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Applying from outside the field


Anemone44
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Hi folks, 

I'm interested in entering the field of epidemiology and have been planning to apply to graduate programs in the fall of 2020. However, the more I read these message boards the more it seems that previous experience in the field is ranked pretty highly in terms of applications. 

Unfortunately, I'm coming from a place outside of any sort of hard science field. I did my undergraduate degree (in the social sciences) over a decade ago and have no hard science courses on my transcript. Since then I have worked in a completely unrelated field (legislative research) and am now teaching abroad in South Korea in order to save money to pay for grad school. 

My plan was to take some quantitative online courses while I'm overseas, as well as taking the GRE this fall. I was then hoping to apply to the (well-regarded) state college in my hometown and get my MPH in epidemiology before applying for jobs in the field. Do I even have a hope of getting into a program with such a lack of experience? From informational interviews, I thought I was going about this the best way I could - but the emphasis on previous experience I'm reading about in this forum is making me nervous...

Any insight would be appreciated! 

 

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 7:08 AM, Anemone44 said:

Hi folks, 

I'm interested in entering the field of epidemiology and have been planning to apply to graduate programs in the fall of 2020. However, the more I read these message boards the more it seems that previous experience in the field is ranked pretty highly in terms of applications. 

Unfortunately, I'm coming from a place outside of any sort of hard science field. I did my undergraduate degree (in the social sciences) over a decade ago and have no hard science courses on my transcript. Since then I have worked in a completely unrelated field (legislative research) and am now teaching abroad in South Korea in order to save money to pay for grad school. 

My plan was to take some quantitative online courses while I'm overseas, as well as taking the GRE this fall. I was then hoping to apply to the (well-regarded) state college in my hometown and get my MPH in epidemiology before applying for jobs in the field. Do I even have a hope of getting into a program with such a lack of experience? From informational interviews, I thought I was going about this the best way I could - but the emphasis on previous experience I'm reading about in this forum is making me nervous...

Any insight would be appreciated! 

 

I applied to MPH programs one year out from college, where I majored in biology. While applying, I was abroad teaching science in the South Pacific. I did not have experience in public health... I did have a science background, but honestly not even sure if that was necessary.

IMO, prior work experience matters especially because it shows your interest and commitment to public health. If you can make your story make sense and convince the school you're interested in public health, I think you'll be fine! I think it's a great strength to take some quantitative classes to show you can do that, but as long as you do well on the quant GRE I think you'll be fine.

 

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