For nurses who are interested in expanding their knowledge of nursing and increasing skills in community and public health, pursuing a dual degree program that combines a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Master's in Public Health (MPH) degree may be a valuable next step. A combined MSN/MPH program includes coursework in advanced practice nursing, as well as curriculum on epidemiology, public health, program management and healthcare policy and politics. This specialized training provides nurses with a focused knowledge of public health nursing, preparing them for careers in public health education, nursing, program development and research. Upon graduation, these nurses are prepared to pursue careers such as:

These dual master's programs are academically rigorous, providing nurses with two advanced degrees in generally between 18 months and 3 years of study. Whether taken on a full- or part-time basis, MSN/MPH programs are also more cost-effective than taking two separate master's programs.

Which MSN/MPH Program is Right for Me?

So you're interested in a dual MSN/MPH program but don't know where to start? See below for a full listing of schools that offer this joint degree to get you started. While researching schools, keep these questions in mind to help you choose the right program to fit your needs:

  • Is the Program Accredited?: A crucial first step in considering a school should be determining if their program is accredited by a reputable third party accrediting association. If a school has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Council on Public Health Education (CPHE) it has passed a thorough evaluation of program quality and you can be assured the investment in your education will be a valuable one.
  • Can I Take Classes Online?: While many MSN/MPH programs are offered in a traditional classroom format, some schools offer online courses that allow students to complete assignments from whenever or wherever it is convenient. This flexibility is particularly attractive for students who plan to continue working while earning their degree. Online courses can also be more cost effective than the on campus equivalent, and save students the cost of commuting to campus.
  • What Courses Will I Take?: Program curriculum can vary from school to school, so make sure to review the required courses for each school you are considering to make sure it covers the topics you are looking for. For example, the MSN/MPH program at the University of Nevada, Reno allows students to specialize their nursing studies in Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Educator or Family Nurse Practitioner tracks and public health studies in Epidemiology or Social and Behavioral Health tracks.
  • How Much Will it Cost?: The cost of an MSN/MPH program varies between schools, and can be influenced by the geographic location, school's reputation, a student's residency status and whether the courses are taken on a full- or part-time basis. When researching a school, make sure to include the cost of mandatory university fees, supplies and campus housing and/or commuting costs into your overall budget. Also, be sure to check with the school's financial aid office for information about financial assistance you may qualify for.

You may consider an MSN in Public Health degree program.

MSN/MPH Program Curriculum

The curriculum for a dual MSN/MPH program generally includes advanced practice nursing coursework, on topics such as advanced health assessment, research methods and community health nursing, as well as public health coursework on epidemiology, public health policy and social and behavioral science. In addition, MSN/MPH programs include a clinical internship component in which students can put their public health nursing coursework into practice.

One example of MSN/MPH curriculum is the required course listing for the dual Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner / Master of Public Health program at the University of Southern Florida. USF's program includes the following courses:

  • Theory & Practice Across the Lifespan
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Research and Evidence Based Practice
  • Pharmacology for Advanced Practice
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Principles of Health Policy Management
  • Public Health Capstone

How Much Does a MSN/MPH Program Cost?

The cost of an MSN/MPH program varies from school to school and can be influenced by a number of factors including geographic location, a school's reputation and a student's residency status. As mentioned above, when you're researching a program's cost, make sure to factor in all the associated costs. In addition to the cost of tuition, students can expect to pay mandatory university and course fees, supplies fees, non-residency fees and the cost of campus housing or commuting. For courses that are available online, students may also need to consider the cost of a laptop, webcam and/or software, but those costs are generally offset by the savings in commuting to campus and/or lower tuition costs. To provide one example of program costs, the MSN/MPH program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the 2018-2019 academic year is $465 per credit hour for Alabama residents, and $1,061 per credit hour for non-residents.

What Are the Career Options for a Nurse with an MSN/MPH Degree?

Graduates of MSN/MPH programs pursue a variety of careers in public healthcare, serving various patient populations and providing education services about health, disease and injury prevention and treatment options in their roles as public health nurses, managers or directors at public health organizations or as researchers of epidemiology. Some of the career paths available to these nurses include:

  • Public Health Nurse: Public health nurses serve a specific population of people, and in many cases underserved communities and groups. Public health nurses provide patient care and health assessments, as well as education about a variety of important health topics. As opposed to working in hospitals, many public health nurses work for city or county health services, mobile units providing healthcare services, federally-funded public health organizations and private community health agencies.
  • Epidemiologist: Nurses specializing in epidemiology research investigate the spread of communicable diseases, including data collection and analysis of diseases. Working with public health organizations and government entities, epidemiologists may help design research studies, prepare prevention guidelines and oversee public health programs.
  • Public Health Director: A director at a public health entity is a management position in which the director is in charge of planning, overseeing and evaluating public health programs. Typical duties would include hiring and supervising staff, developing budgets and program plans and delivering reports to a board or supervisors.
  • Public Health Specialist or Educator: Public health specialists focus on providing health education programs for individuals and communities to help them maintain healthy lifestyles. These nurses may work under the direction of a public health director or independently as a consultant to develop educational materials, deliver public health programs and/or supervise other public health staff.

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Other Degree Programs

List of Dual MSN/MPH Programs

Dual degree programs are growing, and students interested in doubling down on their education are reaping the benefits. Below are some schools that offer the rewarding MSN/MPH joint program pathway.

Select Your State:

Connecticut

SchoolContact Information
Yale University
Dual MSN/MPH Programs
400 West Campus Drive
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 785-2389

Georgia

SchoolContact Information
Emory University
Dual MSN/MPH Programs
1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980

Maryland

SchoolContact Information
University of Maryland
Dual MSN/MPH Programs
655 West Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-0501

Massachusetts

SchoolContact Information
Harvard - T.H. Chan School of Public Health
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 432-1031

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