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Master of Global Policy Studies Dual Degree Program - Public Health

The Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas School of Public Health propose to offer a dual degree program leading to two graduate degrees, the Master of Global Policy Studies (MGPS) degree and the Master of Public Health (MPH). The dual degree program would combine advanced studies of globalization with a focus on the issues, organizations and skills needed to make meaningful contributions in the emerging field of international health. There is an increased need in both the public and private sectors for specialists with that combination of backgrounds. The program will be structured so that students can earn both degrees simultaneously in approximately three academic years. The MGPS degree would be awarded when the required course work in both areas including the thesis is completed. The MPH degree would be awarded when the School of Public Health degree requirements have been completed.

The University of Texas School of Public Health is part of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. The UT School of Public Health has five regional campuses in Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio. It is anticipated that the vast majority of Public Health students who opt for the dual degree will be from the Austin Regional Campus and that the majority of LBJ students who opt for the degree will take their courses in the School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus.

Admission Requirements

1) Application to the Dual Degree Program: Applicants will be admitted to the UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs Global Studies and the UT School of Public Health’s Masters in Public Health graduate degree programs according to the admission schedule and policies of each school. Although admission forms for the two schools will acknowledge the dual degree program, applicants must submit admission materials to each school’s admission office independently and on time.  Admission materials will not be shared between admission offices, and admission to one program does not assure admission to the other institution or its degree program.  
2) Admission to the Dual Degree Program: A student may apply to the Dual Degree Program after having been admitted to either the MGPS or the School of Public Health program, as long as the student has not completed more than half of either program.  Students can be admitted to the Dual Degree program only if approved by both the LBJ School and UT School of Public Health.

Degree Requirements

1) Credit for Program Work:  The student will be responsible for submitting a program of work that will satisfy the requirements of the two degrees. The program will be developed in consultation with the Graduate Advisers in the LBJ School and the School of Public Health.
Students will be required to complete a minimum of 37 semester hours of work in Global Policy Studies, including a summer internship; and, additionally, 33 hours at the UT School of Public Health (including internship and thesis). Thus the dual degree requires a total of 70 credit hours, a reduction of 12 hours from the 49 required independently for the MGPS and 12 hours from the 45 required independently for the MPH. This constitutes a reduction in the MGPS' general elective requirement; in essence, students take their electives in the UT School of Public Health, and these 12 hours will be waived by the LBJ School. Similarly, up to 12 hours of approved courses taken at UT Austin will count toward the MPH degree at UT School of Public Health.  Students may take the internship in any summer when the prerequisites for an internship have been completed. The thesis will be co‑supervised by one faculty member from the UT School of Public Health and one from Global Policy Studies.
Global Policy Studies
  • Sixteen (16) hours of required Global Policy Studies core courses (Policymaking in a Global Age, Microeconomics, The Nature of the International System, Analytical Methods for Global Policy Studies, International Economics, and Crisis Management)
  • Six (6) hours of a Policy Research Project (two 3-hour courses)
  • Fifteen (15) hours of elective courses in one of the MGPS specializations (Security, Law, and Diplomacy; International Trade and Finance; Development; Global Governance and International Law; International Energy, Environment, and Technology; Regional International Policy, or a student-initiated specialization). These courses should be selected based on their relationship to the overall dual-degree program, as agreed with the Graduate Adviser.
  • Summer internship in an office or location where activity is related to the dual degree program. The internship will also serve as the practicum for the School of Public Health and earn credit as PHA 9997.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.
UT School of Public Health
  • A minimum of forty-five (45) semester credit hours are required to earn the MPH degree, including the completion of a practicum/ internship experience and a culminating experience/thesis on a topic related to public health.
  • In the dual degree program, students are required to earn thirty-three (33) of the forty-five (45) semester credit hour minimum from courses that originate in the UTSPH.
  • The MPH degree program requires that students acquire skills and knowledge in five core public health disciplines: social and behavioral sciences, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, and health services management, policy administration. 
  • The remaining elective courses are chosen to reflect the career interests of the student and the dual nature of the degree program.
2) Completion of the Dual Program:  The student will be responsible for completing the work in both degree programs. The UT School of Public Health will award the MPH degree as soon as all of the requirements for the degree are completed.Both degrees must be completed for the student to receive the MGPS degree, unless the student has previously requested a change of program major from the dual degree to the MGPS program and that change has been approved. Students who exercise this option may not reenter the Dual Degree Program.


Advising in the dual degree program will be structured to allow students flexibility and guidance within a well‑defined program. Before enrolling for the first semester's course work, each new student will meet with the Academic Adviser in the School of Public Health and the Graduate Adviser from the LBJ School. These advisers consult with the student, who prepares a plan of course work suitable to her/his needs and objectives. This initial plan of study may undergo some revision after the student begins taking courses. By the end of the second semester in the program the student must submit an official plan of study for approval by both the advisers. Each student should stay in regular contact with both of his/her advisers during the course of study. Each student is held personally responsible for knowing the degree requirements and meeting deadlines.
The attached tables provide a sample of the proposed plan of study including the required courses for both programs as well as some options that it will be possible for the student to choose in developing his or her own program of study to fit the areas in international health they wish to pursue. Although in the example given the LBJ School core courses and requirements are met in the first year and the School of Public Health in the second the order could as easily be reversed. 
The specifics of non-core subjects are not listed in the attached tables since there are a broad variety of appropriate programs of study that can be envisaged. These range from combining extensive coursework in environmental studies, global disease burden, pharmaceutical issues or health services with specializations such as diplomacy, global governance, international trade and finance or international development. The strength of this dual degree program is that the two programs can be put together in many ways and students can achieve a wide range of capacities that would not be possible in either school independently.