Learn more about the advantage of a master of public health program versus other healthcare-related degrees, as well as key program information.
When considering different graduate degree programs in the healthcare field, bear in mind that there are some advantages to deciding on a master of public health programs rather than other types of programs. With an MPH, students get to explore all the aspects of public health, including some specialized areas such as environmental health. In other programs where they touch other topics, you may learn about public health, but you will not delve deeply into the sub-topics in this field.
A good MPH program involves classes on the 10 public health core areas. These core areas include health services administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, health education, behavioral science, public health nutrition, public health administration/policy, environmental health, and maternal and child health. Other programs may cover some of these areas, but not all of these.
MPH programs focus solely on public health, rather than topics that may not be relevant to your job or might not interest you. For instance, an MHA program usually spends most time on accounting and finance topics – something that may not be relevant to a public health career. With the MPH degree, you cannot shift as easily to other career fields within the health care industry, but for someone with a passion in public health, this may not be an issue.
With such a focused education, you will be a more desirable candidate to many employers. Someone pursuing an MPA or MSN program, for instance, will possibly not have that much focused education on public health. Hence, you are the better candidate for a job position in public health.
The master of public health program help students understand the challenges of health promotion while containing the costs in the healthcare system. They can also learn skills in grant writing, program planning and evaluation, and epidemiology. Once they complete the program, they will be able to use their wider perspective of the healthcare system well in their practice.
Students attending a master of public health program come from different academic backgrounds with diverse public health experiences. Also, the applicable public health–related undergraduate degrees are varied. These undergraduate degrees may include economics, statistics, biological sciences, environmental science, international studies, food science and nutrition, psychology, nursing, political science, anthropology, social work, etc.
Another requirement to enter the MPH program is a public health experience. Experience in public health is greatly valued. It may include working in public health departments, social service agencies, volunteer organizations and healthcare organizations.
Students in the master of public health program may range from dual degree students to part-time adult learners. This diversity can greatly enhance the students’ learning, in and out of the classroom. Depending on the school, the program can be taken either full-time or part-time.
Students should always consider the MPH program’s accreditation. Many schools are regionally accredited and later, seek accreditation from the Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH). The Council on Education for Public Health is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Health for accrediting public health programs and schools of public health.
As for the funding options, students earning a master of public health program are often funded through student loan. Sometimes, research assistantships, project assistantships and teaching assistantships may be available, but these opportunities are quite limited. As such, students looking for this financial aid options should start searching early.