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Master of Public Health Focus Areas

As a student in the Master of Public Health program at UMass Lowell, you will study one of the five focus areas. Discover your area of interest:

Return to the Master of Public Health page for admission and curriculum information.

Epidemiology

Epidemiologists are critical to the identification of public health hazards, the evaluation of health interventions, and to a wide range of activities in monitoring and evaluation of health systems data.  Epidemiology and the closely related field of biostatistics are core disciplines of public health and there continues to be a strong need for MPH professionals with expertise in these fields for both public and private health programs.  The goal of this option is to produce practitioners who have a solid grasp of the fundamental principles of epidemiology and health statistics including study design, data analysis, assessment of bias, control of confounders, and exposure assessment.

The Epidemiology focus area of the MPH will prepare graduates to:

  • Conduct etiologic research for a wide array of different diseases;
  • Design and operate surveillance systems and other databases gathering data on health and illness, as well as on risk factors and health behaviors; and
  • Participate as team members in the design and conduct of disease prevention and health promotion programs

Field epidemiology experience will be provided through the practicum experience and summer internships, with public and private sector health agencies. Examples include collaborations with the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Departments of Public Health, town and city health departments, and regional hospitals.

Healthcare Management

At the local, national and regional level, our healthcare system confronts new challenges in coping with the many changes in technology, information systems, financing and management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations." The MPH concentration in Healthcare Management will prepare graduates to manage public health programs and organizations. Students will learn the conceptual, organizational, personnel and financial skills required for effective, but also compassionate and ethical, work performance as a public health manager.

The current graduate program within the Department of Community Health and Sustainability (known as Health Informatics and Management) has achieved regional distinction among students interested in the management of healthcare information systems. The faculty engaged in healthcare management who teach in the program has been an asset to the program and will teach the courses for the MPH students who are interested in the healthcare management option. Sharing classes with students who are experienced managers working throughout the healthcare industry and a diverse mix of clinicians, including both NPs and MDs will enrich the educational experiences of the students in the healthcare management option.  The existing Health Informatics and Management program has experienced an increase in the number of international students, many whom are health professionals, including nurse practitioners and physicians. As one alumnus reported, “We learn so much from each other and this includes from other students whose adult careers have taken them on different paths.” This will also enrich the educational experience of the MPH students in the Healthcare Management option.

Graduates with a Master’s degree in public health with a specialization in Healthcare Management will have advanced education in healthcare finance, law and ethics in healthcare, operations analysis and quality improvement, healthcare management and healthcare information systems. They will be prepared to assume leadership positions in the complex healthcare industry, especially those industries that contribute to the public health of communities and populations. 

Graduates of the Healthcare Management Option in the MPH program will be prepared to:

  • Develop, implement and evaluate public health initiatives.
  • Assume "hands on" management of public health programs and organizations.
  • Provide leadership as a thoughtful, analytical and ethical manager within the public health community.
  • Support increased efficiency, effectiveness and accountability within the public health workplace.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Health promotion is the process of applying social and behavioral science principles to education and environmental change that empowers individuals and groups to take control of and improve their own health. MPH specialists combine knowledge of social and behavioral sciences to create and carry out successful public health interventions to promote population health. The goal of this specialization is to educate practitioners who have a broad foundation of the fundamental principles of public health with a focus on program planning and evaluation.

The Social and Behavioral Sciences specialization of the MPH program will prepare graduates to:

  • Find, understand, and apply relevant public health literature;
  • Design and implement programs that improve public health by fostering change in individual behaviors, environmental conditions, and social policy;
  • Evaluate public health programs through data collection and analysis
  • Engage individuals and communities in discussion and decision-making to clarify shared public health goals

The 6-credit MPH practicum will provide students focusing on social and behavioral sciences with applied experience in health promotion and disease prevention. Examples include collaborations in planning, implementing, and evaluating public health campaigns at Federal Agencies, state and local health departments, hospital settings, community health centers, social service agencies, and non-profit public health organizations.

Nutrition

Public health nutrition specialists examine the relationship of nutrition and health problems including obesity and chronic diseases, as well as malnutrition, food insecurity, and nutritional deficiencies.  Public Health Nutritionists provide nutrition education, conduct research, help to develop health and wellness programs, and deliver many other nutritional services to individuals and/or populations. Students in the Nutrition specialization of the MPH program will advance their knowledge and skills through a program that emphasizes a broad background in public health and specialized education in nutrition.

