A Master's in Public Health degree opens up a wide range of opportunities in the public and private sectors. This advanced graduate program, which is recognized the world over for the highly skilled professionals it produces, is offered at prestigious institutions across the United States. An individual with a graduate degree public health can expect to find job opportunities at the federal, state and local government levels, within a number of different agencies. So, what exactly is required to qualify for a Master's in Public Health program, and what will be necessary in order to complete it successfully?

Requirements to Get Into the Program

Academic standards for getting into any graduate program will vary from one university to another, but most universities start by looking at a candidate's academic performance. This will include some broad strokes, but the important part is the maintenance of a 3.0-3.5 GPA during the last two years of any preceding Bachelor's program. If the candidate has engaged in other post-baccalaureate academics, such as pursuing professional certifications, academic performance in those areas will be held to an equivalent standard. A student seeking admissions into a Public Health graduate program will typically be required to submit GRE scores, and may have to take an English proficiency exam, depending upon their country of origin. Finally, a statement of purpose and a personal history statement are required, as part of a demonstration of personal intent.

Requirements to Complete the Program

Individual college and university public health program requirements don't vary a lot in terms of their overall areas of interest. Of particular importance are areas such as community health, environmental health sciences, and epidemiology. Most public health majors will also be required to study health policy and healthcare administration. Critical to most job functions within the field is the ability analyze and derive actionable data from statistical analysis, so probability and statistics are also a strong area of study, with specific attention paid to their use in the overall field of healthcare. Electives usually fall into the categories previously described, allowing students to focus their efforts in a particular area, without sacrificing vital general training.

What Are Some Good Bachelor's Degrees to Lead Into Public Health?

Aside from the obvious choice of a Bachelor's in Public Health, there are several popular degree programs available today which produce strong candidates for graduate studies in the field. A degree in environmental health sciences is one of the most sought-after programs in terms of producing eventual public health professionals, given our current focus on environmentally friendly technology and public policies. Private employers are also interested in mitigating the negative health impacts of their products and services, and will often hire public health analysts with experience in biology and chemistry. Finally, the federal government maintains a number of positions for public health officials concerned with containing the spread of infectious diseases, making epidemiology a strong route to a public health degree. These are not the only options in existence, but they do represent a strong route to the graduate program in question.

As with any advanced academic program that involves dealing with the public at large, a student's academic performance is only a small part of the overall equation. With so many people pursuing public health degrees today, significant emphasis is placed on community service and other extracurricular activities. Prospective employers, whether public or private, want to interview candidates who have demonstrated an interest in, and dedication to, the overall improvement of the general public's quality of life. Professional success with a Master's in Public Health requires the ability to engage with, and be concerned about, the well-being of the public at large.

See also: Top 10 Cheap Online MPH Degree Programs