Gillings School of Global Public Health (GRAD)

The Gillings School of Global Public Health provides exceptional teaching, conducts groundbreaking research, and delivers dedicated service to people across North Carolina, the United States, and around the world. According to U.S. News and World Report's 2024–2025 rankings, the school ranks second of all public health schools in the United States. Gillings is the top public school of public health in the nation. The school's mission is to improve public health, promote individual well-being, and eliminate health inequities across North Carolina and around the world.

Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), Gillings offers undergraduate and graduate programs on campus near the UNC Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy, and through its state-of-the-art online education programs. The Michael Hooker Research Center and many renovated labs and classrooms provide an environment highly conducive to the dissemination and development of public health knowledge.

Beyond campus, faculty members from the Gillings School of Global Public Health teach, conduct research, and serve communities across the state and nation and around the world. The Research, Innovation and Global Solutions office works with faculty members and students to coordinate research, teaching, and practice efforts in more than 80 countries and manages innovation labs, visiting professorships, and strategic initiatives to solve public health problems and scale up solutions. It also supports the school's robust research program and public health entrepreneurship. The North Carolina Institute for Public Health, the school's service and outreach arm, brings public health scholarship and practice communities together. The Gillings School of Global Public Health houses the following departments and curricula:

All departments have graduate degree programs, and four (marked with *) offer degrees for undergraduates.

Interdisciplinary programs that provide additional opportunities for students in public health-related education, service, and research include the Carolina Population Center, the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Injury Prevention Research Center, Center for Urban and Regional Studies, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the North Carolina Institute for Public Health,  the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center, the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, and the Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis.

Graduate academic degrees offered by the school are the master of science (M.S.) and the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). Graduate professional degrees include the master of science in public health (M.S.P.H.), master of science in environmental engineering (M.S.E.E.), master of public health (M.P.H.), master of health care administration (M.H.A.), master of science in clinical research (M.S.C.R.) and doctor of public health (Dr.P.H.). All degree requirements are administered by the faculty of the Gillings School of Global Public Health with approval from The Graduate School's Administrative Board.

M.P.H. Degree

The master of public health degree is designed to prepare students for positions requiring a considerable breadth of knowledge in the field of public health and a specialization in one concentration. The M.P.H. core is the centerpiece of the master of public health program at Gillings. This integrated 15-credit curriculum spans our 13 concentrations. Students in the M.P.H. degree program also undergo extensive field training.

Requirements for:

Applied Epidemiology Concentration

Environment, Climate, and Health Concentration

Global Health Concentration

Health Behavior Concentration

Health Policy Concentration

Health Equity and Social Justice Concentration

Maternal, Child, and Family Health Concentration

Leadership in Practice Concentration

Nutrition Concentration

Nutrition and Dietetics Concentration

Place-Based Health Concentration

Population Health for Clinicians Concentration

Public Health Data Science Concentration

M.S.P.H. Degree

The master of science in public health is designed to prepare students for professional careers in a specialized area of public health (and/or public health policy). Students in this degree program typically take courses primarily in one major department/concentration in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Core requirements orient students to a broader view of public health. The master of science in public health is usually a terminal degree; however, students may use this degree (more so than the master of public health) as a precursor to a doctoral program. Programs of study leading to the M.S.P.H. degree are offered by the following departments: environmental sciences and engineering, health policy and management, and maternal and child health.

M.H.A. Degree

The master of health care administration, offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management, is designed to prepare students for management careers in health care organizations. Graduates will be prepared to take positions as staff members, managers, or consultants for hospitals, health maintenance organizations, clinics, public health departments, and other health care settings. Courses focusing on health care services are supplemented with core courses offering a broader view of public health.

M.S. Degree

The master of science degree is offered in the Departments of Biostatistics, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and Nutrition (with a focus in biochemistry only).

M.S.E.E. Degree

The curriculum leading to the M.S.E.E. is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the environmental engineering profession with special emphasis on water resources and air and industrial hygiene. Specifically, students awarded this degree are prepared for professional work with private firms of consulting engineers; with public agencies at the national, state, regional, and local levels of government; and with a variety of industrial organizations.

M.S.C.R. Degree

The master of science in clinical research is offered through the Department of Epidemiology. It is intended to complement the substantive training in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other health affairs disciplines by enhancing the student's ability to apply appropriate research methodologies to his or her chosen or established field of research. Applicants will be required to demonstrate a clear relationship with a mentor in this field of research to provide content-area guidance during the program.

Ph.D. Degree

The doctor of philosophy prepares students for leadership in academic and related settings involving teaching and research. Students learn how to be an independent investigator by developing and applying theories for understanding public health, health care services, and policy. Graduates typically are employed by universities or other organizations conducting research. This degree is offered in the Departments of Biostatistics, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Epidemiology, Health Behavior, Health Policy and Management, Maternal and Child Health, and Nutrition. The precursor to the Ph.D. degree is typically (although not exclusively) an M.S.P.H. degree, if the research is oriented to public health, or an M.S. degree.

Dual-Degree Programs

A number of dual-degree programs are offered in select departments. Under the dual-degree arrangement, a student may earn two professional degrees in a period of time less than the total required by the two degrees separately. Medical students may pursue a dual degree through the Departments of Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Maternal and Child Health, or Nutrition, or through the Public Health Leadership Program. Dentistry, business, law, city and regional planning, and information and library science students may enroll in dual-degree programs through the Department of Health Policy and Management.  Students in the MPH Degree can pursue a dual degree with the School of Social Work, Department of City and Regional Planning, Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Law School. 

Online Education

The Department of Health Policy and Management provides graduate-level education to employed health professionals and health administrators through its executive master's program. This national program provides master's degree study to full-time health professionals throughout the United States and beyond. This program consists of intensive summer institutes on the Chapel Hill campus, faculty-guided distance learning, and credit transferred from approved programs at other universities.

MPH@UNC is the UNC Gillings School's online master of public health (M.P.H.) program. Students will attend live, weekly classes led by UNC faculty in an interactive online campus, collaborate with an accomplished group of peers located across the nation, access engaging coursework and resources, receive dedicated guidance from student support specialists, and join the UNC alumni network upon graduation. MPH@UNC is offered on a full-time or part-time basis.

The doctoral program in health leadership (Dr.P.H.) is available through the Department of Health Policy and Management. This program, the only one of its kind in the United States, prepares working health care professionals to become top leaders. This highly competitive, online learning program uses the latest Internet technology to connect distinguished faculty members and students in an unparalleled educational environment.

To learn more about the field of public health, visit the website developed by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. The site describes public health, its effect on people's lives locally and globally, and the variety of public health careers.

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Visit Program Website

(919) 445-1170

Dean and Bryson Distinguished Professor in Public Health

Nancy Messonnier

Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Laura A. Linnan

Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Charletta Sims Evans