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On 8/17/2020 at 12:28 AM, Epid_2021 said:

Hi

I am an international student a fresh MPH Epidemiology candidate having experience on couple of research projects working with my professors. I want to apply for Phd Epidemiology Fall 2021.
My GPA : 3.9 GRE:v-61%,Q-81% AW-4 and TOEFL-110
My university is in top 20 in public health in USA.
Please suggest some universities where I can probably get admission.

Hey Epid_2021! It's hard to say where you would likely gain admission given the competitiveness of PhD combined with the COVID funding situation. It may be helpful to look at schools focusing on your main interests - What topics are you interested in? Do you have a current list of schools you're interested in?

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Thought I'd start the thread for prospective doctoral students applying to start in Fall 2021. I'm starting it early so we can discuss and support each other given the added challenges of applying dur

This exactly!!!! This might be my second year applying... If anyone ever gets back to me. Even with great fit, it truly is just dumb luck. 

Hello! I am also applying for some PhD programs in Social & Behavioral Health. Right now I am looking at Brown and Johns Hopkins University. A little information about me: Undergrad GPA:

Hey all, i'm thinking of applying this cycle to BH programs.  I was just wondering how you are all going about reaching out to faculty during these times.  I spoke to a great match back in May, but not sure how to follow-up and reach out again to let her know I'm still interested.  what do I say exactly? do I jsut strike up a random convo on how her reseaerch is doing? not sure how to go about this.  Any advice?

I have an MPH and my background is in diabetes in underserved populations.  

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6 hours ago, hccgrl said:

Hey all, i'm thinking of applying this cycle to BH programs.  I was just wondering how you are all going about reaching out to faculty during these times.  I spoke to a great match back in May, but not sure how to follow-up and reach out again to let her know I'm still interested.  what do I say exactly? do I jsut strike up a random convo on how her reseaerch is doing? not sure how to go about this.  Any advice?

I have an MPH and my background is in diabetes in underserved populations.  

All of what you put here sounds great and professional. As far as what to say and timing.. it depends on what you want to gain from contacting her. Do you want to see if she is still accepting students given COVID? Or do you just want to let her know you are applying and to look for your application? May is pretty recent (in my opinion at least), so maybe you could wait a month or two, so that way it will be closer to the time you submit your application. It really depends on what you want to gain .. and what questions you have for her.  If you have a question about your SOP/Personal statement, perhaps reach out now and ask it. PS... I'm interested in chronic disease/SDOH too - maybe we will end up in same program 🙂

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On 8/18/2020 at 8:45 AM, CatMeow1234 said:

FYI - SOPHAS is open today for the 2020-2021 cycle! 

I started this thread but did not list my credentials, so listing them here.

I'm applying to Social/Bx Sci and Community Health Programs. I have an MPH, and have 4 years of post masters experience. I have 9 publications, first authored 5. Undergrad GPA 3.6; Grad school GPA 3.9. I took the GRE, scores are decent but nothing spectacular. 

Anyone know of any places to apply for external funding? Or is applying for external funding not as common for PhD (e.g., the university funds it fully).

Man, I need a new boss! That sort of ambition is frowned upon :(

About 1/3 of the programs from my tier 1 list aren't up yet. So annoying!

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On 8/18/2020 at 8:06 PM, CatMeow1234 said:

All of what you put here sounds great and professional. As far as what to say and timing.. it depends on what you want to gain from contacting her. Do you want to see if she is still accepting students given COVID? Or do you just want to let her know you are applying and to look for your application? May is pretty recent (in my opinion at least), so maybe you could wait a month or two, so that way it will be closer to the time you submit your application. It really depends on what you want to gain .. and what questions you have for her.  If you have a question about your SOP/Personal statement, perhaps reach out now and ask it. PS... I'm interested in chronic disease/SDOH too - maybe we will end up in same program 🙂

Thanks!  Unfortunately I am very very very limited in programs that I can apply to.  I have a 7 month old baby, just bought a house right before the pandemic hit, and my husband plans on going back to school for occupational therapy.  I live outside of Philadelphia, so programs have to be within 2 hrs driving distance.   One of the program coordinators ive been chatting with gave me this piece of advice: 

One of the most critical components of the PhD application is the applicant "fit" with a faculty member who has a shared research content expertise. I strongly encourage you to research our faculty and be sure that we have someone who is actively conducting research in the area that you want to concentrate in. It is important to have the support - and even a letter of recommendation - from this faculty member as part of the application. I am happy to discuss!  

With her suggestion of getting a letter of recommendation from this faculty, I wasn't sure if maybe I would need to reach out more often, and how to go about this.  I also have to ask for clarification on whether the faculty's letter of recommendation would be one out of the three needed or just an extra one.  

Is anyone planning on taking GREs?  I have to retake mine, but last I checked, they were doing it remote from home.  My windows computer is not reliable at all and not sure how itll work. 

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Hi all! 

Will be applying to PhD's this fall- I'm in Boston and hoping to stay local, so thinking Harvard (PhD Health Policy/Decision Science), BU (Epi), and maybe Brown/Yale?

Stats: undergrad GPA 3.6, grad school 3.9. MSPH Epi. I have ~10 pubs (middle author), 2 first author (working on 2 more now). Worked for a gov org for 3 years, now working at an academic center doing infectious disease simulation modeling (which is my main interest). GRE: 169V, 164Q.

