A Master of Public Health degree, commonly referred to as simply MPH, will provide you with the knowledge to work in the health sector in ways that benefit the public at a practical level. It is a graduate degree that requires completion of a bachelor’s-level education prior to admission. In an MPH program, you will learn the necessary information to prepare for roles in providing community awareness surrounding a wide array of health issues. This degree is specifically for those wishing to work directly with the public. A Master of Science in Public Health, or MSPH, is more research focused for those wanting to pursue academia or scientific study, according to US News and World Report. Read on to learn more about the degree and the kinds of positions you can obtain through this course of study.
Components of the Degree
In order to become accredited by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), programs must offer certain core coursework. Classes in epidemiology, environmental health, policy issues, statistics and behavioral health must be included in the curriculum. These core topics will prepare you for to become a competent public health professional. Many MHP programs also allow students to choose a concentration area in order to gain an expertise in a particular aspect of the field. Some examples include public health education, toxicology, disaster management or maternal/child health.
A Master of Public Health degree is meant to be experiential so that students will be sufficiently prepared through practical knowledge, as well as theory. That means you’ll probably need to complete a practicum or internship experience in order to receive your degree. This will be a supervised work experience in a professional setting where you’ll gain hands-on understanding of working in public health. You may also need to take on a competency-based project such as a grant proposal or research paper in order to meet curriculum requirements. Some programs require a thesis.
How Long Will It Take?
There are various formats when it comes to an MPH degree. In general, you can expect to take between two and three years to complete your program, depending upon whether a thesis is required or the length of your internship. Some schools do have advanced one-year program options. These usually are meant for people who are enrolled in another degree program of compatible focus. You may have heard of such formats as joint-degree or dual-degree programs.
Careers in Public Health
With a Master’s in Public Health degree , you can work in a number of settings, both in private and public sectors. Some places you may find yourself employed include government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers or healthcare providers. There are numerous jobs in the field for which you’ll be prepared. Some examples are public educator, food safety inspector, policy analyst and epidemiologist. You could also be hired as a consultant for drug companies or government representatives. These are merely a handful of examples.
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If you are interested in health and enjoy improving people’s lives, the public health field may be for you. With a Master of Public Health degree, you can work with the public in a healthcare setting without entering the field as a medical practitioner, which can prove to be an incredibly satisfying path.