MPH in Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Master of Public Health Option

What can you do to promote physical activity in communities?

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Applications reviewed on Dec 1 (Priority), March 1 & June 1 (Final).

Physical activity is vital to the health of individuals and communities

It seems simple – our bodies are designed to move, and movement is good for us. But there’s more to that statement than you might think.

What motivates people to move? What obstacles do communities face to engage in physical activity? How does a lack of physical activity affect different populations?  

Go deeper into the science of physical activity and its application in populations. Prevent disease, prolong life and promote human health.


With an MPH in physical activity, you’ll address activity at the community level to create environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Learn how to promote physical activity in communities

As a student in our college, you will have access to leading scholars and practitioners in the field of physical activity, as well as many hands-on opportunities that will further prepare you for your future career.

You may choose to become involved with on-campus opportunities, or work with public or private organizations to increase physical activity in the community.

Kathy Gunter, Ph.D.

Professor Kathy Gunter, PhD

“If we can take the focus off of individuals and stop telling them ‘you need to move more and eat better’ and instead focus on creating environments that make the healthy food choice, or the active option easy and ultimately, the default, we may be able to stem the tide of obesity.”

MPH curriculum and coursework

The Oregon State MPH program requires 60 credit hours (about 40 semester credits) and culminates with an integrative learning experience. It does not require a thesis.

You’ll get hands-on experience, build professional contacts and learn from experts in the field as part of a required 200-hour professional internship. You’ll be guided along the way by a dedicated MPH internship coordinator.

mph handbooks

See which courses you'll take as a physical activity student.

Option-specific handbooks

MPH Competencies

What you'll learn as an MPH student.

Learning competencies

H510 MPH Internships

How you'll apply your knowledge.

MPH internships

Promoting physical activity career options

An MPH in physical activity will help you prepare for a variety of careers that include developing, implementing and evaluating community-based programs designed to promote physically active lifestyles.  

You may find work in state, local and federal health agencies, state and local health departments, prevention research centers, worksites, schools, and professional, commercial or nonprofit organizations.

Sample careers:

  • Corporate wellness consultant
  • Community health coordinator
  • Physical activity specialist
  • Program director
  • Research manager

We’re here to help


For questions about the application process and requirements, contact COH graduate admissions.


To talk about curriculum and life as an MPH student, contact MPH Administrative Director Hanako Justice, MPH, MSW, CHES.


For academic or professional information specific to the Oregon State MPH physical activity program, please contact Program Director John Schuna, PhD.



In 2014, our college was accredited by the Council for Education in Public Health – the first in Oregon. This distinction provides our students with more resources, more opportunities to engage in research, and faculty experts who specialize in a variety of public health topics.