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Foundational Curriculum FAQs

Why is SPHTM changing its core curriculum?

In October 2016, the Council on Education in Public Health revised its accreditation criteria for all schools and programs of public health. The US Department of Education requires all official accrediting bodies to review and update accreditation criteria every five years. The new CEPH criteria substantially change the approach to graduate public health education. SPHTM must comply with the new criteria in the next year.

What has changed in the criteria?

Several criteria have changed. Most significantly, the core courses will be replaced by new foundational knowledge and competencies. The old core courses have been in place since the 1980s. Several job tasks analyses and surveys of employers indicate that the current disciplinary course approach is outdated and does not reflect how public health practice functions. The new Foundational Knowledge and Competencies are based on extensive research and surveys of current needs for the public health workforce.

Other changes include: the culminating experience will become the Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) and the practicum will be the Applied Practice Experience (APE). The new criteria provide for more flexibility in the type of activities, but have an even greater emphasis on evaluation and assessment of competencies attained in each of these. There are more requirements for documentation of outcome measures and a greater emphasis on assessment and evaluation of student learning.

How will the new Foundational Curriculum differ from the current core courses?

A new foundational curriculum will be based on developing skills and using interdisciplinary approaches to solving public health problems. SPHTM will keep a strong emphasis on biostatistics and epidemiology while incorporating interdisciplinary and cross-cutting methods that focus on skills development. The curriculum will incorporate cross-cutting skills using applications across all areas of public health. Disciplinary knowledge will be obtained through the program requirements.

What will the new Foundational Curriculum include?

As of November 13, 2017, the Foundational Curriculum will remain at 15 credits composed of five 3-credit courses. The working assumption is: the Foundational Knowledge (D1) will be 3 credits and the Foundational Competencies (D2) will be 12 credits (four 3-credit courses). The foundational courses will be sequenced to build knowledge and skills. The framework for these courses is currently under development.

When will the new Foundational Curriculum take effect?

CEPH requires that we come into compliance with the new criteria by January 9, 2019. The new foundational courses will be implemented in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. All students entering Fall 2018 and thereafter will take the new foundational courses in place of the current core courses.

How will the new Foundational Curriculum affect current students?

The new Foundational Curriculum will not affect current students. Current students will complete their coursework under the curriculum guidelines in place when they entered the school, and graduation requirements will not change. It is recommended that current students complete all core courses in Spring and Summer 2018.