What is the difference between a Master of Science degree and a Master in Public Health or Global Health Sciences degrees?
The focus of the Health Policy and Public Health (HPPH) specialty is to learn macro-level skills in managing aggregates of clients, communities, environments, policy and health systems within a clinical or health policy context. Whereas the focus of a graduate program in public health is on prevention, education and intervention to improve the public’s health, but not necessarily within a nursing context. Those with an MPH tend to be managers of programs/grants and may sometimes work less directly with the community. The Global Health Sciences degree is different in terms of its focus on global communities and program management.
What if I have been working as an acute care nurse (or in another clinical setting) and have no experience in public health or health policy?
Some of the students have had only in-patient experience and no public health or health policy experience. The key here is why you have made the decision to change areas of practice from in-patient to community public health or policy. While they often complement each other, it is helpful to have had acute or other clinical care experience, although not necessary. Practicing with an MS in HPPH in the community or policy arena is a very different experience that relies more on your independent judgment and ability to problem solve.
Why a combined focus in Health Policy and Public Health?
Nurses have a longstanding history of working in public health (i.e., community health care, public health departments, etc.) and health policy arenas. However, these two tracks are sometimes viewed as separate and apart from one another.
The UCSF Health Policy and Public Health combined specialty recognizes the important role that nurses play in advancing policies that promote health equity, health promotion, population health and public health interventions. By combining these two areas of focus, nurses will be able to engage in both health policy and public health, promote health equity to end disparities in health, have a greater impact on the health of populations and will prepare students for a career in advancing healthy equity.
What kind of positions will I be prepared to work in?
The field is wide open with very diverse career opportunities. The HPPH specialty PH track prepares you for a career in health education, program development, clinical expertise, consultation, research, public policy, leadership and administration. Graduates of our program work in settings that include health departments, schools and universities, parishes and faith-based programs, home care, refugee/immigrant clinics, jails and prisons, private agencies and non-profit organizations, domestically and internationally, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indian Health Services, World Health Organization and the International Federation of the Red Cross.
The HP track prepares nurses with policy expertise to be employed by health services research firms, work in legislative and regulatory offices at the county, state and federal levels, or hold elective or appointed office. Others work in the legislative or policy offices of health maintenance organizations, advocacy organizations, health care companies or health care provider associations, or consult for these and other organizations. One can also find nurses with careers in policy and program planning at international government health organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Those who follow the dual track will find that their opportunities span both arenas.
When do I select my specialty track?
Students should select their specialty track during the application process by indicating it in their goal statement, and no later than the end of winter quarter of year one. While in the program, a student can choose to continue in the specialty chosen or change based on their evolving interest. Students can also follow a dual track with additional course and residency requirements.
Each track requires students to take 8 units/240 residency hours appropriate to their track.
Can students get credit for both the HP and the PH track?
Students can pursue both and will have to complete all classes on the curriculum for both tracks in addition to the residency requirements for public health and health policy - a combined 16 units and 480 hours of residency total. In this case, students are expected to complete eight units/240 hours in a health policy residency and eight units/240 hours in a public health residency.
Can a dual master’s be completed?
You cannot earn a dual master’s at the UCSF School of Nursing.
How long does the program take?
This program can be completed in 15 months. If students choose to follow the dual track, it is expected to take approximately two years to complete.
Can I work while in this program?
Students can work, but full-time work is very burdensome. Students find the most flexibility and best learning opportunities when they have per diem positions.
Is this program online?
This is an in-person program. Students are expected to be physically present in class, except under certain circumstances (i.e., shelter-in-place orders; remote/hybrid learning per university orders).