Choosing a Public Health Degree

Choosing a Public Health Degree

The best program for you will depend on the type of career you wish to pursue. For instance, there is often a distinction made between professional degrees and academic degrees in public health. Professional degree programs train students to become public health practitioners. These degrees are ideal if you want to work in community health departments, hospitals, state and federal agencies, managed care organizations, etc. The MPH, DrPH, and MHA are included in this category.


Academic degree programs prepare students for research and work at academic institutions. This includes the PhD, MSPH degrees. If your interest is primarily in research and/or teaching, you may want to consider earning one of these degrees.


Prior to making your decision, you should contact the individual schools hosting these degree programs. It is often possible to tailor your training to your specific interests. For additional information about various careers and degree requirements, consult the following print resources. Both publications offer comprehensive overviews of public health careers and degree requirements for each of them.


Seltzer B. 101 Careers in Public Health. New York: Springer Publishing Company; 2011


DeBuono BA, Tilson H, eds. Advancing Healthy Populations: The Pfizer Guide to Careers in Public Health. New York: Pfizer Inc; 2003