It's never too early to start incorporating public health into your career. You often have more flexibility during your premedical or prehealth years to travel and participate in additional training opportunities. Consider finding a faculty mentor with a similar interest who can provide information about coursework or joint degree programs. She or he can help you carefully plan your summer to include a practical public health experience, course, or research activity. Visit your college's career center to find job listings for public health opportunities.

Some colleges offer bachelor's degrees in public health, policy, health science, or community health with requirements that often parallel pre-med requirements. Explore medical schools offering combined undergraduate/MD programs or postbaccalaureate premedical programs before applying to medical school.  

You may choose to obtain a master of public health (MPH), master of health science (MHS), or similar degree before attending medical school, although there is no specific timeframe. You may be interested in pursuing a dual degree, such as MD-MPH or MD-PhD. There are also certificate programs available, frequently online, that may provide additional training in one specific area of public health. Visit Aspiring Docs to decide if medical school is right for you and learn about the medical school application process, or to explore pursuing a career in medical research.


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Public Health Pathways is supported by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Cooperative Agreement Number 5U36 OE 0000004-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.