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Format: Online, In-Class

The coordinated Public Health/Optometry (OD) degree program is offered through the UAB School of Public Health (SOPH) and the UAB School of Optometry. Students in this coordinated program earn an MPH with a concentration in Population Health. In this individualized concentration, students gain a solid foundation in public health through completion of the MPH core (based on the Evidence-based Public Health framework), an Applied Practice Experience (Internship), and an Integrative Learning Experience (Capstone). Students also select from among all master’s-level Public Health courses (e.g., maternal and child health, global health, health behavior) to build a unique curriculum that supports their career goals. Specialized advising is provided to assist students in designing their individualized curriculum.

Vision disorders and eye diseases are major public health problems, both nationally and internationally. Optometrists with training and experience in public health are needed to assess community needs for vision care services, to determine which factors contribute to treatment and prevention of visual system anomalies, to develop and apply quality assurance systems, to participate and provide leadership in health-related agencies, and to foster public awareness of the need for vision care. The MPH at the UAB School of Public Health prepares students for careers to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, and populations, locally and globally. An individual qualified both in optometry and public health is expected to have the capability to:

  • develop, administer, and evaluate eye and vision health programs in research projects;
  • design and conduct epidemiological field studies;
  • use statistical methods in data analysis of case-control and cohort studies;
  • develop and implement vision health education programs; and
  • develop occupational health and eye safety programs.


Students may complete the MPH portion of this coordinated degree program totally online, in class, or through a mix of online and in-class experiences.

Students must complete a total of 30 MPH credit hours in addition to the required OD curriculum requirements. Twelve credit hours from the OD curriculum are credited toward the MPH degree, for a total of 42 MPH credit hours. This allows students to earn both degrees in reduced time and at reduced cost.

Online students pay less than the out-of-state tuition rate for the MPH portion of this coordinated degree.

Download Sample Curriculum Planning Sheet (pdf)


Students must apply separately to the MPH and OD programs. Upon acceptance to the OD program, students will be accepted automatically to the MPH degree program.

  • To apply for this degree, you will submit a supplemental application directly through the UAB Graduate School.
  • Learn how to apply to School of Optometry.
  • Learn how to apply to the School of Public Health. Select "MPH dual program" and then the MPH/OD track. Special instructions:
    • Test score field is required, so enter GRE and a date to advance in the application.
    • The reference letter field is also required, so enter three names from the OptomCAS application and select no when asked if they will be electronic submission.
    • Once the student is admitted to the OD program, they will be automatically accepted to the MPH portion of the coordinated degree once they submit their application to the UAB Graduate School.
  • Students should note that the Population Health program curriculum has been updated. If a student is submitting to switch from a different degree program or department into a Coordinated Degree or the General MPH in Population Health Degree, the student will be responsible for completing the current Population Health program requirements. Students should meet with the current program manager prior to submitting a petition to switch programs.

Application Deadlines


For additional information concerning the coordinated MPH/OD program, contact the School of Public Health at soph@uab.edu.

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