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Master of Public Health: Degree Overview

Master of Public Health (MPH) programs cover topics such as environmental and public health, biology, management sciences, biostatistics, and behavioral sciences. Learn about program requirements and specializations as well as possible career outcomes.

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Essential Information

A Master of Public Health program usually takes about two years to complete and prepares students to work in communities promoting public health through education and intervention. Students learn to advocate for healthcare equity and accessibility. They acquire knowledge of the origin of diseases and learn to create educational programs that promote health and wellness. Vaccine development, infectious disease control, health behavior, and maternal health are other typical areas of study.

Students might specialize in health services administration, child and adolescent health, public policy, community health, or epidemiology. As they advance through the program, students apply the skills they've acquired and engage in professional experiences through a required capstone course. A practicum could also be required.


Master of Public Health

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree to enter an MPH program, and most schools have a minimum grade point average requirement. Colleges may require an applicant to have a specific amount of experience in the field. MPH degree programs consist of 42-80 credits or units. Topics in the program include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Health management
  • Human physiology and nutrition
  • U.S. healthcare systems
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Toxicology and immunology

Popular Career Options

Public health is a very broad discipline that gives graduates many choices in choosing a career path. Some possible careers are:

  • Behavioral health scientist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health educator
  • Outcomes researcher
  • Academic policy advisor

According to 2014-2024 employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), epidemiologists were to see a 6% increase in jobs, which is about average compared to all occupations. These workers earned a median annual salary of $69,450, per May 2015 data from the BLS. Another career path to consider with an MPH is health educator. These professionals should see a 13% increase in employment from 2014-2024 (faster than average), and earned a reported median annual salary of $51,960 in 2015.

Continuing Education

Graduates of an MPH degree program may choose to continue their education by pursuing a doctorate. In these programs, students can prepare for leadership or academic positions in the field of public health. Graduate certificate programs are also available, many of which can be taken online.

A Master of Public Health program prepares students for careers in the areas of health education, policy, and research through the study of topics including epidemiology, U.S. healthcare systems, disease prevention, toxicology, and immunology.

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