Public Health Programs List Hero with Page Title

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Public Health Graduate Programs

Penn State College of Medicine's public health graduate programs aim to advance theory and practice that prepare future public health leaders, improve population health, and reduce health disparities through excellence in education, research and service. 

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PhD Programs Biostatistics

Technological advances in medicine have led to ever-growing datasets and constantly changing platforms and structures — and PhD-level biostatisticians are needed more than ever to help identify key scientific discoveries from these data.

At Penn State, you’ll have access to two newly established institutes that offer exciting opportunities to pursue research projects in biostatistics: the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Institute for Personalized Medicine.

Common Careers
  • Pharmaceutical company biostatistician
  • University biostatistician
  • Hospital biostatistician

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Master's Program Public Health Sciences MS

Prepare for a career in health-related research, with an emphasis on hands-on applications of methods in the real world, in this 30-credit program designed for working students.

The program includes graduate-level course work in biostatistics, epidemiology and health services research, and provides knowledge and insight required in health related research. Students learn population-based methods for planning, executing, analyzing and disseminating research results, and methods for evaluating and improving health care practices.

Common Careers
  • Academic health center administrator
  • Health insurance director
  • Research analyst

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DrPH Landing Page Code

The logo for the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is a circle with the words Master's/Doctoral CEPH Accredited and an image of three red and gray interlocking circles.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree is the terminal professional degree in Public Health and is designed to provide advanced public health education and training to prepare graduates for evidence-based practice and translational science leadership.

DrPH students must complete a minimum of 60 credits of graduate-level coursework beyond a master’s degree, including focused study in an advanced area such as evidence-based public health intervention, public health preparedness or social marketing and behavior, among many other topics.

Common Careers
  • Federal, state and local government
  • University or college faculty member
  • Nonprofit or non-governmental organization public health professional

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PhD Program Epidemiology

The objectives of the PhD in Epidemiology program are to train students to master current quantitative methods, obtain broad knowledge of major human disease epidemiology, and become expert in a specific disease or health status topic.

The 28-credit (minimum) PhD in Epidemiology program is offered primarily as a full-time degree program, and can be completed in four years of full-time study.

Common Careers
  • Epidemiologist in federal and state agencies, such as NIH, CDC, EPA and Department of Health
  • Epidemiologist in large pharmaceutical company
  • University faculty

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PhD Programs Health Policy and Administration (HPA) PhD in University Park

The PhD degree program in health policy in administration is offered through the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park and trains quantitative, multidisciplinary health service researchers.

The 53-credit PhD program consists of a core curriculum covering the organization and financing of health services and state-of-the-art statistical methods, as well as specialized training in either health economics, healthcare management and organizations, or population health and demography.

Common Careers
  • University faculty
  • Investigator at a research institute
  • Policy analyst in a governmental agency
  • Policy analyst in pharmaceutical or other health-related industry

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Master's Programs Homeland Security MPS

Delivered exclusively online through Penn State World Campus, the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in homeland security gives you comprehensive training in a fast-growing field with the convenience of completing coursework from anywhere in the world.

Our curriculum provides a fundamental understanding of homeland security in a global context with the option to specialize in public health preparedness, geospatial intelligence, information security and forensics, or agricultural biosecurity and food defense.

Common Careers
  • Health services administration
  • Emergency management
  • Healthcare manager
  • Facilities management
  • Disaster recovery
  • Transition to DrPH

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Public Health MPH Accelerated Overview Landing Page Code

The logo for the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is a circle with the words Master's/Doctoral CEPH Accredited and an image of three red and gray interlocking circles.

This integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) program is offered by the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State's main campus in University Park and Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey.

Penn State students at University Park enrolled in Biobehavioral Health, Health Policy and Administration, Kinesiology or Nutritional Sciences programs can earn both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree as part of this five-year program.

Common Careers
  • Health Legislative Analyst
  • Health and Wellness Coach
  • Population Health Coordinator
  • Behavioral Health Education Coordinator

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JD/DrPH Information

This joint degree offers students an accelerated course of study and advanced training in law and public health, culminating in the terminal professional degrees in both fields.

Graduates are uniquely positioned to pursue career opportunities in federal, state, and local government, as well as in the non-profit, academic, and private sectors.

Common Careers
  • Translational science leader
  • Legal analysis
  • Advocacy

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JD/MPH Information


The JD/MPH joint degree is offered through Penn State College of Medicine in partnership with Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle, PA, and Penn State Law on the University Park campus. The JD/MPH degree offers students an accelerated course of study of law and public health, enabling them to successfully enter the complex and ever-changing fields of public health and health law.

Penn State students pursuing this degree will gain advanced knowledge of legal matters relating to public health; use legal tools to solve public health challenges; and train for a career in public health research, policy, and advocacy; health law; or environmental law.

Common Careers
  • Public health researcher
  • Policy lawyer
  • Health care lawyer

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Master's Program Master of Public Health MPH

The logo for the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is a circle with the words Master's/Doctoral CEPH Accredited and an image of three red and gray interlocking circles.

In this 42-credit MPH program, you'll gain knowledge and skills in the five core areas of public health: biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences.

Each student specializes in one of three areas: community and behavioral health, epidemiology and biostatistics, or health systems organization and policy. You’ll also enjoy a high level of faculty-student interaction, supported by an individualized, student-centered approach and small class sizes.

Common Careers
  • Biostatistician
  • Surveillance Officer
  • Research Project Manager
  • Public Health Administrator
  • Clinical Research Coordinator

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Combined Programs MD/MPH

This five-year course of study is for students who have a special interest in public health, community health and behavior change, and who want to incorporate this into their medical practice.

You’ll take one year off between your third and fourth years of medical school to complete MPH credits, including a practicum and a capstone project.

Some medical school credits can count double toward an MPH degree.

Common Careers
  • Academic medical school faculty
  • International health researcher
  • Nonprofit or non-governmental organization administrator

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PHS Landing Page Certificates Code

The graduate certificate programs offered through the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine provide strong foundational graduate-level coursework to students seeking career advancement and lifelong learning opportunities.

Many certificate courses are transferable toward master's degrees at Penn State College of Medicine, pending successful application and admittance to such a degree program.

Certificates Offered
  • Clinical Research Certificate
  • Public Health Certificate
  • Public Health Preparedness Certificate
  • Hospital & Health System Preparedness Certificate
  • Translational Science Certificate

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Public Health Programs: Student COVID Vaccinators

Students Support COVID-19 Efforts

Medical, graduate and physician assistant students at Penn State College of Medicine have contributed to Penn State Health’s efforts to reach underserved communities with the COVID-19 vaccine by vaccinating, monitoring patients after injection and translating.

View accessible video with audio description and transcript here.

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