MPH Vs MSN

Learn about the differences between Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Nursing programs, including admission requirements, program curriculum, program length, and careers each program can qualify an individual for.

The Differences Between an MPH and an MSN

Master of Public Health

A Master of Public Health is a graduate degree program that gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to work with populations to increase community and global health and health awareness and bring change to the healthcare system in executive positions. Graduate public health programs typically last two years, and common entrance requirements include a bachelor's degree, letters of recommendation, a CV/resume, official transcripts and, depending on the school, GRE test scores. Some schools may require a specific test score or minimum GPA. Students earning public health master's degrees typically choose a specialization, which in turn, defines the courses they will take, but common topics in core classes can include public health systems, policy, and leadership. Graduates of an MPH program can pursue careers as epidemiologists and social and community service managers for health organizations.

Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing is a graduate degree program that gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to practice nursing at an advanced level and work in healthcare administration. Nursing programs at the graduate level typically last two years and common entrance requirements include a bachelor's degree in nursing, a current RN license, a CV/resume, official transcripts, letters of recommendation and a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Some schools offer bridge programs for people who do not have a BSN. The curriculum of a nursing master's program relies on what specialty an individual chooses to focus on, but some common topics in core courses can include nursing practice theory, research, leadership, and policy. Graduates of an MSN program can continue to work in clinical professions such as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or in executive positions such as a healthcare administrator.

Degree Program Program Length Requirements Related Careers
Master of Public Health 2 years *Bachelor's degree *Epidemiologist
*Social and Community Service Manager
Master of Science in Nursing 2 years *Bachelor of Science in Nursing
*RN license
*Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
*Healthcare Administrator

MPH Careers vs MSN Careers

Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists are professionals in the public health sector who investigate the causes and patterns of diseases and injuries in humans. Their typical job duties can include researching, recording, and analyzing data-which can come in the form of observation, interviews, surveys, and blood and bodily fluid samples-to find the causes of diseases in communities and populations, and reporting this data to other professionals who can affect change, such as practitioners and policymakers, as well as the general public. Individuals with a Master of Public Health with an epidemiology concentration would be qualified for this career due to their skills and knowledge in spotting disease patterns, collecting and analyzing data, and working with specific populations.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers are individuals who work for service organizations to coordinate and supervise their programs. Typical job duties include hiring and managing staff, working with the community to identify which services and programs are needed, write grants and other funding proposals, advocate for the program, and develop and implement improvements for the service. An individual with a master's degree in public health would be qualified to work as a manager for a healthcare organization, due to their leadership skills and knowledge of public health policy and administration.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are nurses who specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as mental health nursing or nurse anesthetists. They are less supervised than registered nurses and can work independently or with physicians to administer patient care, prescribe medications, and order patient tests. A master of science in nursing can prepare individuals to practice at an advanced level if they choose to specialize in a clinical track.

Healthcare Administrators

Healthcare administrators work in clinical facilities to oversee the staff and patient care; they may work for a specific department or for the facility overall. Typical job duties can include recruiting, training and managing the staff, overseeing the budget, improving the quality of patient care, keeping and organizing records, and representing their facility in investor meetings or on governing boards. Healthcare administrators often need a valid RN license and a master's degree in nursing can give an individual the executive and leadership skills necessary for the job.

Job Type Median Salary (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Epidemiologists $69,660 5%
Social and Community Service Managers $65,320 13%
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses $113,930 26%
Healthcare Administrators $99,730 18%

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

The difference between a Master of Public Health and a Master of Science in Nursing is that a Master of Public Health does not qualify an individual to practice nursing, while an individual with an MSN degree may continue to practice alongside their executive duties. Careers for public health graduates can include epidemiology and healthcare organization management, while careers for nursing graduates can include advanced practice nursing and healthcare administration.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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