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The VMD-MPH at Penn Vet

VMD/MPH Program

The VMD/MPH is a flexible dual degree program that trains students in both veterinary medicine and public health. The addition of an MPH adds to veterinarian training by:

  • Strengthening epidemiology and biostatistics training, as well as methodological practices for doing public health
  • Introducing human healthcare systems and public health laws and ethics
  • Educating about environmental health at the ambient, occupational, and global spheres
  • Providing an understanding for the theories and framework necessary for designing interventions and educational campaigns

Questions About the VMD/MPH?

Want more information about the VMD/MPH Program? Contact us today.

About the One Health VMD+ Dual Degree Program

The One Health VMD+ Dual Degree program is designed to position students to solve problems at the interface of animal, human, and environmental health. 

The program welcomes first and second-year students seeking to pursue interdisciplinary studies in one of the following specialties:

  • Environmental studies (VMD/MES)
  • Public Health (VMD/MPH)
  • Business (VMD/MBA)
  • Law (VMD/ML or VMD/CL)
  • Translational Research (VMD/MSTR)
  • Social Work (VMD/MSW)

Interested students may apply to these dual degree programs by submitting an application online during our intake periods between October - December each year. A second application - directly to the School - may be required for some programs.

Thank you for your interest in our VMD+ Dual Degree program. Our application is now closed and will reopen during our next admissions cycle, October - December. 

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.

Program Curriculum

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:

  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Dental Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Social Policy and Practice
  • One Health Track

    The One Health track is unique in that it is specifically designed for students in the VMD/MPH dual degree program who are interested in the intersection of animal, human and environmental health.

    In the One Health track, VMD candidates may substitute Vet Epidemiology (VMD core) and Clinical Biostatistics (VMD elective) for the corresponding MPH core courses (PUBH 502/Epi and PUBH 501/Biostats, respectively). 

    The One Health Track requires 5 CU’s of electives in addition to the MPH Core Curriculum.

    • One course (1CU) must have a PUBH prefix.  You may choose from a wide array of options (see Penn MPH web site).
    • The One Health Study Design course (VPTH 550/650) is a required elective for the One Health track.
    • VMD core courses which can be cross-counted for MPH electives include Veterinary Public Health (VMED 607) and Emerging Exotic Diseases (VMED 619). 
    • A VMD elective course which can be cross-counted for an MPH elective is One Health & Global Food Security (VCSN 657 – offered spring of 1st year)
  • Field Work

    VMD/MPH dual degree students are required to demonstrate the application of basic public health concepts through their fieldwork experience in their area of specialization. Through their fieldwork experience, students will build and strengthen their skills and competencies with real world and hands-on public health activities and issues.

    For more information about completing MPH fieldwork, please take a look at the MPH Fieldwork FAQ.

  • Capstone

    Students will participate in two capstone seminars wherein they will have the opportunity to solve public health issues in their area of specialization as well as their peers’ areas of interest by combining the knowledge and competencies gained through their coursework. The capstone experience will connect students with mentored research or mentored projects in the public health field and will provide them a space to propose, develop, revise, implement and present their work.

    Learn more about the MPH Capstone experience...

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.

How to Apply

Separate applications and acceptances are required for both the MPH and VMD degrees. Students interested in the dual degree option will be required to articulate their interests and career aspirations in a separate essay and interview that will be evaluated in conjunction with all application material provided to Penn Vet, by the VMD/MPH advisory group.

Veterinary students may apply for admission into the dual degree program during the fall of their first or second years. Ideal applicants will be those with a mature understanding of the public health profession, a stellar academic track record, and a well-articulated intention of integrating public health research and practice with their professional careers.

  • Prospective MPH students may contact the MPH Program Administrative Coordinator Nick Van Meter at
  • Prospective VMD students may contact the Vet Admissions Office at 215-898-5434 or
  • Prospective VMD students interested in the dual degree option may contact Chipo Siantumbu at

The VMD/MPH Faculty
Dr. Daniel Morris, Penn Vet 
Dr. Chelsea Reinhard, Penn Vet Shelter Medicine 
Dr. Helen Aceto, Penn Vet New Bolton Center 
Dr. Stephen Cole, Penn Vet 
Dr. Jenni Punt, Penn Vet
Dr. Shelley Rankin, Penn Vet