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What is Public Health?

Public health focuses on prevention and improving the health of entire communities rather than on treating the diseases of individual patients. Public health measures seek to improve the health of populations through preventing the spread of disease, promoting healthy lifestyles for communities and families, protecting against hazards in homes, work, communities, and the environment, assuring high-quality healthcare services, and preparing for and responding to emergencies.

Why an MPH?

Public health is an exciting, broad, growing field that builds leaders and provides purpose and fulfilling work. MPH graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of specialized careers and settings including health promotion, epidemiology, healthcare administration, global and environmental health, and more. The MPH degree is the most recognized professional credential for leadership in public health practice.

Public Health is an Exciting and Growing Profession

MPH students prepare to enter the world ready to improve the health of communities and populations, especially underserved populations. Students trained as public health practitioners recognize the scope of health problems, address specific populations in need, and match resources that will protect and promote health for all individuals and communities. Common health issues, such as improving access to health care, controlling infectious disease, and reducing environmental hazards, violence, substance abuse, and injury assure that the need for public health is growing and increasingly important.

Demand for Public Health Professionals is High

With an escalating shortage of qualified public health workers in the United States, MPH graduates are uniquely prepared to work in a variety of public health settings. Specialized careers include the following:

  • Health promotion improves health outcomes of communities by implementing innovative programs that change policies, environments, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • Epidemiology and biostatistics involve mathematics as applied to the study of disease in order to prevent the onset and spread of disease.
  • Environmental health uses science and technical skills to protect the public's health by focusing on environmental factors that affect health.
  • Health administration provides leadership to improve health services and healthcare delivery.
  • Global health focuses on addressing health problems in developing nations or among underserved populations in the United States.

Public Health Provides Purpose and Builds Leaders

After completing the MPH program, students will be prepared with leadership and research skills to work with diverse populations in domestic and international settings. BYU MPH alumni are most often employed in local and state health departments, federal settings, and other public agencies (CDC, NIH, etc.). Our alumni are also employed in community health centers, nonprofit organizations, and global health agencies. Many MPH graduates also pursue doctoral degrees (MD, JD, PhD, and DrPH) at prestigious universities.

Why BYU?

The MPH program is taught by expert, engaged faculty who examine real public health issues from a global perspective, maintain an optimum student-to-faculty ratio, and provide excellent program-level mentored research experiences. The MPH program is nationally accredited and in 2009, was awarded the maximum seven-year term through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Worldwide Connections and Partnerships

The MPH program connects students with many partner organizations around the world, including the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, Utah Department of Health, local health departments, and diverse community-based organizations and nonprofit agencies. Additionally, BYU is uniquely prepared to promote public health alongside its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Given these connections, BYU has a world presence that few academic institutions provide. The Church and the university are each noted for improving health, bolstering the standard of living, valuing the role and health production capacities of families and households, and promoting self-sufficiency within diverse populations.

Campus Diversity

BYU has approximately 1,200 international students attending the university representing cultures, religions, and languages from over 100 countries and from every state in the United States. More than 60% of students speak a second language. These students help foster support and understanding of the many cultures represented by BYU's international student body.

Highly Respected Faculty Mentors

BYU MPH faculty members hold advanced degrees from respected academic institutions and are recognized scholars dedicated to excellence in teaching and professional service around the world. They are active in research and provide mentored experiences with MPH students through research-based projects around the nation and the world. Many of these projects include important partnerships with local and national public health agencies, international ministries of health, and diverse nongovernmental organizations.

Student-Centered Faculty

The program faculty is committed to quality education by striving to be student-centered. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1, the BYU MPH faculty are accessible, approachable, and encouraging of students and the work. Each faculty member has distinct research and teaching interests, and when joined in student committees, they are able to assist students in performing their field work and projects with optimal synergy.