Frequently Asked Questions

There are similarities! Population health works at the intersection of medicine, health systems, and society to improve health equity and outcomes. Traditional public health refers to the approaches that society, as a whole, takes to improve health.

At Duke, our multidisciplinary MS in Population Health Sciences is embedded in the Duke School of Medicine and Duke University Health System, and prepares students to make large-scale improvements to the health care practices directly impacting patients. Our students graduate with a deep understanding of statistical modeling, programming, and research methods. Additionally, all of our students receive one-on-one mentoring from our faculty.

Degrees from the Population Health Sciences department are granted by Duke's Graduate School and the department is also part of the Duke School of Medicine so our students can tap into a robust network of connections to Duke clinical faculty. Students can collaborate with experts at other renowned Duke institutions, such as the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Margolis Center for Health Policy, the Duke Cancer Institute, and the Duke Global Health Institute.

A Master of Public Health (MPH) typically focuses on the practice of public health. The MS in Population Health Sciences combines health knowledge with advanced research and evaluation techniques. We developed the data-driven MS curriculum in response to organizations describing their need for "subject matter experts with analytic skills."

Check out the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences admissions page for more information and an application FAQ section.

The MS in PHS is a full-time, two-year degree program.

The DPHS Master's degree is currently only offered in person, on our physical campus, face-to-face (also known as a "brick-and-mortar" degree).

While many of our students have work experience, it's not required for the degree.

The MS in Population Health Sciences prepares graduates for careers in community settings, health care systems, or industry. Sample jobs could be:

  • Program management in community nonprofits
  • Policy evaluation in government agencies
  • Quality improvement in health care systems
  • Project development in health industry
  • Graduates will also be prepared for careers in academic or contract research, with positions in research coordination or project management.

We ask that you to hold off on reaching out to prospective mentors before your acceptance into the program. While the online degree application requires you to identify potential mentors from our department, after your acceptance into the program, you'll have ample opportunity to connect with these faculty members.

Some guidance on how to think about identifying future mentors: 

  • Consider about your research interests:
    • What excites you in your research field? 
    • What is a productive area that fits your values and your career plans? 
  • Who is engaged in research that is complementary to your interests?

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