Trying to make a choice between a master’s in public health (MPH) and a master’s of public policy (MPP) can be a difficult decision, but with proper information in front of you, the choice is easier. Below is more information about these two degrees to help guide your decision.

An MPH is the degree of choice for public health professionals. This degree will provide you with the highly-regarded credential that you need to be an advocate in the local community to best develop healthy people, organizations and communities as a whole. With your MPH, you will have a much better knowledge of the core competencies of public health, which we list below. You also will become much more adept at the important public health concepts of communication, leadership and community diversity.

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The topics you will focus on in most of your master’s in public health training include:

  • Environmental health sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Healthcare systems and financing
  • Social and behavioral aspect of health
  • Biostatistics
  • Program evaluation
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Law and ethical issues in public health

A master’s of public policy puts a focus on mastering the skills that are necessary to succeed in the arena of policy analysis, program evaluation, management and politics. These skills are of great value in many local, state and national government settings, as well as think tanks and consulting firms. These institutions are always in need of well trained policy analysts who are able to take apart a problem, analyze data and interpret it, and then create strong policy proposals for action.

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Some of the questions and problems you may address in your work with an MPP include:

  • How can the sectors of business and government work together to create economic policies that are strong and sustainable?
  • How can policy makers in urban settings provide good, affordable housing?
  • What can schools and educators do to cut down on childhood obesity and improve graduation rates?
  • How can the local government do a better job of engaging with members of the community to make better policy?

In summary , an MPH is well suited for the professional who is interested in working closely with the community on solving and preventing public health problems. An MPP is better suited for the professional who is interesting in engaging in the political process to influence policy outcomes.

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