I’m about to be a college freshman in the fall and I want to major in Public Health. I haven’t even thought about grad school, but would I need a masters degree to work in the public health field? Is a public health undergrad degree enough?
Certainly there are jobs you can get in the public health field with an undergrad degree, but often they are jobs that people do for a few years before going back to grad school, as there isn’t necessarily a path to advancement built into the job. (“Research Assistant” jobs often fit this mold.) If you want to have a more marketable skill-set coming out of undergrad, you may want to pair your public health studies with a dual or double major, or at least a minor, in something more quantitative, like stats/applied math or data analytics.
There are a decent number of accelerated 5-year BA/MPH programs (This one at UMass is a good example, with multiple areas of focus: 4+1 Accelerated Bachelors and Masters Programs | School of Public Health & Health Sciences ), as well as undergrad programs that just allow you to get a start on grad-level MPH coursework without necessarily continuing directly into the MPH. (Example, Agnes Scott’s public health major that lets you take grad-level classes at Emory.)
But sure, you can get started in the field with an undergrad degree. And there are good online and hybrid MPH programs you can complete while working, so that your credentials keep pace with your experience and you can advance in the field without having to step away from the workplace.