Graduate Certificate in Public Health

The Graduate Certificate in Public Health is open to eligible applicants in any field. Administered by the College of Nursing and the Department of Health Policy and Administration, the certificate is open to college graduates as well as working health professionals. it is designed to prepare students and practitioners for work in population-based health care in the United States and internationally. 

Because improving public health will require professionals to work across disciplines to solve complex issues, the program is open to eligible college graduates as well as health-care professionals pursuing continuing education. 

Application requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Public Health is available to any WSU graduate student or non-matriculated student with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Non-matriculated students would be enrolled in the certificate program as a non-degree student and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA for previous coursework for admission. Admission to the certificate program is not limited to nurses or those with a nursing background. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA while enrolled in the certificate program. Eligible students must complete the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Admission to Master of Nursing program, any WSU graduate health program, or for graduate certificate
  • Minimum 3.00 grade point average in undergraduate work (exceptions may be made based on substantial evidence of extra-scholastic qualifications)
  • Basic statistics course
  • Favorable recommendations regarding practice and potential for graduate work in nursing
  • For nursing students only: RN license to practice nursing in Washington state or state of residency
  • Written goal statement congruent with program’s philosophy and focus
  • Written interview

Course Work

The certificate requires completion of 12 credits of course work. Classes are offered in a flexible, mostly online format. Courses in the curriculum include health policy and law, epidemiology and biostatistics, and environmental and occupational health. Students will also complete an elective specific to the student’s area of interest, and a public health capstone project integrating the concepts, theories and public health challenges covered in the certificate course work.

Core public health content area Course number and name Catalog description Credits
Health Policy and Law (students will choose one) NURSE 584: Health Care Law, Policy, and Analysis Analysis of health care policy and delivery systems including access, disparity, barriers to care, social justice, vulnerability and health outcomes. 3
  HPA 502: Health Care Law Private health law and ethics, including professional liability, relationship or physician and patient, malpractice reform, health institutions and health access. 3
Epidemiology and Biostatistics NURS 554: Epidmiology and Biostatistics for Health Professions Introduction to epidemiology: principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation including analysis of key elements of investigation of high risk populations. 3
Environmental and Occupational Health NURS 471: Foundations of Occupational and Environmental Health Practice Fundamentals of occupational and environmental health practice; concepts of prevention, epidemiology, disease prevention and health promotion to explain the underlying causes of occupational illness and injury. 3
Elective (students will choose one) NURS 564: Health Promotion Interprofessional course analyzing the theoretical bases for developing and evaluating health promotion strategies tailored to variations in health behaviors. 2
  NURS 566: Community Analysis Grant Development Application of core public health functions in community analysis, program development and program evaluation. 2
  Other WSU graduate (500-level) courses will be considered based on student interests (e.g., health management, advanced biostatistics)    
Capstone NURS 597: Advanced Topics in Nursing Specialized topics within the discipline; content will vary each term. 1
    Total: 12


The growing field of public health focuses on preventing injuries, promoting healthy lifestyles, tracking disease, and research and policy-making focused on improving the health of communities. Trained public health professionals, including nurses, are needed to serve diverse populations in Washington, especially in rural and resource-poor areas. The certificate is appropriate for working professionals, students seeking a career shift, and students interested in international health careers and opportunities, such as the Peace Corps.

For more information

Contact Denise Smart at, or 509-324-7255.

Apply now

Apply through the WSU Graduate School online.