University of South Florida
College of Public Health
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612-3805
Global Disaster Management & Humanitarian Relief
The Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief Master's Degree in Public Health (MPH) brings together the certificate courses under a concentration giving students the opportunity to earn an MPH plus a Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. In addition this concentration builds on the existing framework of the College of Public Health core courses, field experience and special project. Combining this framework with the disaster management and humanitarian assistance courses provides graduates with the ability to recognize, assess, implement and evaluate both global and domestic disasters.
The program is composed of core public health courses, worth 15 credits, required concentration courses worth 24 credits and culminating experiences courses, worth 9 credits minimum. The complete degree can be earned in six semesters (two years), but must be completed within five years.
Some courses within the concentration need to be taken sequentially and thus require prerequisites within the concentration. All courses are 3 credit hours each unless otherwise noted. Applicants that completed courses in either the Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management or in Humanitarian Assistance as a former non-degree seeking student may only transfer 12 credits into the MPH program. Click Here to view the Course Curriculum
The primary objective of the MPH in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief is to provide an individual with a foundation in public health and the tools to enter the profession of a disaster and humanitarian aid worker at the supervisory level. Upon completing the eight concentration courses the student will have covered most topics related to the disaster cycle with a specific emphasis on the recovery phase within the context of a Humanitarian Complex Emergency. The culminating Capstone course, the Special Project and the Field Experience will assess the student's knowledge base and self-assess their capacity to complete written documents and hands-on experience as a specialist in the public health expertise of disaster management and humanitarian assistance.
This program is designed to develop or improve the skills of persons interested in providing emergency health services in community emergencies at the global or domestic level. Upon completion of the degree the student will:
- Be exposed to the disaster cycle with specifics in preparedness strategies, emergency planning and assessment of hazards and use of available resources.
- Know the roles of all personnel within the disaster and humanitarian arenas, including but not limited to: the media, leaders, volunteers, non-government organizations, military, UN and Red Cross, and politicians in planning for emergencies, legal authority, public health surveillance emergency operations plans, mutual aid, emergency support functions, emergency operations center, resource inventory, disaster plan maintenance, and exercising the disaster plan.
- Understand the concepts of personal disaster preparedness and emphasize the importance of personal and family preparedness as well as community preparedness.
- Evaluate the results of a risk assessment of a community.
- Discuss the shift from disaster management practices towards an integrated disaster risk reduction approach in the context of sustainable development.
- Explain theoretical frameworks of inter-organizational planning and their application to disaster management
- Illustrate the scope of international, regional organizational frameworks employed to galvanize cooperation in disaster risk reduction and relieve human suffering among refugees.
- Analyze how resources such as assessment, planning, epidemiology, data analysis and public health education can aid in limiting morbidity and mortality.
- Analyze the benefits of specific methods and community resources applicable to the social and psychosocial effects of complex humanitarian emergencies.
- Identify groups most at risk from disaster (e.g., children, older adults, chronically ill, homebound, disabled).
- Know how to develop a Comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan.
- Understand the steps in the development of an Emergency Operations Plan and be able to exercise a disaster plan to test its effectiveness.
- Describe how post-disaster needs assessments provide the information necessary to begin recovery.
- Understand the importance of restoring the psychological and social functioning of individuals and the community.
- Describe the role of the United Nations, nongovernment organizations, and international financial institutes in international disaster recovery.
- Develop a seamless approach to provision of services among humanitarian organizations.
- Develop, implement, and monitor adequacy of services provided to affected populations.
- Assess choices made in the field by their ethical implications.
- Apply the principles of International Humanitarian Law to providing services in conflict situations.
- Be familiar with the SPHERE Project and minimum standards.
Applications are submitted electronically through the Schools of Public Health Application Services (SOPHAS). Deadline dates for spring, summer and fall semesters along with required documents (e.g., transcript, essay, two letters of reference, GRE scores) can all be found at the SOPHAS website; www.sophas.org. Visit the site, review the minimum requirements (e.g., four year degree, GRE scores, application fee), and begin putting your papers together. It is quick and efficient. If you have any questions see the contact information below.
Scholarship / Financial Aid: College of Public Health Scholarships and Aid (available to degree-seeking students only) please visit:
For a list of all other University of South Florida Fellowships and Scholarships visit:
Data and Statistics
Year MPH program initiated: 2009/2010
Number of current students in the program:
Degree Seeking: 30
Certificates only: 127
Prevailing discipline: public health
Wayne W. Westhoff, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.S.W., C.H.E.S., I.D.H.A.
College of Public Health, Department of Global Health
13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612
Telephone: +1 (813) 974-6621
Pre-admission Counseling and Advising, College of Public Health, University of South Florida
13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: +1 (813) 974-6665
Fax: +1 (813) 974-4718