A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree can complement an MD students’ clinical understanding of the individual with a population-based perspective. Tufts MD/MPH dual degree allow students to earn both degrees in only four-year, instead of the typical five, and the cost of the MPH program is significantly reduced for medical students. The MPH curriculum is integrated into the regular MD track so that dual degree students complete their MD requirements in the same sequence as their traditional MD colleagues. Students graduate from the program with a dual viewpoint on health issues and a breadth of knowledge and understanding that prepares them to fill unique and often influential roles in the health care system.
MD/MPH students must complete the core courses of the MPH program, a set of concentration courses, and enough electives to earn 42 semester hours of credit to complete the MPH. MD courses in Population Medicine, Nutrition, and Ethics are double counted for 4.5 semester hours of credit. The dual degree has its own set of concentration courses that focus on the intersection of medicine and public health.
The curriculum is integrated into the regular MD track so that combined degree students complete their MD requirements in the same sequence as their traditional MD colleagues. Students take their required MPH courses on Tuesday afternoons during their first two years. In the summer between the first and second-year students complete a 200-hour field experience. In the following third and fourth years they spend late winter/early spring of each year taking elective courses as well as remaining required courses. Several students take an additional year to undertake independent research projects or study abroad.
MD/MPH students must complete a core curriculum that includes courses in epidemiology and biostatistics, human behavior, environmental and occupational health, health services, research methods, and healthcare budgeting and management. They also complete an Applied Learning Experience, the program’s capstone experience, during their fourth year. As part of their concentration requirements, students take courses in public health law and quality improvement, and attend a monthly evening seminar—Integration of Public Health—that helps integrate their public health work and clinical studies. Students usually lose two clinical electives when undertaking their public health course requirements in years three and four.
How to Apply
Applicants for the MD/MPH apply to the School of Medicine in the same manner as all other applicants and additionally submit a separate combined degree program application. The online combined degree program application is accessible with the online secondary application on the Tufts School of Medicine secondary application web site. Applications for the MPH program will be reviewed only after admission to the Medical School.
Application Timeframe and Process
Applications to the MPH portion of the MD/MPH program may be done via the Tufts MD secondary application at any time from when an applicant first fills out that application up until the middle of July, just before the MD program starts. The secondary application deadline is January 15, but students may return to the combined degree application after the MD application has been submitted. The structure of the program precludes students from joining the program after it starts.
Applying early has the advantage of assuring a seat in the MPH should a student get accepted and choose the Tufts MD program. Although we accept MPH applications until just before the program starts, it is on a space-available basis. Most years the numbers work out well and everyone who gets in and wants the MPH can matriculate, but we have had years when not all students could be accommodated. Also, late applicants are likely to be placed on a waiting list pending decisions made by students admitted earlier, and so an early application can reduce uncertainty about acceptance to the MPH at a time when an accepted MD student is deciding whether to attend Tufts or another school.
Applicants accepted to both the MD and the MPH will be offered a choice of either an MD or an MD/MPH seat. They are not committed to taking the MPH until they respond to that offer.
Additional interviews are not required for any of the MD/master’s degree programs. No additional standardized tests (such as the GMAT or GRE) other than the MCAT are required for any of our combined degree programs. Applying to our combined degree programs does not require any additional application fees.
The Tufts School of Medicine Committee on Admissions is the only body with the authority to admit applicants to our medical school. The combined degree program has its own program committee that is authorized to admit applicants; however, it may do so only after the applicants have been approved for admission to the entering class by the Tufts School of Medicine Committee on Admissions. Applying to a combined degree neither helps or hinders their MD application.
Tuition Costs for the MD/MPH Degree
The following tuition rates are for 2023–2024 academic year* and apply to students enrolled in the dual MD/MPH program starting in Fall 2023. Students enrolled in the dual MD/MPH will be enrolled in the MPH program for each of the four years they are in the MD program and are therefore billed at a flat rate of MPH tuition for each year.
Tuition: $8,618 per year
The current academic year's cost of attendance budget (including not only tuition, but room and board, health insurance, books etc.) is available from the Office of Financial Aid.
*Tuition rates and fees are effective as of July 2023. Note that program cost is set each academic year and typically increases a small amount from year-to-year. The Trustees of Tufts University reserve the right to change tuition rates or fees at their discretion.
Career Opportunities with the MD/MPH Degree
Physicians with an MPH go into every specialty. All Tufts MD/MPH graduates have gone on to take and complete clinical residencies, and most continue to work as clinicians throughout their career. A small portion do leave clinical medicine, usually several years after residency, to work in public health full-time, but most will find a career that allows them to do both clinical work and to engage in work that uses their public health skills explicitly. Public health careers for physicians exist in government, in academia, in community settings, in clinical administration, and in the private sector. Some physicians never use their MPH for work separate from their clinical work, but rather use their MPH to be a somewhat different, and we would say better, clinician.