Benefits of an Accelerated MPH

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in public health and you want to finish school in less time, you may benefit from an accelerated master’s in public health (MPH) program. These programs provide a fast-paced schedule for highly motivated students. An accelerated MPH program may enable you to graduate more quickly, allowing you to begin or advance your career in public health. 

Below, we cover what you need to know when considering an accelerated MPH program.

What Is an Accelerated MPH?

An accelerated MPH is a master’s in public health program that has a shorter time-to-graduate schedule than a traditional full-time or part-time MPH program. Baylor University, for example, offers the following options for completing a 42-credit Master of Public Health online program:

  • Accelerated: 12 months
  • Full time: 18 months
  • Part time: 24 months

In an accelerated MPH program, students will often make school their main focus due to the rigorous coursework and schedule. Compared to full-time or part-time programs, an accelerated MPH program may require more time in class and more assignments each week. This may limit the ability of accelerated MPH students to work while they’re in the program. 

Students who are interested in accelerated MPH programs should also note that some programs may require coursework during the summer.

One advantage of an accelerated MPH program is that, while the amount of overall coursework is the same, the program takes fewer months to complete than a traditional MPH program. This may make the accelerated program a more convenient option for MPH students who want to complete their degree as quickly as possible. 

Benefits Associated With an Accelerated MPH

Whether or not an accelerated MPH program is right for you depends on how much time you are able to commit to your coursework each week and the goals you have set for graduation. There are three primary benefits of an accelerated MPH program: the flexibility of online instruction, the type of coursework offered and the accelerated completion time. These differences are important to consider as you decide on an MPH program.

Accelerated MPH: Modality

There are accelerated MPH programs available online and in on-campus environments. For students who want to study at a particular school without having to relocate, accelerated MPH online programs may be a desirable option. Students who don’t enjoy attending classes in a traditional classroom setting may be interested in an online program that allows them to study and submit assignments from the comfort of their own homes. 

Since you have the freedom to study with any connected device from anywhere in the world, online coursework is a convenient and flexible option for many public health students. If you’re more alert at night or early in the morning, you may benefit from being able to work at your own pace. For students who are traveling or on the move, attending an MPH online program means they never have to sacrifice their studies, even if they change locations throughout the school year. 

For MPH students who prefer to take classes in-person, accelerated on-campus MPH programs still have the benefit of taking less time to complete. Students experience on-campus lessons but are able to finish their degree in about one year, as opposed to the standard two years for most master’s degree programs.  

Accelerated MPH: Coursework

Accelerated MPH programs feature similar coursework as full-time or part-time MPH programs—the main differences are the schedule of the courses and how many courses a student takes in a single term. For example, in a part-time program, a student may take one or two courses each term. In an accelerated MPH program, a student may take four or more courses each term. 

What kind of coursework can you expect in an accelerated MPH program? Classes might include MPH courses similar to the following:

  • Public Health Concepts in Epidemiology: In this course, students learn about key epidemiologic concepts and how they work in theory and in practice.
  • Public Health Assessment and Planning: This type of course covers how to assess public health needs and create intervention strategies.
  • Public Health Leadership: This course includes topics like public health organizational structures, management, and ethical decision-making.
  • Public Health Research Methods: Students learn topics such as research design, methodology, statistical analysis, and research reporting.

Accelerated MPH programs may also include a graduate project, where students report at the project’s conclusion or an internship, where students participate in an immersive public health experience. These are important experiences, and combined with other required MPH coursework, require a significant time commitment from students who participate in an accelerated MPH program.

Accelerated MPH: Completion Time

A primary reason many students choose an accelerated MPH program over a traditional MPH program is the time it takes to complete the program. Full-time and part-time MPH programs may take two years or more to complete. Accelerated MPH programs typically shorten the time to completion and reduce the number of months spent earning your degree so that you may advance your career more quickly.

The completion time for an accelerated MPH varies depending on the school. While Baylor’s accelerated MPH online program is completed over 12 months, there are accelerated MPH programs across the country that have lengths varying from 11 to 18 months. When researching MPH degree options, keep in mind that programs that promote a faster completion timeline than others will tend to require a more rigorous course load.