alphabet soupWe know from talking with prospective students that the alphabet soup of public health master’s degrees is confusing. I’m here to try and dispel some of the confusion.

Below is a very general overview of the master’s degrees here at the Bloomberg School. Keep in mind, these same descriptions may not apply to other schools. When you’re researching degrees, don’t focus on degree names. Review each program’s offerings (curriculum, field placement, duration of program, faculty, etc.) to find one that best fits your needs.


At the Bloomberg School, the MPH is a Schoolwide program designed to prepare students to address current global public health problems through multidisciplinary approaches.  Our full-time MPH is an eleven-month program. The degree is also offered in an online/part-time format. Because of the program’s intensity and leadership skills required, MPH applicants without a doctoral degree are required to have two years of post-baccalaureate, full-time, health-related work experience.

If you have not met the experience and coursework requirements, you are ineligible to apply to the MPH, but don’t despair! The Bloomberg School offers six other master’s degrees, most of which do not require work experience.


The MBE is offered through a collaboration of the Bloomberg School and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. The MBE is an interdisciplinary and cross-divisional graduate program preparing students from diverse individual and professional backgrounds for the bioethics challenges of professional and civic life. The MBE is offered both full and part-time. The full-time program takes about 1.5 years.


The MHA is offered through the Department of Health Policy and Management. It prepares students to begin or advance leadership careers within health service organizations. It’s the business degree of public health. The MHA is one year of academic coursework and an 11-month field placement.


The MHS is offered by each of the school’s academic departments. It prepares students for further graduate study or research careers through in-depth study and research in a particular public health discipline. The duration of the MHS varies by department, but is typically one year of academic coursework culminating in a thesis or project.

The MPP is offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management. It provides a broad look at public policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. This is the one degree at the School not solely devoted to public health. The MPP combines academic coursework with an internship and typically takes two years to complete.


The ScM is offered by seven academic departments and geared toward students interested in building research careers. The duration of the ScM varies, but is typically one year of academic coursework culminating in a thesis or project based on original research.


The MSPH is a professional degree offered by five academic departments. This degree couples focused academic training with a field experience, providing students the opportunity to integrate what they learn in a classroom with real-world public health practice. The duration of the MSPH also varies by department, but is typically one year of academic coursework, plus a 4-9 month field placement.

The online application, requirements and deadlines vary by program, so Know Your Program!