PharmD & MPH Dual Degree Programs

Jul 03, 2018

This article explores the dual Doctor of Pharmacy and Master's of Public Health degree program offered by a number of schools. Topics covered include admission requirements and core coursework.

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A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and a Master's of Public Health (MPH) dual degree gives students training sufficient to pass licensing exams and work as a pharmacist along with a strong academic background to help qualify them for management-level jobs in public health organizations.

General Program Information

A PharmD/MPH dual degree sets students up well for roles that combine knowledge of the administrative aspects of public health with knowledge of prescription practices, like a managerial role in a pharmacy or work as a clinical pharmacist. It is also a good base from which to move on to a PhD track and focus on academic research. Other possibilities that this degree combination might lead to include pharmaceutical marketing and roles in government agencies that center on prescription drug issues. This is in addition to traditional career paths available with just the PharmD or the MPH alone.


Students take a combination of core courses from the PharmD and MPH programs that are equivalent to the standard requirements for each program. In addition to the core courses, programs may give students the option of tracks or concentrations such as global health or community health.

Some specific core course types that students might encounter in these programs include:


Epidemiology is a public health course that focuses on how diseases form, spread and the impact they have on populations. Both communicable and noncommunicable diseases are covered. Courses can cover topics such as bacterial pathogens, microbial communities and types of vaccines.

Health Policy

Health policy courses cover patterns of health and illness in societies and how health care systems affect them. Students learn about how government health policy is formed and how it impacts society. Topics covered include economics, ethics, access to health care, system organization and social determiners of health.


Biostatistics courses teach students how to gather evidence about living subjects for research purposes. These methods may be put to use in other courses, such as epidemiology. Students learn statistical methods and philosophies that can be applied to biological data collection.

Drug and Immunization Delivery

Drug and immunization delivery classes explore the systems used to deliver treatments to patients. These are usually two separate courses. Students learn how these systems are engineered and tested, and how to safely bypass absorption barriers.

Principles of Drug Action

This pharmacology area covers the structure and pharmacological activity of drug classes. In addition to technical knowledge, students learn how to communicate with other medical professionals involved in drug design and delivery. These courses often take place in multiple stages.

Admissions Information

Students will need to be accepted to each of the school's programs independently. These programs usually require that the student take the GRE, and they may set specific minimum score requirements. Students may also be required to have a minimum GPA (frequently 3.0) in their upper-division coursework before being admitted to the program.

Some schools require that the student take a year of PharmD coursework first, with admission to the MPH program contingent on successful completion.

Other documentation that schools may require includes two or three letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a resume. Some schools may also require an in-person interview.

A dual PharmD/MPH degree opens up career options to graduates that would not be available with just one of these degrees. Students will come out of the program with a strong knowledge of prescription drugs and the public health policies and practices that relate to them.

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