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undergrad degree for pursuing a career in public health?

FutureCadetFutureCadet Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
I am interested in possibly majoring in microbiology or biochemistry for my undergrad degree, since I hope to get my Masters in Public Health after undergrad. Or would it be better to find a school that offers a undergrad degree in Public Health specifically? I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area in case I find something else more interesting.

conversely, I was also interested in studying civil/environmental engineering in college and pursuing that field instead of public health... I am torn between the two career paths right now. does anyone have any experience with these?

Replies to: undergrad degree for pursuing a career in public health?

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,726 Super Moderator
    You don't need an undergrad degree in public health to do an MPH, and since most schools don't offer the major, MPH programs accept people with all kinds of backgrounds. You could major in anything and do an MPH later - even civil environmental engineering.

    Often, the bachelor's prepares you for what sector you want to work in post graduation. Lots of times, students with a life sciences background choose epidemiology or environmental health sciences as their concentration, and they do public health work that requires or recommends some background in the life sciences. Students with social science majors often gravitate towards more social epidemiology, community health, maternal and child health, and social & behavioral sciences in health-type concentrations and jobs. Physical and mathematical sciences students often choose biostatistics or more quantitative epidemiology. But there's really no rules - some programs have prerequisites you'll want to complete (biostatistics and epidemiology often require calculus and statistics coursework from college, and environmental health sciences sometimes requires biology and/or chemistry) but as a psychology major, I had the prerequisites to do the majority of the concentrations of an MPH. You just have to plan your courses carefully.

    So you could, theoretically, major in civil or environmental engineering, and then get an MPH later (either after college or after working a few years). Then you could be a civil engineer who takes a public health lens, and/or go into urban planning and development, and/or work in the agricultural fiend as an engineer...lots of possibilities.
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