Top Reasons to Get a MPH Degree

MPH graduate in graduation cap and gown
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Making the choice to go to graduate school is a big decision no matter which field you choose. There are big considerations like work-life balance, cost and just plain whether the degree is worth the effort. Even if you go into graduate school fresh off of earning your bachelor’s degree, there are still lifestyle changes to be made.

For those wishing to pursue a career in public health, going for a master of public health degree might be just the right thing to do. Here are six reasons to get an MPH degree.

You Want to Solve Big Problems

By its nature, public health is a broad field. It encompasses fields like epidemiology and biostatistics and adds its own flavor to public policy, law, environmental studies and health care. People in these more specific fields interact and cooperate under the banner of public health.

Public health is also broad in the sense that its problems are big. How do we stop the spread of HIV/AIDS? How do we deliver clean water to third world populations? How do we reduce teen pregnancy rates in developed countries? These examples are just a few of the big problems public health professionals tackle each day. These problems demand interdisciplinary approaches, and those with MPH degrees are exactly the right people to coordinate teams working toward solutions.

You Want to Help People

Public health professionals are ultimately concerned about people. They focus their work on making people’s lives better. Different public health professionals do this differently. For instance, an epidemiologist studies how a disease moves from one host to another and figures out ways to slow or stop the disease’s spread. The epidemiologist’s focus is on the disease, but the work is about preserving people’s health and perhaps even their lives.

Here’s another example. A public health educator specializing in HIV/AIDS works with individuals to help them make healthy choices for both themselves and for their romantic partners. The public health educator wants each person who comes to him or her for advice, counseling or information to live healthier. The educator’s knowledge is about HIV/AIDS, but the work is focused on individuals’ health. No matter what areas of study you choose as your focus in your MPH program, you will prepare yourself for work helping people.

You Can Dig Into What Really Interests You

As we’ve said, public health is an umbrella for a group of related fields including but not limited to epidemiology, biostatistics, health care policy, environmental public health and public health law. And within each field, there are many facets to explore and upon which to you can build a career. By studying public health, you can dig into what interests you. And after all, graduate school is the place to take deep dives into subject matters that grab your attention.

You Can Strengthen Your Research Skills

Research is a critical component of most graduate programs, and public health is no exception. Not only will you learn about the material in your courses, you will conduct original research. Even before you graduate, you will have the opportunity to contribute new knowledge to your chosen field.  In fact, many graduates go onto careers as researchers.

You Will Become a Better Writer

Pretty much gone are the days of multiple choice tests. Once you’re in graduate school, you’re looking at essay questions and research papers as ways to earn your grades. These assignments put an emphasis on explaining what you know. If for no other reason than sheer volume of practice, you will become a better writer. And if you’re not a strong writer at the start of graduate school, you can become an accomplished writer by the time you earn your MPH.

You Will Beef up Your Resume

Adding initials behind your name is a good way to make yourself more marketable to employers. By earning a degree relevant to the job you want, you give yourself a better shot at beating out the competition. A graduate degree shows you are serious about your field and that you're invested in your career.