Online Master of Public Health



For more than 50 years, the Master of Public Health program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has been a home for Volunteers passionate about making an impact through community health. We are renowned for the tight-knit relationships our students form with faculty, advisors, and peers, and the versatility of our course offerings.

Our online MPH provides prospective and established health professionals with access to the same quality of coursework and instruction as our residential program, with the added flexibility of virtual coursework. Online students have the opportunity to choose between concentrations in Community Health Education (CHE), Health Policy and Management (HPM), and Veterinary Public Health (VPH) while building the same foundational competencies as their residential counterparts.

Available Concentrations

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Community Health Education (CHE)

Learn to use appropriate educational strategies and methods to facilitate the development of policies, procedures, interventions, and systems conducive to the health of individuals, groups, and communities.

Two health policy professionals in conversation at an office.

Health Policy and Management (HPM)

Develop comprehensive skills in team leadership, financial management, human resources management, communications, program planning and administration, and the facilitation of change.

A woman taking care of a horse.

Veterinary Public Health (VPH)*

Explore the interaction among animal, human, and environmental health (“One Health”) to expand upon the veterinary knowledge and skills you gained during your professional education.

*The Veterinary Public Health concentration is available only to veterinary students enrolled in a DVM degree program, graduate veterinarians, and licensed veterinary medical technicians (LVMT).

Applied Practice Experience

MPH students complete an Applied Practice Experience, similar to an internship, to apply classroom learning, develop practical skills, and demonstrate public health competency attainment. The Applied Practice Experience (APEx) is a 240-hour minimum work experience enabling graduate students to develop and demonstrate public health competencies while contributing to projects that benefit the organization.

As an MPH student, you will select an APEx site that aligns with your individual career and educational goals. The Applied Practice Experience typically takes place during your last semester so that you can leverage the opportunity as an entry point into the public health sector. The hands-on experience is a unique professional preparation dimension of our online MPH, and will allow you to actively integrate theory and concepts in the real-world.


The Master of Public Health faculty are dedicated to bringing health in all communities, community in all places. For more information about the Online MPH faculty, please visit the faculty directory.

Headshot of Kathleen C. Brown, PhD, MPH, CHES

Kathleen C. Brown, PhD, MPH, CHES

MPH Program Director and Associate Professor of Practice

Kathleen C. Brown received her doctoral and MPH degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has extensive experience in practice, research, and academia.

Headshot of Jiangang Chen, MD, PhD

Jiangang Chen, MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Jiangang Chen researches potential environmental impacts on human reproduction. Chen received his Doctor of Philosophy from UC - Davis and Master of Medicine from Beijing Medical University.

Headshot of Samantha F. Ehrlich, PhD, MPH

Samantha F. Ehrlich, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Samantha F. Ehrlich is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist whose research focuses on pregnancy exposures, behaviors and outcomes related to obesity and diabetes in women and their children.

Headshot of Mallory L. Gary, PhD, CHES

Mallory L. Gary, PhD, CHES

Assistant Professor of Practice

Mallory L. Gary has more than 20 years of public health experience with research interests in social health and spiritual health. She received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Headshot of Julie H. Grubaugh, MPH, CHES

Julie H. Grubaugh, MPH, CHES


Julie H. Grubaugh established workshops, networking, and other opportunities, connecting MPH students with potential employers and alumni. She received her MPH in Community Health Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Headshot of Jennifer M. Jabson Tree, PhD, MPH

Jennifer M. Jabson Tree, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor

Jennifer M. Jabson Tree received her doctoral and MPH degrees from Oregon State University. Her research aims to document and reduce health inequity and health disparities among medically underserved groups. She specializes in addressing LGBTQ health inequities.

Headshot of Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, MPH

Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Kristina Kintziger is an environmental and infectious disease epidemiologist with experience in academia and practice. Kintziger received her PhD from the University of South Carolina and MPH from Emory University.

Headshot of Laurie L. Meschke, PhD, MS

Laurie L. Meschke, PhD, MS


Laurie L. Meschke utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methodology in examining adolescent health. She most recently focuses on opioid use disorder and rape prevention education. Meschke received her graduate degrees from Penn State.

