Degrees in public health prepare graduates for the professional and academic challenges of the field, and equip them with the resources to solve and advance them. In addition to traditional in-person degree options, there are many schools and programs that offer nontraditional degree programs. These include certificate programs, online degree programs, executive programs, and summer institutes. The search for an academic program tool provides a complete list of options.

The Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in public health provides the foundations for a future career in public health. Graduates are prepared for entry-level roles in employers such as health departments, non-profits, and the private sector. A BS, BA, and BSPH are not necessary prerequisites to apply for a graduate-level degree in public health.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is the most common graduate-level degree awarded by CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health. The degree is suited for students interested in pursuing a professional career in public health, and is not primarily geared toward teaching or research. Common work environments include hospitals, consulting firms, international agencies, state and federal agencies, health departments, managed care organizations, community-based organizations, among others. Beyond the MPH, the Master of Health Administration (MHA) prepares students for careers in hospital administration, health policy, and health service management. Alternatively, the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Health Sciences (MHS), are academic degrees oriented toward students wishing to seek a career in teaching or conducting research at a college or university or other settings and who intend to go on to a doctoral degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in public health is designed to prepare the student for a profession in teaching and research. PhDs and Doctor of Science (ScD) in public health continue their careers teaching at a university, conducting research in a national laboratory, or doing field work with populations across the globe. The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree is an applied research degree which prepares students for senior-level leadership roles in public health practice.

A dual degree program is one in which a student enrolls simultaneously in two graduate programs (usually within the same institution), and works towards two graduate degrees. Some graduate programs come together through a formal agreement to design a way for a student to earn the two degrees (one in each program) in an abbreviated period. At other schools and programs students may design their own joint-degree program. Examples of common dual degrees include:


Graduates with an MPH/MD can apply their clinical skills with a public health perspective. They may work in a traditional clinical setting or in a public health setting where they can apply their medical knowledge to complex public health issues.


Graduates with a MPH/JD degree focus on health policy public health law, and advocacy. They often look at how federal and local laws and regulations impact the public’s health.


Graduates with a combined MPH/MSN degree work on the front-line of public health managing public health interventions and public health programs.


Graduates with an MPH/MBA combine their organizational management and leadership skills which are used in hospital settings, managing health care organizations and non-profits.


An MPH dual degree with a Masters of Social Work is geared towards individuals interested in the intersection of social work in the health care system. Often courses are designed to teach students a preventative approach to health and social issues with an emphasis on underserved populations.


Graduates with an MPH/PharmD dual degree are equipped to have special expertise in pharmacology, health promotion, disease prevention, and population health. Students will have advanced knowledge in the treatment of disease, medication safety, and pharmacotherapy.


Students with an interest in Public Health and Physical Therapy can pursue a dual degree with an integrated approach to health care. Graduates are able to be more responsive to today’s health care needs by training physical therapists to be leaders in prevention, health promotion, and population health.


The MPH degree can be combined with countless Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees, as well as Master in Public Policy and Master in Program Management. Common MPH/MA (MS) include International Development, Biomedical Studies, Latin American Studies, and Anthropology.

Academic Program Finder

Selecting a graduate degree is an important decision. Factors like academics, graduate support, research and practice opportunities, program delivery, and location help you find the right fit. Visit our Academic Program Finder to help you find the best school or program for you

Academic Program Finder