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Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) Degree Program Overview

Majors Overview January 9, 2018

This article talks about the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree program and its education requirements, coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) Program

Schools offer both a professional degree program in the guise of a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) and an academic degree in the form of the Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.). The emphasis of the latter is usually on research.

Students can gain expertise in the collection and analysis of health data gathered in the community. Coursework involves the exploration of theory development and a grasp of the impact of those theories on the problems in the community and public health.

Students in MSPH degree programs can opt for a variety of concentrations of study, including epidemiology, health policy, health management, biostatistics, or environmental health. Students take two years to complete master’s degree programs in this field, generally comprising of 36-40 semester hours. The curriculum requires the writing and defense of a thesis before completion of the degree.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, among other requirements. The bachelor’s degree may be in any major; however, applicants with degrees in unrelated majors are usually required to complete additional prerequisite coursework. Other admission requirements include the submission of test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and meeting of a minimum GPA requirement.


Program coursework combines classroom lectures and internship programs devised to impart real-world experience at research facilities. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Health care law
•Health care policies
•Health service management
•Social and behavioral medicine
•Data management
•Designing clinical trials
•Biomedical applications

Career Options

Program graduates can seek careers that involve either research or implementation of healthcare policies. Work settings may include private industry, government, or academia. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Community healthcare advocate
•Government policy specialist
•Healthcare program director
•Health policy analyst
•Research Consultant

Job and Wage Outlook

Health educators and epidemiologists are expected to see respective job growths of 16% and 9%, over the 2016-2026 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2016, epidemiologists and health educators brought in respective average annual wages of $70,820 and $44,390.

Continuing Education Options

Program graduates who seek continuing education may earn a Ph.D. degree in Public Health that could result in higher-level management positions in research facilities and hospitals.

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