Western Region Graduate Program
Master of Public Health Indigenous Health Track
The Master of Public Health in Health Promotion with the Indigenous Health Track is ideal for students interested in managing public health programs within native communities. Students are equipped to address health behavior, disease prevention, and health equity. Students graduate with the ability to plan, implement, and assess public health programs while considering cultural attributes of the tribal communities they serve.
The program includes didactic coursework and applied practice experience in public health along with coursework specific to indigenous health. Our instructors and applied practice experience supervisors are dedicated to preparing students to serve the public health needs of Northern Arizona communities and beyond.
About Accordion Closed
This MPH Health Promotion program with the Indigenous Health Track includes didactic coursework and applied practice experience in public health along with specific coursework in indigenous health. A bachelor’s degree in public health is not required to complete the program. The only pre-requisite requirement is an intro or basic statistics course. The program can be completed in as little as 2 years, or spread out and completed at a part-time pace. Most courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening between the hours of 4 and 9pm.
Students progress through 9 core MPH courses, 3 concentration-specific courses, and 4 courses in indigenous health. Students also participate in a 3-credit applied practice experience at a public health agency or research experience of their choosing. Students complete a graduate public health project, which is incorporated into the coursework.
MPH core courses include topics in biostatistics, epidemiology, social and structural determinants of health, behavior change counseling, environmental health, health policy and management, and research methods and program evaluation.
Students also complete coursework in the health promotion concentration with topics in chronic disease epidemiology and prevention, innovations in healthcare and public health, and intervention mapping.
Students complete four courses in indigenous health that address topics such as Indian health and healthcare systems, resilience, leadership and governance on tribal lands, and community based participatory research to improve health equity. The MPH program includes required coursework as outlined in the 2 year course plan presented here.
Courses include innovative uses of service learning activities, simulation, and case studies, so that students don’t just learn about public health, they learn how to apply these concepts into real world settings.
Program Mission and Goals Accordion Closed
The mission of the NAU Master of Public Health program is to prepare graduates, through learner-centered educational strategies, research, and public service, to practice as public health professionals who support the advancement of population health and the prevention of disease for diverse, underserved communities.
- To prepare competent public health professionals and dietitians in a timely manner who are capable of planning, implementing, and evaluating health programs and contributing to scholarly endeavors
- To prepare public health professionals to address the health needs of diverse underserved communities through hands-on learner-centered educational strategies.
- To provide professional growth and service opportunities in public health and nutrition that supports student and faculty development.
Careers in Public Health Accordion Closed
A Master’s of Public Health degree provides graduates with the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their community and beyond. Public health professionals explore public health challenges and propose solutions that are specific to the population affected. They conduct community needs assessments, develop and implement public health programs to address those needs, and evaluate the programs to determine effectiveness.
A graduate degree in public health strengthens depth of knowledge and builds competence in the skills necessary to be effective in the public health field. More experience and graduate degrees lead to higher salaries within the public health field. Employees with MPH degrees often manage public health programs, staff, and budgets.
Public health careers typically fall into one of the following six categories:
- Food, nutrition, and health (visit our MPH Nutrition program site, for more information)
- Health leadership and management
- Epidemiologic and biostatistical methods for research
- Global environment sustainability and health
- Health systems and policy
- Aging and public health
Check out this list of 100 career ideas in public health.
For more information about careers and public health and salaries, visit https://www.bestcolleges.com/careers/public-health-majors/
Admission requirements Accordion Closed
Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a four-year college or university, or its international equivalent with a 3.0 GPA or better in any subject. The baccalaureate degree can be in any subject.
Required Pre-requisite Courses
Prior to applying please complete the following pre-requisite course:
1 semester of an intro or basic statistics course
Students who have not completed the pre-requisite course prior to submitting their application will still be considered for the program as long as the applicant can demonstrate proof of enrollment in the course. (Upload a screenshot demonstrating course enrollment to the application.)
Students with outstanding pre-requisite courses must demonstrate that they completed the course with a C or better prior to the start of the program. Students will be dropped from the program if the pre-requisite course is not complete, or if a C or better was not earned, prior to the start of the program.
A pre-requisite course completed more than 10 years prior to the application deadline may need to be retaken.
Course Plan Accordion Closed
The MPH Health Promotion program with the Indigenous Health Track can be completed full-time in 2 years, or spread out over a longer period of time at a part-time status.
