Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP)

University of Washington School of Public Health
Seattle, WA


Details at a Glance

  • School Type

  • Application Fee

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition

  • Financial Aid Available


Our Program

Our program combines rigorous academic preparation with a foundational commitment to anti-racist principles, social justice, and community engagement.

Acquire Powerful Competencies to Improve the Health of Communities

The COPHP program builds practical skills that graduates apply as problem solvers, advocates and leaders in community health. COPHP graduates gain powerful public health competencies, including the ability to do the following:

  • Identify and assess community assets and needs
  • Research, evaluate and synthesize evidence from multiple sources
  • Engage and mobilize communities
  • Work productively in teams
  • Evaluate health programs and policies
  • Intervene to improve community health
  • Develop, implement and manage public health programs
  • Communicate effectively with communities and professional audiences
  • Identify and address social structures and policies that create and maintain health disparities

Take an Active Part in Your Learning

The COPHP program promotes a student-centered approach to learning, using a problem-based learning (PBL) method. Using the PBL method, students learn through active inquiry and analysis of relevant case studies rather than traditional lectures. Students work in small groups, with the assistance of faculty facilitators, to examine cases, identify key issues and find and apply the information needed to define and address community-based health problems. Students master a variety of core public health disciplines — including epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, social and behavioral science and health services management.

Combine Fundamental Knowledge With Real-World Experience

Another important aspect of the COPHP program is experiential learning — using fieldwork in organizations, agencies and communities to help students integrate and apply their coursework with real-world experience. During the first year, students choose from a range of field placements that will help them acquire practical skills (known as the practicum). Most practicum projects are with Public Health – Seattle & King County.


  • Smoke-free housing in King County
  • Reaching target populations after the Affordable Care Act
  • Variation in data quality across Seattle’s school-based health centers
  • Creating a trauma-informed practice training toolkit: Adverse childhood experiences
  • Violence & injury prevention
  • Investigating PHSKC’s climate change approach
  • Assessing the acceptability of “One Key Question” regarding pregnancy

In the second year, students select a community-based setting for a yearlong capstone project that allows them to apply advanced public health competencies and skills. The capstone is often conducted at sites where students can develop relationships and expertise in a specialized area as preparation for the job search. We take a broad view of public health, so a variety of agencies — from schools to community centers to food banks and environmental labs — are all eligible sites.


  • No ordinary flu: Pandemic influenza preparedness in a graphic novel
  • Working conditions for farmworkers in Washington State’s marijuana industry
  • Creating an IUD self-removal guide
  • The role of labor unions in creating working conditions that promote health
  • Lessons from abroad: What can Seattle learn from European drug consumption rooms?
  • How an incarceration experience creates risk for homelessness

Decide If This Program Is Right for You

Because the COPHP program is not a traditional university experience based on lectures and reading, students must take greater responsibility for their learning. Preference will be given to applicants who show they made an effort to learn about our program and the PBL method and who demonstrate how their life and work experiences prepare them for this unique way to learn. We strongly recommend applicants engage in at least two years of post-college work experience before applying. We strongly recommend you speak with our program coordinator to help determine if this program is a good fit for you and to schedule a class observation or faculty interview.


  • Application Fee



  • checkbox-altPersonal Statement
  • checkbox-alt3 Letters of Recommendation
  • checkbox-altBachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent from a foreign institution
  • checkbox-altA minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the last graded 60 semester credits or 90 graded quarter credits
  • checkbox-altAt least two years of post-college work experience
  • checkbox-altDemonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English

Application Deadline

A new cohort for this program begins every fall.

Early Decision: December 10

Regular Decision: January 15

Please see our website for application deadlines and instructions.

Student Body


  • checkbox-altDedicated Diversity Office

Clubs & Associations

The Committee on Oppression and Racism in Education (CORE) is a collective founded by COPHP students in 2013 to move the program toward anti-racist practice and analysis. CORE has been instrumental in shaping the COPHP program’s curriculum, admissions processes, and practices.

What Our Students Say

  • “With the problem-based learning approach, I learned how to take charge of my own learning. We were — as a group and as individuals — essentially in charge of figuring out how to figure things out. My professional and personal confidence grew a lot.”

    Elizabeth Burpee, ReFresh Coordinator, Broad Community Connections, Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) ‘11

Tuition & Financial Aid

  • Average In-State Tuition

  • Average Out-of-State Tuition


Additional Information

  • checkbox-altWork-study Programs Available
  • checkbox-altFinancial Aid Available
  • checkbox-altApplication Fee Waivers Available

Location & Contact