The goals of the MPH Nutrition specialization are to prepare health and nutrition professionals to:

  • Identify and prevent risks that contribute to the development of malnutrition;
  • Develop strategies and policies to improve food security and reduce obesity;
  • Develop programs to improve the nutritional status of diverse population groups;
  • Develop effective strategies for advocating for improved nutrition;
  • Develop and manage wellness programs to promote healthy eating and chronic disease prevention.
  • Apply population-based research findings to the development and implementation of nutrition policies and programs in the United States and internationally.

Coordinated Program in Dietetics

The MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics program is intended for students who want to become Registered Dietitians (RDs). The program combines the coursework and supervised practice requirements to become eligible to take the national examination to become a Registered Dietitian after graduation

The mission of the program is to promote public health nutrition by preparing graduates to practice as entry level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists with knowledge, competence and the ability to address the needs of diverse communities. The dietetics option is an accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics, which is a highly regarded degree option that combines the academic and supervised practice experience to qualify graduates to become RDs. 

Review the Student Handbook to learn more about the program, policies and procedures, a comprehensive list of student resources and other relevant information about the Dietetics option. 


The MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics (Dietetics option) combines the coursework and supervised practice requirements to become eligible to take the national examination to become a Registered Dietitian after graduation. Review the Student Handbookto learn more about the program, policies and procedures, a comprehensive list of student resources and other relevant information about the Dietetics option.

The mission of the program is to promote public health nutrition by preparing graduates to practice as entry level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists with knowledge, competence, and the ability to address the needs of diverse communities.

Program Goals and Outcome Measures for the MPH Dietetics Option

Goal #1: To prepare graduates for a successful entry-level position as a Registered Dietitian. Expected outcomes and target measures:

  • The program's one year pass rate on the Registration Examination for Dietitians, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, is at least 80%
  • At least 80% of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for RD's within 12 months of program completion.
  • At least 80% of students admitted to the Dietetics program will complete the program within 3 years from beginning the program (150 percent time of the program length).
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • At least 80% of graduates who respond to a graduate exit survey will respond "yes" when asked if the program prepared them for their future career goals.

Goal #2: To prepare graduates to be life-long learners who seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. Expected outcomes and target measures:

  • At least 75% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will report being a member of a local or national professional group.
  • At least 90% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they have participated in post-graduation training related to their profession.
  • At least 40% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey will indicate that they are preceptors.

Goal #3: To prepare graduates who are competent to address the health and nutrition needs of diverse populations. Expected outcomes and target measures:

  • At least 40% of graduates who respond to an alumni survey, and sought employment in dietetics, will be working with diverse populations.
  • At least 80% of employers who respond to an employer survey will rate graduates as acceptable or higher in their ability to work with diverse populations.
  • At least 80% of graduates who respond to a graduate exit survey will indicate that they were well prepared to address the health and nutrition needs of diverse populations.
  • At least 80% of employers who respond to an employer survey will rate graduates as acceptable or higher in their preparedness to practice as entry level RD's.

To request program outcome data, please contact:
Program Director Renee Barrile, RD, Ph.D.
Email: Renee_Barrile@uml.edu
Telephone: 978-934-4457

The Dietetics option is an accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics, which is a highly regarded degree option that combines the academic and supervised practice experience to qualify graduates to become Registered Dietitians (RD). 

The 1200 hours of supervised practice are integrated into the curriculum and are designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as RDNs upon successful completion of the registration exam. Students will have rotations in organizations that specialize in community nutrition, public health, food service management, and clinical nutrition. Public Health Nutrition is the concentration of the Dietetics option, and Lowell and the surrounding communities have an abundance of programs that promote nutrition to diverse populations. 

Major Partners 

Some examples of our major partners include: Genesis Health Care, Lowell General Hospital, The Lowell Community Health Center, The Lowell Boys and Girls Club, Mill City Grows and The UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program. 

