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JohnSGrad95

Difficulty Deciding Between Public Health Concentrations (MPH)

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I entered my MPH program as a Community Health concentration (or its equivalent). However, now I'm having doubts about sticking with it because I'm afraid that it's not as marketable as other concentrations (ex. Epi/Biostats). I was considering switching into Epi/Biostats, but community health is a little more interesting in me (though I do appreciate aspects of Epi/Biostats). Has anyone else been in a similar situation and can offer some advice?

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I personally would choose what you find more interesting. You can take more courses in epi and advanced biostats which can help you gain skills that would be considered more "marketable". For example, in my MPH program we were allowed to take a couple electives and we could choose from a variety of courses (some of which were advance epi and biostats courses). At the end of the day, an MPH is still an MPH...I don't think concentration matters as much as you think. It's what courses you take and what you end up making out of it.

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8 hours ago, PublicHealth18 said:

I personally would choose what you find more interesting. You can take more courses in epi and advanced biostats which can help you gain skills that would be considered more "marketable". For example, in my MPH program we were allowed to take a couple electives and we could choose from a variety of courses (some of which were advance epi and biostats courses). At the end of the day, an MPH is still an MPH...I don't think concentration matters as much as you think. It's what courses you take and what you end up making out of it.

Thanks! Just out of curiosity, what did you concentrate in? 

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To be honest, I would choose to concentrate in Epi or Biostats and for the elective courses, take the community health courses you are interested in. I concentrated in EHS for my MPH, which is a much more specific topic than Epi or Biostats. A more general concentration with a strong foundation in quantitative skills will give you more job opportunities. Now, when I apply to jobs, I generally leave my concentration off my resume. None of the jobs I've had since graduating with my MPH have been EHS related, but rather analytical. 

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The hard skills and experiences you come out of your program with are way more important than what your degree says. Look at the methods courses available to you in each department and use that to make the decision. You can always work with faculty or take electives in other departments. My MPH is in behavioral sciences and health education, but I've worked almost exclusively in health policy and health services research because I focused on building a strong toolbox of quantitative and qualitative methods that were valuable across content areas.

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