Individuals who have earned a master’s degree in public health have a wide variety of career opportunities available to them. These prospects include working in the environmental sciences, dealing with infectious diseases and running medical fields among many others. Because the future is so vast and varied for these students, choosing electives can be equally diverse. Even with a wide range of options available, there are some electives that particularly stand out to public health students.
1. Advanced Biostatistics
Students interested in mathematical concepts and their research application to public health often choose to take advanced courses in biostatistics. Studying and understanding biostatistics can help public health officials design proper policies and interventions for public health. Possible biostatistics topics can include survival analysis, cancer statistics, genomics, logistical regression and environmental or occupational risk assessments. By properly analyzing data in well-designed studies, biostatistics can be used to conquer major global health crises. For these practical applications, this type of course remains extremely popular among public health students.
2. Emerging Diseases and Bioterrorism
Another extremely popular set of electives in public health is a series concerning epidemiology. Although most public health majors will have studied epidemiology at some point in their educations, advanced courses can go further into the analysis used to understand this concept. Epidemiology, or the study of the distribution and causes of population diseases and events, can be very complex depending on the genetics and environmental factors affecting a certain population. This type of research can extend into bioterrorism, a topic that is of great interest to many students and citizens.
3. Global Hunger and Food Security
Proper nutrition is a large issue facing global public health. Many master’s degree students choose to take this elective to define, measure and explore the causes and consequences of hunger and food insecurity throughout the world. The course typically includes case studies involving local victims of food scarcity, as well as the effects of low nutrition on individuals’ health and the health of the entire community. This course also typically explores emergency food programs, nutrition assistance options and various volunteer movements that attempt to remedy this situation.
4. Current Issues in Health Policy
With current issues in health policy ranging from national healthcare to providing extended benefits to an aging population, many public health students find this to be an exceptionally topical and important course as part of their educations. These matters, as well as issues with the medically underserved and the current nursing shortage, are important and deserve attention, especially from up-and-coming policy makers. Many students furthering their educations with a master’s degree find it to be their duty to consider these dire circumstances and take on this type of elective course.
5. Ethical Issues in Public Health
Another topical class popular among master’s degree students is about the possible ethical issues in public health. Current trends in these types of issues include dealing with LGBT and transgender patients, offering healthcare to the uninsured, responding to the threat of infectious diseases and providing care to low-income areas and countries. There are many questions about politically correct policies and the ethical issues of providing equal and appropriate care to poor or contagious areas. Public health decision makers have a duty to be accountable for their actions, and this type of course looks at the difficult choices these individuals must make for everyone.
Most master’s degrees for public health officials require a certain number of electives in order to complete the programs. While there are a wide range of courses and topics available, there are some that seem to be the most popular due to their topical and applicable natures.