Public health refers both to the academic discipline and to practices aiming to prevent diseases, to prolong human life, and to promote physical and mental health while taking into account the fair distribution and efficient use of available resources.
What Is It All About?
Public health refers both to the academic discipline and to practices aiming to prevent diseases, to prolong human life, and to promote physical and mental health while taking into account the fair distribution and efficient use of available resources. Public health measures primarily aim to maintain the health of the entire population or groups within the population through organised community efforts (DGPH 2012).
When studying public health, you will learn about issues such as the following:
- The prevalence and distribution of diseases, the causes of health and sickness, and their unequal social distribution
- Current and future needs for preventive, curative, rehabilitative, nursing, and palliative care, as well as for health promotion
- The structure and design of fair and efficient health systems, including decision-making structures, allocation of tasks, funding, and education
- Participation of patients and citizens in decision-making processes on issues relevant for health
- The impact of decisions in different political areas on public health
- International perspectives of health, societies, and communities
In many countries, public health is already a well-recognised subject of continuing university education, and a pre-requisite for many executive positions in health professions. In Germany, public health study programmes are currently offered by eight universities that are also active in the German Public Health Association DGPH.
This Programme Is for You If...
- You have graduated from your university studies with a grade better than 2.5 (German grading system)
- Your studies and/or your professional activities focuse(d) on health
- You have skills both in academic research in general and in empirical research in the social sciences in particular
- You are able to read study reports and academic publications in English, and you are prepared to close any knowledge gaps you may have in human biology, in health science, or regarding structures of the health care system
You are interested in studying while also working for a living? All courses will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, but there will be an additional workload demand on other days of the week. Up to 10 hours of work per week in addition to your studies should not pose a problem. However, if you plan to be working at your job 20 hours or more, we recommend that you choose the part-time option.
- Once you have graduated, you may choose to pursue a doctoral degree, or you might take up a position in health science research or teaching; you also might work in health reporting at the communal, state, or federal level.
- You might work in an institution involved in quality assurance in the health system, where you would contribute to producing systematic reviews or Health Technology Assessments.
- Another option is consulting within the health system: If you have gained relevant experience abroad, this might be in developmental collaborations, or in internationally operating organisations, but also in government departments, in other state authorities or agencies, in associations, or in the administration of health care institutions.
- You may contribute to new concepts for care structures or for health promotion, or you might fill executive or managerial positions at pension providers, or you might be responsible for campaigns and projects.
What Can I Expect During My Course of Study?
You have a choice of studying public health as a full-time student over the course of 4 semesters, or, if you work part-time, as a part-time student for 6 semesters.
The study programme is interdisciplinary and research-oriented in nature. The modules covering public health strategies, research methods, sociology of health, and structures of health systems are at the core of the curriculum. In addition to the core curriculum, you will choose a specialisation according to your interests. You will do so by choosing a research project, by selecting two of seven compulsory elective modules offered, by making use of opportunities to integrate international aspects into your studies, and by deciding on a topic for your Master's thesis, which should correspond to your chosen specialisation.
The best time to spend a semester abroad would be during Semester 3.
By completing the public health programme you will earn a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree.
“Fulda has offered me the best opportunities for my personal development.” - Philipp Klemm, student of public health