  • Genesis Health Care, one of the largest providers of senior care in the nation, has more than 400 locations across the country, including two sites in Lowell that provide long term care and rehabilitation services. 
  • Lowell General Hospital is an independent, not-for- profit community hospital serving the Greater Lowell area and surrounding communities. 
  • The Lowell Community Health Center has many programs and services including nutrition counseling and education for all ages, WIC, health educator training sessions, immigrant and refugee health services, and in-school health services for teens. 
  • The Lowell Boys and Girls Club offers programs and initiatives to help youth achieve and maintain healthy, active lifestyles. They also offer a meal and snack daily for school aged members. 
  • Mill City Grows improves physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food, and education. They offer a mobile food market, build-a-garden workshops, community and urban gardening programs, and educational programs.
  • The UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program in Lawrence provides individuals, families, and communities with the knowledge and skills for healthier eating through research-based nutrition education. Their program includes two research-based programs, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the SNAP-Ed program. 

UMass Lowell also has several sites for supervised practice right on campus. These campus connections will give our dietetics students many opportunities to help promote healthy nutrition on campus.

  • Food service rotations will take place at three different dining sites operated by Aramark. 
  • The University also has a Health Services division that offers health and wellness counseling for students. 
  • Additionally, there are two on-campus recreation centers that offer many programs designed to promote health among students, faculty, and staff. 
  • The newly renovated Health Assessment Lab offers numerous opportunities to perform interdisciplinary research and education while integrating the fields represented in the College of Health Sciences including biomedical engineering, clinical laboratory science, ergonomics, exercise physiology, nutrition, nursing and physical therapy. 
ACEND accreditation logo

The UMass Lowell MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics has been granted Candidacy Status for Accreditation by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 

Accreditation includes self-analysis, preparation of a self-study report, and an on-site evaluation visit by a team of professional peers. Dietetics educators and practitioners, appointed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) board, participate in the peer review process to determine if a program is achieving its own educational objectives and meeting the accreditation standards. 

The ACEND board accredits programs that are able to meet these standards. Candidacy status is awarded after review of an eligibility application and self-study report and an on-site evaluation indicate that the program is progressing toward compliance with the Accreditation Standards and demonstrates institutional readiness to implement the proposed program. After candidacy for accreditation is granted, the program may enroll students. 

Students on premises and enrolled after candidacy is granted will be considered graduates of an accredited program on successful completion of the program. 

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).  In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND accredited MPH Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to be a RDN.  

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition & Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Email: ACEND@eatright.org
Tel: (312) 899-0040 ext 5400/Fax: (312) 899-4817

https://www.eatrightpro.org/ACEND

You must complete the didactic and supervised practice requirements at an accredited program, pass the National Registration exam, and complete the required Continuing Education Units. Successful completion of the Coordinated Program at UMass Lowell fulfills the didactic and supervised practice requirements. 

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Coordinated Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web page for more information about educational pathways to become a RDN.

To become licensed in the State of Massachusetts (LDN) and Other States: The majority of states have enacted laws that regulate the practice of dietetics in order to protect the public. State licensure and state certification are entirely separate and distinct from the RD and DTR credentials. The Board of Registration of Dietitians and Nutritionists in the State of Massachusetts oversees the standards and licensing of dietitians and nutritionists in Massachusetts. Information about state licensure can be found online at: Dietitiansnutritionistsboard@mass.gov or by calling 617-727-9940. The Board accepts the CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration) internship and examination as equivalent to the statutory requirements for professional experience and a Board-administered examination. Once you successfully complete this program and pass the RDN exam, and are registered with CDR, make sure you use the Application for Registered Dietitians that may be downloaded on the Applications and Forms page of the licensing website. While licensure is not required in the State of Massachusetts, many employers in Massachusetts, such as hospitals, require dietitians to be licensed with the Commonwealth. Additionally, many insurers require licensure as a condition for inclusion on panels and for reimbursement. Forty- seven state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia currently have statutory provisions regulating the dietetics profession or associated titles such as dietitian and nutritionist. Information on state licensure and certification is provided on the CDR website (https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure) as a service to dietetics professionals and state licensure boards. 

The MPH in Dietetics prepares students for new, unique careers by combining two professional fields – dietetics and public heath. Both fields are projected to grow substantially in the next decade. With the MPH and RD credentials, you will be specifically trained to examine the intersection of food access, diet choices and public health. 

You will be qualified for any traditional RD career pathway in clinical nutrition, food service and community nutrition, but can also find employment in health promotion, public health research, public health program development, design and evaluation, and policy analysis.