Application Accordion Closed
To apply visit: /graduate-college/admissions/ The application opens November 1st. The priority application deadline is January 15th. Applications that are submitted between January 16th and May 15th may be considered to fill any remaining openings. Required application components include:
- Application fee. The Graduate College requires a $65 application processing fee (non-refundable), which is paid online when you submit your application.
- Resume or Vita
- Personal Statement.Please write a one to two page letter of personal introduction and professional intent. Include the following information in your personal statement:
- The concentration to which you are applying
- Your academic focus or interest areas in health and wellness
- Your professional goals and how the MPH Health Promotion Indigenous Health Track program at NAU aligns with these goals
- Identification as someone from a diverse or historically underrepresented group* (if applicable)
- Experience working with others from a diverse or historically underrepresented group* (if applicable)
- Submit transcripts from all colleges and universities attended that contributed to the baccalaureate degree as well as transcripts documenting completion of the pre-requisite course (statistics).
If you are enrolled in a pre-requisite course the same semester you apply, please include evidence of enrollment in final pre-requisite courses.
If you opted to complete the ServSafe® exam in place of a college-level food safety and sanitation course, please upload your ServSafe® certification.
- Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination is not required and is NOT used to evaluate applicants.
- Letters of Recommendation. Applicants need three professional references who will submit recommendation forms on the NAU graduate application portal on their behalf. At least one reference should be a faculty member. At least one reference should be a supervisor or manager. The third reference can be either a supervisor/manager or a faculty member. (Applicants are encouraged to request letters of recommendation from faculty and supervisors at least 3-4 weeks prior to the application deadline.)
- International Students. If English is not your native language, you must provide proof of English proficiency from one of the following testing agencies:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Scores are sent directly to NAU from ETS
NAU’s Institutional Code is 4006.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Scores are sent directly to NAU from IELTS. The address to send IELTS scores is:
Center for International Education- NAU
Attention: Meaghan Gruber
523 S Knoles Drive
PO Box 5598
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
The minimum English proficiency scores for most programs are: 80 (TOEFL iBT) or 6.5 (IELTS). Scores must be sent directly to the Center for International Education from the Testing Institution.
The TOEFL/IELTS may be waived:
- If you are a native speaker of English. Native speakers are considered applicants who are from and have completed a high school or university education at an institution in an English-speaking country. List of English speaking countries can be found at https://nau.edu/cie/education-abroad/programs/english-speaking-countries/
- If you have earned a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from a U.S. university or college.
*Definitions of “diverse or historically underrepresented groups” can be found here, as noted in the NAU Diversity Strategic Plan.
The complexity of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences and intersections of culture and circumstance. Such differences and intersections include race, sex, ethnicity, age, religion, language, ability/disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic, veteran or other status, or geographic region.
Historically underrepresented groups (HUG):
Those diverse groups, identities, and communities which historically lack access to, are underrepresented or underserved, or are marginalized at institutions of higher education.
Tuition and fees Accordion Closed
Up-to-date tuition, fees, and estimated living expenses for all NAU graduate programs can be found here: https://nau.edu/admissions/tuition-and-cost/tuition-expenses/.
Estimated tuition and fees for the MPH Health Promotion program, completed in 2 years are below.
|Resident graduate tuition and fees for 4 semesters||See tuition expenses|
|+ Program Fee at $260/semester for 4 semesters*||$1,040|
|Non-resident graduate tuition and fees for 4 semesters||See tuition expenses|
|+ Program Fee at $260/semester for 4 semesters*||$1,040|
Note: Non-Arizona residents living in the western region of the United States may qualify for in-state tuition as part of the WRGP program. Visit https://nau.edu/health-sciences/wrgp-program/ to find out more.
*The program fee covers program management and course-related costs such as CHES study materials, lab materials, and program accreditation fees.
Additional estimated expenses for the 24-month program:
|Books – up to $500/semester + 2 summers||$2,500|
Note: Extra costs may be incurred due to immunizations, drug testing, or background check requirements that may be required by the applied practice experience facility to which you are placed.
Financial Assistance for Indigenous Health Track Students
Students in the Indigenous Health track typically apply for scholarships through their tribal communities. Once accepted into the program, the MPH program director can provide the tribal community with necessary documentation for proof of enrollment in the program.
For information about financial aid and NAU scholarships, visit the Graduate College webpage. Click on “Resources” to view a list of financing options.
