March 31, 2023

Are There Areas of Specialization With a Master of Public Health Degree?

It is an exciting time for those pursuing careers in Public Health and there are many options for electing to complete specializations or concentrations to tailor the individual area of interest for their career paths. Some of the most common areas of specialization are:


Epidemiology is the study of how health affects large populations of people and how to reduce problems associated with public health crises. They play an important role in educating people about achieving safe practices for good health. Epidemiologists generally work in offices and labs at health departments for state and local governments, in a hospital setting and at colleges and universities. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics average salaries can reach upwards of $117,000. According to Forbes Magazine’s recent article on the 25 most meaningful jobs that pay well, Epidemiologists rated nineteenth making it an excellent career option.


Biostatistics concentrations provide public health students with specific training in quantitative methods to use and to adapt statistical procedures in both the design and the analysis of studies that span the entire spectrum of research in health care. Many biostatisticians work in Government agencies, public health organizations, research companies, manufacturers of medical device and the pharmaceuticals industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, professionals in this field can expect to see growth of approximately twenty seven percent from 2012 to 2022, with a salary range is between $53,228 and $121,890 a year.

Environmental Health Science

Environmental Health Science Concentrations allow students to prepare to work in organizations that are most concerned with public health exposure to both chemicals and physical agents. Graduates will tend to go into careers in academia, industries in chemicals or pharmaceuticals, and also environmental protection agencies in federal, state and local offices. The concentration of Environmental Health is broad so students will want to focus more specifically on topics such as molecular epidemiology, molecular toxicology, environmental health policy, and global health. Average salaries range up to $109,970 and the growth anticipated by 2020 is fifteen percent, faster than the average for all occupations according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Social and Behavioral Sciences focuses on the identifying and analyzing of social determinants and behavioral risk factors associated with public health problems to apply this knowledge in understanding and promoting healthy behaviors within communities. Through the Social and Behavioral Science concentration students gain skills in design, implementation, and evaluation of programs promoting healthy behaviors in international and domestic settings. Coursework focuses on psychological and social influences on health and behavior in diverse populations. MPH graduates with a specialization in social and behavioral sciences are employed in health agencies and are involved in creative aspects of community assessment, program development and evaluation, and research. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a projected growth between 5% and 30% in employment rate from 2010 to 2020.

Disaster Management & Emergency Preparedness

With natural disasters and catastrophes posing a serious risk to many communities, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals to manage and alleviate their effects. Getting a Master’s Degree in Public Health that is focused on disaster management will prepare graduates for an exciting and rewarding career in this growing area of public health. The mean average salary according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is $59,770 with the top 10 percent earned more than $107,810.

There are many other choices in specialization for those pursuing a Master of Public Health. Choosing a College or University with a specialization in a particular area of Public Health is an important component in the decision process.