A doctor with a master of public health (MPH) degree has obtained an education in disease prevention and control, social and health policies, global health issues, food policies and ethical issues in public health administration. Doctors with an MPH degree are often public health physicians that work in the public sector, but obtaining an MPH provides other career options, including epidemiology, food safety inspection and health policy analysis.
MPH Admission Requirements
Though admissions requirements vary for MPH programs, many institutions require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant work experience. For a practicing doctor, the academic requirement and work background are easily fulfilled, but candidates are also often required to submit personal statements of professional goals and letters of recommendation. Applicants with doctoral degrees are usually given an exemption from the standardized test requirement.
An MPH degree will typically require one or two years to complete, but it could take longer if a candidate is attending classes on a part-time basis. Core classes include environmental health, epidemiology, health policy and biostatistics. Most MPH programs also require students to complete a field training practicum under the supervision of a senior faculty member. This provides real-world application of learned skills, which will be familiar to many doctors who have likely had years of practical experience in their own field.
Many MPH degree programs offer concentrations that allow students to specialize in a specific area of expertise. Common concentrations include public health education, infectious disease, global health, health and social behavior, health care management and policy, and law and public health. For doctors, an infectious disease concentration is especially applicable, because it deals with the identification, study, control and prevention of domestic and international communicable diseases.
Doctors who complete an MPH degree can pursue work in fields such as health services, epidemiology (the study of the cause and effects of diseases in human populations), food safety inspection, health education and policy analysis. Employers are varied and include the private and public sector. Government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control often hire doctors with an MPH to act as researchers and policy analysts, and to develop methods to combat airborne diseases.