Individuals studying public health at the graduate level gain the education and skills necessary to create and manage public health policies. Two such degree programs in the field include a Master of Science in International Health Science and Policy and a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) International Track. Universities offering master's degree programs require incoming students to be college graduates, often with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Programs may also request that students have professional experience in the healthcare field. Doctoral programs require students to have graduate-level education in public health and healthcare policy, as well as work experience in the field before enrolling in the program. Additionally, international travel experience and knowledge of a second language is an asset. Fieldwork is usually a component of these degree programs, and a dissertation is typically required in a doctorate program.
Master of Science in International Health Science and Policy
Students enrolled in a master's degree program in health science and policy with a focus on international public health learn how to apply skills on a global scale. They learn about various international health systems and develop methods of translating new research and healthcare policies to work within varied systems. Students learn through seminars, classroom lectures, case studies, and fieldwork. Specific core courses might include:
- World health
- Managing health policy
- Organizational behavior
- Healthcare and cost effectiveness
- International health economics
- Global disease epidemiology
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Doctor of Public Health, International Track
A doctorate program in public health with a focus on international health policy can prepare healthcare professionals for advanced positions of leadership and administration. Many programs include core courses that focus on public health practices in both established and developing nations. Courses focus on advanced research methods, principles of epidemiology, and ethical issues in the public health field. Specific course examples include:
- Public health in developing nations
- Ethical issues in health services management
- U.S. and international healthcare issues
- Epidemiologic methods
- Statistics methods in public health
- Statistical reasoning in public health
A master's degree program in international health policy can prepare graduates for careers in the fields of research, academia and healthcare administration. Types of positions include:
- International health manager
- International health researcher
- Field operations health specialist
- International health policy advisor
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates are often eligible to take on leadership roles in the fields of public health policy, research, and academia. For instance, many go on to become professors and researchers of international public health policy and management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers focusing on health specialties held about 178,900 positions in 2015 (www.bls.gov). They also made a median annual salary of $90,840 as of May 2015. The BLS projected job growth of 19%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024.
There are no professional certifications available in the field of international public health and international healthcare policy. However, professionals working in the field can take advantage of the resources and information made available through various organizations. Organizations may include the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) and the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The International Health Economics Association can also be helpful to professionals working on the business side of the public health field.
Through master's and doctorate programs focused on international public health, students can learn about different concepts and skills within the field of public health and strategies for applying them to international locations and communities. While certification does not exist for the field, various international public health-minded organizations exist with various resources to help students expand and improve their knowledge.