Master’s of Public Health for Doctors

Why Get an MPH After Becoming an MD?

So you’re a Doctor of Medicine (MD). Now what? Sure, most newly minted MDs head to complete a residency right away. But there are alternate routes into the field of medicine and the larger field of public health. In fact, more and more MD graduates are going on to complete a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) either before, or directly after, becoming an MD.

Why, exactly? Well, a Master of Public Health (MPH) provides you with new and diverse opportunities, especially coupled with a Doctor of Medicine (MD).

We’ll unpack the most common reasons MDs pursue further education in public health, and help you determine if an MPH is an appropriate next step for you. Further, we’ll explore some benefits and career advancements that can come from getting an MPH after your MD.

What is public health?

Before pursuing a Master’s in Public Health, it’s important to understand the field more generally (and how it differs from medicine). Public health professionals aim to improve the quality of life for everyone by promoting and protecting the health of people in communities and populations. Doctors typically work in hospitals, with individual patients, while public health professionals play a crucial role in:

  • Addressing climate change to protect public health
  • Administering vaccinations to control infectious diseases
  • Implementing school nutrition programs to promote healthy childhood development
  • Setting safety standards to ensure safe living and working environments
  • Tracking disease outbreaks to prevent widespread health crises

How does an MPH help an MD?

Looking again at the broad question: Why do doctors often decide to get an MPH after their MD? Combining the two graduate degrees offers a unique integration of a robust clinical background and scientific foundation, with honed skillsets in research, epidemiology, and health promotion.

This dual degree option can complete a physician’s training by offering new perspectives on healthcare, outside of the hospital setting. Physicians can approach their practices with greater care, intentionality, and purpose, utilizing their newfound public health skills to make an even greater impact in the lives of their patients and patient populations.


Build upon your skillsets and become a master of public health through Goodwin University.


The benefits of a Master’s of Public Health for MDs

The benefits of a Master of Public Health (MPH) go beyond individual patient care. An MPH gives the skills needed to improve community health on a much larger scale. MD graduates also love this degree combo since it offers benefits such as the opportunity to:

  • Transition from clinical work to research. An MPH allows physicians to seamlessly transition from clinical work to research. From medical advancements to investigating diseases to developing new public health strategies, if you want to improve the healthcare system beyond simply working with patients, an MPH can give you the tools you need.
  • Innovate changes to the medical field. Innovation fuels change, and this is especially true in the medical field. An MPH gives doctors the skills they need to innovate new changes, use newfound knowledge of public health to address health crises, improve patient outcomes, and facilitate better healthcare delivery systems.
  • Apply additional knowledge. Additional knowledge gained from an MPH complements the clinical training of an MD, allowing them to provide higher quality care when analyzing health problems or addressing diseases.
  • Strengthen leadership skills. With an MPH, physicians enhance their leadership skills, essential for managing healthcare teams and projects. They learn to navigate the complicated healthcare systems, influence public health policies, and lead changes that improve health outcomes.
  • Understand public policy and population health. An MPH degree provides a thorough understanding of public policy and health. Physicians can engage in health advocacy, shape healthcare policies, and implement programs that address the health needs of populations, especially groups that are the most vulnerable.
  • Solve global health problems. With an MPH, physicians learn how to design and implement public health programs that are capable of preventing diseases. By doing this, they can also promote wellness in local communities.
  • Conduct clinical trials. An MPH teaches physicians how to conduct clinical trials. From designing studies to collecting the data from those studies, they can use them to improve overall patient care. And they can advance medical knowledge through interpreting the data collected from their trials.
  • Step into public health and epidemiology. For those planning to step into public health and epidemiology fields at some point in their career, an MPH is indispensable. This degree provides the knowledge you need to track disease outbreaks and implement effective public health interventions.
  • Higher earning potential. While it’s certainly not always the case, there are, of course, some thankless sectors of the public health field, combining an MD and MPH degree can significantly increase your professional earning potential. In fact, for those with a combined MD/MPH degree, the average annual pay in the United States is $233,624.

Pursuing an MPH after earning an MD is a decision that can broaden a physician’s impact in healthcare. It facilitates the transition from clinical practice to research, supports innovation, and provides important knowledge to address public health problems. With the right qualifications, physicians can improve their careers, lead public health services, and contribute to better community health.


Think a career in public health is right for you? Learn more about advancing your earning potential and your career impact, with an MPH degree from Goodwin.