For more information on careers in this field, click on the appropriate profession(s) in the Career Explorer section of this site.
Public health is the science and art of creating healthy communities through education, research, and promotion of healthy lifestyles. In public health, the focus is on health promotion and disease/injury prevention; this is in contrast to the medical model of care,which focuses more heavily upon diagnosing and treating illnesses and conditions after they occur.
Because of their "big picture" perspective, public health experts play a key role in emergency preparedness and response.* This may be why public health has become such a growing field in recent years.
You can earn over fifteen degrees from an accredited school of public health, including undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees. The most common are:
There are over 20 major fields of study. The five core disciplines are:
However, your degree may be in one of several other core public health areas. Examples are:
You can search for accredited schools of public health on the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). A list of accredited programs and schools can be found on the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) website.
NOTE: The Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) is the centralized online service for all students applying to an accredited school of public health.
For more information on pursuing a career in public health, visit This Is Public Health. A video has been created on This is Public Health to build awareness about careers and degree programs in public health by showcasing real people who use their degrees and experience to protect and promote the health of all.
You can also visit the Association of Schools of Public Health, What is Public Health, the American Public Health Association and Public Health Works! Another great site is Pathways to Public Health.
To help people understand just how important public health is in terms of emergency response, the University of Minnesota recently created an interactive online game called "Outbreak at Watersedge."
Also of interest: Context is a peer-reviewed electronic journal for health professions students who are working to improve the health of communities.
For more information about current issues related to public health, check out the American Journal of Public Health and Public Health Reports.
You can download, save and print a PDF of this overview:
Public Health Overview 18 Sep 2009 [pdf, 90 KB]
Delivered online, MPH@GW features live, face-to-face classes with GW faculty and classmates. Classes are supplemented by self-paced coursework that can be accessed 24/7 anywhere you have an Internet connection. You will also participate in a customized field experience that serves your career interests and professional development. Learn more about George Washington University ...
Behavioral Science / Health Education
Biomedical & Laboratory Practice
Environmental Health Sciences
Health Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health
Public Health Practice & Program Management
Last updated: May 7, 2013
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