A dual Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree gives students both a broad background in the formation and analysis of public policy and a specific and more in-depth knowledge of health-related policy. Read on to learn more about this program and some of its common coursework.
General Program Information
A Master of Public Health degree focuses to a great degree on public policy in the healthcare realm, while a Master of Public Policy is a broader overview of policy formation. So, in essence, a student who opts for an MPH/MPP dual degree enters the field of public policy with a specialization in matters related to public health.
Students can expect these programs to take about three years to complete with a full-time course load. As most MPP and MPH programs take about two years to complete at minimum, this dual degree program usually saves students at least a year of class time as compared to pursuing the degrees separately.
In cases where the Master of Public Health programs offer specialty tracks, students may be required to take the track most closely related to health policy and management as a condition of the program.
Dual MPP/MPH degrees cover the core courses of both programs. That means students study topics like epidemiology and biostatistics in the public health field, and program planning and public finance in the public policy field. Students can expect each program to conclude with a capstone project or thesis of some sort. Public health programs often add a practicum requirement, in which students do supervised field work at a public health agency, sometimes in the form of a summer internship.
Some examples of courses students can expect to take in these programs include:
Epidemiology is the study of disease conditions, and is a cornerstone course of MPH programs. These courses cover diseases and health risks, and the factors that cause them to develop in society. Students learn how to perform research and how studies are designed.
The collection of data and the interpretation of statistics is key to any kind of scientific research. Biostatistics covers the methods and unique complexities of collecting data on human populations. These courses cover concepts such as inferential statistics, descriptive research and the software used to generate public health statistics.
Environmental health courses take a broad view of environmental factors that contribute to the health of populations. This includes things like pollution, global warming, food quality and the impact of various types of disasters. Students learn ways to both assess and communicate risk.
The exact title and content of the course may vary, but every MPP program will introduce students to the process of policy creation in the public sphere. These classes examine both the legal mechanisms of policy creation and the various groups and interests that influence and shape it.
As with policy creation, you can count on any MPP program to also introduce students to the methods of analyzing existing and proposed public policy. Students learn how to evaluate policy and how to effectively articulate their findings to others (such as clients and committees). This includes the use of concepts such as cost-benefit analysis and managing budgets.
Students will need to apply and be accepted to both the MPP and MPH program at their chosen school.
Both MPH and MPP programs frequently require that a student have a bachelor's degree of some sort to be accepted. They usually do not require that the degree be in a specific field, but some programs may require the completion of specific undergraduate coursework.
Not all programs require applicants to take the GRE, but those that do not may instead require that the student have a 3.0 GPA in prior undergraduate coursework. Other items you may be asked for as part of an application include a personal statement, resume and academic references.
An MPH and MPP dual degree is an ideal choice for a student looking to focus on health care public policy. A broad base of policy creation and analysis knowledge in the MPP program is sharpened by a specific focus on health care issues in the MPH program.