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MA Public Health Innovation and Practice

Flowers along pathway to McCabe Hall at AU.

Improving health by eliminating health disparities is one of the great challenges of our time. The Master of Arts in Public Health Innovation and Practice prepares future health leaders to meet this challenge with program design and development experience refined through a health equity lens.

Designed with flexible/evening scheduling for the working professional, the program culminates in a practicum experience with a community partner, developing solutions to complex public health problems and applying fundamentals of public health practice: program planning, implementation, evaluation, and advocacy.
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  • Mode of Study
    On campus.
  • Requirements
    10 courses / 30 credits.
  • Time to Complete
    4 terms or your own pace.
  • Course Scheduling
    Afternoons and evenings.
  • Tuition and Funding
    $1922 per credit. All applicants automatically considered for merit scholarships; visit Tuition and Funding.
  • Admissions
    Start in Fall, Spring or Summer. No GRE scores required; visit Admission and Requirements.

Department Culture

Our faculty are committed to student success. We have created a supportive, student-centered department where students learn and thrive in class and beyond.

Faculty Expertise

Our students and faculty pursue interdisciplinary projects and research across diverse areas. See selected projects and publications.

Local Partnerships

Faculty work with local, state, and national leaders. One example is health faculty working with Faithfully Fit and community leaders to train volunteer health ministers in underserved areas.

Program Overview

Students in the AU Center for Innovation

This structured master’s program focuses on teaching you both theoretical and practical skills to contribute to the public health workforce. Through our Health Justice Innovation Lab — a modern workspace designed for cooperative and creative teamwork — and human-centered design coursework, you will learn how to create and implement innovative public health solutions. Our coursework will provide the fundamental theories for your work (learning how to understand a public health problem and why a program should work, in what ways, and for whom) while also providing you with the practical skills of a public health professional.

DC Career Pathways

The DC metro area is home to abundant policy, program, advocacy, community-based organizations for professional development. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13% employment growth in healthcare occupations domestically through 2031. Job and career pathways include:

  • Health education specialist (global or domestic)
  • Community health worker (global or domestic)
  • Public health / global health research
  • Health program planner (global or domestic)
  • Health policy analyst or advisor
  • Public health outreach specialist
  • Social epidemiologist
  • Intervention researcher

Health Justice Innovation Lab

Students in the AU Center for Innovation

The cornerstone of our MA program is the Health Justice Innovation Lab, giving students the opportunity to apply the theory and practice approaches learned throughout their courses to a real-life challenge or unmet need presented by a community partner. The Innovation Lab will run the course of two academic terms:

  • Each program year’s cohort will work together with community partners and clients on projects for new ventures, programs, or policy addressing a current public health problem. 
  • Each cohort’s focus and lnnovation Lab will be unique: students will all participate in a semester-long course on design thinking and theory prior to participating in the lab. 
  • Lab students will undertake multiple processes to ideate an innovative approach to addressing the selected challenge. 
  • During the final semester, the lnnovation Lab will implement the solutions into the field with the community partners and organizations.


Coursework will provide the fundamental theories for your work — learning how to understand a public health problem and why a program should work, in what ways, and for whom — while also providing you with the practical skills of a public health professional:

AU students in the CASE Competition.AU students in the CASE Competition.

Core (21 credit hours)

  • HLTH-606 Foundations of Public Health and Health (3).
  • HLTH-616 Design Thinking for Public Health (3).
  • HLTH-636 Strategies for Public Health Policy and Advocacy (3).
  • HLTH-641 Health Communication (3).
  • HLTH-651 Programming for Health Promotion (3).
  • HLTH-656 Social Epidemiology (3).
  • HLTH-681 Research Methodology (3).

Elective (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours from the following, or other graduate work approved by advisor:

  • HLTH-615 Science of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (3).
  • HLTH 650 Behavior Change in Health Promotion (3).
  • HLTH-661 Health Promotion in Healthcare (3).

Capstone (6 credit hours)

HLTH-676 Health Justice Innovation Lab (6).

Application & Admission

Applications are accepted year round, including summer.

Admissions Requirements

  • Application and fee
  • Statement of Purpose*
  • Transcripts
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume or CV

*A successful statement will illustrate the candidate's career goals, highlight how this program will advance their career goals, and explain how their experience may be relevant to this program. Please try to limit your statement of purpose to 500-750 words.

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Most graduate students receive financial support. There are merit-based tuition awards and stipends for being a teaching assistant. In a typical academic year, around 64% of our students receive some level of AU funding through research or teaching. Of those not supported by AU, 25% were funded by other sources.

Yes, but it is more difficult to get financial support, which is generally given to full-time students. Six credits per semester is considered full time for financial purposes, though most full-time students take nine credits per semester.

Yes! In addition to what your agency or employer may offer

Visit our How to Apply and Admissions Requirements pages to start your application. If you have any questions please email

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