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Nursing and Public Health

Recognizing the relationship between nursing and public health, the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) and the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) offer a joint degree program in nursing and public health. This option is especially oriented to individuals who wish to combine careers in advanced nursing practice and public health that might involve direct practice, planning, and policy-making in a variety of health care systems in the public health sector. This joint degree option requires three years (four years for students in the Graduate Entry Pre-Specialty in Nursing (GEPN) and awards a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Master of Public Health (MPH).

A joint degree is more than simply a list of courses taken at both Schools. It is an integrated educational program designed to achieve a combination of the two programs in a way that is complementary to both, while protecting the integrity of each separate program. YSN students in any of the clinical specialties except for Nurse Midwifery/WHNP (this program is not recommended for Nurse Midwifery/WHNP students due to competing scheduling demands) may apply for the joint degree program. Study in one of the following YSPH departments is most appropriate for the joint MSN/MPH degree: Chronic Disease Epidemiology (CDE), Health Policy (HP), or Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). YSPH students in the Health Care Management program are not eligible for the joint MSN/MPH program.


Plans of study should be reviewed with each student on an individual basis. The two schools have made accommodations in order to make possible the completion of the joint courses of study in three or four years without burdening students with extraordinary course loads in any term.

Joint Program Sequence

For students entering the GEPN program the joint degree program requires four full time academic years. GEPN program students are required to complete the first year of the four-year program at YSPH, followed by years two and three at YSN (with PH electives as schedules permit) and in the final (fourth) year, courses are taken at both schools.

For full time RNs entering the MSN program, the joint degree program requires three full time academic years. RN students entering the MSN program (except for Midwifery/WHNP and Online PMHNP) also are required to begin their first full time academic year at YSPH. The second year is spent in full time study at YSN (with elective courses taken at YSPH), while the third year is spent taking courses at both schools.

Part Time RN students, will need to develop a specialized plan of study with academic advisors for both schools.

Course planning for joint degree candidates should be carried out in consultation with the appropriate educational officers, as well as faculty advisors at the School of Nursing and YSPH, and must satisfy the following general requirements:

The Public Health Component

Joint degree candidates must complete all of the core MPH courses as described in the School of Public Health Bulletin. All MPH students must complete a set of six core courses:

  • EPH 100 – Professional Skills Series (no credit)
  • EPH 505 - Biostatistics in Public Health (not required for BIS)
  • EPH 507 - Social Justice and Health Equity
  • EPH 508 - Foundations of Epidemiology and Public Health
  • EPH 510 - Health Policy and Health Care Systems
  • EPH 513 - Major Health Threats

Students must also complete all departmental requirements, an internship/ public health practice experience and the thesis/ capstone course.

The total number of YSPH course units required for the joint degree is reduced from 20 to 15. If a student obtains an exemption for a required course, an elective must be substituted; an exemption does not reduce the total number of required course units below 15. Joint degree students are required to complete an internship in public health practice. GEPN students who have successfully completed the course NURS 5130, Community Health Nursing and Public Health, may use this course to satisfy the practice and internship requirements. YSN students not enrolled in the GEPN program will be required to satisfy the practice requirement with an appropriate summer internship. The YSPH Committee on Academic Progress reviews each student’s progress toward the public health component of the joint degree.

The Nursing Component

Joint degree candidates must complete all YSN required courses contained in their Specialty curriculum as described in the YSN Bulletin. The total number of credits in the joint degree program will vary, depending upon the student’s specialty choice. Some courses taken at YSPH will meet requirements at the School of Nursing. For example:

Students are eligible to waive N6040 Statistics and Research for Evidenced-Based Nursing Practice at YSN if they have taken statistics and evidenced based courses at YSPH.

Students are eligible to waive N6060 Promoting Health in the Community if they have taken HPM 560 Health Economics and U.S. Health & Policy or HPM 510 Health Policy and Health Systems.

Similarly, courses taken at YSN may meet requirements for elective courses at YSPH. Specifics must be negotiated with the YSN Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Specialty Coordinator and YSPH advisor.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For GEPN Students: Joint degree candidates will owe three terms of tuition to YSPH and six terms of tuition to YSN.

For MSN or RN Students: Joint degree candidates will owe three terms of tuition to YSPH and three terms of tuition to YSN.

Tuition is paid to the school where the student is in residence. Students requesting financial aid during a particular semester must make arrangements with the school charging tuition during that semester. Tuition, fees, and financial aid policies may differ between the two schools. Financial aid applications will be judged by each school according to its own policy. Students should consult the financial aid officers in each school for a description of their respective policies.