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Public Health Masters Programs

For students who want to further their education and prepare themselves for a career that might help better their communities, earning a master’s degree in public health might be the perfect option. Public health professionals may typically work to ensure the continuing health of people and the safety of the places they spend time in, from homes to workspaces, to play areas.i Contrary to many health professionals that seek to treat those who may already be ailing, public health workers might focus more on preventing people from becoming sick in the first place.i This might come from education, outreach, research, or policy work.i Professionals in this field might track diseases, advocate for health-conscious laws, or seek to find out what causes poor health.i If these tasks sound like part of a career you might want to pursue, keep reading to learn details about how to go about earning your masters in public health online.

Essentials of a Public Health Master’s Degree

A master’s degree might typically be considered a second-cycle,ii or graduate degree – earned after a student has already completed a bachelor’s degree program.iii In fact, they may be the most common type of degree for students to earn when studying beyond a bachelor’s degree.ii

Generally requiring one to two years of study,iii master’s degree programs may typically be one of two main types: research master’s degrees and professional master’s degrees.ii Research degrees might typically be in academic subjects, and unsurprisingly may focus mostly on research and the preparation of a master’s thesis.ii Professional master’s degrees, meanwhile, may instead involve more direct preparation for students to pursue a specific career after graduation.ii  Be sure to look into which focus the programs you’re considering might have before enrolling.

You may also notice when researching your options that different public health master’s programs offer masters in public health online degrees with different titles. Master’s degrees, in fact, may be awarded with a range of titles.ii While the most common may be the Master of Science and the Master of Arts degrees,iii you might often see programs offering a Master of Public Health or a Master of Public Health Education.ii While the title of the degree may not tell you everything you need to know about the masters in public health online program, it could help indicate the focus of the course of study. Be sure to check with the school to see what their degree title might mean for you.

Concentrations for a Masters of Public Health

Depending on the program or school you choose, you may be able to select a concentration, or focus area, while earning your master’s degree in public health. While different schools may offer different concentrations, and some schools may not have the option to choose a focus area at all, you can take a look below to see potential examples of concentrations you might come across in your search for the perfect program:

  • Communications
  • Policy
  • Program planning
  • Global health
  • Ethics
  • Public health administration

Keep in mind that a masters in public health online program may not offer these concentrations, so be sure to reach out to the school itself before enrolling to see what their options might be. Keep in mind what careers you’d like to pursue and which concentrations might best fit your goals.

Coursework to Earn a Masters in Public Health Online

With so many different degree types and concentrations available, you may not be surprised to hear that the coursework offered or required in a masters in public health online may vary greatly. Because of this, it’s difficult to narrow down what course topics you might expect to be covered while earning your degree, but some potential examples can be found listed below:

  • Epidemiology
  • Environment and health
  • Ethics
  • Statistics
  • Behavior and health
  • Health informatics
  • Grant writing
  • Occupational health

Be sure to check out the specific curriculum of any program you may be interested in before enrolling. Course requirements might vary depending on a number of factors.

Potential Career Pursuits in Public Health

Depending on the concentration you choose and your career goals, there may be a range of different careers you might want to pursue after earning a degree through masters of public health programs. One of these might be as an epidemiologist.iv Workers in this occupation typically study public health issues and disease patterns to find ways to prevent outbreaks and epidemics.v In 2015, their median annual income was $69,450.vi

Another potential career to pursue after earning a public health master’s degree online might be as an occupational health and safety specialist.vii These professionals work to ensure that workplaces are safe and hazard-free by carrying out inspections, designing workplace procedures, and investigating accidents.viii In 2015, they earned a median annual salary of $70,210.ix

Getting Started With a Masters in Public Health Online 

To begin comparing and contrasting your options for earning an online master’s in public health degree, feel free to get going right here on eLearners.com by checking out our sponsored listings. Then, when you find the programs that look like they might be perfect for you, be sure to reach out to the schools themselves to request additional information.


[i] apha.org/what-is-public-health | [ii] www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/master.doc | [iii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2008/fall/art01.pdf | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm#tab-4 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm#tab-2 | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm#tab-1 | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists.htm#tab-4 | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists.htm#tab-2 | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists.htm#tab-1

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