Graduate Student Handbook

9.2 Combined Degree Programs

Several options exist for combining the graduate degrees of the CPH with professional degrees. Those listed below are the most frequently pursued, but others may be arranged (e.g. DDS/MPH, DVM/MPH). Additional information, including sample course schedules, is available from the Office of Academic Programs and Student Services.

Combined MD/MPH

This program was created for those medical students with a strong interest in public health practice. In the combined MD/MPH, the student takes a leave of absence from the MD curriculum, usually following the completion of the Part 1 of the LSI curriculum and Step 1 of the USMLE.  (Additional details on the process of taking a leave of absence and timing of curricular requirements, including USMLE Step 1, are contained in the Student Handbook of the College of Medicine). The student then undertakes one academic year of full-time study in the College of Public Health, which allows completion of 36 credits required for the MPH. The remaining 12 credits may include 2 credits for practicum and 3 credits for the culminating project; 7 credits of MEDCOLL coursework can count toward the MPH. The student will usually return to the medical curriculum for one full year (Med 3) of clinical rotations, all of which are required, and then complete the MPH requirements during the final year (Med 4) of the medical curriculum, using the MPH work to satisfy some of the Med IV electives.

Combined MD/MHA

The combined MD/MHA is structured much like the MD/MPH, in that the student completes the first two years of the MD curriculum and Part 1 of the USMLE and then takes a leave of absence from the MD curriclulum, usually following the completion of Part 1 of the LSI curriculum and Step 1 of the USMLE. Additional details on the process of taking a leave of absence and timing of curricluar requiremetns, including USMLE Step 1, are contained in the Student Handbook of the College of Medicine. The student usually then undertakes one academic year of full-time study of the MHA and then returns to the MD curriculum. The MHA is a longer degree,  60 credits, (as opposed to 45-48 for the MPH), and thus more accommodation is required. To avoid scheduling difficulties, students considering the MD/MHA are urged to consult with the HSMP division before beginning the program to determine whether it is possible to take a portion of the MHA course work before beginning the MD or during the summer between Med I and Med II. Many MD/MHA students also choose to carry a heavier course load during their year of full-time graduate study. The student will usually return to the medical curriculum for one full year (Med 3) of clinical rotations, all of which are required, and then complete the MHA requirements during the final year (Med 4) of the medical curriculum, using the MHA course work to satisfy some of the Med IV electives.

Combined MD/PhD

This combination is administered by the Medical Scientist Program of the College of Medicine. The MD and PhD degree program was created for those medical students with strong interest in academic public health or public health research. Typically, students attend the first two years of the basic science curriculum of the MD program, followed by a three-year period during which advanced course work and research directed toward the PhD degree is undertaken. Upon award of the PHD, students continue with the two years of clinical experiences required for the MD degree.

Combined JD/MHA

The JD/MHA combined degree program is quite simple in structure. The student takes one year of full-time course work in each program, in either order. (i.e., one year of JD followed by one year of graduate work or vice versa). In the remaining two academic years, the student may take law and graduate course work simultaneously.

Some course substitutions are possible, so that the combined degrees take one year less than the two degrees would require if taken separately. Law courses are permitted to substitute for the MHA electives, and MHA courses count as law electives in the JD program.

Combined DVM/MPH

The program simultaneously prepares students for the professional practice of veterinary medicine in both the traditional individual patient setting and the broader production medicine and public health context.
Students may apply to the MPH-VPH program, and then during their first year of study in the graduate program, apply to the College of Veterinary Medicine for the following year. Second, students can begin in the DVM program, and then apply to the MPH-VPH program. Typically students begin their students in the MPH-VPH program, and then begin the DVM curriculum the following year. During the DVM program, the student will complete any remaining graduate course work.
The DVM/MPH-VPH allows students to complete the two degrees in five years, rather than six years that would ordinarily be required.