Master’s in Public Health (MPH) Gap Year Programs Explained

August 17

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A healthy community must prioritize public health. An official in charge of public health "protects and promotes the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play," according to the American Public Health Association.

A graduate degree that prepares you for a career in public health is the Master of Public Health (MPH). You will work with communities and other demographics, educating, advocating better health practices, identifying health concerns, and more. This contrasts with a medical degree, which prepares you to work one-on-one with patients in a healthcare setting. 

This article aims to explain Master's in Public Health (MPH) gap year programs.

What is a Master's in Public Health Program?

A Master's in Public Health (MPH) is a program created to allow graduate students to engage with various populations to improve their health and well-being. There are hybrid, online, and in-person programs, all of which are created to meet the individual needs of each student. 

Given the comprehensive public health field, you might find that many educational institutions provide specializations that let you concentrate on a particular facet of it.

MPH concentration examples:

  • Nutrition
  • Public health
  • Epidemiology
  • Worldwide health
  • Informatics and biostatistics
  • Health of mothers and children
  • Health and environmental science
  • Healthcare administration and services
  • Management of emergencies and readiness for disasters 

Before concentrating on the field you want to specialize in, you can anticipate taking essential public health courses. 

To get a sense of the courses you will need to take and how they connect with what you want to learn during your graduate studies, take the time to look at the compulsory coursework and elective options of MPH programs as you research them.

MPH core course examples:  

  • Biostatistics 
  • Epidemiology
  • Worldwide health  
  • Qualitative approaches  
  • Current problems with public health
  • Administration and policy of health care  
  • Communications and health promotion
  • Health's social and behavioral influences 

The potential and variety of public health work prospects that an MPH degree can foster can lead to rewarding careers. 

You might find employment in a federal health facility or somewhere more nationwide, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. You might work in food safety, environmental health, etc. It is interesting because there are so many different paths you can take.

How Much Does a Master's in Public Health Gap Year Program Cost?

In the USA, Master's in Public Health (MPH) gap year programs are available with various specialties, such as epidemiology, microbiological illnesses, health policy, etc.

Master's in Public Health gap year programs are pursued by about 3.3% of overseas students. About 17,000 students are accepted into MPH programs yearly at various approved universities across the USA.


In the USA, Master's in Public Health gap year programs cost between USD 16,000 - USD 33,000 (in-state) and USD 25,000 - USD 60,000 (out-of-state) a year in tuition. You must have a bachelor's degree to apply to MPH programs in the USA. 

The program guarantees a positive return on investment. MPH program graduates in the USA typically make over USD 64,235 per year.

How Long Does it Take to Finish a Master's in Public Health Gap Year Program?

About 42 credits are needed to finish a Master's in Public Health program, which takes two years of full-time study. 

The Council on Education for Public Health, an independent organization authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to recognize public health programs and schools, has accredited reputable programs.

Even though general curricula are likely to be the same across colleges, some program elements might have practical practicums or capstone projects. These elements could include a healthcare facility internship, written or research projects, or a community service project. 

However, if feasible, most programs let students complete these requirements locally or online. 

For instance, MPH students at Kent State University must do an Applied Practice Experience project in their second year. A three-credit or six-credit course, each with 150 or 300 contact hours, is available to students.

What are the Admission Requirements for a Master's in Public Health Gap Year Program?

Your application procedure may vary from one university to another. Some colleges admit everyone, even those with an undergraduate degree in a subject unrelated to health. 

Other institutions will not require any work experience. Always review the requirements for your study program, and if anything is unclear, ask a member of the university staff.

Here are the possible admission requirements for enrolling in a Master's in Public Health gap year program. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Taking a Master's in Public Health Gap Year Program?

The most popular choice for students seeking a master's degree in public health is the Master of Public Health (MPH) gap year program. At the same time, there are other possibilities as well.

A Master's in Public Health is an option for those interested in health and healthcare on a larger scale than provider-to-patient care who want to use their creativity and problem-solving abilities. It can be combined with related degrees or be used on its own to launch a satisfying career. 

Like other gap year programs, a Master's in Public Health has pros and cons. 

Pros of an MPH Gap Year Program:

Job Stability

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees that employment in the public health sector will increase by roughly 10% during the next ten years. This is unsurprising because more people are developing chronic diseases every year. 

Master's in Public Health experts will have many work prospects as we need to raise awareness of wellness and good habits.

High-Paying Jobs

Future graduates can earn significant wages in public health careers. Here are the typical salaries in the US for well-known positions in public health, which may require time and experience to reach:

Huge Global Impact

Knowing that your work improves the health and general well-being of thousands, if not millions, makes it simple to find significance and fulfillment. Responsibility and finding purpose go hand in hand, and careers in Master's Public Health gap year programs are some of the most fulfilling employment options.

