Master of Public Health (MPH) Program
The MPH in Public Health Practice program at the University of Alaska Anchorage enhances health in diverse communities across Alaska, the circumpolar north, the nation, and the world. This is accomplished through excellence in the education of public health practice leaders, scientific investigation of public health issues, and engaging communities in an organized effort to identify, assess, prevent, and mitigate community health challenges.
Public Health & MPH Degree
Public health embraces an ecological approach that recognizes the interactions and relationships among multiple determinants of health. Public health professionals typically take a community or population focus. Our graduate program prepares public health practitioners who identify and assess needs of populations; plan, implement and evaluate programs to address those needs; and otherwise assure conditions that protect and promote the health of populations. The Master of Public Health (MPH) in Public Health Practice is an interdisciplinary degree designed to provide a broad background to meet the challenges of the diverse and complex field of public health, with a particular focus on the needs of Alaska and the circumpolar north. Students with backgrounds in the natural sciences, social sciences, health professions, human services, business, education and law have successfully entered the field of public health at the graduate level.
Both mid-career students and recent graduates may pursue their careers with minimal disruption while working on the MPH degree, because all required courses are offered via distance format. Students are required to attend one mandatory meeting in Anchorage each year (temporarily suspended; stay tuned for reinstatement updates), typically in conjunction with the Alaska Public Health Summit, and are expected to communicate frequently with their MPH academic advisor. In person oral defense of the practicum thesis or practicum project in Anchorage is also expected of the student at the end of the MPH program.
This degree requires core courses in health education and behavioral sciences, environmental and occupational health, health management and policy, biostatistics and epidemiology. It also includes coursework in research methods, program evaluation, circumpolar health issues and management of public health emergencies and disasters, as well as the opportunity to create an individualized emphasis as the foundation for the required capstone experience.
Types of Students Who Will Benefit from an MPH Degree
There is no one preferred background in order to become a student in the MPH program because the field is so interdisciplinary. Students with a background in the natural sciences, social sciences, business, health care, education, or law will feel at home in this MPH program. Typically, MPH programs have two types of students: students who have recently obtained their baccalaureate degree, and mid-career students who have already built careers as health care providers, health educators, lawyers, administrators, and public health professionals in both the public and private sectors.
Mid-career students can continue their professional pursuits with minimal disruption while working toward the MPH degree because all of the courses are taught via distance education and/or meet on condensed class schedules. The focus on current public health practices in core areas of public health provides mid-career professionals with advanced tools to improve the health of the community in concrete ways. Moreover, an MPH degree is often essential to career advancement, a position in management, or a desired career change for mid-career professionals.
For entry-level students, the MPH is an excellent degree with which to launch a new career in public health or expand an emerging career. The field of public health offers extraordinary career possibilities in both the public and private sectors in occupational safety and health, environmental protection, food safety, health education, health planning and analysis, a variety of management positions, and much more. Finally, the MPH degree is a desirable gateway degree for additional education at the doctoral level.