Different online master’s in public health degree programs may include somewhat different curricula. They may emphasize distinct aspects of public health or offer different concentrations or academic tracks. However, there are important core subjects, like the following seven, that appear in the curricula of numerous graduate public health degree programs.
1. Research Methods in Public Health
Not all online master’s in public health degrees are research degrees, but it’s still essential for public health professionals to know the fundamentals of conducting research. In a research in public health course, students will learn how to develop quantitative and qualitative research studies and methods for gathering data accurately and ethically.
2. Statistics for Public Health
In a biostatistics or statistics for public health course, students learn how to make sense of research data through statistics. Instead of focusing on complex advanced mathematical calculations, public health statistics courses typically cover the basics of statistical inference and interpretation and the biostatistical methods used for analyzing research data.
Epidemiology is the study of how diseases surface in populations for the purpose of understanding and controlling public health concerns, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Students in an online master’s in public health degree program study epidemiology with the goal of learning how the science can be utilized to determine the causes, frequency and populations at risk for developing the disease.
4. Public Health Biology
Public health is a multidisciplinary field, and understanding the subject from a biological perspective is essential for success. Students in public health biology courses learn about the fundamental biological principles involved in disease development and prevention as well as current and anticipated biological research into diseases.
5. Public Health Behavior
Society and behaviors can play a large part in public health, particularly in the development of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Health behavior classes, such as social and behavioral sciences in public health and behavioral aspects of health, often cover topics such as the causes of health-related behaviors and how public health professionals can implement strategies to change these behavior to promote better health habits.
6. Public Health in America
To succeed in a public health role anywhere in the nation, candidates must understand the government agencies, medical providers and health policies already in place at the federal, state and local levels. Courses that focus on the American public health system endeavor to familiarize students with those systems and help them understand current public health issues.
7. Practicum or Internship Experience
Not all online master’s in public health degree programs will require an internship or practicum. However, for those degree programs that do, the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience is invaluable.
By offering core courses in a variety of disciplines, your online master’s in public health degree program will prepare you for future success in this career path.