Masters in Public Health

What Do You Learn in a Masters in Public Health?

A master’s in public health often has a rigorous curriculum that aims to help prepare students to become professionals in public health. This may enable them to address global health problems or local needs. Those working in this field typically need access to multidisciplinary approaches to tackle the challenges they experience in that environment.

Those working in public health often work at the community level. This means providing insight and support to families, schools, government organizations, and others who need support. Their focus is often on improving the health of communities, not just a single person or a few people. They may do this through education, supporting policy, and creating new resources. To do this type of work, they may need skills related to analyzing data and monitoring public health needs. Many could conduct their own research on various community-valuable topics.

Those who complete a master’s in public health often work as community outreach coordinators, health engagement marketers, healthcare administrators, or environmental health scientists. They may also work as a senior reach analyst, research scientist, or biomedical researcher, depending on the course they choose to take.

Masters in Public Health Programs

Top 25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Public Health

The following are the top 25 schools for graduates in the field of master’s in public health, according to NCES data by graduates for the 2019/20 school year.

College / UniversityGraduatesAcceptance Rate
Johns Hopkins University52011%
George Washington University47741%
Columbia University in the City of New York3455%
Harvard University3395%
Emory University32716%
Benedictine University28742%
Liberty University26751%
Boston University26219%
University of California-Berkeley25316%
University of South Florida24848%
University of Southern California24311%
University of Arizona24085%
University of Alabama at Birmingham23074%
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities21057%
National University20389%
University of California-Los Angeles20212%
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus20067%
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston197N/A
Walden University180N/A
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill17823%
Rutgers University-New Brunswick17361%
University of Washington-Seattle Campus16352%
University of Illinois Chicago16273%
Southern New Hampshire University14588%
CUNY Graduate School and University Center144N/A

Courses for a Master’s in Public Health May Include

1st course Principles in Public Health

Principles in Public Health

This course aims to provide an understanding of the principles and concepts of public health. The course often covers the role of public health in the community as well as the topics of prevention and the use of medicine. Students may explore infrastructure, surveillance, and application of public health policy. Other topics covered may include infectious disease, environmental health, and child health.

2nd course Principles of Epidemiology

Principles of Epidemiology

In this course, students are often introduced to how to apply the principles of epidemiology to the area of public health. The history of epidemiology, as well as all aspects of the field, may be covered. These include disease screening, effect measures, and surveillance. Investigative techniques and epidemiological methodology may be covered here.

3rd Course Biostatistics

Biostatistics

This course often covers the analysis and interpretation of research and the data provided. Areas covered may include correlation, sampling, testing hypotheses, correlation, and experimentation. This course often covers a broad spectrum of topics and processes to give the student a full background in the subject matter.

4th Course Social and Behavioral Health

Social and Behavioral Health

This course typically covers health behaviors using an ecological approach. The use of behavioral and social science theory are often applied in regards to the implementation of promotion and prevention programs for the community. The ethical dilemmas that may be encountered as a result of social and behavioral change efforts may be studied.

5th Course Program Planning and Evaluation

Program Planning and Evaluation

In this course, students may go over how to develop and evaluate public health programs. Students may also develop skills necessary for these tasks and how to assess the needs of a community and what assets the community has. The course also usually covers methods for obtaining funding for programs.

6th Course Public Health Administration

Public Health Administration

This course often covers the history and processes of public health administration. The course tends to focus on the structure and framework of public health and how to manage the function and roles associated with it. Tools for budget management and use of resources may also be covered.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a master’s in public health

The following are some common questions asked about a master’s in public health degree.

Numerous career paths may be available to those with a master’s in public health. This often includes working as a registered nurse, healthcare administrator, dietician or nutritionist, or an epidemiologist. Other career paths may include community engagement, research scientist, and substance abuse counselors.

A Master of Public Health typically requires 2 to 4 years of study. Some students may be able to complete it faster, within 2 years, if they have completed necessary coursework prior to completing their bachelor’s degree. Accelerated programs may allow for the completion of this degree within 16 months.

Each school and program may set its rules for acceptance. There may be some programs that do not require a GRE for admittance. No GRE required Master of Public Health programs are available including online programs.

