The Certificate in Leadership for Population Health Improvement from UW–Madison’s Department of Population Health Sciences engages participants to build upon their professional training and experience by providing new knowledge, skills, and cutting-edge strategies for population health improvement. Upon completion of this certificate program, participants will be prepared to identify opportunities for policy and system change and exercise stronger leadership skills, including planning, communication, collaboration, and negotiation.

The capstone certificate in leadership for population health improvement is designed for students who are interested in strengthening their capacity to contribute to population health improvement. The program is online and consists of four 3-credit courses.   It is designed to be taken over a one-year period (summer-fall-spring), but can be extended to two years or more. The certificate is well-suited for participants with academic backgrounds in medicine, nursing, law, allied health, social work, pharmacy, business, public affairs and health systems engineering, specifically exposing leaders in other sectors to public health. Returning post-master’s and post-doctoral students seeking professional development to complement their existing degrees may also consider this certificate. The certificate program is also an ideal introduction to population health during a "gap" year.

Further details, including tuition and costs, is provided on the certificate program website


Applicant requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S.) from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or equivalent.
  • Provide evidence of strong academic performance comparable to a “B” grade point average or above in undergraduate or graduate course work.
  • Some professional experience is preferred but not required.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students. However, the department offering the capstone certificate program makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials.

Application steps

A complete application includes the following information:

  1. An online application for admission as a University Special student, selecting UNCS Capstone Certificate and the program: Leadership for Population Health Improvement. This application is received and processed by ACSSS with final decision held for approval from the specific Capstone Certificate coordinator. 
  2. Submit the following materials to the MPH Program in the Department of Population Health Sciences (email):

  • Resume’ or CV
  • Official transcripts
  • A personal statement that provides information about how the certificate will enhance the student’s professional capacity and activities

For application or program information, contact:

Barbara Duerst (
Director of Public Health Education and Training,
Department of Population Health Sciences
Phone 608-263-4215


Admitted students receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with general enrollment information. Additional detail is provided on the ACSSS enrollment page

The Department of Population Health Sciences will send an email to admitted students with specific information pertaining to enrollment in and completion of the capstone program. 

  • Must have a minimum GPA of 2.000
Core Requirement
POP HLTH 780 Public Health: Principles and Practice3
POP HLTH 785 Health Systems, Management, and Policy3
POP HLTH 879 Politics of Health Policy2-3
POP HLTH 714 Leadership for Population Health Improvement3
Total Credits11-12

Students will

  • Identify opportunities to make effective policy and system changes
  • Show strong leadership, communication, collaboration, and negotiation skills
  • Apply concepts to improve the health of human populations