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dreams1214

PHD Applicants: Fall 2019

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I'll be applying. 

Definitely applying to: Harvard Pop Health Social Behavioral Sciences, Brown Behavioral and Social Sciences, Yale Social Behavioral Sciences (maybe Chronic Disease Epidemiology though), Michigan Health Behavior & Health Education

Maybe applying to: Columbia Sociomedical Sciences, Hopkins Social and Behavioral Sciences, Pittsburgh Behavioral Sciences, UT Austin Human Development and Family Sciences (not public health) 

Currently working on getting my GRE scores up. 

Here's to the start of a looooong process.

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If anyone has questions regarding the upcoming application cycle, feel free to ask me!

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4 minutes ago, ianmleavitt said:

If anyone has questions regarding the upcoming application cycle, feel free to ask me!

I'd appreciate advice on contacting POIs-- when? how many per school? what do I say? do I send a CV or anything else in the email?  

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Sorry, I originally replied not realizing that this was in the Public Health forum. And now I can't figure out how to delete my reply!

Edited by p287

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On 7/13/2018 at 2:52 PM, apex45 said:

I'd appreciate advice on contacting POIs-- when? how many per school? what do I say? do I send a CV or anything else in the email?  

For a December 1st application deadline, I began contacting POIs in mid-September (mid-October is probably the latest you'll want to send them out). For those that I didn't hear back from after a little while, I sent a follow-up email about 2/3 weeks later. Avoiding the end of summer/beginning of the fall semester is recommended, as your email may very well fall into a void.

My goal for sending the emails was to see if the POIs were indeed open to accepting new PhD students for the upcoming cycle, as well as to get more information from them in terms of the program. Some simply responded to me with an affirmative that they were accepting students - I kept those schools on my list. Others, I was able to arrange a phone call with - these are highly valuable! Those who said that they were not looking for new students recommended some other professors for me. Perhaps I was lucky, but I heard back from everybody that I had contacted.

Remember, you don't want to just reach out haphazardly to them...you want your research goals to line up at least moderately with their research interests and the program. At the time I was ready to send my emails, I had identified 9 programs that I felt as if I could fit in well with AND had a good mentor match, and had ranked them into three tiers. When I sent my emails, I reached out to my POIs in my top 2 tiers - the bottom tier were programs with later application deadlines, so there was no need to rush.

Initially, contact your top choice POI at your programs of interest...see if you can arrange a more in-depth discussion to determine if you do indeed match well with their research interests (and personality). If Dr. X isn't accepting new students for the upcoming cycle, reach out to your next choice - I would personally hesitate to have more than one ongoing discussion with any given professor at a school at one time. Maybe it's just being cautious, but it could reflect poorly on you if you're just throwing your hat in as many rings as possible.

In the email, keep it brief (something that I obviously struggled with, given the length of this response). I discussed who I was (pertinent academic/professional/research background), research topics of interest to me, some of their current/previous research, (ask a question about this...show interest!!) and then asked if they had an opening for a doctoral student. My emails were ~250 words, and even that was on the long side. And yes, I included my CV - whether they opened it or not is still a mystery to me, but it can't hurt.

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Thank you for this information!  I am getting ready to start sending emails out to POIs.  How much does the research have to match, btw?

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On 7/17/2018 at 3:28 AM, dreams1214 said:

Also, has anyone ever head of anyone getting a GRE waiver?

Do you mean a fee waiver from ETS or a waiver from a program saying you don't have to take it? I haven't found a PhD program that waives the GRE requirement that's not from a for-profit institution, but I haven't looked that hard. As for a fee waiver, the income requirements are quite strict and a bit difficult to prove unless you're still in undergrad. If you are in undergrad, I'd recommend asking someone in the financial aid office to help you with it.

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Hi everyone.

I applied to PhD epi programs last year but didn't receive any offers with funding, so here I am again this year!

I have several years of experience in epidemiology, several publications, and have lead research studies. But for the life of me, I cannot improve my GRE scores! I recently put in many, many hours of studying and received scores just above the 70th percentile in both verbal and quant even though my target was above the 80th percentile in each respective category. That being said, does anyone have an idea if top programs (Hopkins, Harvard, UNC, UMichigan) will accept people with these scores? 

