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Best undergrad major for MPH

hsc1822hsc1822 1 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6 New Member
I am trying to decide between a biology degree or a public health degree. After getting a bachelors I want to go to a combined MPH/RD (masters of public health/registered dietitian) program.

Many of the schools that have these programs require extra science classes, such as microbiology and biochemistry, that the public health bachelors degree does not have built in. The biology major already has most of these classes built in, so I would not have a schedule that is as full.

Can I go into a MPH program with a bio degree or do I need to do the public health degree?
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Replies to: Best undergrad major for MPH

  • whidbeyite2002whidbeyite2002 177 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    edited June 5
    Back when I was an undergraduate, one could use a Biology or related BS as a stepping stone to MPH programs. I was a nutritional science major and considered going for a MPH program; this was a viable path.
    edited June 5
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 953 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 971 Member
    edited June 5
    I really don't know the current reality, but years ago many of my friends went back to school in public health (we had all been Peace Corps Volunteers together, and several became interested in public health after volunteering in health-related areas overseas). They had had a wide variety of academic backgrounds/majors.

    Public health is such a broad and multi-faceted field, and encompasses human behavior (the health choices we make and the social context of those choices) as well as biology. It draws from biology, sociology, psychology, economics, political science, statistics, data science, social marketing and more. So, as long as a person meets the various prerequisites and gets relevant work experiences (whether through internships, volunteering or paid work), I think It's possible to get into a MPH program from a variety of academic majors. I don't think it's especially advantageous to get a bachelor's in public health; it may even be better to get a strong grounding in something else (for you, maybe biology and/or nutrition and mInor in something else that's relevant, such as sociology or something else you find interesting).

    Why not contact some of the MPH departments/schools you're interested in and find out what's recommended for these programs?
    edited June 5
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  • juilletjuillet 12575 replies160 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 12,735 Super Moderator
    I have a PhD in public health, and my classmates getting MPH degrees had all kinds of majors. Most had majors in the natural, life, or social science. Epidemiology students tended to have majored in math or a life science field; health behavior students tended to have majored in a social science, or history; the biostatistics students usually majored in math; the environmental health sciences students often majored in a life or physical science. The health policy and management students majored in anything.

    So yes, you can get into an MPH with a biology degree.
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