Public health issues can be complex and vast, requiring complex and vast solutions for prevention and treatment. The diversity needed to address these issues is not just within public health, e.g., an epidemiologist working with a registered dietician. We also benefit from the expertise of individuals trained in public health and another, more dissimilar area.
This is why some public health schools and programs offer joint or dual degrees with other schools or programs (e.g., business, information and library sciences, social work, law, medical school and more).
Typically, a dual or joint degree is a prior arrangement between the two programs (i.e., all public health programs do not have this option). The combination typically takes less time than it would to complete each degree separately; students must apply and be accepted to both programs; and students may alternate between one program and the other (e.g., the first year at the law school, years two and three at the school of public health and the final year(s) at the law school).
For students who cannot choose a main focus between two areas that can be combined to affect public health, this may be a worthwhile option.