Oakland University will be allowing students to be a part of an accelerated program to earn a bachelor’s in wellness and health promotion and a master’s in public health in a shorter amount of time.
“We were just looking for ways to help our students, we definitely recognized that the wellness and health promotion undergraduate degree made a lot of sense for people who did that degree to want to do the master’s in public health degree,” said Rebecca Cheezum, associate professor and director of OU’s Public Health Program. “So we’re really just trying to better serve students by making it easier for them. It’s less time and it’s less money.”
This is known as a “4+1” program, where students who are working toward their bachelor’s degree in wellness and health promotion who want to gain a master’s degree in Public Health can apply during their undergraduate sophomore or junior years. If the student is accepted, they will be able to take three classes (12 credits) that count toward their master’s degree in public health during their final undergraduate year.
“From a health and wellness promotion perspective, we know there’s a huge need for students who have a certain skill set when they graduate from our undergrad program and then with respect from public health,” said Dr. Florence Dallo, associate professor and chair of OU’s public and environmental wellness department. “Public health will give them the edge because now they have a graduate degree and they’ve had an opportunity to learn more about theories and concepts of how to prevent diseases and promote health. So, the undergrad program will get them this general overview of wellness and health promotion and then the graduate program is more specific and detailed, so it will readily allow them to do the programming they need and evaluating health programs, so it will give them that real world skill set.”
Instead of taking six years, students are able to start earning their master’s degree a year sooner, so finishing both degrees would only take five years. This saves students the time and money of three courses and a year of schooling.
Most students who go into these majors are focused on careers in health education or community health outreach.
“Many folks who go into the master’s public health degree would have similar interest but they might be interested in doing it at a little bit of a higher level, so maybe being a program director or ultimately running an organization that offers wellness and health programs,” Cheezum said.
The university will start reviewing applications this year for the “4+1” program. To apply to the accelerated program, students have to be a wellness and health promotion major, have a 3.0 GPA and complete the required courses for the program. Then, students will apply through graduate studies and select the “MPAs 4+1” option.
For more information on the program and what courses are required, visit the 4+1 page on the OU website.