Those who wish to earn a Master of Public Health may need to meet the college or university’s requirements. This generally requires about 2 years of study. To enroll into the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree in a related health science field. This may include a nursing, pharmacy, BDS, or MBBS degree. Accelerated programs that enable students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s may be available through some schools.

Those with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in public health may work in a range of positions. This may include working as a health educator, community health worker, epidemiologist assistant, or environmental science teachers. Senior positions in this fields often require experience.

How much does a Master’s in Public Health cost?

According to the NCES, the average cost of a master’s degree was $19,314 for the 2018 to 2019 school year. Obtaining this type of education may be expensive to some. There may be various types of funding options available to help cover those costs, though. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Some of those funding options are below. The U.S. Department of Education has issued more than $120 billion in financial aid through Federal Student Aid programs. Here’s a look at some of the programs available from that agency and other resources.

Scholarships

Scholarships may be one of the best options for students who wish to obtain funds to pay for their master’s degree that they may not want to pay back. Scholarships may be available for multiple needs, including need based, program-specific, and others. Here are some examples of scholarships for this degree path.

Ellen M. Buchart Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Ellen M. Buchart Scholarship was named in memory and honor of the late Ellen Buchart whom served Kentucky Public Health Association (KPHA) as a past President. This scholarship will be administered by KPHA in the amount of $2,000 and is payable at the rate of $1,000 per semester paid directly to the student’s school. Scholarship recipient(s) get an award of $2,000 which is payable at the rate of $1,000 per semester. The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $2,000.

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: March 1

NEHA/AAS Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is for U.S. students majoring in environmental health who are enrolled in an approved college/university that is accredited by the Environmental Health Accreditation Council or is a NEHA Educational or Sustaining Member School. For a current list of accredited environmental health programs, please visit www.ehacoffice.org. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at time of application.

Amount: $1,250

Deadline: March 1

Connie Scheffer Public Health Endowed Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. nursing students who are residents of Kansas and attend a college or university in Kansas are eligible. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Registered nurses pursuing a bachelor’s of science in the public health setting; graduate and postgraduate students in public health nursing or public health are considered. This scholarship is provided by the Kansas Nurses Foundation.

Amount: $500

Deadline: June 30

Catherine E. Philbin Public Health Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available for undergraduate and graduate students who are legal residents of Massachusetts. Students must be studying public health. Applicants must submit a completed application form postmarked no later than March 1 and other needed documentation listed on the provider site.

Amount: $500

Deadline: March 1

Federal Loans

Here is a closer look at some of the graduate loans available through the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program. These loan programs may provide a wide range of opportunities for borrowers, but each has eligibility requirements.

There are three types of loans available at this level:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These may be available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which may be made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans often do not have a need based requirement. Many students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These may be made available to professional or graduate level students. They are often designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is often not based on financial need. However, some may require a credit check to be performed and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans may enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan typically is provided after a student completes their education.

Other master’s degree loan options may be available. Federal programs may be based on numerous criteria requirements.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are a secondary option. These loans are often from non-federal government sources. As a result, their qualifications may differ based on many factors. That could be based on creditworthiness in some situations. Private student loans may have different qualification standards, but also different interest rates, terms, and conditions. It’s important to know as much as possible about private student loans before choosing them.

Is a dietitian a good career?

One of the options for completing a master’s degree in public health is to become a dietitian. These individuals may work to provide nutritional support to individuals or the community as a whole. They might assess the nutritional needs and dietary restrictions for people. They may make decisions for what types of supportive nutrients are needed and educate individuals or groups on the importance of making changes to their diet.

They may assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. This may include providing supervision for food services, conduct nutritional research, or provide counsel for individuals.

Active learning, critical thinking, and decision making are core skills a person needs when working in this field. They may also need to have a good understanding of cultural norms, social perceptiveness, and reading comprehension. Some may also need to have skills in therapy and counseling and personal service skills as a way to connect with individuals who need their support and guidance.

Work activities typically including assisting with the care of others, such as providing supportive services for food-related needs. They may also gather information, update knowledge of the individual or group, and make recommendations for dietary requirements. Dietitians can also analyze patient data and create treatment goals, analyze lab findings, develop health and wellness plans for program participants, and factor in cultural or religious requirements.

