Loma Linda University School of Public Health will offer three online degree programs this fall for people who want more flexibility than traditional classroom learning allows.
Students can choose between two online MPH degrees and one online DrPH degree. The first MPH and the DrPH degree offer a health education curriculum. The second MPH degree focuses on population medicine.
Anna Nelson, DrPH, MPH, program director for the MPH and DrPH in health education, says the curriculum is continuously updated to reflect changes in the job market. She cites convenience as a key reason some people choose online classes.
“Online learning programs allow you to continue living in your current location, working your current job and taking care of your family,” Nelson said. “You can continue with everything you were already doing and still get a degree.”
Nelson should know. She and her husband were living in Saudi Arabia when she enrolled in an online MPH program. After completing that, she signed up for an online DrPH degree at LLU. Not only did she keep living and working abroad, but her family grew while she studied. “I had two of my kids while doing this,” she says.
Karen Studer, MD, MBA, MPH, program director for the MPH degree in population medicine, says the program is open to any health professional.
“Population medicine concerns everything that affects the health of a population,” Studer says. “Whether preventing or mitigating disease, the focus is on keeping people healthy.” She adds that populations can be as small as the patients in a clinic or much larger. “The Surgeon General’s population is everyone living in the United States.”
Both MPH programs involve 56 academic units, but students are free to work at their own pace. While most students complete the degree in two to three years, they are allowed a maximum of five years. The DrPH involves between 62 to 65 academic units, depending on the electives the student selects.