Representatives from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) campus in Abilene and the city’s Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) signed an articulation agreement Aug. 24 that will allow qualified HSU students to enter TTUHSC’s public health degree program after completing three years of prerequisites at HSU. The agreement, which began with the start of the fall 2018 semester, can help students earn their bachelor’s degree from HSU and a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree in five years.
Corey Patterson, director of special projects for TTUHSC’s Julia Jones Matthews Department of Public Health in Abilene, said the agreement is an important step in the department’s growth because it provides more educational value to students while simultaneously shortening the time required to earn an advanced degree. He said the agreement strengthens TTUHSC’s relationships with other quality Abilene institutions of higher learning like HSU.
“This agreement also is good for TTUHSC and solidifies the city’s position as a strong community for education,” Patterson said. “In turn, our programs at TTUHSC are filled with quality HSU students who will do well.”
Patterson said the agreement means an in-state student will essentially incur no additional costs to get their MPH from TTUHSC. Instead, the student will pay HSU in year four and then HSU will pay TTUHSC for the whole program.
“This allows students to get a four-year undergrad degree and a two-year master’s degree in five years at the same cost it would be to obtain just their undergraduate degree from HSU,” Patterson said. “In addition, doing our program in this format will complete the student’s public health minor at HSU, giving them yet another credential. It additionally allows well-trained graduates to enter the public health job market more quickly, which is good for both the student and the field of public health.”
Patterson said a similar agreement is already in place with Abilene’s McMurry University, and the department hopes to eventually enter into the same type of partnership agreement with other universities in Lubbock as well. They also will explore opportunities in communities like San Angelo, Amarillo, Stephenville and others.
“This type of collaboration is not just between two departments at separate universities,” Patterson said. “It takes multiple folks across both partnering institutions to make something like this happen, and I am proud of the depth of the partnership we now have with HSU.”