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On 7/18/2018 at 2:54 PM, epi_2018 said:

Hi everyone.

I applied to PhD epi programs last year but didn't receive any offers with funding, so here I am again this year!

I have several years of experience in epidemiology, several publications, and have lead research studies. But for the life of me, I cannot improve my GRE scores! I recently put in many, many hours of studying and received scores just above the 70th percentile in both verbal and quant even though my target was above the 80th percentile in each respective category. That being said, does anyone have an idea if top programs (Hopkins, Harvard, UNC, UMichigan) will accept people with these scores? 

I am attending one of those schools mentioned and my quant score was 75% ish. Verbal was over 90% 

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On 7/14/2018 at 11:26 PM, ianmleavitt said:

For a December 1st application deadline, I began contacting POIs in mid-September (mid-October is probably the latest you'll want to send them out). For those that I didn't hear back from after a little while, I sent a follow-up email about 2/3 weeks later. Avoiding the end of summer/beginning of the fall semester is recommended, as your email may very well fall into a void.

My goal for sending the emails was to see if the POIs were indeed open to accepting new PhD students for the upcoming cycle, as well as to get more information from them in terms of the program. Some simply responded to me with an affirmative that they were accepting students - I kept those schools on my list. Others, I was able to arrange a phone call with - these are highly valuable! Those who said that they were not looking for new students recommended some other professors for me. Perhaps I was lucky, but I heard back from everybody that I had contacted.

Remember, you don't want to just reach out haphazardly to them...you want your research goals to line up at least moderately with their research interests and the program. At the time I was ready to send my emails, I had identified 9 programs that I felt as if I could fit in well with AND had a good mentor match, and had ranked them into three tiers. When I sent my emails, I reached out to my POIs in my top 2 tiers - the bottom tier were programs with later application deadlines, so there was no need to rush.

Initially, contact your top choice POI at your programs of interest...see if you can arrange a more in-depth discussion to determine if you do indeed match well with their research interests (and personality). If Dr. X isn't accepting new students for the upcoming cycle, reach out to your next choice - I would personally hesitate to have more than one ongoing discussion with any given professor at a school at one time. Maybe it's just being cautious, but it could reflect poorly on you if you're just throwing your hat in as many rings as possible.

In the email, keep it brief (something that I obviously struggled with, given the length of this response). I discussed who I was (pertinent academic/professional/research background), research topics of interest to me, some of their current/previous research, (ask a question about this...show interest!!) and then asked if they had an opening for a doctoral student. My emails were ~250 words, and even that was on the long side. And yes, I included my CV - whether they opened it or not is still a mystery to me, but it can't hurt.

Would you mind sending me a sample email to a POI?  Also, may I see your CV? Lastly, would you include research study protocols you have written on your CV?  How about a skills summary?  Please let me know. Thank you so much for the helpful thread above!  Do you think I can contact a POI next week?

Edited by dreams1214

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7 hours ago, dreams1214 said:

Would you mind sending me a sample email to a POI?  Also, may I see your CV? Lastly, would you include research study protocols you have written on your CV?  How about a skills summary?  Please let me know. Thank you so much for the helpful thread above!  Do you think I can contact a POI next week?

At least for me, it's a bit too early to contact any POIs. You could try, but as it's the end of the summer/beginning of the fall semester, professors are going to be a bit more inundated right now than if you wait until mid-September.

Edited by ianmleavitt

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Hello, I'm a MPH graduate from India and I want to apply for PhD programs starting in Fall 2019. I'm due to take the GRE in the first week of September. I want to ask a couple of things -

1. Is formal work experience a necessity? I have over 12 months in internships and 2 months of freelance work, but does that leave me at a disadvantage for PhD?

2. I am currently in the process of getting my master's thesis published. What is the best way to put that across to the POI or in the CV? If I'm not published by the time of the application, do I not have a shot?

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I'm planning to apply to PhDs and one MPH program as a safety because I don't have a Master's. Anyone else trying to go straight to PhD without a Master's? It seems like public health schools are becoming increasingly less likely to accept people without. But here's hoping!

Right now I am looking to apply to Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCSF, Columbia & Harvard, but this list is anything but definitive. 

