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One-Year Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Program

This article describes one-year Master of Public Health program coursework and admissions requirements as well as some of the career options available to graduates in not-for-profit, governmental, or private organizations.

Degree Information for Master of Public Health Degrees

An online, one-year Master of Public Health program is suitable for students who would like to improve overall public health and the effectiveness of community health systems. These programs often require the completion of courses over the summer and may offer a variety of concentrations in areas like global health or public health policy and management; some curricula are available completely online, while others feature a hybrid format. Programs typically admit students with a bachelor's degree, though there are some that require more advanced knowledge of public health or medicine as demonstrated by a professional degree and submission of a resume and previous transcripts; moreover, some institutions request letters of recommendation and a statement of interest.

Introduction to Biostatistics

This course is introductory in nature and allows students to explore the basic statistical methods that are commonly used in clinical research. Course topics provide a basic understanding of probabilities, sampling distributions, interval estimation, and hypothesis testing as well as other inferential and descriptive statistical techniques. Additionally, students refer to medical texts that demonstrate how these techniques have been applied in clinical research and learn how to outline and explain these results.

Introduction to Epidemiology

In this course, students go through the fundamental principles of epidemiology, gaining insight on a population-based paradigm of disease and health. Moreover, students learn the methods utilized in the observation, description, and investigation of disease and health in communities. Primarily, students learn the importance of statistics in the analysis of data pertaining to this subject.

Health Care in the U.S.

This course provides lectures on the history of the American healthcare system and how it is organized as well as the finance and administrative processes involved. Furthermore, through additional exercises and papers, students come to understand the stakeholders involved, health care reform issues, and the utilization of needs assessment in regards to the community. Thus, students can gain knowledge of how to plan healthcare system delivery as well as methods for observing and calculating standards of care.

Environmental Influences on Public Health

This course investigates the environmental influences on the health and safety of communities and discusses such topics as how chemical, physical, and biological risks in the environment influence health and the genetic or psycho-social factors that result in compromised health. Risks such as substandard waste disposal and poor water and air quality will be further explored through lectures and discussions. This course also includes strategies to rectify and prevent these risks from compromising community health, such as planning for more sustainable management of environmental exposures.

Health Planning and Evaluation

This course primarily focuses on the assessment of public and community health needs as well as respective program and intervention planning. It emphasizes the implementation of these programs as well as their evaluation through the use of both qualitative and quantitative data. This course might draw examples from existing health education, disease prevention, and health services programs.

Master of Public Health Career Paths

Biostatisticians

Biostatisticians work in public health agencies, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies. Their role is to analyze data, which can be used to identify causes of outbreaks in animals and humans. Moreover, biostatisticians conduct studies to determine the success rate of drugs in treating different medical conditions.

Epidemiologists

An epidemiologist plans studies and analyzes data collected from the field to track human diseases and their causes. They work in local government, university, and hospital health departments, and are also employed by various federal organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The training and education provided in an MPH program can help prevent against contact with highly infectious diseases and provide epidemiologists with the necessary research skills.

Environmental Health and Safety Specialists

Environmental scientists analyze data and identify environmental problems that can pose possible risks to human health. They are highly skilled in preparing and presenting research, skills that can be acquired through the biostatistics and research methods courses found in a public health master's degree program.

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists are responsible for the design and implementation of studies and experiments to determine the effectiveness of drugs, medical treatments, medical devices, and even health programs. A medical scientist with a public health background might focus on working with health departments and physicians to help improve patient care outcomes and community health programs.

Job TitleMedian Salary (2019)*Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Biostatisticians$92,030 (for all mathematicians and statisticians) 30% (for all mathematicians and statisticians)
Epidemiologists$70,9905%
Environmental Health and Safety Specialists$71,360 (for all environmental scientists and specialists)8% (for all environmental scientists and specialists)
Medical Scientists$88,7908%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Some, though not all, one-year online Master of Public Health programs require students to have had some experience or knowledge in the healthcare field. These programs offer the option of specializing in fields such as global health or public health policy and management, and usually practical application is required to complete the program.