10 High Demand Concentrations in MPH Programs

June 9, 2023

A Master’s in Public Health (MPH) is a graduate-level degree designed for people who want to work in public health. Graduates of this program can pursue a career in a wide array of settings, typically government health organizations, non-profits, research institutions, and international health agencies. The degree is thus designed to equip students with the knowledge and professional skills needed to address public concerns and promote the overall well-being of communities.

As global health challenges continue to emerge and gain prominence, individuals from diverse backgrounds are increasingly drawn to the field. This growing interest in public health has resulted in a wide range of highly sought-after concentrations within MPH programs.

And on that note, Here are 10 MPH concentrations currently in high demand.

1. Epidemiology

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this field has proven to be a vital study area. In short, epidemiology is the study of disease patterns and distributions and the causes and possible preventive measures within specific populations. Epidemiologists play an essential role in disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, and the design of public health programs.

Students in this concentration learn to investigate disease outbreaks, design studies, collect and analyze data, and identify risk factors and preventive measures.

2. Biostatistics

This concentration focuses on applying statistical methods in public health research and data analysis. It is essential for analyzing health-related data and making informed decisions regarding public health programs and interventions. Students in this concentration learn to design studies, develop sampling techniques, and use statistical data to inform public health policy.

If you are interested in continuing your education in this area while working, you can enroll in an online MPH program with concentration in biostatistics.

Biostatistics is especially helpful as it allows policymakers to draw conclusions from complex data, assess the effectiveness of certain interventions and programs, and identify trends in health outcomes.

3. Health Policy and Management

The health policy and management concentration prepares students for leadership positions in healthcare organizations. Topics covered include healthcare administration, health policy analysis, strategic planning, program evaluation, and healthcare financing.

In this concentration, you can apply concepts learned in economics, management, law, and ethics to shape healthcare policies and manage healthcare organizations. Such skills are crucial for ensuring effective healthcare delivery, improving access to care, and addressing challenges in the healthcare system.

4. Global Health

The global health concentration deals with public health challenges across borders. Issues of interest include infectious diseases, child and maternal health, and effective healthcare delivery in settings with limited resources. Experts in global health may also address humanitarian crises and global health disparities.

Developing cross-cultural understanding and a collaborative attitude is essential to succeed in this field.

5. Environmental Health

Climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate, causing disruptions within physiological and ecological systems worldwide. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to be responsible for at least 250,000 deaths per year due to malnutrition, malaria, and heat stress.

The environmental health concentration focuses on how environmental factors can impact public health. As such, students study topics related to air and water quality, food safety, environmental policy, and the impact of environmental disasters on human health. Professionals in this concentration play a key role in preventing and mitigating the impact of environmental hazards.

6. Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Changing attitudes and behaviors towards risk factors and certain health issues is crucial in addressing public health crises. Therefore, the health promotion and behavioral sciences concentration explores possible strategies for promoting healthy behavior and preventing diseases through behavior change.

Students learn about health education, community interventions, social and behavioral theories, and health communication within this concentration. It equips students with the necessary skills to design and implement health education programs and create supportive environments that promote changing behaviors and improve population health.

7. Maternal and Child Health

Improvements in maternal and child health (MCH) are a key focus of various health-related development goals.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 287,000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth in 2020, the majority being from developing countries. Thus, improving child and maternal mortality rates and health outcomes is paramount. The MCH concentration is critical in promoting reproductive health, ensuring healthy pregnancies, addressing child development and well-being, and reducing disparities among vulnerable populations.

8. Health Equity and Social Justice

Certain disparities exist between the burden of disease and the current healthcare system. These disparities may exist in terms of socioeconomic factors, gender, race, and other social determinants. Students in the health equity and social justice concentration learn about the impact of these determinants and how to provide equitable interventions to improve overall health outcomes. This concentration emphasizes the importance of addressing social determinants of health, advocating for marginalized communities, and eliminating inequities in healthcare provision.

9. Health Communication

Creating awareness among communities is essential to ensure positive health outcomes. Therefore, the health communication concentration recognizes the importance of effective communication in promoting public health. It equips students to design clear and compelling health messages, engage communities, and address health literacy by designing health campaigns, developing health education materials, and using media and technology for health communication.

10. Infectious Disease Control

Closely related to the epidemiology concentration, students in the infectious disease control concentration study the epidemiology of various diseases, learn how to investigate and control outbreaks, conduct disease surveillance and run immunization programs.

Experts in this field are essential in developing interventions for infectious diseases and managing outbreaks before they get out of hand.


Completing an MPH degree will be an important stepping stone for a successful career in public health. Each concentration listed above provides specialized knowledge and skills essential in addressing public health concerns, implementing evidence-based interventions, and improving population health outcomes.

While making your final decision, it is important to note that the availability of each concentration may differ according to different MPH programs and institutions, so make sure to properly research individual programs to ensure that your desired concentration is being offered. Regardless of your chosen concentration, however, it is a given that you will be creating a positive impact within a range of communities and populations through your work.

About the Author Kyrie Mattos

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