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On 8/14/2018 at 7:05 PM, Hopefully1919 said:

I'm planning to apply to PhDs and one MPH program as a safety because I don't have a Master's. Anyone else trying to go straight to PhD without a Master's? It seems like public health schools are becoming increasingly less likely to accept people without. But here's hoping!

Right now I am looking to apply to Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCSF, Columbia & Harvard, but this list is anything but definitive. 

Which program at UCSF? I'm also applying to public health PhD programs without my master's (so far I think Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Washington, Minnesota, UIC, Boston University, and maybe Johns Hopkins; as a backup I'm applying to nursing PhD programs at Columbia, UCSF, and UIC). I may try to find a safety school or two (for public health), but it's possible that any schools that would be in the safety category for me are not as highly ranked as I'd like, in which case I might opt to do a nursing PhD program instead. I just hired a GRE tutor hoping to get my quant scores up, hoping that if I do extremely well it will help my case. What's your background? It seems like if you have excellent GRE scores, 1-2 years of research experience (especially if you have any publications), strong letters of rec, a good fit in terms of your research interests, and a well written  SOP with a solid narrative about your experience and your research interests, that you can get in without a master's. 

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20 hours ago, saheckler said:

Which program at UCSF? I'm also applying to public health PhD programs without my master's (so far I think Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Washington, Minnesota, UIC, Boston University, and maybe Johns Hopkins; as a backup I'm applying to nursing PhD programs at Columbia, UCSF, and UIC). I may try to find a safety school or two (for public health), but it's possible that any schools that would be in the safety category for me are not as highly ranked as I'd like, in which case I might opt to do a nursing PhD program instead. I just hired a GRE tutor hoping to get my quant scores up, hoping that if I do extremely well it will help my case. What's your background? It seems like if you have excellent GRE scores, 1-2 years of research experience (especially if you have any publications), strong letters of rec, a good fit in terms of your research interests, and a well written  SOP with a solid narrative about your experience and your research interests, that you can get in without a master's. 

Thanks for your reply! I'm still torn between the epi and sociology program at UCSF. I'm going to reach out to their admissions soon to discuss which one would be better for me. My quant score is pretty miserable but I've decided not to spend more money/time on it. I studied for months and just think my test anxiety got the best of me on test day. I'm hoping my other qualifications will make up for the lowish score, but it's definitely something I'm worried about. I have almost 6 years of research experience and have been working 2 years post-grad with a famous researcher and have a few publications and posters. Are you an RN? Feel free to send me a private message to chat more specifically. Good luck with your apps! 

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On 7/13/2018 at 4:47 PM, ianmleavitt said:

If anyone has questions regarding the upcoming application cycle, feel free to ask me!

Hello Ian,

I had a question, in applying to a Ph.D. in Public health should I contact the faculty that I want to work with first before applying to the program in SOPHAS? or the SOPHAS application has to be sent before I get in touch with the desired faculty member?

Thank you for your time.

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20 hours ago, Nomadic said:

Another question guys,

Are the (This is Public Health Fairs) any good in getting me an admission?

I wouldn't say admission, but I received a few fee waivers from these events.

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Posted this elsewhere but thought y'all might have some thoughts too--

Hey, I just took my GREs again and got the same total score as 2 years ago: 323. i went up two points in quant this time (157; 66%) and down two in verbal (166; 97%). i put in considerable quant studying this summer; Magoosh was predicting me at 160-164. do you guys think it's worth a retake? if you used magoosh in the past, was your prediction accurate? 

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On 8/30/2018 at 1:46 PM, Nomadic said:

Hello Ian,

I had a question, in applying to a Ph.D. in Public health should I contact the faculty that I want to work with first before applying to the program in SOPHAS? or the SOPHAS application has to be sent before I get in touch with the desired faculty member?

Thank you for your time.

I would definitely contact faculty first. If there are no faculty members that you share research interests with at the school at which your applying (or if they aren't taking on new students), it's a bit of a waste of time (and money). PhD level work is about having that good research match, after all!

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Hi there, I’m also attending a PhD program this year, having gone thru the application cycle last year. I absolutely agree with ianmleavitt in that it is a waste of time and money to apply to schools where you dont have a strong research interest match with some of the faculty. I wasted a lot of time with schools where there was only the most tenuous of links between faculty interests and mine. 

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