If you're a college undergraduate who's thinking of pursuing a career in public health or medical administration, perhaps you're wondering which bachelors degree would best prepare you for getting admitted to an excellent Master's in Health Policy degree program. Let's explore the best major courses of study if you're committed to pursuing a graduate-level education in this essential specialization.
Health science is one of the most relevant majors that an aspiring public health official might want to consider as preparation for a career in healthcare policy. Health science majors typically study medicine, human physiology, nutrition, biology, anatomy and related topics such as healthcare management. This is all critical knowledge that public health officials would need to draw on when making important policy decisions that affect the health and safety of their communities.
Biology or Microbiology
Biology and microbiology are the foundational sciences for medical studies. Having a thorough understanding of these disciplines will give you an edge in just about any healthcare or medical career. If you decide to pursue a master's degree in healthcare policy, you'll build on this foundation later in your graduate education by studying pharmacology and epidemiology. Without a fundamental understanding of the biological sciences, those advanced classes will be extremely challenging for you.
Public health is another one of the most relevant possible majors for anyone who has a goal of working in healthcare policy. The coursework in this major is all specifically designed for the purpose of educating future policy makers in topics of critical importance. If you choose this major, expect to study topics like community health, environmental health, global public health, social influences on health and statistics.
An understanding of politics, law and the legal system is helpful for anyone who wants to work in the field of public health. A background in political science will be beneficial for any public health official who wants to work through the political system to achieve the best outcomes possible for healthy communities.
Statistics, Biostatistics or Mathematics
If you're positive you want to study graduate-level healthcare policy, it's essential that you become proficient in college-level mathematics. If you're not already a math whiz, a mathematics-based major can be helpful in preparing you for the analytical requirements of a healthcare policy career.
While a math major isn't a strict necessity for success in this career path, you'll definitely find it helpful to load up on undergraduate classes in mathematics or statistics while you're working toward your bachelors degree. If you decide against a mathematics major, minoring in math might be the way to go. This is because the curriculum in many health policy master's degree programs includes intensive-level courses in biostatistics. At the bare minimum, you'll need a solid understanding of algebra if you don't want to get completely lost when it comes time to take your biostats classes.
Whichever of these majors you decide to pursue, it's an excellent idea to take as much coursework as possible in the other disciplines mentioned above. If you decide to pursue a health sciences major, it would be worthwhile to take some math, statistics and political science classes when it comes time to select your electives. It will benefit you greatly to study these topics while earning your bachelor's degree if your intention is to pursue a Master's in Health Policy.