When deciding to earn your master’s degree, remember that any choices about your education, will translate into your life. That is why it is so important to do your research and select a program that makes sense for you and your priorities. In pursuing a Master’s in Public Health degree, you will want to consider both the delivery of the program, as well as its academic rigor and potential for career options ahead. Ready to choose an MPH program that works for you? We can help you feel empowered in making that choice.
First, you will want to think about the program format. Will studying online, on-campus, or a little bit of both, match your vision of a master learning experience? We’re all familiar with what “live” learning is. Essentially, it matches the classroom experience of your early and high school education career. Though some students want to continue this in-person, on-campus legacy through graduate learning, online or distance learning is a better fit for many adults.
In addition, there are several factors to consider when selecting an online MPH program.
Is the program hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous?
A hybrid program means that, although rooted in online learning, you’ll still need to show up on campus for parts of your coursework. Sometimes testing or labs are conducted on-campus, while classroom learning is virtual. If your online program is based near where you live – and taking advantage of campus amenities or an accelerated program style sounds appealing to you – a hybrid program could be a good match.
Synchronous learning means that, though virtual, you’ll still need to “show up to class” at a pre-determined time. This method usually employs video conferencing. So, though you won’t need to deal with taking transportation to and from class and you can work from the comfort of your home office, you would still need to block off a specific time in your schedule. And, you’ll probably want to get out of your jammies and look presentable, as you’ll be on camera.
Asynchronous learning means that you can attend class on your own schedule. It’s the most flexible format, because although there will be set deadlines that you’ll still need to meet, week-to-week, you’ll be able to decide when to “attend class,” on your own time. The Center for Online Education cites that one of the main reasons people pivot to learning online is for the flexibility, due to family obligations or an existing career. In fact, many online learners today have tried traditional education earlier in their lives, and found that at this phase, asynchronous learning makes it possible for them to finish school, earn a master’s degree, and ultimately reach their goals.
Another important point to consider when choosing to study online, is your personal learning style. The goal, in the end, is not just convenience: it’s value addition to your career. Ask yourself these questions to help think about whether asynchronous learning might work for you. Are you…
- Good at studying alone?
- Able to successfully management your time?
Asynchronous learners rely on their own drive, and just an internet connection and a reliable computer, in order to excel. Synchronous learning could be good for people who need a little more structure, but still want to save time and money on travel. Hybrid makes sense for those who can spare the extra time getting to and from class, and who want the personal connection only available in the classroom.
Can we talk about MPH program affordability?
There’s a reason why we started by introducing online learning. It’s because it is an extremely cost-effective way to earn a master’s degree. Online programs can be affordable, because the school doesn’t have to pay for the immense overhead of buildings, classrooms, equipment, facilities staff, maintenance, and so much more. Whether you’re planning to study to become a biostatistician, an emergency specialist, or an epidemiologist; whether you want to work in public health education or become an inspector, all of these careers can be achieved, at a lesser cost to your wallet, through online learning. For instance, the private non-profit, Goodwin College, offers one of the lowest tuition rates in CT state.
Many people still have the misconception that—perhaps because of the affordability, or sheer unfamiliarity—distance learning is somehow less effective or prestigious than traditional classroom methods. This is a myth. What’s more important is the content of the program, not the package.
Accreditation Status & Curriculum
Look for a school that is associated with accreditation. This an important way to prove your value to prospective employers. Institutions that are accredited nationally, regionally, and programmatically, have demonstrated a certain level of academic rigor in their curriculum, resulting in fully prepared professionals. In the Public Health field of education, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) provides programmatic approval regionally. You’ll also want to look for higher education approval, such as the gold stamp from an organization like the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
You’ll want to ensure that you browse the curriculum offerings thoroughly as well. Programs like Goodwin College offer foundational courses across the discipline, as well as a deeper dive through electives and personal projects like the senior capstone. You’ll discover your individual passion in public health, and even better, engage with your subject of choice with research.
Once you discover an MPH program that checks out on your wish-list, you’ll want to carefully go through that schools’ requirements for application. This will help you map out whether you’re ready to apply, or if there are any pre-requisites that you might need to spend time earning. Some programs will require GRE scores, and at the graduate level, you will need a bachelor’s degree and minimum GPA. Personal statements, resumes, and letters of recommendation are also normal requests.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to make some choices! Learn more about Goodwin College’s Masters in Public Health online, and discover just how close you could be to a rewarding career in this fast-growing field. Call 800-889-3282, or visit us online for further information.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.