The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (SOM) in collaboration with the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) offers a dual Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) and Master of Science in Public Health (MPH). The degree is designed to be completed in 2-years as a full time student.

The MSSP/MPH will prepare graduates for leadership position in:

  • Understanding how decisions about social and health policy issues are made, shaped and influenced at local, state, national and global levels;
  • Careers in health services research and health policy research in academic, government, community, and industry settings;
  • Formulating a social reform agenda that is evidence-based and aims at improving the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of health policy creation and implementation; and
  • Generating and considering a wide array of policy options to address social and health problems.

Application Process

Students apply to the MPH and the MSSP simultaneously fulfilling the application requirements for each degree program and indicating an interest in the MSSP/MPH. Upon acceptance into the MPH and MSSP the applicant will be admitted to the dual degree program. Students may use the same letters of recommendation providing the referees address the dual degree interests.

Degree Completion Requirements

In order for a student to receive both degrees, he or she must complete the independent degree requirements for each program for a total of 18 cu’s. For the MPH portion of the degree there are 14 cu’s required and students must complete the PUBH core with 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508 (2 cu), and a required fieldwork experience (125 hours). In addition to the core requirements, the MPH will accept 4 cu from the MSSP core as elective credit. Examples of courses which will be counted as MPH electives include: SP628, SP631, SP668, SP629, SP897. The 5th MPH elective will be selected from the wide array of PUBH prefix electives to fulfill a residency requirement of 10 cu’s taken within the MPH program.

For the MSSP students much complete 10 cu’s. PUBH 501 will be taken in the first semester in place of SP630 to fulfill the quantitative reasoning requirement. PUBH 502 and PUBH 504 will count as elective credit toward the MSSP. Every effort will be made to identify a policy research internship which will also fulfill the MPH fieldwork requirements.

Given the above description, the following table illustrates the curriculum and cross counting agreement.

Home School and cross counting

Fall semester

Spring semester

Summer term

SP2 home school


Fall term

SP628 as MPH elec 1

SP668 as MPH elec 2

PUBH 501 as equivalent SP630 (both core req.)

PUBH 504 as SP elec 1

Spring term

SP631 as MPH elec 3

PUBH 502 as SP elec 2

Summer term

Policy Research internship will cross count for the MPH fieldwork experience

SP628-Policy: Analysis of Issues, Strategy and Process (formerly Social Policy Analysis)
required (PUBH elective)

SP668-Economic & Financial Foundations for Social Policy
required (PUBH elective)

PUBH 501 biostats in place of  SP630 Quantitative Reasoning

SP2 elective: (PUBH 504 Behavioral Health

SP629 Research and Evaluation Design
required (PUBH elective)

5.0 cu

SP631The Courts and Social Policy OR ASSIGNED LAW RELATED COURSE required

SP2 elective: (PUBH 502 Epidemiology)

required for MPH

SP2 elective

SP 632 Capstone I Seminar
required (Capstone I, Capstone II and internship = 1 cu

SP897-Applied Linear Modeling required

5.0 cu

SP 632 Social Policy Capstone II Policy Research Internship

Policy Research internship may cross count for 125 hour fieldwork requirement for MPH provided its focus is relevant to public health.

SOM home school

PUBH 503 Environmental and OH

PUBH 505

PUBH 507 Ethics, Policy and Law

PUBH 508-1 Capstone 1.0 cu

4.0 cu

PUBH 506 Methods in Public Health Practice 1.0 cu

PUBH 508-2Capstone 1.0 cu

PUBH prefix elective 1.0 cu

4.0 cu

Tuition and Financial Aid

SP2 will be the home school for the first year of the dual degree. The home school designation will switch to the SOM in the fall of the second year.

The MPH Program offers limited tuition scholarship support for students with demonstrated merit and need and these decisions are made by the MPH program alone.

The MPH scholarship announcements are released in the spring term and MSSP-MPH students should apply in the spring of their first year in the dual degree. Any tuition support awarded by the MPH may only be applied to PUBH prefix courses.

The MSSP program also offers limited tuition scholarship support for meritorious students and accounts for financial need. SP2 makes funding decisions based solely on the information in the application for admission. Students are notified on funding decisions at the point of admission.  Awards will be applied in the first year when SP2 is the student’s home school.

Students with questions about the MPH/MSSP program can address them to the following persons:

For the MSSP program, contact Caroline Wong MSW, LSW, Associate Director of the MSSP Program

For the MPH program, contact Moriah Hall, MPH Program Coordinator: 215-573-8841,