Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) School of Public Health

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CPH Exam


The Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential endorses the competency of the credential holder on a national level with competitive advantage. The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) certifies the CPH. Our faculty selected this exam as the most thorough, and most recognized method to assess MPH students’ core knowledge and crosscutting skills. Passing the CPH Exam became a core requirement for all students entering an MPH program in or after Fall 2015.

The current CPH exam tests knowledge in the five core public health areas (Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, and Social and Behavioral Sciences), General Principles, and seven Cross-Cutting Areas. Since its inception as a requirement in Fall 2015, our MPH students averaged a passing rate of over 95%, exceeding the 73% national average passing rate.

Effective after January 1, 2019, all examinees will be tested using the new content outline. New study materials for the new content exam are expected to be available by Spring 2018.

Study Materials

How can I study for the exam?

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health recommends MPH students review course materials from core courses, as well as the review materials published by the NBPHE:

Registration and Scheduling

When and how can I register for and schedule the exam?

  • SPH students enrolled in an MPH program in or after Fall 2015 become eligible to sit for the exam after successfully completing all five core public health courses, or four while concurrently registered in their last core course.
  • Effective May 1, 2017, the CPH exam can be scheduled at any time during the year.
  • MPH students who began in or after Fall 2015 will have received a payment voucher by email and this voucher number is needed to register and not be charged the exam fee. Contact sphregistration@ohsu.edu if you were admitted into an MPH program in or after Fall 2015 and you have not yet received your voucher.
  • MPH students who began prior to Fall 2015 may choose to voluntarily sit for the CPH Exam and should they do so will pay the $250 exam fee directly to NBPHE.
  • Create a new user profile with Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP).
  • Please note when scheduling the exam that MPH students take the Computer Based Test (CBT) exam version, and that testing centers are located across the U.S. This is a timed, 4-hour, 200 question exam, so plan accordingly.

SPH Admin Procedures

SPH Coordinator

  • Confirms MPH students admitted or began between Fall 2015 – Winter 2017 received their payment voucher code. If the student has not received theirs, provides it to her/him.
  • Provides MPH students admitted or beginning in/after Fall 2017 with their payment voucher code.
  • Receives automatic e-notifications by AMP of all profile creations and usually within 48 business hours, verifies in AMP the academic eligibility per student to sit for the exam.
  • Receives exam scores monthly and communicates scores to the relevant MPH Program Director.
  • Runs OHSU and PSU graduation reports monthly and updates the AMP graduation date and graduation status of the new MPH alum.
  • Applies in Banner, the student system of record, the CPH Exam as a test taken by the MPH student as well as a “Pass” or “No Pass.”

Student CPH Policies

  • Passing the CPH Exam became a core requirement for all students entering an MPH program in or after Fall 2015. This requirement cannot be waived.
  • Students who do not pass the CPH exam on their first attempt are required to take the exam a second time, at the student’s expense. Students use the subscale information provided by the testing service to discuss with their academic advisor and Program Director how to help strengthen their subsequent performance before re-taking the examination. Students may only attempt the CPH Exam twice.
  • The student is financially responsible for any cost associated with re-taking or re-scheduling the CPH Exam ($250 in 2017).
  • Students are expected to follow SPH academic integrity while studying for and taking this off-site Exam.
  • Expectations and policies at SPH Students Handbooks, Policies, and Forms.
  • MPH students who pass the CPH Exam are provisionally certified.
  • MPH alums who passed the CPH Exam may include the CPH designation following their name only after also having fulfilled all graduation requirements and the MPH degree is posted to their transcript, the official academic record; these alums are then considered certified and the paper certificate will be sent to the alum by NBPHE.
  • Should a student require a disability accommodation, please contact the Disabilities Resource Center at PSU or the Office of Student Access Services at OHSU to complete the process outlined in the CPH Candidate Handbook.