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Joint Degree - MA / MPH


Global health works to address the needs of people living in resource poor settings, requiring expertise in public health and the skills needed to navigate the challenges of working in these settings. The MA/MPH program administered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW provides students with the opportunity to develop the dual set of skills needed to work effectively as professionals addressing public health problems that are often complicated by their global nature.

Students in this program pursue an MPH in one of four programs in the Department of Global Health:

  • Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control
  • Global Health Policy
  • Global Health Program Design Monitoring and Evaluation 
  • Humanitarian Health

Simultaneously, students pursue an MA in any program at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Separately, these programs require students to enroll in 85 credits (45 credits for the MPH and 40 credits for the MA). The dual degree allows students to carry 12 credits from the MPH to the MA and 6 credits from the MA to the MPH, reducing the total credit load from 85 to 67.  A full-time student can complete both degrees within three years if courses are taken over the two summer sessions. 


New Applicants

Applicants to the dual MA/MPH program must submit separate applications to the Elliott School of International Affairs and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Applications to GWSPH are submitted through the national application system, SOPHAS. Please check off the box in the SOPHAS application that identifies you as an applicant for a dual degree. Applicants are admitted separately into both programs and must meet all the application requirements of both Schools to be admitted into the dual MA/MPH program.

Applicants accepted by both Schools will be admitted to the joint degree program. It is possible for an applicant to be offered admission to one School, but denied admission to the other School.  Applicants are expected to notify both Schools of their admissions status and of their decision to pursue either one or both degrees.

Current Students

Students already enrolled in either degree program can also apply for admission to the other school and to the dual degree program.  Such applications will be considered as part of the regular admissions process.  Applicants must begin the second degree before a degree has been completed at the first School.

Tuition and Fees

Students pay course and credit charges for all courses at the approved rate for Master of Public Health and Master of Arts courses, respectively.


Master of Public Health (MPH)

Students are admitted to a specific Department of Global Health program and will follow the curricular requirements of that specific program.  Please see the Department of Global Health website for specific information on each program. Six credits from the MA program will fulfill elective requirements in the MPH program with the SPH Advisor’s approval.

Master of Arts (MA)

Information about the Master of Arts degree program options are available on the Elliot School of International Affairs website. Twelve credits from the MPH program will count toward MA program credits in accordance with guidance from the Elliott School Program Advisor. Students in any Elliott School track are eligible to apply for the joint program.


Students completing the requirements of one degree program may apply to graduate with that degree prior to completing the second degree. Students may also formally request withdrawal from either program at any time to pursue a single degree in the other program.  All work on each degree must be completed within five years from the student’s entry into that degree program.

Non-Academic Requirements

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities are pre-approved by an advisor and may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Program Director
Sarah Baird, PhD, MS

Program Guide