Doctor of Veterinary Medicine / Master of Public Health
Combined Degree program
The University of Guelph is pleased to announce a new combined degree program that pairs the existing Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Public Health (MPH) programs. This new program will enable students to complete both a DVM and an MPH degree in a reduced overall number of semesters.
Veterinarians with MPH degrees are increasingly recognized for their involvement in all areas of public health, including epidemiology, environmental health, and infectious disease investigation and control. They are uniquely qualified to understand and respond to emerging zoonotic diseases, to address global food system problems, and to contribute to building resilient and healthy communities. The combined DVM/MPH program will provide future veterinary graduates with formal training in public health in addition to their veterinary medical training, and is intended to support future graduates working in traditional clinical settings as well as those who wish to pursue alternative careers in public or animal health.
More information is available on the U of G’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Veterinary Medicine / Public Health page.
DVM/MPH students will complete their four-year DVM program, and will then complete the requirements for the MPH in one year afterwards. To complete the requirements for the DVM/MPH degree, DVM students will be required to complete the new One Health module, by credit or audit, as part of VETM*4530 Health Management III in Phase 3 of the DVM program.
The combined program does not offer a different pathway for admission to the DVM program. Students enrolled in the DVM/MPH program must meet the admission requirements of both individual programs.
How many students are accepted per year?
Up to five DVM students per year will be accepted into the combined DVM/MPH program.
Current DVM students can apply to the combined DVM/MPH program in either their third or fourth year, provided they have the VETM*4530 One Health module in progress or completed at the time of applying.
Who can apply to the combined DVM / MPH program?
DVM students currently entering Phases 3 or 4 will be able to apply to the combined DVM/MPH program this coming 2021/22 admissions cycle (application deadline: February 1, 2022).
Phase 3 DVM students admitted to the DVM/MPH program for Fall 2022 will defer the start of their MPH program until Fall 2023, while they complete Phase 4 of their DVM program training.
Students who have been accepted to the DVM/MPH program will receive a stipend of $25,000. This stipend will be paid through bi‐weekly payroll with benefits, distributed equally across 3 semesters.
DVM/MPH Information Session (November 2021)
Dr. Jane Parmley, Graduate Program Coordinator for the combined DVM/MPH program, provides an overview of the program and information about the admission process.
If you have further questions about this exciting new opportunity, please contact Dr. Jane Parmley: email@example.com.
As well, students in earlier years of the DVM Program who are interested in public health can contact our OVC Learning Pathways Officer, Taylor Scully (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss experiential learning and career opportunities in a public health / one health setting that they might pursue in earlier summers of their program, as ways in which to explore this ahead of their application cycle to the DVM/MPH program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a thesis or capstone project, or is it all course-based?
The MPH is considered a course-based graduate program and so there is no thesis requirement. There is however, a capstone course that the students will have to complete. The requirement for this course is a bit different for DVM/MPH student in that they will usually complete this course before completing their PH practicum. DVM/MPH students have a few options to meet this course requirement and can reflect and present on how their DVM training aligns with and complements the field of public health, on a One Health project the student was involved with during their DVM program, or on their experience during a public health-related external rotation.
When will I know if I have been accepted to the program?
You should hear in April whether or not you have been conditionally accepted into the DVM/MPH program.
How much experience in public health specifically are you looking for in a DVM/MPH applicant?
That’s a good question and will likely depend on the number and type of applications we receive. At a minimum, your public health training through the DVM program will meet the eligibility requirements. You should highlight your public health experiences through the DVM program and any additional experience your may have outside of this program. It’s not just your past experience that will be considered but also your interest in public health going forward. Remember also that the DVM/MPH applicants will be assessed separate from the other MPH applicants.
Could professionals complete this program? For example, could an already graduated DVM apply and complete this program years after graduating from the degree?
Absolutely. DVM students are welcome to apply to the regular MPH program at any time – and many DVMs have done this. If you choose not to apply during your DVM training however, you will not be eligible for the combined DVM/MPH option.
What are my career prospects after taking the program?
That’s a good question. Several DVM graduates with MPH degrees are working in government (locally, provincially and federally) – usually in health or public health, but not always. Some are working in academia, some in practice and some with NGOs.
Veterinarians with MPH degrees are increasingly recognized for their involvement in all areas of public health, including epidemiology, environmental health, and infectious disease investigation and control. They are uniquely qualified to understand and respond to emerging zoonotic diseases, to address global food system problems, and to contribute to building resilient and healthy communities. As we come out of the current COVID19 pandemic, the skill set that DVM/MPH graduates have will be increasingly recognized and sought after.
How does this differ form an epidemiology degree? Just trying to get a sense for how exactly this could benefit me as a future DVM.
The MPH is different from an epidemiology degree. The MPH offers more practical training focused on public health and aims to train students for a career in public health.
A degree in epidemiology is more focused on how diseases move in populations. At Guelph, a degree in epidemiology can either be thesis based (which provides the student with more research experience) or course-based, where students take more courses but still need to complete a major research paper. Whether the MPH option or a degree in epidemiology is best for you, will depend on your career goals and what you hope to get out of the graduate programs.
Is there a disadvantage to applying to the DVM/MPH in 4th year, with the limited spots available?
Yes, we’ve been struggling with this issue. At this time, if 5 people are accepted into the DVM/MPH program in their 3rd year, opportunities for enrollment after 4th year may be limited and so there would be a disadvantage of applying later.
If there is sustained interest in the combined DVM/MPH program, we may explore opportunities to increase the number of spaces available and/or offer alternative pathways to completing the combined program. For example, we may consider applying to both programs at the same time and completing the MPH first, prior to starting your DVM degree. Until we have completed several cycles however, we will be limited to the 5 spaces as described here.