In addition, there are many external groups who provide scholarships for Native American student, such as the American Indian Graduate Center.
The NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid can help students apply for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Visit https://nau.edu/office-of-scholarships-and-financial-aid/ for more information.
Scholarships, fellowships and awards may also be available. Visit the Graduate College website and hover over Resources in the navigation bar for more information.
Graduate assistantships are sometimes available within the department, depending on available research funding. The MPH Director will send a survey to applicants to gage interest in department assistantships following the program application deadline. Students who complete the survey will be contacted if awarded a Health Sciences Department Graduate Assistantship.
College level assistantships are also available. Visit https://nau.edu/graduate-college/graduate-assistantships-tuition-waivers/ for more information about current assistantship openings.
Applied Practice Experience & Graduate Project Accordion Closed
Each student in the program completes both an applied practice experience (internship) and a graduate project.
Applied Practice Experience (APE)
Students will be placed in a single site or agency for a 120 hour applied practice experience in a public health setting. Students are eligible to complete the HS 608 Public Health Applied Practice Experience course once they have completed a minimum of 75% of their MPH core courses. For full-time students, this means the earliest that they can complete the APE is the summer after their first two semesters.
Applied practice experience activities may include assisting agency staff with various tasks, and working independently on assigned projects.
Students are required to complete extensive paperwork requesting permission to enroll in HS 608 (to complete the applied practice experience) at least 1 month prior to the semester they wish to enroll in the course. The documents the student is required to fill out prior to the applied practice experience invite the client to carefully think through the type of experience that will best align with their career goals, preparing them for work in the public health field.
Students will be able to select an agency they wish to work with or ask for assistance from the Applied Practice Experience Coordinator to find an agency that aligns with their career goals and interests. The Applied Practice Experience Coordinator contacts an agency representative to ask if they are willing to take an intern.
Once a site has been identified and permission has been granted from the agency overseeing the applied practice experience, the student works with their preceptor to select at least three MPH core competencies and two additional CEPH or program-specific competencies they wish to achieve while working with the agency.
During the semester that the student completes the 3-unit applied practice experience (120 hours), students complete tasks assigned by their preceptor, as well as activities within the BbLearn shell. They must submit weekly logs that include their activities and hours completed. The majority of assigned tasks completed with the agency must align with the competencies selected at the beginning of the applied practice experience.
Possible applied practice experience placements include (but are not limited to):
- Center for Health Equity Research (CHER)
- NAU Health Promotion
- Coconino County Public Health Department
- Flagstaff YMCA
- Pinnacle Prevention
- Northern Arizona Healthcare Employee Wellness
- Northern Arizona Public Employees Benefit Trust (NAPEBT) Wellness Program
- Native Americans for Community Action
- North Country Healthcare
Graduate Project Accordion Closed
Each student completes a graduate project that aligns with their chosen public health concentration. Students are encouraged to start thinking about a topic during their first semester of the program.
In the Research Methods and Program Evaluation in Public Health course during the second semester, students work with a faculty member of their choosing, to complete a graduate project proposal. To learn more about our faculty research interests, click here.
Full time students are encouraged to begin working on that project at the end of the first spring semester and into the summer so that they are ready to present their project during the second fall semester in the Graduate Seminar course (HS 698). For part time students, the Graduate Project must be completed between enrolling in the Research Methods and Graduate Seminar courses.
Graduate projects can be research projects (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods), or involve the development of interventions, toolkits, or trainings. Literature reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, policy briefs, and grant proposals are also possibilities.
MPH students can coordinate with an agency and develop a project that benefits the agency, or work solely with a faculty member from the Department of Health Sciences to support previously established research projects. Students can also develop their own graduate projects and propose them to a faculty member with similar research interests.
The final project is submitted in the Graduate Seminar class in the form of a submitted manuscript (format is decided upon by the supervising faculty member), a class presentation, and a poster that is presented in the spring semester at the university’s research symposium.
FAQs Accordion Closed
Q: Is this program offered online?
A: No, not at this time. The majority of courses are taken on the Flagstaff Mountain campus and courses are typically Monday-Thursday in the afternoon and/or evening. The only courses that are offered online are the summer courses.
Q: Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in public health to be eligible for this program?
A: No, your bachelor’s degree can be in anything. The only requirement is that you have a bachelor’s degree and that you have taken an intro/basic undergraduate-level statistics course (or passed the AP Statistics Exam).
