Evaluation Certificate Students

Demand for comprehensive program evaluations is rising in a range of public and private organizations dealing with the health and social welfare needs of populations in the United States and worldwide.1 Graduates with a specialization in program evaluation in public health have expanded opportunities for employment in organizations such as departments and ministries of health, hospital systems, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms.2

This certificate program is designed to link the university and community in practical applied evaluation initiatives at the community level through...

  • Providing a comprehensive scoped and sequenced set of courses to prepare graduate students as professional evaluators of public health promotion and education programs;
  • Providing certificate training for non-degree enrollees who are post baccalaureate and qualify for admissions to the BCHS MPH program;
  • Providing area community agencies with access to trained evaluators and evaluators‑in‑training.

Students in the Certificate for Evaluation of Public Health Programs are trained in the application of both quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluation and have the opportunity to participate directly with interdisciplinary evaluation teams on actual community-based projects.

The certificate requires a total of 15 graduate credits, which includes a minimum of four courses and a three credit (approximately 400 contact hours) applied evaluation practicum with mentorship from Evaluation Institute faculty.

1Stockmann, R., & Meyer, W. (Eds.). (2015). The Future of Evaluation: Global Trends, New Challenges, Shared Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2Smith, N. L., et al. (2011). Looking Ahead: The Future of Evaluation. American Journal of Evaluation 32(4): 565-599.

Student Competencies

Students who complete the certificate will demonstrate the ability to...

1. Design community-based program evaluations from an ecological perspective (level of proficiency: small-scale, program based evaluations) including...
  • quantitative and qualitative evaluation approaches
  • process and outcome evaluations
  • constructing a logic model that demonstrates linkage between program activities and program outcomes (from simple to highly complex program evaluations)
  • use of appropriate data sources, data collection methods, and analytic techniques (from simple programs to those using national data-bases)
  • preparing an evaluation budget

2. Contribute to the design and implementation of evaluations based on experimental and quasi experimental approaches (level of proficiency: small scale, program-based evaluations).

3. Select and apply appropriate evaluation designs for objectives, including recognizing limitations of chosen design.

Academic Requirements and Admission

The certificate consists of 15 credits (2 required courses, 6 credits of electives, and 3 practicum credits).Students must complete course requirements and demonstrate consistent academic performance (B or higher in all certificate required courses). Click to view required and elective courses.

Additionally, required products demonstrate the learner’s achievements throughout the certificate program. These will be collected, along with community mentor evaluations, in a student portfolio to complete the certificate:

  • Logic model of the program to be evaluated
  • Document of an evaluation plan and method for pilot testing it
  • Assignments that illustrate the use of observation, interviews, and document reviews in qualitative evaluation
  • Document of an evaluation proposal


  • Completed evaluation for a community-based program evaluation including all measurement instruments and methods for data collection and analysis, and reported results

Progress on the products will be reviewed each semester by the learner’s evaluation certificate mentor to assure that each document is at an acceptable standard. If a document is rated as below standard, the certificate participant will be required to redo the assignment until an acceptable standard is achieved.

Two distinct groups of people may apply to the certificate program:

1. Current Pitt Public Health students (non-degree, degree, MPH, MS, PhD, and DrPH): To apply, email a brief statement including name, current program, details on your reasons for pursuing the Evaluation Certificate, and the term in which you would like to begin to the Admissions Manager, Susan Charie (s.charie@pitt.edu). Other graduate level University of Pittsburgh students should follow application instructions on the Pitt Public Health Web site (www.publichealth.pitt.edu) under Student Affairs.

2. Community members and non-students: Students holding a baccalaureate degree may apply to the certificate program. Anyone may apply to the program to enhance career opportunities (e.g., public health professionals with or without MPH degrees). The standards for admission are equivalent to those for the MPH degree. Follow the application instructions for all degree programs and certificates found on the Pitt Public Health Web site (www.publichealth.pitt.edu) under Student Affairs.


Admissions decisions for the certificate program will be made by the MPH program director committee in conjunction with the director of the certificate program.

Process Details
Current students: Contact Paul Markgraf at pjm111@pitt.edu. Current students do NOT need to go through the SOPHAS application process again.
Non-Pitt Public Health students should visit publichealth.pitt.edu/home/prospective-students/admissions.

Staff Contact 
Paul Markgraf, recruitment and academic administrator
412-624-3107, pjm111@pitt.edu

Faculty Contact
Thistle Elias, director of evaluation certificate program
412-624-5531, elias@pitt.edu