Sep 11, 2013

I was just wondering if anyone knew about the types of jobs and their prospects for graduates with a MPH or MHA degree, and if I can apply with just a bachelor's degree in sciences.

Truthfully speaking, (and please no judging or harsh criticisms) I'm a little scared about completely committing myself to medical school & residencies and such only to spend the next 8+ years of my life working towards something that I might realize I may or may not enjoy doing, but I still want to work in a field related to healthcare. So before I apply to medical school I was thinking of spending some time to explore my other career options and after taking a couple of classes in public and global health, I am interested in pursuing a masters of public health degree (MPH) or Masters of Health Administration (MHA) degree. I'll have to make my decision about continuing with my medical education after the end of the year of course, but I would still like to take some time to veer off the pre-med track for a bit and see if it is truly something that I wish to do.

Thanks everyone!!
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Dec 15, 2013
1) MPHs are 2-year degrees. Increasingly there are some 1-year programs, but often only at the better schools, which is great if you can get in. Also, even if you do a yearlong program, you'll have to apply to med school during that year to attend med school right afterwards. You're going to have to take 2 gap years if this is to really work out for you to have time and consider PH work before medicine.
2) Job prospects depend on the school. Bloomberg/HSPH will have no problem getting into practically what they want. Look online at school bulletins and you'll see where their graduates often go to work. You'll need to dig.

Generally, the skills that an MPH offers the best competitive advantage in are stuff like quantitative analysis, database management, modeling, research along those lines. You'll learn things in epidemiology, chronic disease, social determinants of health, etc. If you have an interest in policy, many programs also offer health policy/management tracks, but it's only worth it if the university has a business or policy school attached where you can take courses at, rather than just 2 random things the school threw together just to be able to say they offer an additional "track."
Jan 15, 2014
So, I went the exact route you're considering now. I'm currently finishing up an MPH, specializing in health policy, at a highly regarded university in that field. Now I'm applying to medical school and the application cycle's going quite well. Hopefully I can provide some insight and answer some questions.

Understand that MPH programs are insanely broad. There is a core set of classes, but the specialization tracks are very different. Epi and biostats specialists may go on to work for local health departments or the CDC. In my field, many people go on to work as policy analysts or lobbyists for government agencies, industry groups, advocacy organizations, or think tanks. Some work on the staffs of local or national politicians. (As an aside, if you are at all interested in policy, as opposed to health care admin, find a school where the policy track is separate from the management track. Just my two cents.)

That being said, what you learn (and the connections you make) have (IMHO) tremendous value to a future in medicine. You get a slightly different perspective that's very focused on population health and societal context. And you can combine careers to create an even wider array of options down the road. For example, I'm interested in being a clinician who designs/implements community-based interventions. But I could also work in government or for a non-profit later down the road. It really opens up a lot of possibilities, but it also delays your entry into med school by at least 2 years.