College of Public Health students graduating

PharmD / MPH Degree

The University of Kentucky is one of a few Universities in the US to offer a PharmD/MPH dual degree program. The dual degree program is designed to enable students to obtain both the Doctor of Pharmacy and the Master of Public Health in 4 years, using the PharmD elective course time efficiently and decreasing the number of credit hours necessary for graduation from 206 to 186.

The PharmD/MPH degree is designed to prepare students to become effective leaders, practitioners, researchers and educators in pharmacy and in public health. The College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky offers a breadth of training opportunities to produce graduates that succeed in the challenging public health environment. Students can take advantage of this broad expertise to specialize in any of the five core public health areas:

  • Biostatistics – the application of statistical concepts and methods to biological and population-based research.
  • Preventive Medicine and Environment Health – the identification, examination and amelioration of exposures in the environment.
  • Epidemiology – the study of the frequency, distribution and determinants of disease, injury and disability in a population.
  • Health Behavior – The study of effects of social and behavioral factors on population health; development and implementation and evaluation of interventions to improve health.
  • Population Health Policy and Management – the study of the theories and methods required for management of public health organizations; development of health policies and analysis of their effects on costs and access to health care.

The PharmD program in the UK College of Pharmacy includes learning and the practice of health education and prevention of disease, which complements the overall definition of public health and the MPH program. Specific outcomes for students in the PharmD program relating to the public health mission include:

  • Providing public health leadership in community and hospital practice;
  • Promotion of public health through cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification and poison prevention programs;
  • Promotion of public awareness of health and disease through immunization programs;
  • Providing a pharmacist role in a natural or man-made disasters;
  • Provision of drug information and education materials to the public; and
  • Provision of education on health-related topics to health professionals and the public.

PharmD graduates will have a knowledge base in pathophysiology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapy, pharmacy health-care systems, and pharmacy practice that will enhance the curriculum outcomes of the MPH program. This knowledge in combination with fundamental public health principles in the five core areas should prepare graduates to make significant contributions to the health of citizens in our state and nation.

The Role of a Pharmacist with an MPH

The role of the pharmacist has evolved in the past decade to include disease state management along with the medication dispensing process. A more population-based health care focus is also a component of modern day pharmacy practice. Pharmacists are now called upon to:

  • help change and implement policy to provide safer medications to patients;
  • educate and help patients manage diseases such as diabetes;
  • conduct research to help better manage treatments for diseases such as cancer and HIV;
  • and provide education on medication management such as drug interactions between prescription drugs and herbal supplements.

The knowledge and skills of pharmacists in pharmaceutical science and clinical pharmacy together with public health create an excellent foundation for graduates to seek positions in the health care system as it relates to pharmacotherapy and health promotion, disease prevention, and medication safety. Graduates of the Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health Dual Degree program would be more competitive for positions in numerous agencies and organizations such as:

  • Official government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regulatory agencies like the FDA and state/local health departments;
  • Not-for-profit organizations, like those which focus on heart disease, cancer and child health issues;
  • The private sector, such as the pharmaceutical industry, managed care organizations and health insurance companies; and
  • Academic institutions.

To be admitted to the PharmD/MPH dual degree, an applicant is required to meet the independent admission standards of the College of Pharmacy, the College of Public Health and The Graduate School. Pharmacy students who do not hold an awarded bachelor's degree must have at least 90 hours of undergraduate credit to apply to the Graduate School. All applicants must meet the minimum grade point average requirements of the Graduate School for admission. The College of Public Health will allow pharmacy students to submit their PCAT scores in lieu of GRE scores. The PCAT results have to be sent to the College of Public Health via the College of Pharmacy. There are no prerequisite course requirements for pharmacy students wishing to pursue the PharmD/MPH dual degree. Current PharmD students may contact Frank Romanelli, PharmD, MPH for more information about the PharmD/MPH program.

PharmD/MPH Advantages

The PharmD/MPH program of study affects the total number of minimum required hours as follows:

MPH and PharmD Pursued Independently Credit Hours
Total hours required in MPH program (18 required Core + 15 Area of Concentration + 3 Elective + 3 Public Health practicum + 3 capstone) 42
Total credit hours required in PharmD program (106 required didactic + 8 elective + 50 Experiential) 164
Total 206
Dual Program Credit Hours
Total MPH hours required in dual program (18 required Core + 15 concentration area + 3 capstone) 36
Total PharmD credit hours required in dual program (106 required didactic + 44 Experiential) 150
Total 186

From the perspective of the MPH program, the PharmD four credit hour course, PPS 950 Pharmaceutical Policy and Public Health, satisfies the MPH student’s elective requirement, but not in the concentration area.

The Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) should satisfy the MPH field practicum experience. Please consult with Andrea Perkins, Academic Affairs Administrator.

From the College of Pharmacy perspective, the MPH coursework satisfies 8 hours of required electives, but only if the student remains in good standing in both programs and satisfies all degree requirements.

For more information contactour Admissions Office, or (859) 218-2066.