Traveling and Working Abroad

Public health professionals can find employment anywhere in the world. Your abilities can be used in any laboratory, or you can work with individuals from many cultures to help them learn how to better care for themselves.

Depending on the country you relocate to, you might need to learn the native tongue, but this is a great chance to broaden your knowledge and comprehend the local way of life.

Cons of MPH Gap Year Programs:

Highly Competitive Entry Job Positions 

When you apply for jobs in public health with a master's degree, you will face competition from your peers and recent biology or chemistry grads. Even though it will not be simple, students who take advantage of internship opportunities and obtain some work experience while in school are far more likely to stand out.

Lack of Research Funding

Research-focused students may have challenging jobs in public health. Funding is necessary for public health initiatives, NGOs, and laboratories at healthcare facilities like hospitals. You risk losing your job if they do not get it.

High Cost 

Master's in Public Health gap year programs can be expensive depending on your financial situation, university, and where you plan to study. Even if you can make a good living after graduation, it will take some time to find a job that will make the initial financial commitment worthwhile.

Confusion Among Public Health Degrees

This one has a direct connection to the struggle for entry-level positions. Since public health is interdisciplinary, graduates from other disciplines can work together in the same situation. Some universities make matters worse by calling themselves "Health Sciences" rather than "Public Health."

Now you see why some workers are perplexed and occasionally ask graduates of the public health field to explain what they learned and how it may be implemented.

Tips When Taking a Master's in Public Health Gap Year Program

The goal of the Master of Public Health degree is to create public health administrators with knowledge in the field. Aspects of disease characteristics, prevention and treatment, crisis management, strategic health strategies, and regulatory affairs are other subjects covered in the course.

Master's in Public Health gap year program strongly emphasizes enhancing disease prevention strategies because they can cause a severe risk to the public's health. It also emphasizes healthcare, a crucial aspect of world health. 

The course prepares students to responsibly spread awareness of injuries, violence prevention, and communicable and non-communicable diseases that impact public health and safety.

Here are a few tips we can give you in case you are planning to pursue a degree in Master's in Public Health.

1. Maximize Your Schedule

Controlled (and stressful!) schedule is familiar if you spent your third year of medical school working on the wards. The workload in medical school, where you are on rounds by 6 AM and home studying at 7 PM, does not compare to that of MPH classes.

You can find methods to achieve many things in your gap year if you can adapt the work habits and discipline you had in medical school, such as browsing. Start your day early, and then break it up into small parts.

2. Use This Year to Focus on Improving Yourself

You might have previously felt pressured to accept new tasks and leadership roles only to beef up your résumé. You must behave like you are more than just a piece of paper. 

Learn to say "no" to offers that will not help your career or personal life in the long run. This also applies to your academic work.

As your gap year progresses, if you can carve out a niche for yourself, you can start interacting with and picking up knowledge from individuals who share your interests.

3. Have a Weekly Check-In on Yourself

Since a gap year is 52 weeks long, you should progress toward the objectives you set for yourself each week. While enjoying dinner or unwinding, take a few minutes to review your goals and determine whether you are making sufficient progress.

Are you forming the necessary relationships in your desired field? Do some of your priorities need to change when you pivot?

4. Get Started Right Away

Learning research techniques effectively is like getting your morning latte: it is best done on the fly. Many of my peers chose to concentrate on epidemiology and biostatistics, which makes sense if that is the field of public health you eventually want to specialize in.

Take those advanced statistics courses to be a physician-epidemiologist or someone like Vinay Prasad. Otherwise, extra projects may be better for you long-term than a demanding course load.

5. Become Aware of What You Do Not Know 

One of the most crucial lessons you must learn is to keep quiet about subjects you do not know much about. After earning an MPH, you will not be an expert in everything related to public health or medicine, but that is okay. 

Build a solid foundation in your area of interest while keeping open to the ideas and methods used in other fields of study. In a world of specialization, you build on your advantages and work with others to make up for any deficiencies or unfamiliarity.

Additional FAQs – Master's in Public Health Gap Year Programs Explained

Is Public Health a Good Career?

In the USA, public health is considered a fulfilling and lucrative career choice. The average annual wage for graduates in public health is USD 55,599, but it can be as high as USD 74,051.

The US Labor Statistics predict that between 2021 and 2031, there will be a 13% increase in employment possibilities in the healthcare sector, much faster than the average growth rate of other professions. In the following ten years, this expansion is predicted to create about 2 million new work opportunities.

Where Can Graduates of Master's in Public Health Work?

Graduates from the life sciences are drawn to MPH programs because they allow them to learn more about subjects like health and social behavior, global health, health policy, and environmental health. 

All respondents with a master's degree in public or international health stated it was a worthwhile time and financial investment.

Can I Apply for an MPH Program Without the GRE?

For acceptance, most of the best MPH programs in the USA require GRE exam results to be submitted. However, several colleges, including Tufts University and Baylor University, also accept applicants without a GRE score.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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