Q: How many hours of public health experience is required to apply?
A: None. While gaining experience in public health prior to applying will certainly help you determine your fit within the profession, public health experience is not a requirement to apply. We do consider your readiness to serve underserved communities when reviewing your application, so we encourage you to describe experiences or attributes that make you equipped for this work.
Q: How do you evaluate applicants? What do you look for in applicants?
A: Applicants are evaluated based on their GPA; writing ability (as demonstrated in the personal statement); general fit for the program based on career goals and interests; previous experience managing multiple commitments; interest, experience and readiness to serve underserved communities; and letters of recommendation.
Q: Is there financial assistance for students?
A: Students in the Indigenous Health track typically apply for scholarships through their tribal communities. Once accepted into the program, the MPH program director can provide the tribal community with necessary documentation for proof of enrollment in the program. Currently, students in the Indigenous Health track are also provided with a stipend through the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) grant. For information about financial aid and NAU scholarships, visit the Graduate College webpage. Click on “Resources” to view a list of financing options. In addition, there are many external groups who provide scholarships for Native American student, such as the American Indian Graduate Center.
Q: Are there elective courses?
A: No, in the Indigenous Health Track students take 4 courses on the topic of indigenous health in place of the 4 electives in the Health Promotion concentration. Students are welcome to add more courses onto their plan, but additional electives are not required.
Q: Can I count previous courses taken from other institutions towards my degree?
A: Up to 9 credits may be transferred from another master’s degree, however, these requests must go through several levels of approval and stipulations apply. The university policy regarding graduate course transfers can be accessed here: https://www5.nau.edu/policies/Client/Details/550
Faculty Research Interests Accordion Closed
To learn more about our amazing Health Sciences faculty and their research interests, click here.
Meet Current Students Accordion Closed
I am both Navajo and Hopi. I grew up on the Navajo Nation in a small community called Ganado, Arizona. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and Chemistry from Northern Arizona University. When I am not studying, I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, paddle boarding, anything that gets me outdoors. After graduation, I plan to continue working with Northern Arizona University as a research specialist under the Health Sciences department while also exploring possible PhD programs. I am interested in public health medicine, minority health and disparities, and health policy. My favorite part about the NAU MPH Indigenous Health program is being able to build social capital among the cohort, faculty members, and external entities through internships and conferences. Feel free to contact Caleigh and ask her more questions about her experience in the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jordin Aguilar is from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. She earned her Bachelors in Public Health at Northern Arizona University (NAU). When she is not studying, Jordin enjoys gym time, being with family and friends, and watching old and new movies. After graduation, she plans on returning home to Santo Domingo Pueblo to work with the local clinic before continuing her education in Public Health in a Doctoral Program. Jordin’s graduate research project focused on assessing sources of sexual information and education among the undergraduate students at NAU and its relationship with sexual health behaviors and outcomes. Her favorite part of the NAU Master of Public Health program were the lifelong friendships and connections she made throughout her time here. She explains the program offered her the ability to expand on new and current interests in Public Health. Feel free to contact Jordin with any questions about the program or her experience at email@example.com.
Hosava Kretzmann is an enrolled tribal member of the Navajo Nation. However, his family roots extend to a small village on the Hopi Reservation called Hotevilla. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public health with a minor in molecular biology from Fort Lewis College. At Fort Lewis he competed for the Men’s Cross Country Team and continues to compete at the elite level. Outside of running and school, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. After graduation, Hosava hopes to work for the Tribal Epidemiology Center or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs serving Indigenous communities. He is concluding his work on a graduate project that applies a mixed method approach to evaluate a student development program known as ISEP. He is thankful for his time at NAU and looks toward supporting upcoming students in the program. Feel free to contact Hosava and ask him more questions about his experience in the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hannah Elzer is from Chandler/Gilbert, Arizona. She earned her Bachelors in Public Health at Northern Arizona University. When she’s not studying, she likes to cook, play video games, and hang out with her pet rabbits. After graduation, she hopes to work in health promotion for Indigenous communities, especially surrounding sexual health and healthy relationships. She is currently working on a graduate research project that examines sexual assault arrest outcomes to determine if there are differences in outcome based on race. Her favorite part of the NAU MPH Health Promotion, Indigenous Health Track is the teachers and fellow members of the cohort who have motivated and supported her throughout the program. Feel free to contact Hannah and ask her more questions about her experience in the program at email@example.com.