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Qualifications for Top PhD Programs

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Hey folks,

I am a first-year economics master student, and I want to apply to Phd in public health, fall 2019. But I have no clue what kind of applicants they are looking for.  And I want to improve my application as much as I can. 

I am interested in Health policy, Health economics, and population health. 

Please enlighten me. 

I am very new to public health. So all help will be appreciated. Thank you.

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Honestly, you're already qualified.  Public Health programs are looking for people with a range of experiences.  Some people think they need a background or education in public health before attending.  I can tell you that a background in economics is pure gold.  Health economists are highly employable and it is a sought after qualification.

Edited to add:


Look into a program in health policy.  


Edited by DrJackPhD(c)
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A health policy program will focus on health policy in the United States.  Global health takes a global perspective.  For example, one might conduct a study of HIV interventions in Rwanda with a concentration in global health.  Population health is kind of vague, but definitely has an epidemiology focus.  I'd suggest a health policy program.  For example mine is "Health Services Policy and Management."  Health economics is one concentration available (it's what I'm doing).  

What can you do to bolster your application?  Take some graduate econometric coursework that gives you experience with large datasets, and software like Stata, SAS, or R.  The more you round out your quantitative training, the better.  (BTW, if you become proficient in R, it's the equivalent of god-like powers in the eyes of employers)



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Just now, robert_and_richard said:

1. Would it be true to say that health policy is closer to health economics? 

2. I already know R and Stata, should I learn SAS? 

3. I am currently taking second-semester graduate econometrics. Should I take machine learning next semester? Is it useful?

Thank you again for your response. 

Since you have multiple questions here, let's break it down one at a time :)


1.  Yes.  Health policy is closer to health economics because part of developing policy and selecting best alternatives is to know the cost effectiveness.  Policymakers care about cost effectiveness.  You're not going to see much use for that in Health Promotion or Global Health.

2. Then you're all set.  If you know R and Stata, you're steps ahead of your competition.  SAS is nice, but it's not necessary.  Handy to have though because it does have its applications.  BTW,  I've never seen anyone in public health use SPSS.

3. That's a negative on the machine learning.  Maybe something in survival analysis or biostats if available.  If you have an understanding of econometrics, can handle large datasets, and know how to both set up and interpret different approaches in it to answer specific questions, you're doing well. 

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