MD-MPH Dual-Degree Program

Mission and Purpose

The MD-MPH Dual Degree Program is offered jointly by the College of Medicine and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health. The program is designed to prepare future clinicians for community-engaged, evidence-based, and socially-responsible medical practice.  These goals are achieved in an interprofessional setting that emphasizes respect for peoples of all ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and national origins. Students’ pursuit of knowledge and preparation for leadership will be guided by academic and clinical mentors who foster inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, compassion, and resilience.

While the dual degree program provides students with training in core public health competencies including epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental and occupation health, and sociocultural diversity, its primary focus involves public health policy and management. The curriculum is intended to enhance the graduate’s ability to provide high quality medical care by using public health knowledge and skills to plan, implement, and evaluate policies that affect the health of communities. These skills complement the pathophysiologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic training provided by the College of Medicine that is intended to treat individual patients.

The MD-MPH program is structured such that students complete their MD and MPH degrees over five years of study. The public health coursework is completed during a “pull out” year between the third and fourth year of medical school.


Eligibility and Admissions

Students may apply to the program after matriculation in the College of Medicine, typically during the second or third year.


MD-MPH Program Structure

Dual degree students are expected to complete their didactic medical school requirements, the United States Medical License Examination (USMLE) Step 1, and required core clinical clerkships before enrolling in public health courses. Medical students are expected to enroll as full-time public health students beginning in the fall semester of the fourth year. All public health coursework including the internship are then completed in 3 consecutive semesters: fall, spring, and summer. Once completed, students are reintegrated into their clinical training during the fall of their fifth year. Students who apply early or who experience an unexpected delay may complete a limited number of online MPH courses at other times. 


Public Health Curriculum

The MD-MPH program comprises 42 units of coursework and experiential learning that leads to a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree in Public Health Policy and Management (PHPM). All students must complete 16 units of core public health courses, 12 units of required PHPM courses, 6 units of applied practice experience including the internship, and 8 units of elective credit. With approval of the Program Director, students may use up to 8 units of College of Medicine coursework to fulfill the elective requirements.

The PHPM degree prepares MPH students to fill leadership roles in the public or private sector, craft and implement policies that improve the health and well-being of specific populations, and manage public health programs including those targeting the unique populations residing in the Southwest.

Graduates are expected to competently:

  • use evidence-based concepts to critique the financing and delivery of medical services in the United States and to analyze the impact of health system reform on efficiency, equity, and population health.
  • provide leadership in public and private organizations, manage programs and projects, and utilize critical thinking, systems thinking and self-reflection to resolve technical problems, ethical challenges and interpersonal conflicts.
  • construct and interpret budgets, apply accepted financial concepts and analyze the fiscal status of public health, for-profit and non-profit health care organizations.
  • describe the state and federal processes that govern the delivery of health services, analyze the impact of legislative and regulatory proposals on population health, and create products that inform others about contemporary health policy issues.
  • collaborate with local advocacy groups to critically analyze public health problems, formulate legislative solutions and develop evidence-based justifications to secure bipartisan support.


Required Core Public Health Courses (16 units)

  • EPID 573A    Basic Principles of Epidemiology (3)
  • PHPM 574    Public Health Policy and Management (3)
  • EHS 575       Environmental and Occupational Health (3)
  • BIOS 576A    Biostatistics in Public Health (3)
  • HPS 577       Sociocultural and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health (3)
  • PHPM 580    Integrated Public Health Learning Experience (1)


Required PHPM Courses (12 units)

  • PHPM 510    The US Health Care System (3)
  • PHPM 567    Public Health Leadership & Management (3)
  • PHPM 569    Fundamentals of Health Budgeting and Financial Management (3)
  • PHPM 617    Advanced Public Health Policy Analysis (3)


Required PHPM Experiential Learning Courses (6 units)

  • PHPM 696P  Public Health Policy and Management Field Seminar (2)
  • PHPM 909    Applied Learning Experience / Internship (3)
  • Selective      Service Learning Course (1)


Elective Courses (8 units) 

With approval of the Program Director, some College of Medicine courses can be applied towards the MPH (1 COM unit = 0.5 MPH units).



An internship is a required experience planned by the student, advisor, and internship preceptor. Experiences may include health planning, policy analysis, health research, community health assessment, or program development. Emphasis is placed on mastering public health skills in problem solving and program development, implementation and evaluation. Students who complete their internship during the summer term are required to register for 1-unit of internship credit during the semester in which they present at the Internship Conference.


Recommended Course Sequencing

Up to 8-units of College of Medicine coursework can be used to meet the 42-unit requirement for the dual MD-MPH degree. Bolded courses are offered in-person, non-bolded courses may be taken on-line.


Monday:               No scheduled class.

Tuesday:               1:00 – 2:15 P                  PHPM 510    Health Care in the US

                             2:30 – 3:45P                   PHPM 569    Financial Management and Budgeting

                             4:00 – 6:50 P                  PHPM 574    Public Health Policy and Management

Wednesday:          No Scheduled class.

Thursday:             1:00 – 2:15 P                  PHPM 510    Health Care in the US

Friday:                  1:30 – 2:20 P                  HPS 609      Evaluating the Public Health Literature



Monday:               No scheduled class.

Tuesday:               12:00 – 2:50 P      PHPM 617    Advanced Public Health Policy Analysis

Wednesday:          4:30 – 7:20 P        PHPM 567    Public Health Leadership and Management

Thursday:             1:00 – 3:50 P        HPS 577      Social and Behavioral

Friday:                  No scheduled class.


MD-MPH Program FAQs

How do you apply to the program?  Applications are submitted on-line via the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). Prospective applicants should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Applicants to the MD-MPH dual degree program may substitute their MCAT scores for the GRE. Students must be accepted to the College of Medicine before being considered for admission to the MD-MPH program.

Must students apply to MD-MPH program when they apply to medical school?   No, students typically apply to the MD-MPH program during their second or third year of medical school.

Can I take my MPH year at some time other than between the 3rd and 4th year?  Yes, with approval of both the College of Medicine and College of Public health.

Will I lose my clinical skills if I take an MPH year in the middle?  No, students returning clinical clerkships have not experienced difficulty transitioning back to clinical duties.

What are the costs of the MD-MPH program?  During the “pull out” MPH year, students are charged graduate school tuition rates and College of Public Health program fees Graduate school tuition rates are based on state of residency; students from the 15 western regional states may qualify for in-state tuition through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). During all other times, students are charged medical school tuition rates. 

How do MD-MPH graduates use their education and skills? What employment opportunities are available?  MD-MPH graduates become leaders in a range of agencies and organizations. In addition to using their clinical expertise, many of our graduates use their public health competencies in state and local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other federal health programs.

Is financial aid available?  For information on student financial aid, please contact the College of Medicine Office of Financial Aid.

  • Scholarships: There are many scholarships specifically available for medical students. Most are based on financial need, some are based on merit. A list of scholarships and their requirements is mailed to incoming medical students each January.
  • Loans: Many loans specifically designed for medical students are available, as well as other federal, state and institutional aid.




Last modified date: March 5, 2019 - 9:15am