Public health involves preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through organized efforts. It is a combination of six core areas: biostatistics, epidemiology, health services administration, health education, behavioral science, and environmental science. Public health focuses on improving people’s health and quality of life through the prevention and treatment of disease and other conditions, as well as the promotion of public health measures to control the spread of disease and encourage healthier living. When applied to public health, the field of social science examines how social behavior affects a population’s health, while behavioral science studies the communication and interaction process within a population and how it impacts health.
MPH programs usually last two years. Some require work experience in this field but, in general, there are no prerequisites. In the social and behavioral sciences concentration, students study the behavioral, psychological, and social factors that influence the health of communities and populations, and how these factors influence health, illness, and recovery. Coursework may include such subjects as genetics, psychology, data analysis, anthropology, history, research methods, public policy, and sociology. Upon graduation, students can pursue employment opportunities for a wide range of employers, including government health departments, non-profit organizations, healthcare facilities, and research laboratories, among others.