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Joint Degrees

Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences with a Master of Social Work

What is the MSW/MPH joint degree program?

The joint degree program is a collaboration between the School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. Students graduate with both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health degree and are prepared to pursue a wide range of social work and public health careers to improve the health of a target population and/or community. Students participate in class work, field placements, and leadership seminars to acquire the knowledge and skills to address health problems.

What principles guide this program?

The program has a strong commitment to social justice, the elimination of health disparities, and a holistic definition of community and population health, including individuals’ physical health conditions and the behavioral and social ecological determinants of health. Moreover, both social work and public health share a commitment to involving consumers/community members in the development of policies and in the planning, delivery and evaluation of health promotion interventions, health behavior change, and health education.

What are the advantages of the program?

  • Students develop knowledge, values and skills for both professional social work practice and (e.g. direct practice or community organization/social administration) and community public health practice (e.g. primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention).
  • Advising and mentoring focuses on supporting students to achieve their professional goals (e.g., selection of field placements, papers written as part of course-work, leadership training activities, focus of final thesis/essay in the MPH program).
  • Students increase their career marketability as a result of being able to work from a cross disciplinary perspective. Students have gone on to jobs, for example, in various social service organizations, health departments, other government agencies, academic institutions, think tanks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Leadership in Public Health Social Work Education Program - Evans Fellowship of $10,000: All second year or Advanced Standing MSW/MPH students pursuing a Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (Direct Practice) or a Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) concentration in the Graduate School of Social Work are eligible to participate in the Juanita C. Evans Fellowship Program. This HRSA funded program is intended to produce leaders in public health social work. Students are expected to develop skills in administration and management, policy development and analysis, research and evaluation, and/or program planning. Students engage in a leadership training program. Field placements focus on developing leadership skills while working at sites that serve disadvantaged communities. Students enrolled in the program receive the Evans Fellowship of $10,000 associated with either their concentration or summer field placement.
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Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences and a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology

This joint degree program with the Department Anthropology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences prepares anthropologists for research, teaching, and program planning/evaluation for specialization in the cultural, social, and behavioral aspects of health and health care in either a domestic or international setting.

Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

This joint program with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work prepares students to fulfill leadership roles in public health systems or academic settings with a particular focus on maternal and child health. Students in this program, have opportunities to work with local organizations on a variety of planning, evaluation, and research activities.

Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences with a Master of International Development, Master of Public Administration, or Master of Public and International Affairs

Students in the BCHS MPH program may pursue two graduate degrees simultaneously, through Pitt Public Health's partnerships with other professional schools at the University of Pittsburgh. Joint programs typically reduce the number of credits needed for each degree, allowing students to earn two master's degrees in just three years, or a master's and a doctoral degree in five.

To participate in a joint degree program, students apply separately to both schools, and must meet all of the usual admissions requirements (including entrance exams like the GRE). If admitted to both schools, students alternate their primary program of study by semester or by year.

Although it is possible to apply to both schools at the same time, currently enrolled students may still apply for a joint degree as long as they have not yet completed one year of full-time study.

These joint degree programs prepare students for careers as public health practitioners in emerging economies where health issues are closely linked to social, political, and economic problems.

Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology

The joint PhD/MD program is a unique arrangement between the Department of Epidemiology and the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The program provides the opportunity for students to undertake a physician-scientist training program tailored to specific research interests, provided by the wide range of research that primary and secondary epidemiology faculty are involved in within Pitt Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Students in this program begin by completing two years of the MD degree in the School of Medicine, and then study at Pitt Public Health for three years to complete the PhD program. Students then return to the School of Medicine to finish the last two years of medical training.

Medical Scientist Training Program
Epidemiology PhD Program

The MHA/MBA Joint Degree Program

An outstanding opportunity to become highly skilled in the management of health care processes, quality, and finances, the MHA/MBA joint degree program is designed to create future leaders in the management of health care organizations. Uniting the strengths of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the program blends outstanding training in management and finance with the content expertise in health care quality improvement, outcomes measurement, and analytics.

Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management and a Juris Doctor from Pitt Law

The joint Juris Doctor and Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management (JD/MPH) program between Pitt Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law provides students with an interdisciplinary curriculum in law and public health, integrating law, health policy, and management. Students prepare to address the legalities, issues and problems affecting personal and public health. 

Careers

Recent graduates hold the following positions:
  • health care compliance attorney
  • assistant chief counsel for litigation
  • Board of Health, Commissioner
  • county, city, or state health official
  • private practice attorney

Recent Essay and Thesis Titles

  • Evidence Influences and Patient Autonomy: Utilizing The Ecological Model to Maximize Justice and Autonomous Choice in the Legal Doctrine of Informed Consent
  • Political Use of the Prevention and Public Health Fund
  • The Somali Bantu Refugee Resettlement Experience and What we Can Learn from it

Competencies

Graduates will be able to:
  • Contrast the main components of the organization, financing, and delivery of US health services (private and public)
  • Differentiate the legal and ethical bases for formal and informal health care, whether organized, financed, or delivered by public or private organizations
  • Evaluate methods of ensuring community and individual health in terms of preparedness, safety, and outcomes of health care
  • Assess public and private organizational policies with respect to their development, implementation, and evaluation
  • Apply systems thinking and performance improvement concepts to study outcomes and accessibility of care
  • Communicate health policy and management issues using appropriate market channels and technologies
  • Assess leadership skills for building partnerships
All graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.

Requirements

  • 113 credits  (20 less than completing programs separately)
  • 8 semesters (2 less than completing degrees separately) 
  • Coursework in health policy and management
  • Coursework in public health foundations
  • Advanced coursework in health law
  • Masters essay 
Full program information:
Student Handbook: Guide to Graduate Study
Curriculum 2015-2016
Curriculum 2012-2013
Curriculum 2011
Application required via both School of Law admissions and Pitt Public Health admissions

Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Human Genetics

The joint MD/PhD program is a unique arrangement between the Department of Human Genetics and the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The program provides the opportunity for students to undertake a physician-scientist training program tailored to specific research interests, provided by the wide range of research that primary and secondary Human Genetics faculty are involved in within Pitt Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Master of Public Health in Public Health Genetics and Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

The University of Pittsburgh established the MPH in Public Health Genetics and MS in Genetic Counseling dual degree program in 2004, which was the first program of its kind to be offered to students pursuing a genetic counseling degree. The dual degree program enables students to build upon the clinical skills that they acquire through the Genetic Counseling Program to understand the importance of genetics, genomics, and genetic counseling in the field of public health. 

Given the rapid expansion of available genetic and genomic testing, the current focus on precision medicine, and the increasing interest of national organizations, state public health offices, and hospitals in the application of genomics to public health, there is a growing need for professionals with skills in both disciplines. Graduates of the dual degree program are well-prepared to integrate public health genetics into clinical, research, public health, and industry settings. The dual degree program also benefits students by broadening their areas of expertise and career qualifications in other areas of public health including program development, evaluation, and policy.

There are a variety of options for completing the dual degree, which depend in part on the timing of the student entering the program. However, most students are able to complete the dual degree program in 22 months, which is one additional summer session beyond the typical completion time for the MS in Genetic Counseling degree program. 

© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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