Master of Public Health and Doctor of Medicine
Students have the option of pursuing concurrent Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees at the University of Washington. Students must first pursue an M.D. degree within the UW School of Medicine and then apply for an MPH within the UW School of Public Health.
The M.D./MPH concurrent degree option is designed to serve two groups of UW School of Medicine students.
- Public Health and Population Health: UW medical students who have clearly identified career goals in the area of public health (i.e., interest in medical care for populations as well as medical care for the individual patient, and/or an analytical interest in medical care for populations as well as the health of individuals).
- Health Care Administration: UW medical students who have career goals focused on clinical medicine and a desire to gain additional skills in health care delivery management, such as planning, administration, and evaluation, or in quantitative skills, such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and research methods.
Courses and Curriculum
Taken separately, the M.D. degree usually takes four years to complete, while the MPH degree usually takes two years. Combining them into concurrent degrees enables completion in five years.
It is only possible to complete the MPH in one year if the M.D. degree is concurrent at the University of Washington. For applicants who have already earned an M.D. at another institution, a maximum of six credits may be applied to the MPH (if approved) and the MPH program duration is two years.
Requirements and Courses
Students must complete the required courses for their M.D. and MPH. Most of the required MPH coursework is taken between the second and third year of medical studies. Completing the remaining MPH requirements during open summers and selecting approved elective courses assures earning sufficient credits for both degrees.
- M.D. Curriculum
- MPH Courses and Requirements
- Elective Courses: A broad selection of courses can be matched to individual training interests to satisfy the requirements for MPH electives. Students meet with their M.D./MPH program advisor for help in selecting relevant elective courses.
Students typically apply for admission to an MPH program during the first year of their medical studies. Applicants must be in good academic standing and obtain the approval of their advisor in the School of Medicine.
Although applicants may apply to various UW MPH programs, we recommend they focus on the one that most closely aligns with their dominant training interests.
Portions of the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application can be submitted in place of items required by MPH programs. These include university transcripts and letters of recommendation. If applicants wish to use their AMCAS materials, please email the MPH program before applying. If applicants use their AMCAS materials, a new goal statement, updated CV, and at least one new letter of recommendation are required.
Health Services MPH: email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
If applicants have additional questions after reviewing the information below, please contact the programs.
Should I consider an MPH Degree?
The MPH is a key professional degree for physicians who want to influence public health policy or impact population-based health. An MPH degree is required for many positions in public health and in occupational, aerospace, and environmental health.
Medical school deals with treating disease and is useful as a background to improving health. Most of the improvements in life expectancy are due to multi-disciplinary preventive interventions, not medical approaches. Many physicians complete the MPH degree to develop expertise in research methods, including in epidemiology and biostatistics. They often pursue careers that combine medical practice and research in public health or medicine.
When should I do an MPH?
There are advantages and disadvantages to taking the MPH degree at different career points. The M.D./MPH concurrent degree approach at UW allows students to complete the coursework for both degrees over a single intensive five-year period since some medical school courses can be applied toward the MPH when done concurrently. If the MPH is done separately, medical school courses typically cannot be applied toward MPH coursework, and completing both degrees would take six years.
It is only possible to complete the MPH in one year if the M.D. is being completed concurrently at the University of Washington. For applicants who have already earned an M.D. at another institution, a maximum of 6 credits may be applied to the MPH (if approved), and the MPH program duration will be two years.
Potential disadvantages of pursuing the M.D./MPH concurrently are related to cost, experience, relevance, and school fatigue. The UW requires a fifth year of tuition, for which there generally is no tuition assistance. Also, without extensive “real world” experience, students may have difficulty understanding and integrating many of the topics covered in the MPH. An applicant’s MPH studies may be rusty by the time they use them in their post-residency job, while they would be fresher if the MPH was pursued post-residency. A more recent MPH may give people a competitive advantage when pursuing interesting and interdisciplinary jobs. Several post-residency fellowships fund physicians to pursue the MPH degree, and it is sometimes possible to pursue it concurrently with a residency. Finally, the M.D. and MPH concurrent degrees at the University of Washington can be arduous, requiring long-sustained commitment on the part of the student.
What are some good resources for learning more about public health?
- The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century
Read the executive summary and other sections of interest
- Courses and Online Trainings
On-line modules created by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice