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Master in Health Sciences: International Health Degree Overview

Learn about the curriculum and requirements for a master's degree program in international health. Find out about popular careers, employment outlook, salary potential and continuing education to earn a doctorate.

Essential Information

Those who want to study international health at the graduate level can earn a Master of Science (MS) in International Health or Global Health or an MS that focuses on a related area such as epidemiology or maternal/child health. These programs feature training in areas such as nutrition, health economics and other topics relevant to helping underserved and less-advantaged populations. Students also might have the chance to choose a specialty area.

Most programs include an internship. Some schools sponsor a fellowship program with mentors and special events. Applicants typically need a related bachelor's degree, and programs can usually be completed in 1-2 years. Graduates should be prepared for educational, administrative and research positions with governments and international agencies.

Educational Prerequisites

An applicant must typically possess a bachelor's degree for admission, preferably related to the specialty the student wishes to pursue. Some schools have minimum GPA requirements for undergraduate coursework, while others set minimum GRE scores.

Course Topics

The curriculum for such a master's degree can vary largely based on the concentration the student is pursuing. Some students may focus largely on nutrition, while others could study the economics of health policy. Course offerings could include:

  • Community vaccine trials
  • Changing health behavior
  • Financial management
  • Water-borne diseases
  • Analysis of popular diets
  • Public information campaigns
  • Mother and child care

Popular Career Options

Individuals with master's degrees in international health have a wide variety of career options. They can be hands-on community health care coordinators or work with an international agency or a government to set health policy. Possible career options could include:

  • Community health worker
  • Researcher
  • Program manager
  • Grant writer
  • Development officer

Health educators can work in a number of places, including colleges, health care facilities, nonprofit organizations and public health departments. From 2012 to 2022, these workers had a 21% increase in employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health educators had a median salary of $48,790 as of 2012.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of international or global health programs could go on to work towards earning Doctor of Science, Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Public Health degrees. Such programs could prepare students for work in academia or research, and could include subjects of study in areas like epidemiology, nutrition and health systems.

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