CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 31, 2014)—The School of Nursing and Health Studies is offering an enticing deal to current and future students interested in careers in the growing public health field: They can earn both their Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) and, in partnership with the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, their Master of Public Health (MPH) in just five years—and with up to 12 free credits.
Recently approved by the Faculty Senate, the “4 + 1” combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program was designed to meet the growing demand for public health professionals by building synergies between the University of Miami’s schools of nursing and medicine that will enable outstanding students to enter the public health workforce faster to pursue their desire to address the complex public health issues facing our nation.
“There is a tremendous demand for public health professionals—the projected need is 250,000 by the year 2020—and there are many subsets in public health so there are many career paths you can take,’’ said Martin M. Zdanowicz, associate dean for health studies at the School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Our goal is to get the best and brightest there on the fast track.”
Under the program, academically qualified students enrolled in the School of Nursing and Health Studies’s BSPH program will be able to apply for the MPH program their junior year and, if accepted, take up to 12 credits of master’s level courses at the Miller School’s Department of Public Health Sciences during their senior year.
Included in the cost of their undergraduate tuition, the master’s level courses will count towards the 45 credits the students will need to earn their MPH degree, which they will continue to pursue at the Miller School after completing their bachelor’s. The same deal is offered to students wishing to earn their Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH).
“It’s an excellent opportunity,” said Julie Kornfeld, assistant dean for public health at the Miller School, who notes it usually takes 18 to 24 months to earn a Master’s in Public Health. “We have a lot of students who graduate from UM come to our public health program, but this fast-track program allows us to recruit talented undergraduate students and provide them with a reduction in time and cost to complete two UM public health degrees.”
The seeds—and demand—for the “4 + 1” program were planted two years ago, when the School of Nursing and Health Studies established the first Bachelor of Public Health program in South Florida. That program, which will graduate its first class of four students this May, attracted 133 applicants this year—up from two last year.