Skip to main content

Public Health Careers

Public Health Degrees 

  • MPH Master of Public Health * 
  • MHA Master of Health Administration 
  • MHSA Master of Health Services Administration 
  • MSPH Master of Science in Public Health * 
  • DrPH Doctor of Public Health 
  • PhD Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health 
  • Accelerated combined programs, such as Northwestern's APHP (5-year BA/MPH)
  • The difference between the MPH and a MSPH is that a MPH tends to focus on community practice (and often has a practicum/internship component) whereas an MSPH tends to be more science & research based.  
Public Health Core Disciplines 
  • Administration & Management 
  • Business (consulting, management) 
  • Community Practice 
  • Education 
  • Government/Law 
  • Healthcare 
  • IT 
  • Marketing & Public Relations 
  • Research 
  • Policy 
Examples of Top Graduate Schools with Programs in Public Health 
Degree Concentrations within Public Health
  • Biochemistry/Molecular Biology 
  • Biostatistics 
  • Clinical Research 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Environmental Health and Policy 
  • Occupational Health 
  • Exercise Science 
  • Health Management/Administration 
  • Health Behavior 
  • Health Law, Bioethics, & Human Rights 
  • Health Policy  
  • Health Promotion 
  • Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology 
  • International Health 
  • Maternal and Child Health 
  • Mental Health 
  • Molecular Microbiology and Immunology 
  • Population, Family, and Reproductive Health 
  • Public Health Communications and Marketing 
  • Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases 
  • Public Health Nutrition 
  • Socio-medical Sciences  

Most Popular Concentrations within Public Health

Biostatistics involves the statistical analysis of biomedical sciences. Its purpose is to determine a population’s health risks, uncover the root causes of population health problems, and assess the effectiveness of public health initiatives. 
Industries: Academia, biotechnology firms, healthcare facilities, national and international health agencies, non-profits/NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, research institutions 
Example Job TitlesBiostatistician, Professor, Clinical Trials Analyst, Research Statistician/Analyst 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Biostatistics MPH programs typically require a bachelor’s degree in biological, physical, or social sciences and some academic background in mathematics and statistics.** 
Environmental Health

Environmental Health aims to understand and control the physical, chemical, and biological factors that impact health outcomes.  
Industries: Academia, consulting firms, government agencies, healthcare facilities, non-profits/NGOs, manufacturing, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies, research institutions  
Example Job Titles: Environmental Health Officer, Environmental Scientist, Compliance Officer, Industrial Hygienist, Toxicologist 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Environmental Health Sciences MPH programs typically require a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or physical sciences.** 


Epidemiology is the study of the prevention, cause, and distribution of disease, as well as the health determinants that affect risk. 
Industries: Academia, healthcare facilities, national and international agencies, government agencies, non-profits and NGOs, research institutions 
Example Job Titles: Occupational Epidemiologist, Public Health Epidemiologist, Risk Analyst, director of a medical research center 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Epidemiology MPH programs typically require a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or health, biological, or social sciences with some academic background in mathematics and statistics.** 

Health Behavior and Education 

Health Behavior Education is the study of behavioral determinants of health and the implementation of educational initiatives to address these behaviors and improve health outcomes.  
Industries: Academia, community mental health centers, consumer advocacy organizations, consulting firms, healthcare facilities, government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, voluntary health agencies 
Example Job Titles: Behavioral Scientist, Health Promotion Specialist, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Project Coordinator, Research Associate, Health Educator 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Often there are no specific coursework requirements but a professional background with public health related experience is ideal.**  

Health Policy and Management 

Health Policy and Management refers to the analytic assessment of factors affecting population health outcomes, the development of policy to address these factors, and the coordination and administration of health systems.  
Industries: Academia, advocacy organizations, consulting firms, government agencies, health insurance firms, healthcare facilities, national and international health agencies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, research and policy institutions, and regulatory agencies 
Example Job Titles: Executive Director, Health Economist, Project Specialist, Program Evaluation and Planning Health Officer, Hospital/Managed Care Operations Administrator, Public Health Advisor, Research Associate 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Often there are no specific coursework requirements but a professional background with public health related experience is ideal.** 

International Health 

International Health is the study of health determinants on a global scale and promotes international cooperation to address large-scale health problems and epidemics. Interest areas within International Health include disaster management, forced migration, humanitarian assistance, water & sanitation, infectious and non-communicable disease, and sexuality/gender. 
Industries: Academia, international health agencies, government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, research institutions 
Example Job Titles: Health Scientist, Public Health Analyst, Consultant, Development Professional, Public Health Advisor, Research Associate 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Oftentimes there are no specific coursework requirements but a professional background with public health related experience is ideal. Some background in algebra and statistics is also generally encouraged.** 

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health professionals focus on health determinants, initiatives, and policies that specifically affect women and children such as birth control and vaccinations. 
Industries: Academia, healthcare facilities, international health agencies, government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, research institutions 
Job Titles: Clinical/Medical Director, Health Sciences Consultant, Project Director, Public Health Prevention Specialist, Research Associate 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Admission requirements for graduate programs in this field are diverse but may include a strong quantitative/analytic background, volunteer or work experience in a health program geared towards women, children, and/or families, and basic coursework or experience in physiology and/or human development.** 

Population Health

Population Health involves demography, wherein statistical analysis is used to determine a community’s health needs and deficiencies. The distribution of health determinants and outcomes is also a focal component of these studies. 
Industries: Government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, research institutions, United Nations agencies 
Example Job Titles: Consultant, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Evaluation Coordinator, Health Promotion Specialist, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Information Manager, Program Coordinator, Research Associate, Research Consultant 
Undergraduate Academic Background: These programs often require a background in biology and/or other natural sciences, mathematics (e.g. algebra, calculus, and statistics), and social science.** 

Public Health Nutrition 

Public Health Nutrition assesses how populations eat, which nutrients are essential for health, and whether a community’s dietary needs are met by environmental and other determinants. Nutrition studies can also lead to clinical dietician licensing.  
Industries: Academia, exercise and fitness centers, food manufacturers, health-related magazines and internet sites, healthcare facilities, government agencies, nursing homes 
Example Job Titles: Clinical/Registered Dietician, Consultant, Nutritionist, Policy Assistant, Program Coordinator, Research Associate, Worksite Wellness Specialist 
Undergraduate Academic Background: Programs in Nutrition may require a background in the natural sciences with such coursework as biology, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, calculus, food and nutrition sciences. Some social sciences are also recommended.** 


**Note: Each graduate school has different stipulations for admission. Please consult individual websites for specific requirements. Information listed is for general reference purposes only.