts and principles used in organizing and assessing the major environmental health problems in low/middle income and in industrialized countries. Student evaluation is based on quizzes, examinations, and a project.


Semester 2: Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation

PH320 Data Management Systems (1 credit unit)

Students will apply their knowledge of database, spreadsheet and statistical packages to the development of appropriate database and management information systems to process and analyze raw data.  Issues of database design, coding schemes, data cleaning, and handling missing data will be addressed.  Evaluation is based upon graded problem sets.

PH330 Health Economics & Finance (4 credit units)

This course consists of two components. The first component addresses the basics of health sector financial management, including simple budgeting, variance analysis, and benefit/cost analysis as tools for assessing the financial health of an organization.  The second component of the course explores the application of basic micro and macro economic principles to the health sector.  Evaluation is based upon homework assignments, quizzes, projects and exams.

PH331 Comparative Health Systems (2 credit units)

This course provides an overview of the conceptual aspects of the macro level organization of health care systems worldwide.  The course presents the economic and financing mechanisms underlying changes occurring in the health sector.  It also provides a critical comparison of the philosophy, organization, financing, and benefit packages of different health care systems; comparing low, medium, and high-income countries.  Evaluation is based upon a quiz, a group project, and a take-home examination.

PH332 Program Planning (3 credit units)

This course addresses the analytic and practical considerations in designing and implementing a field program.  Topics addressed include manpower and facilities planning, design, and implementation considerations, and planning for evaluation.  Evaluation is based upon a student project.

PH340 Health Services Management (3 credit units)

This course provides the practical and theoretical underpinnings of the organization and management of health organizations.  Specific emphasis is placed on individual leadership and management skill development.  Evaluation is based upon examinations and student projects.

PH350 Project Development and Evaluation (4 credit units)

This course provides a thorough grounding in the basic methods of health services evaluation, focusing on research designs, threats to reliability and validity, and instrumentation.  Emphasis is on critical analysis and assessment of study designs.  Evaluation is based upon an examination, student-prepared evaluation protocols, and critiques of published papers.

PH390 MPH Project Planning (1 credit units)

This course allows students to formulate a preliminary project proposal for their MPH Project.  Students will apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the first year curriculum to shape and focus a tentative project proposal and implementation plan.  Evaluation is based upon successful completion of a draft proposal. (Pass/No pass only)


Semester 3: Advanced Methodology

PH351 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit units)

This course introduces the methods and techniques used in conducting qualitative research.  Course sessions will focus on the development of practical research skills relevant to the collection, management and analysis of qualitative data useful for the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs.  Methods for data collection will include individual in-depth interviews, individual and group/social observations, and focus group discussions. Note: The formative research projects will form the basis for development of a formalized survey instrument during PH352.

PH352 Survey Research Methods (3 credit units)

This course demonstrates the application of health survey research methods in the field.  Topics include the design, implementation, and evaluation of a health survey instrument, including probability sampling, questionnaire design, interview techniques, coding procedures, and planning for the analysis and presentation of the findings.  Evaluation is based upon an examination, participation in field projects, a written report, and a presentation.  Note: The data generated during this exercise will be analyzed as part of PH323.

PH323 Biostatistics: Modeling and Sampling (4 credit units)

This course advances the concepts of linear regression to a unified perspective of generalized linear models, including multivariate regression, logistics regression, and log-linear models.  Established and recently collected data sets will be analyzed using these methods.  The course also addresses issues of sampling, sample size, and power calculations with respect to a number of study designs. Evaluation is based on problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

PH324 Intermediate Epidemiology (3 credit units)

This course builds upon the introductory course in epidemiology as well as courses in survey design and sampling.  Students learn to assess the impact of bias and confounding and techniques for mitigating those effects. Special consideration will be given to the role of case-control studies in addressing a variety of health and organizational problems.  Evaluation is based upon examinations and practical exercises.

PH391 Master’s Project Implementation – I (3 credit units)

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students will concentrate on implementing and completing the Masters Project defined during course PH 390. (Pass/No pass only)


Semester 4: Synthesis

PH360 Training of Trainers (3 credit units)

This course prepares MPH graduates to effectively respond to the enhanced job responsibility of providing formal and informal in-service training to professional colleagues and co-workers.  The course will prepare students to develop objective-based learning modules and to develop and refine effective presentation and teaching skills.  Evaluation is based upon short quizzes, presentations, and the development and delivery of a brief instructional module relevant to the student’s professional objectives.

PH381 Graduate Research seminar (3 credit units)

This course begins a structured emphasis on application of core knowledge and critical thinking skills.  Students will critically review and discuss a number of relevant journal articles with an orientation toward the application of these insights to the health context of Armenia and the region. Students will also critically review on-going student projects.  (Pass/No pass only)

PH392 Master’s Project Implementation- 2 (4 credit units)

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students complete a master’s project, concluding with a paper of publishable quality and oral presentation to faculty and relevant members of the public health practice community. (Pass/No pass only)

PH393 MPH Internship (3 credit units)

The goal of the MPH internship is to have a public health experience that provides an opportunity to contact with public health professionals and participate in real-life projects in a meaningful way. The internship will provide a significant practical experience in population-based health prior to graduation. (Pass/No pass only)



PH303 Special Studies Seminar (credit variable)

Seminar series offered by MPH faculty for MPH students.

PH304 MPH Elective (1 credit unit)

Special seminar topics offered by guest faculty for MPH students.

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