Careers in Public Health
In public health the focus is on populations and communities rather than individual patients. There are a number of career options in research, public or government services or voluntary organisations and non-governmental organisations. Starting from a common core, students may develop into roles ranging from public health analysts, health services researchers, communicable disease control consultants, environmental epidemiologists, health policy advisors or directors of public health.
Public health is a multidisciplinary speciality with entrants from a range of professional backgrounds including clinical (medicine, dentistry, nursing, professions allied to medicine) and non-clinical (a good first degree in a subject relevant to public health, usually a health science or environmental degree). An MPH can be a valuable asset to developing a career as a public health specialist either in the UK or abroad. The career trajectory after an MPH will depend partly on experience gained before starting the MPH or immediately after.
An MPH will address many, but not all aspects of the syllabus for the Part A MFPH exam, which is taken early in the specialist training period. With increased competition for public health training, many successful non-medical applicants apply after completed an MPH and securing three years relevant experience.
Opportunities - UK
- Research – apply for PhD funding. There is an extensive peer group of PhD researchers at Imperial within the School of Public Health.
- Service– apply for public health analyst or posts in the health service or with local government. There are many resources of information:
- Voluntary, Private or NGO sector – apply to a range of organisations who need public health skills including pharmaceutical companies and charities, such as Oxfam.
Opportunities - International
Students can make enquiries about specialist training schemes in individual countries. Opportunities also exist for:
- Research – apply for PhD funding – there is an extensive international research underway at Imperial and opportunities for PhD funding could be explored for interested students
- Service – apply for public health analyst or posts in health or government councils
- Voluntary, Private or NGO sector – apply to a range of organisations who may need public health skills.
Graduates - Destinations
A survey among Imperial College MPH graduates of the past 3 years has shown the following about their first destination after graduation:
- 55% were employed in a research position or pursued further studies
- 29% were employed by a healthcare organisation
- 15% were employed by a private firm (eg consultancy) or an NGO