About the Program
The VMD/MPH dual degree program is offered jointly by Penn Vet and The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives. This unique opportunity offers students the chance to earn both a professional degree in Veterinary Medicine (VMD) as well as a Master's in Public Health.
The VMD/MPH dual degree is designed to be completed in four to 4.5 years, with students completing the bulk of their coursework during their VMD studies. Students may elect to extend their plan of study if they choose to complete a greater proportion of the MPH curriculum following conference of the VMD degree. The combined degree program offers a great deal of flexibility to meet individualized goals and pacing.
Students are encouraged to apply for the VMD/MPH degree in their first year so that they can start to plan for coursework and public health fieldwork experiences, but applications can be considered in later years.
The CEPH-accredited Master's of Public Health curriculum focuses on a group of core courses. Candidates choose from several track options, and design their plan of study with electives to fulfill the track requirements. The tracks offered include the Generalist Track, Global Health Track, Environmental Health Track and the One Health Track. Students also complete 125 hours of field work and a culminating Capstone experience that results in a mentored research or mentored project in public health.
To review a plan of study, download and review a VMD/MPH plan of study (PDF).
One of the strengths of Penn’s MPH program is its interdisciplinary nature. VMD/MPH students will be taking public health courses with students from other schools at Penn, including:
- Dental Medicine
- Arts and Sciences
- Social Policy and Practice
VMD/MPH Graduates: A Growing Need
Veterinarians are already unique among health care professionals in that they are educated in the dynamics of population health. Training in population-based preventative health is an important component of veterinary curricula. Additional training in the foundations of public health practice, as is provided by MPH degree programs, helps to prepare veterinarians for a wide array of professional endeavors.
These include careers in global health, environmental health, epidemiology (including disease investigation, control and prevention), food safety and security, and animal population management such as domestic pet sheltering, fisheries and wildlife conservation, and global food production.
MPH-trained veterinarians are highly sought after by local, state and Federal-level governmental agencies (such as the FDA, CDC, USDA and health departments) as well as NGO’s and private corporations whose stake holders are interested in topics as diverse as vaccine development, disaster management and climate change.
MPH training also prepares veterinarians to engage with their local community leaders in development of policies that respect the health of animals and the environment in addition to human needs. There has never been a time in the history of human development where a One Health approach to health-related challenges – from local to global levels – has been more vital.