Public health is a field which requires action all over the globe. From the inner cities of the United States to the villages of India, there are billions of people in the world who lack consistent access to basic treatment, education, and preventative healthcare. By earning your degree abroad in public health, you will be well on your way to making a change in the lives individuals in need all across the world.
Why Earn a Degree Abroad
Public health is a very regional discipline, as the social problems involving health and wellbeing vary significantly between countries and continents. In making the decision to pursue your public health degree abroad, you are also deciding to expand the scope of your studies beyond the realm of your home nation, and begin to enter a global context. Whether you plan on eventually returning home or moving on to begin a career in the international sphere, the perspective you will gain by earning your public health degree abroad will make you a more grounded and competent professional in the field.
Public health is a popular field of study at universities all over the world, so your decision of where to earn your public health degree abroad should really come down to the regional context you seek to explore. For example, the scope of your studies and potential specializations therein may be very different if you study in the developing world versus the developed world.
The most highly touted public health degrees abroad are not surprisingly found at the most highly touted schools, especially in Europe, North America, and Australia. Johns Hopkins University in the United States, University of Toronto in Canada, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, and the University of Sydney in Australia, are just a few of the schools that boast some of the most prestigious public health degree programs on the planet.
In the developing world you may not find as many globally prestigious degrees in public health, but you will find a very different manifestation of the subject matter. Pre-industrial societies are more rurally populated and tend to lack a strong social state, which can provide varying levels of healthcare. Public health within the context of rural poverty will indeed look very different than public health in a fully developed economy. Earning a public health degree abroad at a university in South Africa, Southeast Asia, or Central America can thus be a tremendously rewarding pursuit.
Public Health Degrees Abroad
Public health at the undergraduate level typically involves a broadly spanning, multidisciplinary approach to understanding the major issues and concepts involved in the field today. Students may take courses within the related disciplines of biology, sociology, public policy, psychology, and many other related subjects to supplement their overall knowledge of global health. A bachelor’s degree abroad in public health typically requires three to four years of study at foreign universities.
Earning your master’s degree abroad in public health will require one or two more years of study on top of this. The postgraduate level is generally when you choose a focus within the field of public health to specialize in. For example, epidemiology, health policy and management, public health nutrition, health administration, and environmental health sciences are all sub-disciplines in which you can earn your master’s in public health abroad. Earning your master’s in public health abroad will likely require significant independent research and a thesis in addition to your studies.
If you are really serious about the academics of public health, it is also possible to earn your doctorate degree abroad in a variety of subjects related to the field of public health. These public health degree programs typically require several years of additional study, and applicants should have a very concrete goal in mind if applying to a PhD program. PhD candidates are often expected to teach courses in addition to their research and studies.
Expand Your Scope. Before taking your education abroad, it is very easy to fall into the trap of taking an introverted approach to the public health issues of your own home country. Public health is a truly global discipline, and earning your public health degree abroad will show you a whole new side of the field and put your own country’s situation into a larger perspective.
Interact Cross-Culturally. Public health careers tend to take place in diverse work environments, and the practice you will have gained from living in another country for several years will shine through in your ability to interact with people of all backgrounds. Completing a public health degree abroad will make you a more flexible, adaptable, and well-rounded employee.
Have an Adventure. As if it weren’t obvious enough, earning your public health degree abroad will be the adventure of a lifetime. You will be challenged, surprised, confused, and in the end will create some of the best memories of your life to carry forth into your public health career.