Iowa Public Health Graduate Schools

MPH Programs are worth considering if you are an industry professional with work experience and aspire to transition into a leadership role or a particular specialty field within public health, such as epidemiology or health education. Master of Public Health Programs typically prepare students to take on management roles in public health administration, as well as address health issues—locally and globally—using advanced methodologies and current research. Studying on campus provides the opportunity to learn in a social learning setting where you can connect with peers and professors in real-time.

MPH Programs: Basics

An MPH is a multi-disciplinary professional degree that covers topics such as biostatistics, epidemiology, health communication and education, health policy and administration, health services, environmental health, and behavioral and social sciences. People who earn a Masters of Public Health degree are prepared to utilize and apply this diverse skill set in a variety of potential public health careers.

Admission to MPH Programs requires a Bachelor’s degree; some of the common undergraduate degrees might include education, biology, sociology and business. Work experience and a designated grade point average may also be required. For full-time students, it may take 2 years to complete an MPH degree however, this may vary between universities and depend on your program, whether you are researching your thesis, or have an internship or practicum to complete. It is not uncommon that master’s degree programs in public health require students to complete an internship or practicum that typically ranges from a semester to a year[i].

DID YOU KNOW? Master’s degrees are preferred by employers of medical and health services managers.(BLS)[ii]

Potential Features of On-Campus MPH Programs

The interdisciplinary nature of a Master in Public Health Program may make it advantageous to choose a graduate school with a campus program. For one thing, if you are studying various topics, you may enjoy having access to all the faculties’ libraries and resources, laboratories and study groups. On-campus learning is by nature, interactive. You get the opportunity to learn amongst like-minded people, network, build interpersonal skills and feel part of a community. Plus, not all learning happens from textbooks; being in classroom as questions are answered by professors or watching a live in-class demonstration might have lots of appeal.

What You Need to Know About Program Accreditation

Selecting an accredited MPH program is important because it affirms to employers that you attended an institution which was reviewed officially by a third party and approved and proof that your degree is legit.

Accreditation typically comes in two forms: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation—occurs both at the national and regional levels is the vetting of a college or university. Programmatic accreditation, sometimes called ‘specialized’ or ‘professional’ accreditation focuses on specific programs, departments, or subsections of colleges and universities that already hold institutional accreditation.

In terms of public health, The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the programmatic accreditation agency which reviews and approves public health education programs throughout the U.S. It is the most respected accrediting agency for public health programs in the country.

What is the Difference Between the MPH and MSPH Degrees?

Choosing the ‘right’ MPH Program means finding one that aligns with any specific career focus you might have. That being said, the two main master’s degrees in public health each have a different orientation even though they may share some coursework. The two degree options are the Master of Public Health and the Master of Science in Public Health.

Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is considered a professional degree. If you are interested in planning, directing or coordinating medical and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, or similar organizations (e.g. Health and Social Service Manager, or Director of Nursing)[iii], an MPH is likely your academic fit. These degrees either place more emphasis on an understanding of epidemiology and statistics as the scientific basis of public health practice or include a more eclectic range of methodologies.[iv] For instance, search for specific concentration areas in Public Health on the directory to find:

  • Bioethics Masters Degrees
  • Epidemiology Masters Degrees
  • Health Education & Communication Masters Degrees
  • International Health Masters Degrees
  • Occupational Health & Safety Masters Degrees

Potential MPH Curriculum

Coursework for an MPH program is usually less focused on research methodology and the curriculum generally includes a study of the five basic areas of public health[v]:

  • Epidemiology
  • Public health administration and policy
  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental Health
  • Behavioral/Social Science

Master of Science in Public Health

The Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree is considered an academic public health degree and is more research-oriented. The MSPH prepares graduates for potential careers in academia or research settings as educators, researchers or policy analysts with career goals that might include monitoring of existing standards in public health service, correlating and incorporating data to generate new strategies to directed to ameliorate public health problems, and enforcing regulations that ensure public health and safety[vi].Most MSPH programs also take an average of two years to complete and may require students to write and defend a thesis to fulfill degree requirements; research-oriented MSPH degrees may require up to 48 credits may be completed in 3 to 5 years.

Potential MSPH Curriculum

Master of Science Public Health coursework may include topics such as:

  • Foundational public health classes
  • Specialization studies
  • Approved electives
  • Research methodology (e.g. biostatistics)

Initiate Your Search

Ready to search for accredited MPH programs? makes it easy for you to find graduate schools for MPH Programs by location; use the city, state or country tabs to review sponsored listings such as Master of Science in Communication: Health Communication, Master of Arts- Health and Wellness, Public Health (MPH) and MSc in Global Challenges amongst others.

Take the Next Step

Contemporary public health practice involves a diverse group of skilled professionals. Whether your goal is to work locally helping to advocate for child welfare[vii], or abroad working to help developing nations with public health initiatives to deal with HIV/AIDS[viii], a master of public health is the type of degree that might open your professional horizons to some interesting opportunities; take the next step and review our directory of MPH on-campus programs and graduate schools.

sources: [i] |[ii] |[iii] |[iv] |[v] | [vi] | [vii]  | [viii]

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