Headshot of Chika C. Okafor, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVPM (Epi)

Chika C. Okafor, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVPM (Epi)

Assistant Professor

Chika C. Okafor is an epidemiologist whose research is focused on improving judicious use of antimicrobials in animals. He received his DVM from the University of Nigeria and his graduate studies from Michigan State University.

Headshot of Jennifer Perion, PhD, CHES

Jennifer Perion, PhD, CHES

Assistant Professor of Practice

Jennifer Perion researches aging, including the needs of family and professional caregivers and the experiences of older adults with dementia. Perion received her PhD from the University of Toledo.

Headshot of Jennifer Russomanno, DrPH, MPH, CHES

Jennifer Russomanno, DrPH, MPH, CHES

Assistant Professor of Practice and Applied Practice Experience Coordinator

Jennifer Russomanno received her doctorate and MPH from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focuses on examining food inequities and insecurities in under-represented populations.

Headshot of Marcy J. Souza, DVM, MPH, MPPA, DACVPM

Marcy J. Souza, DVM, MPH, MPPA, DACVPM


Marcy J. Souza researches zoonoses, food safety and wildlife health, overseeing the VPH concentration of the MPH program. Souza received her DVM from North Carolina State University and MPH & MPPA from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Headshot of Thankam S. Sunil, PhD, MPH

Thankam S. Sunil, PhD, MPH

Department Head and Professor

Thankam S. Sunil researches health disparities at the local and global levels. Sunil received his PhD from the University of North Texas and MPH from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center.


Approximate amount of UT MPH students employed by their Applied Practice Experience site upon graduation

200 +

Agencies and facilities across 32 states have provided practice sites for UT MPH students


MPH graduates employed or pursuing further education within one year of graduation

Foundational Competences

All MPH graduates demonstrate the following competencies.

These competencies are informed by the traditional public health core knowledge areas, (biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration, and environmental health sciences), as well as cross-cutting and emerging public health areas. They are in compliance with the most recent criteria established by The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2021.

Foundational Courses

PUBH 510 Environmental Health (3)

Study of the environmental factors (natural, anthropogenic or combination) on human health and the integrity of the ecosystem.

PUBH 520 Health Systems, Policy and Leadership (3)

Exploration of public health and healthcare systems, health policy formulation, and associated implications for management and leadership.

PUBH 530 Biostatistics (3)

Application of descriptive and inferential statistical methods to analyze and interpret data for health-related problems and programs.

PUBH 537 Fundamentals of Program Evaluation (3)

Introductory course on the different types of program evaluation, including formative research, process evaluation, monitoring of outcomes, impact assessment and cost analysis. Covers experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental study designs and the strengths and limitations of each.

PUBH 540 Epidemiology (3)

The distribution and determinants of health-related outcomes in specific populations with application to control of health problems. Issues addressed include: historical origins of discipline, hypothesis formulation, research design, data and error sources, measures of frequency and association, etiologic reasoning, and disease screening.

PUBH 552 Assessment and Planning (3)

This course applies an ecological framework to health assessment and program planning to address health disparities. Requires 25 or more hours of community service learning.

PUBH 509 Graduate Seminar in Public Health (1)

In-depth discussion of timely topics reflecting scope of public health as a discipline and its interrelation with many other academic and professional disciplines. Speakers both internal and external to The University of Tennessee are featured.

Program Governance

The MPH program is administratively housed in the Department of Public Health, which is one of eight academic departments in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Within the department, the MPH Academic Program Committee (MPH/APC) includes the MPH faculty representatives from each concentration of study plus the dual MS-MPH program, the MPH field practice coordinator, and a student representative from each concentration of study.

The committee provides program governance, curricular direction and integrity, and academic policy development. Student representatives have full discussion and voting privileges with all academic matters except review of applications for admission. To ensure MPH graduates are prepared to enter a competitive workforce, public health practitioners from various public health and health-related organizations are regularly invited to committee meetings to offer suggestions on skills, knowledge, and attitudes that MPH graduates should possess in today’s market. For example, the program evaluation core course is a curricular addition that grew out of workforce speaker input.

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