Commonwealth reforms have led to staff of the Department of Health and Aged Care needing a greater knowledge of public health, to more effectively evaluate evidence and to quickly acquire competence in new emerging areas. The department's requirements of a training program could not be met by existing university-based public health courses. A consortium of five universities and the department worked together to develop an industry-based course that would meet the Commonwealth's needs. The course was constituted within university regulations; had an incremental and articulated structure with exit points at certificate, diploma and Masters levels; was relevant to the work of staff; offered subjects which complemented the staff's existing skills, training and career aspirations; drew upon expertise across the universities; and was flexible in its delivery. The Commonwealth's and universities' experience has been sufficiently positive to conclude that a corporate public health postgraduate program has a place alongside university-based programs.