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The Best MPH Programs in Georgia for 2019
By Staff Writer

Public health in Georgia is defined by its contradictions. Much of Georgia remains rural and agricultural, but at its center is one of the world’s fastest-growing mega-metropolises. In cities like Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia has rich cultural diversity and also large income inequalities. This complexity makes Georgia a prime location for public health professionals – not to mention the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta.

Current public health professionals in Georgia who want to enhance their career with an MPH need look no further than the MPHOnline ranking of the Best MPH Programs in Georgia. From UGA to Emory and across the state, Georgia has some of the best MPH programs in the nation, and MPHOnline is committed to helping prospective students find the right one for their interests.

How We Ranked the Best MPH in Georgia

MPHOnline rankings always begin with a search of accredited, reputable degree programs that have proven their value and impact on the public health field and in graduates’ lives. To rank the Best MPH Programs in Georgia, MPHOnline organized the state’s accredited MPH programs by three criteria: Alumni Salary, Student Reviews, and Tuition cost. Data comes from College Scorecard, Niche, and IPEDS.

1. The University of Georgia — Athens, GA.

The University of Georgia’s (UGA) College of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health degree program with 7 majors from which students can select— Disaster Management, Gerontology, Health Behavior, Biostatistics, Environmental Science, Health Policy/Management, and Epidemiology. UGA MPH degree candidates are required to complete a practicum equal to 300 hours, and a final culmination project. UGA offers on-campus MPH programs in Georgia that have received accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The University of Georgia is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1785 — making the school one of the oldest public schools in the country. Its admission’s policies are considered highly selective. The University of Georgia is a member school of the University System of Georgia. The school’s 760+-acre main campus is home to more than 38,000 students studying for degrees offered by the universities 17 schools/colleges.

2. Emory University — Atlanta, GA.

Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health offers several Masters of Public Health degree programs that can be completed in less than two years. Emory University’s Executive MPH program offers a distance learning option for MPH concentrations in Prevention Science, Applied Public Health Informatics, and Epidemiology. Other MPH programs in Georgia offered by Emory University include nine different concentrations, on-campus options in the areas of Global Epidemiology, Health Care Management, Global Environmental Health, Health Policy, and Global Health, among others.  The MPH programs offered by Emory also provide dual degree options with twelve different degrees that include, a JD, an MSN, an MD, and an MBA degree.

Emory University is a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1836. The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Emory University holds the distinction as being the second oldest private university in the state of Georgia. The school operates with nine schools/colleges on a 630+-acre suburban campus in Atlanta.

3. Augusta University — Augusta, GA.

Augusta University’s Graduate School offers a Master of Public Health degree program with two areas of concentration — a focus on Health Informatics or a focus on Health Management. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits these MPH programs in Georgia. Both degree programs can be taken on-campus, online, or a hybrid version that combines both methods. Coursework includes the completion of a local internship and an approved capstone project.  Augusta University’s Master of Public Health program can be completed as a full-time or part-time student. Some students complete the graduate program in just two years.

Augusta University was established in 1828. Augusta University is a member school of the University of Georgia system.   Augusta University Medical Center is Georgia’s only medical center in an academic community. The school operates with several satellite campuses in Albany, Athens, Rome and Savannah, Georgia.

4. Mercer University — Macon, GA.

Mercer University’s College of Health Professions offers an on-campus Master of Public Health degree program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).  Degree candidates graduate with the tools and skills ready to confront complicated public health matters. The degree requires the completion of 42 credit units and a culminating internship to graduate. Coursework includes Health Measures, Health Policy, Epidemiology, Disease Prevention, among others. The MPH programs offered by Mercer University include dual degree options with the fields of Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, Medical Science, and PsyD.

Mercer University is a member school of the Georgia Research Alliance. The school was established in 1833.  Mercer University is recognized as the oldest private institution of higher learning in the state of Georgia. The school’s urban campus is home to nearly 8,700 students, studying from twelve colleges/schools.

5. Georgia Southern University — Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville, GA.

Georgia Southern University’s (GS) Hsu College of Public Health offers a Master of Public health degree program with six specialty areas of concentration in Community Health Education, Health Policy, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences, and a generalist option. Georgia Southern University’s College of Public Health is located on the school’s Savannah campus. Georgia Southern University allows up to six transfer graduate credits but requires each degree candidate to complete the program within seven years. Coursework requires the completion of 45 graduate credit units to graduate. Georgia Southern University’s College of Public Health MPH programs have received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Georgia Southern University is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1906. Georgia Southern University’s flagship campus is located in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern University is one of the member schools organized under the University System of Georgia. The school’s combined enrollment for all campuses exceeds 28,000 students.

