Binghamton University’s Harpur College of Arts and Sciences is now offering a new 4+1 program that will allow students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and Master’s of Public Health (MPH) in five years.

Prior to this program, the only option available for undergraduate students interested in an MPH from BU was to complete a traditional four-year B.A. program and then complete an additional two years of graduate school. This accelerated program allows students to save time and money by graduating one year earlier with both degrees. Enrolled students will begin taking graduate-level classes during their senior year. Yvonne Johnston, founding director of the accelerated MPH program and associate professor, shared some distinct qualities of the new accelerated MPH program.

“Unique to BU, our curriculum also includes experiential education courses that engage students in interprofessional learning activities that foster socialization into the role of public health professionals as well as community-engaged learning experiences,” Johnston wrote in an email. “For electives, students can complete course sequences in population health, disaster management or forensic health, [and] some of these can lead to earning an additional certificate.”

Enrolled students are also required to complete nine internship practicum and capstone project credits that can be completed at various public health agencies and community organizations. Students have flexibility in choosing an internship or project that aligns with their current interests. Jodi Dowthwaite, a research assistant professor in the MPH program, discussed some of the benefits of enrolling in this program in the Binghamton area specifically.

“We [at BU] are uniquely positioned to engage with both rural and urban populations, locally and regionally,” Dowthwaite wrote. “As a program, we prioritize working to address the challenges experienced by a broad variety of vulnerable populations within those contexts.”

Students involved in the program will take more general graduate MPH classes during their senior year to get a broad overview of the different subfields and industries public health professionals may pursue. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the various industries or fields public health professionals may operate. During their fifth year, students will be able to complete their internship and capstone projects. Cordelia Jannetty, a junior double-majoring in Spanish and integrative neuroscience, believes that this program has the potential to be a valuable resource for student success.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity,” Jannetty said. “As I continue to do more research about postgraduate employment, I realize that a graduate degree has become a necessity in the workforce, and many students are burdened by the process of it, so it’s really nice to see BU help us out with this. I know that the 4+1 programs at BU are very popular, and some of my friends even spoke to me about this specific program.”

This degree is not limited to students interested in the public health field — graduates may go into other fields, such as law, politics, data analytics and health education. Matthew Wolson, a junior double-majoring in economics and political science, believes this program will attract students of all different majors in Harpur College.

“The program sounds pretty cool and well planned-out,” Wolson said. “It’s great that BU is expanding on their accelerated programs and allowing students to have the opportunity to graduate with two degrees in five years. Given the current pandemic, I do think a lot of eligible students will take advantage of the opportunity to apply to this program for next fall.”

Students pursuing any B.A. program in Harpur College, excluding fine arts majors, are eligible to apply for this program by the beginning of their junior year. Interested students should reach out to Regina Alfieri-Squier, director of undergraduate student services for the College of Community and Public Affairs. BU is currently accepting applications for this program.