Individuals who are interested in enrolling in accelerated graduate programs in the field of public health have a variety of options available to them at universities around the country. These programs allow students to complete their master's degree in a significantly reduced amount of time while still providing an advanced level of instruction in the public health field. We will learn about these accelerated programs in greater detail below.
Information About Accelerated Graduate Degree Programs in Public Health
Accelerated graduate programs in public health are most commonly offered as one-year Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees with sub-fields like biostatistics, epidemiology, and environmental health, among other options. Students who typically enroll in these programs are already well-experienced and professionally knowledgeable, but would like to further advance their skills and broaden their understanding of public health.
Because these programs condense two-year's worth of coursework and material into only one year, the pace of these programs is often rigorous and it isn't typically possible for students to be able to work while enrolled. While the curriculum of these programs will vary according to a student's selection of elective courses and the sub-field they are interested in, there are typically some general public health courses that are common among the required curriculum of these programs, five of which we will look at below.
Introduction to Epidemiology
Students will be required to take a foundation course in the field of epidemiology which will provide students with a basis of knowledge in the methods, principles, and practical applications of epidemiology. Students will learn about how different epidemiological methodologies can be used in the field when determining the frequency of disease in populations. The course is intended as a broad overview of epidemiology, preparing future epidemiologists for further study while providing other public health professionals with a high-level of understanding.
A course in environmental health is another commonly required course in these programs. This course will focus on various environmental factors and influences that play a role in human health. Topics that may be covered in this course include toxicology, environmental diseases, biological causes of disease, radiation, airborne illnesses, waste management, and pollution. In addition, students will likely study environmental law and policy and cover the topic of environmental justice.
Introduction to Biostatistics
An introductory level biostatistics course is also typically a requirement of these programs, as the field of public health relies heavily on biostatistical data and research. In this course, students will learn about topics like confidence intervals, sample size, common distribution, standard error, hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis techniques and methods, and clinical trials. The course will also likely cover how software programs, like SAS, can be used to analyze biostatistical data. Students will also be required to analyze medical research in order to learn how biostatistical methods are practically applied.
The Health Care System
A course that focuses on the health care system, typically and specifically in the United States, will provide students with an overview of how health care is organized, structured, and delivered to patients. Students will learn about the history of the development of this system, how the system is financed, and who are some of the major players and organizations within the system. In addition, this course will provide students with an understanding of health care policy issues, like health care reform, and what types of factors affect the policy agenda, as well as ways in which the benefits of the system can be measured.
Social and Behavioral Factors of Health
Another commonly required course in accelerated graduate public health programs is a course that focuses on the various behavioral and social factors that play a role in human health. The course will provide students with a foundational knowledge in the different theories of behavioral science that are often used in the public health field, as well as an understanding on the variety of factors that can affect human health from a social, psychological, and environmental perspective. Additionally, students will learn how they can apply this newly acquired knowledge to solving real-world problems in the public health field.
Admission Requirements for Accelerated Graduate Programs in Public Health
Students who would like to be admitted in accelerated graduate degree programs in public health will need to make sure that they are eligible for these programs by checking the specific program prerequisites of the school/s they are interested in. These programs generally require that applicants have already completed a terminal degree program, like an M.D., J.D., Ph.D., or M.S. But some programs may also consider applicants with a bachelor's degree and who have significant experience working in the field of public health. When applying to these programs, students will typically need to submit all past academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and an application form. Some programs may also require results from the GRE, while others do not stipulate this.
Accelerated graduate degree programs in public health are typically offered as MPH degrees that provide students with a broad overview of the public health field through required coursework. Programs generally expect the applicants to already possess an advanced degree or be professionally experienced.