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Released March 15, 2004

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi is offering busy professionals a new method of study that will fit right in with their work schedules.

An updated Executive Master's of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration program presents students the opportunity to complete intensive study in 14 months in the classroom and online. Classes meet for three Friday-Saturday sessions each semester on the Southern Miss Gulf Coast campus, with the rest of the work completed through the Internet.

"This program is offered in a format conducive to professionals who can't give up their jobs to go back to school," said Dr. Joan Exline, interim dean of the College of Health and director of the Center for Community Health. "We graduate about 30 students a year from the traditional MPH program, but this will be the first time we offer it in this format."

Exline names flexibility as the main component of the program. She says that professionals can use the convenience of the format and adds that experience in the field goes a long way.

"Physicians, health care managers, nurses, clinicians, health care educators and public health professionals are eligible for the program, as is any other professional with three years' experience in the health care field," Exline said. "The degree is mainly for advancement or job changes for those already employed."

The program involves coursework in community health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health care management, health policy, environmental health, social aspects of health care, health care finance, health law and health care issues such as ethics.

"Executive programs involve intense time commitments and appeal to hard-working individuals who want to earn the degree in a relatively short time while continuing their employment," Exline said. "They are willing to work hard to accomplish that. This program will also appeal to those seeking an applied perspective."

Admission criteria also includes a 2.75 GPA for the last 60 hours of coursework, GRE or GMAT scores unless the applicant has a terminal degree from an accredited program, three letters of reference and an essay demonstrating writing ability. In-state tuition is $2,437 a semester, or $9,748 for the entire program. There are 10 slots available for summer admission and applications are due April 15.

"The demand for effective health care administration is increasing rapidly with the overall growth of health care," said Ken Malone, chair of the Center for Community and Economic Development at Southern Miss. "With the increasing complexity of health care, many professionals are finding that they need a higher level of education to be effective.

"Southern Miss appreciates the growing number of full-time working professionals seeking to further their careers through advanced education, and structures degree programs to best meet their busy schedules."

For more information on the program, contact Exline at (601) 266-4866 or e-mail Though the new format's classes are offered in Gulfport, the traditional format will remain on the Hattiesburg campus, Exline said.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM