Students who are pursuing a public health major do so because they want to make a difference in keeping people healthy and happy. Choosing this major already shows that you have a strong work ethic and you care about others, offering kindness and sincerity and tempering leadership with mercy as you learn how to both prevent and navigate through any public health crisis. Many of these are traits that you must already have and will be nurtured throughout your public health program.
Some of you may have questions about what you’re doing and perhaps even some doubts as to whether you’ve made the right decision about your major. Well, we have some advice for those of you with questions about your chosen field and the expectations you may be facing down the road.
When you’re taking an undergrad course for public health, you’re taught all of the core basics such as environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral science, and health policy and management. How these topics are taught to students varies depending on the school and some programs will encourage students to focus on a certain sector of public health while some programs will offer a broad curriculum that covers the full spectrum.
But while these programs are designed to provide all of the fundamentals to students, the question arises as to whether a major in public health should mean pursuing a master’s afterward. Students may want to embark on their chosen career path instead of continuing with more schooling and all of the components that come with it. The answer, of course, isn’t entirely simple as it all depends on the program of the school you are attending for undergraduate courses.
Many schools will give you the tools necessary to find good, gainful employment after you graduate with a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Art in public health degrees once you’ve completed the program. Then, there are schools that provide further study in a master’s program, which will increase your knowledge fully, prepare you for the challenges ahead in your chosen field. It may all depend on your future career goals and the amount of training you receive in an undergrad program. You may want to seek out advanced degrees at a school like Princeton University or take USC’s masters in public health program, just to name a few of the high-rated programs in the country.
Public health students who are pursuing master’s programs are required to seek out some work experience opportunities with a reputable public health facility or group to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real life situations. But it’s also a critical component of undergrad work as well, in the form of an internship, seminar, or some kind of position that provides experience in the field. Not only is this a mandatory part of your learning but it’s absolutely beneficial for giving you a feel for working in this sector of health but it’s also a great way to form bonds and relationships with people who can help you find a job once you graduate.