6. Georgia State University — Atlanta, GA.

Georgia State University’s (Georgia State) School of Public Health offers an on-campus Master of Public Health degree program that prepares students to analyze public health issues and situations using evidence-based approaches and techniques. Georgia State University’s credit transfer policy allows for up to nine graduate credits if earned from other accredited schools and universities. The Master of Public Health courses are held in Georgia State University’s downtown campus. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits all Georgia State’s bachelors, masters, and doctoral level public health programs.

Georgia State University was established in 1913 and is one of the 4 research-member schools in the University System of Georgia. Georgia State University is recognized as the largest school in the state of Georgia. Georgia State has two campus libraries that hold over 4 million volumes combined.  Georgia State University is home to nearly 53,000 students studying for academic degrees awarded by eight colleges/schools located in the heart of the city of Atlanta.

7. The Morehouse School of Medicine — Atlanta, GA.

The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) offers a Master of Public Health degree program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since 1999. Degree candidates graduate ready for leadership roles in the public health arena. This MPH in Georgia generalist degree program is offered to part-time and full-time students strictly on-campus in Atlanta. Coursework requires the completion of 48 credit units — earned through courses, workshops, a local practicum, and a culminating experience, – to graduate. Degree candidates have the ability to somewhat customize their degree through the 14 elective course requirement.

The Morehouse School of Medicine was established in 1975 and is considered a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) The school was originally a component of Morehouse College until the School of Medicine became an independent entity.  The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the Morehouse School of Medicine as well as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. 

Public Health in Georgia: Where Can I Work as a Public Health Professional?

Public health departments are important to the community but many people in the general public may not be aware of the many career paths that professionals engage in within these institutions. The most common image is of the worker in a community health clinic but that is a very narrow image of the profession. Professionals at the Georgia Department of public health work every day to identify current and emerging diseases. They also work to create public policy that protects citizens every day.

It’s worth noting that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is headquartered Atlanta, Georgia. Many opportunities for those working in Public health will find employment through this US federal agency.

Serving a Diverse Community

Public health agencies in Georgia may work with refugees to help them integrate into their new community. Also, within the Georgia Public Health Department, professionals work in community outreach and as health educators. For the most part, public health professionals work in the community and not in hospitals. However, some do work in collaboration with area hospitals.

In a community, there will be a public health department but these professional also serve in schools, churches and in collaboration with medical providers and employers in the area. In the area of area of Biostatistics and Informatics, professionals may hold titles in companies such as Biostatistician, Health Services Manager or Health Informatics Manager. Healthcare Administrator, Educator and Community Health Worker are common titles for individuals working for public health departments, corporations and nonprofit agencies.

Some professionals with public health degrees go into epidemiology or environmental health. Global health professionals work with refugees and epidemics around the globe. Some positions are also in public relations and marketing. This diversity produces varied educational paths. The focus of a student’s degree will determine whether they pursue a career at a government entity, private corporation, nonprofit agency or a research consultancy.

Will a Public Health Internship Help Me on the Job Market?

Public health internships came be beneficial to deciding which direction to pursue with a public health degree. Students can get real world experience working with the public and programming through the Georgia Department of Public Health internships. Students can also get experience working with nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross. This give a different aspect of public health that the student has not experienced before. Some nonprofit organizations will give interns the opportunity to participate in global health projects. The more experiences a student has through an internship can help them decide what area they are interested in specializing in. Public health internships Atlanta students engage in may be different than experiences in other parts of the state. After graduation, students are better positioned to seek employment because they have real world experience coupled with the education.

How is the Job Market for Public Health in Georgia?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public health positions will grow by 20% over the next ten years. This is higher than other similar professions. For the Georgia Department of Public Health jobs will continue to grow to meet the community demand. In Georgia public health jobs are always being created in new areas. Since the threat of bird flu and other epidemics, Georgia public health jobs are now being found working closer with Disaster Services and Emergency Response due to the risk of outbreaks following hurricanes, the use of large communal shelters and pandemic risk. For those seeking entry level public health jobs in Atlanta, for instance, should research additional ways that public health professionals are working. Additionally, internships are a valuable way to discover new job titles and work responsibilities that fall under the broad heading of public health. Not only does the internship provide job experience, it can help get students into the career area they will love.

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