Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health (MD/MPH)
This program combines medical and public health education in preparation for a career of caring for the health of individuals and their communities.
The MD/MPH Dual Degree Program at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health is designed for students who envision a medical career that incorporates public health and medicine. For a discussion of the pros and cons of MD/MPH programs in general and the timing of public health coursework, see the MD/MPH Guide at AMSA (American Medical Student Association).
The MD/MPH program prepares physicians for academic careers or for practice in today’s health care environment. This flexible program combines traditional MD preparation with a concentration in one of the following areas of public health: biostatistics; environmental health; epidemiology; health policy and management; health law, bioethics and human rights; international health; maternal and child health; or social and behavioral sciences. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue programs of study and practice placements that allow the exploration of the multifaceted relationships between medicine and population-focused public health disciplines. For some concentration areas (biostatistics and environmental health), completing all coursework within two semesters can be difficult and will require advance planning.
Coursework in the dual degree program is generally completed over a period of five years.
To earn both degrees, students must complete the required classroom and clinical coursework for the MD and the required 48 credit hours of coursework and other requirements for the MPH.
MPH coursework for the MD/MPH program is generally completed between the third and fourth year of medical school. However, if a student has been accepted to BUSM, he or she may appeal to the Associate Dean for Admissions at BUSM for delayed matriculation. Also, if a student admitted into the MPH program at BUSPH is accepted into BUSM before completing MPH requirements, he or she may be transferred into the MD/MPH dual degree program.
In addition, credits in core courses and concentration courses taken at BUSPH prior to entry into BUSM can be applied to the MPH component of the MD/MPH program. All MPH coursework must be completed at BUSPH.
For MD/MPH students the 48 credits for the MPH are fulfilled as follows:
1) MD/MPH students earn 16 credits toward the MPH for completing designated courses required for their MD. The cost for these 16 credits is covered by medical school tuition; there is no additional cost.
2) The remaining credits for the MPH are as follows:
Approximately 18 credits for Core Courses as follows:
- Epidemiology (3 cr)
- Biostatistics (3 cr)
- Health Policy & Management (3 cr)
- Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 cr)
- Introduction to Health Law (3 cr)
- Introduction to Environmental Health (3 cr)
An additional 16 credits that fulfill the requirements for the area of concentration chosen by the student. The available concentration areas include:
- Environmental Health
- Health Law, Human Rights & Bioethics
- Health Policy & Management
- International Health
- Maternal & Child Health
- Social & Behavioral Sciences
Students must earn at least a grade of Pass in all medical school courses and must maintain at least a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in courses at BUSPH.
MPH candidates must also complete the requirements for a “Culminating Experience” as specified for their specific concentration area. For more information on academic requirements for specific concentration areas, please refer to BUSPH’s website.
Practicum Requirement for the MPH
A thesis is not required for the MD/MPH dual degree, but a practicum is required.
All MPH candidates must complete an approved practicum. MD/MPH students may fulfill their practicum requirement in the traditional manner, as described by the BUSPH Practice Office website. However, most MD/MPH students may wish to fulfill the requirement by undertaking a suitable project during the summer or during an open block in the fourth year of medical school. This elective should be planned well in advance, and the elective should be devoted entirely to a public health-related project that has been approved by the MD/MPH program director, Dr. Donald Thea.
The focus is flexible. Students are encouraged to discuss possible practicum projects with the MD/MPH program director, who must approve the proposed practicum and will serve as the academic supervisor. Regardless of which option is chosen, MD/MPH students must fulfill all practicum requirements, including:
- Registration for the practicum with the BUSPH Registrar before the beginning of the semester in which the practicum will be undertaken (PH 970 is a 0-credit practicum course for which MD/MPH students must register)
- Submission of a Learning Contract
- Completion of Midpoint Review with agency supervisor; and
- Presentation of a Poster Project and participation in the BUSPH departmental integration seminar
Opting Out of the MPH
A student may resign from the MD/MPH dual degree program by submitting a letter to the director of the MD/MPH program, the BUSM Registrar, and the BUSPH Registrar. This will not affect the MD.
Because MD/MPH students generally complete 32 credits of BUSPH coursework between the third and fourth year of medical school, there is typically not much time for overseas travel. However, there may be opportunities for short (2-to-4-week) overseas projects, particularly between the first and second year of medical school or as electives in the last two years. These opportunities are not a routine part of the MD/MPH.
All dual degree students must meet with the MD/MPH advisor in the School of Public Health (Dr. Donald Thea) and their medical school advisor at the beginning of their program to develop a plan of study.
The cost for the MPH reflects the cost of the additional coursework at BUSPH. The traditional MPH is a 48-credit degree program. BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH dual degree program receive 16 credits for overlapping coursework completed for the MD as described above.
In addition, BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH program will receive 8 scholarship credits from BUSPH. These are allocated two credits at a time for each of the first four BUSPH courses taken as an MD/MPH candidate. Consequently, while the MPH is a 48-credit degree program, MD/MPH students only complete an additional 32 credits of coursework at BUSPH, and only pay for 24 credits. Moreover, students entering BUSM with advanced standing may take one or two courses at BUSPH as part of the Advanced Standing Program. As a result, it is possible for students with advanced standing who are subsequently accepted to the MD/MPH program to complete the MPH requirements while paying for only 16 credits.
For more information on options for financing, students are advised to meet with personnel of the Medical Center’s Student Financial Management office.
Eligibility & Application
All medical students accepted to BUSM are eligible to apply to the MD/MPH dual degree program. Students interested in the MD/MPH program must apply first to BUSM. Checking off the box for interest in the MD/MPH program on the AMCAS application alerts the Admissions Office at BUSM that the student is interested in the dual degree program. It does not obligate the student to apply, and it has no impact on the likelihood of acceptance into BUSM.
Once accepted to BUSM, students who decide to apply to the MD/MPH program should submit an application directly to the MD/MPH program director before February 15 of the third year of medical school. Students are encouraged to discuss the program with the director and apply as early as possible upon matriculation to BUSM, however. There are no acceptance quotas for the combined program. Note that if a student enrolls in the program and changes his or her mind, that student may opt out without penalty.
This program is only open to students accepted to BUSM. An important aspect of the dual degree program is the integration of the two programs. If a student is enrolled at another medical school or has already graduated with an MD from another school, he or she must apply to BUSPH for the traditional 48-credit MPH program without any of the tuition reductions available to dual MD/MPH students.
Once accepted into the MD program at BUSM, students may apply to the MD/MPH program by filing an internal application with the director of the MD/MPH program. A complete application will consist of:
- The one-page application cover form
- A current résumé
- A statement of purpose written by you in which you: a) briefly outline your relevant education and experience, b) indicate your current professional career objectives, and c) indicate your reasons for pursuing an MPH in conjunction with your MD and how you intend to leverage the MD/MPH dual degree in your career
- One academic letter of reference from a BUSM faculty member who has read your statement of purpose
- A copy of your current BUSM transcript provided by the BUSM Registrar and a letter from the BUSM Registrar indicating that you are currently a student in good academic standing at BUSM (You must request these in writing from the BUSM Registrar.)
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications during their first year at BUSM.
Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Donald Thea with questions or to discuss the dual degree program.
Application Fee & Tuition Deposit
These are waived for MD/MPH applicants.