Public Health Degree Programs by Level

Oct 14, 2019

Essential Information

Public health is a wide-ranging academic discipline that seeks to apply technical subjects, like statistics and political science, to issues in health care and medicine. Undergraduate public health education introduces students to health care issues while incorporating public policy, computer science, and biology. Students will need to have their high school diploma or GED to be considered for admission. A master's in public health program allows students to explore biostatistics, health care systems, and economics. These programs take two years to complete and students hoping to be admitted will need an undergraduate degree, preferably in a major like biochemistry or economics, and GRE scores. At the doctoral level, Ph.D. recipients often find work in public health research or university-level teaching.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Public Health

A bachelor's degree in public health can be earned in four years, but many students opt to take more time while considering academic options. Public health bachelor's degree programs incorporate courses in information technology, management, and ethics. Specific classes might include the following:

  • Methods for survival analysis
  • Computational biology
  • Public health theory
  • Experimental analysis
  • Biostatistic consulting

Master's Degree Programs in Public Health

Admission to a graduate program in public health generally requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum grade point average. A student pursuing a public health master's degree should take courses in rehabilitation procedures and international health care policy. Typical graduate-level classes might include the following:

  • Health policy administration
  • Public health analysis
  • Health policy
  • Health care economics
  • Organizational behavior

Doctoral Degree in Public Health

A doctorate is the terminal degree for any student seeking advanced education in public health. A public health doctoral degree covers health care informatics, health program management and environmental regulations. Many applicants hoping to gain admission to a public health doctoral program already have a master's degree in an associated field, like health sciences, biostatistics or epidemiology. Doctoral degrees in public health often include courses in health management and health care research methods. Classes generally include the following:

  • Health behavior assessment
  • Public health research skills
  • Health care organizations
  • Biosecurity
  • Public health ethics

Popular Career Options

Undergraduate public health degrees might lead to careers in health services, education and government. Job titles often include the following:

  • Insurance consultant
  • Journalist
  • Health administrator
  • Teacher
  • Health care policy consultant

Graduates with master's degrees in public health can find jobs in nutrition and environmental health. Specific job titles can include the following:

  • Health services manager
  • Research epidemiologist
  • Legislative policy adviser
  • Reproductive health specialist
  • Laboratory director
  • Epidemiologist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2018 to 2028, jobs for epidemiologists were expected to grow by 5%, while jobs for medical and health services managers were expected to grow by 18%, much faster than the average for all occupations. BLS data findings from 2018 indicated that the median wage for epidemiologists was $69,660. Statistics from the same year showed the median wage for medical and health services managers was $99,730.

The public health field is quite varied and there are a number of interesting degree programs and careers that students can pursue.

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