To work in this field, many people need to complete a graduate degree. Many employers may require a master’s degree and some fields may require a Ph.D.  Individuals typically need to have significant knowledge and skill in this area. This may include having 5 to 7 years of experience in the field.  Some on-the-job training may be applicable, but many employers in this field expect employees to already have the necessary skills to do their job.

Masters in Public Health , Dietitian Career Skills
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of actions to choose the most appropriate one.

2020 Median Salary for Dietitians

The median annual salary for a person working as a dietitian in 2020 are as follows based on the state according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

State2020 Median Annual SalaryState2020 Median Annual Salary
Alabama$56,280Alaska$72,900
Arizona$60,540Arkansas$58,940
California$82,200Colorado$60,180
Connecticut$69,240Delaware$63,670
Georgia$51,530Florida$60,710
Idaho$46,540Hawaii$73,640
Indiana$57,500Illinois$62,760
Kansas$59,950Iowa$56,050
Louisiana$58,090Kentucky$58,940
Maryland$68,880Maine$61,590
Minnesota$63,330Massachusetts$66,530
Montana$56,060Michigan$57,560
Nevada$66,510Mississippi$50,630
New Jersey$71,810Missouri$59,250
New York$70,140Nebraska$56,830
North Dakota$60,310New Hampshire$64,500
Oklahoma$61,280New Mexico$59,840
Pennsylvania$60,670North Carolina58,800
South Carolina$54,450Ohio$60,310
Tennessee$56,760Oregon$72,000
Utah$56,790Rhode Island$61,490
Virginia$63,120South Dakota$55,250
Wisconsin$59,170Texas$59,880
Washington$65,270Vermont$61,900
West Virginia$61,850Wyoming$64,030

Is an epidemiologist a good career?

An epidemiologist often investigates and describes health-related situations. This may include disease, health outcomes, and disability. They typically work to oversee public health programs and may do some health care planning. They may also work to improve public health policy based on the evidence they have. Many in this field may plan and direct studies that are related to disease, including both animal and health. They may work in areas of preventative methods or treatment of those diseases. Many may also design and manage study protocols, monitor reports of infection disease, and work in local and state agencies to oversee community health.

Epidemiologists often need numerous skills, including a solid understanding of scientific rules and methods, critical thinking skills, and good reading comprehension. They often also need to be active learners and problem solvers. They typically need to be able to make judgements based on data available to them.

Work activities typically including analyzing data or information available to them, finding new sources of information, interacting with computers and software programs, and processing information. They may also solve problems related to the field. This may include directing medical services available to the community or healthcare programs. It may include developing social and economic research, researching disease, and communicating with government agencies.

Those who work in this field typically need to have a graduate degree. In many situations, this is a master’s degree, but others may further their education with a Ph.D. or M.D. as well. Job training may be minimal at the time of being hired. Many of these occupations may require people to already know how to do their job and handle the various steps in this field. Work-related experience could be helpful, though.

Masters in Public Health , Epidemiologist Career Skills
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

2020 Median Salary for Epidemiologists

These are the 2020 median annual salaries by state for those working as epidemiologists according to BLS.gov.

State2020 Median Annual SalaryState2020 Median Annual Salary
Alabama$69,650AlaskaN/A
Arizona$56,460Arkansas$60,920
California$96,530Colorado$64,780
Connecticut$79,870DelawareN/A
Georgia$55,440FloridaN/A
IdahoN/AHawaiiN/A
Indiana$52,480Illinois$79,330
Kansas$59,460Iowa$66,010
Louisiana$83,450Kentucky$56,900
Maryland$83,450MaineN/A
Minnesota$74,850Massachusetts$82,020
MontanaN/AMichigan$69,860
Nevada$91,740Mississippi$40,580
New Jersey$97,940Missouri$54,450
New YorkN/ANebraska$62,820
North DakotaN/ANew HampshireN/A
Oklahoma$64,780New Mexico$68,300
Pennsylvania$82,910North Carolina70,370
South CarolinaN/AOhio$72,420
Tennessee$83,600Oregon$77,770
Utah$73,660Rhode IslandN/A
Virginia$75,360South DakotaN/A
Wisconsin$70,420Texas$66,510
Washington$98,990VermontN/A
West Virginia$61,660WyomingN/A
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Sandy Baker

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

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