Which Degree Is Right for Me?

The coming years will be a critical time for the public health field. With technological advances transforming the profession and public health crises such as Ebola, Zika, measles outbreaks and the effects of climate change, the demand for highly skilled public health leaders, scientists, researchers and practitioners is projected to increase.

With so many advanced degree options in health-related fields available, it can be hard to determine which degree is best aligned with your interests and career aspirations. Below, you will find detailed comparisons of several health care and public health master’s degree options. Find out which degree is right for you:

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Focus

By broadening your knowledge of local, national and global public health practices, an MPH helps you learn core competencies and acquire the necessary skills in public health to be an effective leader in the field. With MPH@GW, you can customize your education by focusing your elective courses on one of six public health areas of interest: environmental and occupational health; epidemiology and public health research methods; global health; health communication; health policy; or program planning and evaluation.

Learn more about possible career paths for graduates with an MPH.

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Required Experience

  • No minimum work experience is required for admission.
  • Students are established professionals and recent college graduates.
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Core Coursework

  • Biostatistics and epidemiology
  • Cultural competency
  • Health communication
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Planning
  • Public health biology
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Career Paths

  • Health care policy analyst
  • Political scientist
  • Environmental health officer
  • Global infectious disease specialist
  • Medical writer
  • Nutritionist
  • Health scientist
  • Public health consultant
  • Emergency preparedness director
  • Public health engineer

Learn More About MPH@GW

Master of Health Administration (MHA)

Focus

An MHA degree advances skills in human relations, management theory, ethics, law and critical decision-making. The MHA@GW online degree program is designed for experienced professionals who are looking to effectively manage health care systems and organizations and improve the overall well-being of patients and employees.

Learn more about MHA career paths in non-clinical settings, clinical administration and health care planning and management.

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Required Experience

In order to apply, you must:

  • Have a minimum of three years of health care or health services experience in clinical or non-clinical settings.
  • Be currently employed in the health care field.
  • Have completed courses in financial accounting and statistics.
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Core Coursework

  • Health care management and strategy
  • Medical informatics and decision management
  • Health care financial management
  • Community and public health
  • Law and policy
  • Quality and performance improvement
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Career Paths

  • Director of infection prevention
  • Director of safety
  • Director of emergency services
  • Budget analyst
  • Patient accounts manager
  • Director of physician recruiting

Visit the MHA@GW Website

Healthcare Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Focus

With a Healthcare MBA, you will learn the business skills needed to become a manager, administrator or executive in the health services industry. This degree focuses heavily on the financial aspects of health care administration.

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Required Experience

  • You must have a qualitative or managerial background in either clinical health care or business.
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Core Coursework

  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Operations management
  • Finance
  • Global perspectives
  • Microeconomics for the global economy
  • Marketing
  • Business ethics and public policy
  • Strategic management
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Career Paths

  • IT professional in a hospital setting
  • Physician/surgeon in private practice
  • Officer of U.S. Public Health Services
  • Entrepreneur