About a Master’s in Global Health
It is an exciting time for global health. A rapidly growing population and changing healthcare regulations in different countries make this a master’s degree that will prepare students for many job opportunities. Global health is the study of the changing climate in health and how it’s affecting the world population as a whole. Working in global health often involves working in foreign countries and wearing many hats.
Do I Have to Be a Nurse or Doctor to work in Global Health?
There are numerous job opportunities within global health outside of the medical community. Most of these are in management and administration. It is a very big job to change and educate a community on things like safe sex practices, proper hygiene, and prenatal care. There are many jobs that involve the management end of running a non-profit organization or overseeing the operation in a foreign country. Nurses and doctors are needed, but so are talented individuals who have supreme management skills and can delegate tasks to keep a project on track. Many non-profit organizations are on a tight budget when working on a project or rebuilding a community. Because of this, it’s essential to have a program director and other strong administrative staff on board. For these positions you do not need a medical background.
Prerequisites for a Master’s in Global Health
Prerequisites for a master’s in global health include a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, global health, public health, or business administration. Many programs offer a dual MD/MPH for students with a background in science and the medical field. These dual MD/MPH programs are usually available through traditional schools and are not common for online schools. Students are also required submit Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores and a letter of recommendation. Many of the top global and public health programs will require a certain number of volunteer hours from students, which can be accumulated over the course of completing an undergraduate degree.
Do I Have to Take the GRE if I Take the MCAT?
For dual MD/MPH programs, you usually only have to take the MCAT to get into the MD program at the respective school. The GRE never takes the place of the MCAT, and most schools do not require both as long as a student in good standings regarding GPA and the MCAT score. Thought students do receive a master’s degree as part of these dual programs, the GRE is not required because the MCAT is taken and gauges how a student will do in graduate and medical school. All other students must take the GRE if it is required by the master’s program. Most accredited programs require the GRE, although some online schools do not require this exam. The GRE can be taken multiple times, and scores are sent directly to the schools you are applying to.
How Do MD/MPH Programs Work?
The MD program is where a student in a dual program begins. After the first round of clinicals, students often take time off from medical studies to focus on the MPH portion of the degree. This is how most dual programs work, which allows a student with a medical background to analyze and assess how they would apply their skills to what they’re learning in global health. Some schools accept students to an MD program, and only after that first round of clincals are students allowed to apply to the dual program, which allows them to bypass the GRE. Many schools do not accept dual program applications from students who are in the pre-clincals stage of the MD program. Following completion of the master’s degree, which is an accelerated version, a student goes back to finish clincals before completing the MD.
How Long Does a Dual MD/MPH Program Take to Complete?
Most of these dual programs take about five years to complete. Dual MD/MPH programs are attended full time by students, and there are few that attend part time. Most dual programs do not allow students to attend school part time, but a select few do make this an option. It’s important to note that MD/MPH programs are very intense and it’s best students do not work, even if they are attending part time. Volunteer work is suggested as part of most MD/MPH programs, and most of these volunteer opportunities are organized by the degree program. Students are encouraged to volunteer through the summer to gain experience for their resume.
Why Should I Consider a Dual MD/MPH Program?
One of the main factors for the dual MD/MPH programs is the cost. To obtain these degrees in a dual program is significantly cheaper than obtaining each degree individually. If you want to work as a doctor in a foreign country or non-profit organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, a dual MD/MPH program is the ideal fit. A dual program combines the MD program that’s needed to practice medicine and educates you on the epidemics and crisis facing people in third world countries. You will learn the areas that need help the most and how to appropriately handle situations when in a foreign country. The combination of these two degrees is invaluable for any non-profit organization and you will have many job opportunities when you complete the programs.
How Long Does a Standard Master’s in Global Health Take to Complete?
Programs without the MD component take about two years to complete. Many schools offer accelerated one-year programs. Students studying for master’s degree often go to school part time and sometimes have full time jobs. If you do not have a background in science or the medical field, you may have a background in public health, social sciences, political science, communications, or public relations. All of these subjects provide a good foundation for working in global health in a management or administrative position.
What Do You Learn in Global Health?
Studying for a global health degree, students cover subjects such as biostatistics, community health, environmental health, health policy, maternal and child health, and public health nutrition. All of these areas are vital to educating and helping people when you are in a devastated area. While the focus for global health is third world countries and educating people on diseases that can be prevented, global health workers also deal with people in the United States who experience tragedy as a result of natural disaster. Global health majors can also concentrate in psychology to help people cope with the emotional damage done after experience a health crisis of any capacity.
What Else Should I Know for a Master’s in Global Health?
Foreign languages are extremely useful for those working in global health. Spanish, along with Arabic and Vietnamese are among the top languages to learn for those traveling to other countries for public health. These languages can be mastered through conventional classes or through software and regular practice. While there are many positions for working in public health, you will be able to best serve the community you’re helping if you speak their language. Fluency is not required to work in a devastated area, but mild understanding and use of the language can help you greatly. It also allows you to connect to the people you’re helping.
Are There Online Global Health Master’s Programs?
There are many accredited online programs to choose from for a master’s in public health. Regional accreditation is the thing you’re looking for when researching online schools for this degree. Nearly all of these programs will require the GRE, along with a bachelor’s degree. Most online programs do not require the bachelor’s degree to be in a related field. Look for a school with a program that has existed for a few years with quality instructors. Most programs have an area on the website where you can request additional information about the degree curriculum and prerequisites.
If this checks out with you, schedule a meeting with an academic advisor. He or she will be able to tell you more about the program and give you an idea if it’s a good fit for you. Many established global health programs have connections with some of the largest non-profit organizations to help students gain experience in the field. This is something you can ask the advisor about. Know that you’re able to volunteer for any organization regardless of a school’s affiliation with the program. In the global health realm, you’re really looking for experience versus a formal internship. Because of strict budgets, many non-profit organizations operate with volunteers versus internships that may require a stipend for a student’s travel or living expenses.