So I have a GRE q- most of the programs I'm looking at aren't requiring it this year but you can submit if you'd like. I'm on the fence?? My Q score isn't awesome, and GRE submission costs money... I'm wondering whether submitting or skipping would be advantageous... Any thoughts/anyone else thinking about this? 

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7 hours ago, ASA15 said:

Hi all! 

Will be applying to PhD's this fall- I'm in Boston and hoping to stay local, so thinking Harvard (PhD Health Policy/Decision Science), BU (Epi), and maybe Brown/Yale?

Stats: undergrad GPA 3.6, grad school 3.9. MSPH Epi. I have ~10 pubs (middle author), 2 first author (working on 2 more now). Worked for a gov org for 3 years, now working at an academic center doing infectious disease simulation modeling (which is my main interest). GRE: 169V, 164Q.

So I have a GRE q- most of the programs I'm looking at aren't requiring it this year but you can submit if you'd like. I'm on the fence?? My Q score isn't awesome, and GRE submission costs money... I'm wondering whether submitting or skipping would be advantageous... Any thoughts/anyone else thinking about this? 

Just one opinion, but I think you should submit! Your verbal score is phenomenal and I think will definitely stand out. I wouldn’t worry about your quant score. It is high enough to be competitive and it sounds like you have plenty of other experience demonstrating your quantitative competence. Good luck! 

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On 8/24/2020 at 5:29 PM, phd_hopeful_2021 said:

Just one opinion, but I think you should submit! Your verbal score is phenomenal and I think will definitely stand out. I wouldn’t worry about your quant score. It is high enough to be competitive and it sounds like you have plenty of other experience demonstrating your quantitative competence. Good luck! 

Seconded, I think your scores are excellent! What is your writing score/percentile?

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On 8/25/2020 at 5:39 PM, CatMeow1234 said:

Seconded, I think your scores are excellent! What is your writing score/percentile?

Writing was 5.0/92%. Honestly I thought the writing section was really dumb... it's like regressing back to a 5 paragraph essay lol but I guess I don't know a better way to test writing skills on a standardized test.

Thanks everyone! Will go ahead and submit :) 

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Also FYI I'm applying for a second time (applied for fall 2019 to like 11 schools, got some acceptances but none were a great fit and due to geographic considerations chose to turn them down). So can field some process of applying questions if people have them!

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1 hour ago, ASA15 said:

Also FYI I'm applying for a second time (applied for fall 2019 to like 11 schools, got some acceptances but none were a great fit and due to geographic considerations chose to turn them down). So can field some process of applying questions if people have them!

Thank you so much for this kind offer! I would love to know: Do most professors prefer you contact them ahead of time, or do they generally want you to apply formally?

That's excellent you are submitting your scores. I would be really proud of them if I were you, it shows you are well rounded and strong in all areas!

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19 hours ago, CatMeow1234 said:

Thank you so much for this kind offer! I would love to know: Do most professors prefer you contact them ahead of time, or do they generally want you to apply formally?

That's excellent you are submitting your scores. I would be really proud of them if I were you, it shows you are well rounded and strong in all areas!

I found last time around that it really depended... I contacted faculty at every school. Some people didn't respond. Some responded and said they didn't speak to students prior to acceptance. Some were happy to talk. I think it's 100% worth it to contact faculty because the conversations I did have were SO helpful. From my experience, faculty don't have a ton of influence directly over acceptance decisions prior to interviews, and they couldn't answer many of the application process specific questions, but they had great insight on the programs and research being done there and could point to additional faculty. Speaking to faculty almost exclusively made me more excited about the program (the glaring exception being JHU). Just don't take it personally if they don't respond- they're very busy and it's not any kind of reflection on you.

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Hello folks!

I wanted to get your perspective on my application profile particularly on programs I should apply to and how high I should aim.

Undergrad gpa: 3.91 (Economics and Poli sci with a minor in Maths) from a small unknown US university

Grad gpa: 3.41 :( (Development economics and International development focused on quantitative analysis) from Georgetown University.

Worked extensively at the World Bank on education issues during grad school. Graduate capstone is focused on education service delivery with the World Bank as my client.  

Upon graduation, I had a field placement with the World Bank's Health, Nutrition and Population Group in sub-Saharan Africa working on a large scale public health project with substantive experiences in research, operations, and implementation. It was amazing experience on health financing and health systems strengthening. I was pivotal in creating $200m+ performance based public health contracts, designing and analyzing health surveys, supporting Ministry of Health on health resource allocation optimization. The project encompassed 6 ministries and 30 government entities across federal and state level, which really taught me ins and out of health system. Furthermore, the verification of performance required deploying HMIS, for which I drafted the ToR. This experience is why I want to pursue PhD as I think performance based financing is the way to go in a resource and capacity constrained setting.  After that I worked for a few months in Yemen for USAID. I have a publication in maternal and child health with another on the way.

My current interest lies on optimizing performance based contracts of community based health service delivery. But do I apply for public health programs, general international development program or economics program? There are also business school PhDs that focus on optimizations, which could be useful for my research interest. Just one program doesn’t seem to fit either my background or my research interest, and I don’t know how to shortlist my schools.

As you can see, my grad GPA is lower than undergrad, which is a huge negative. However, on quantitative courses such as advanced econometrics and applied econometrics, I did well. Based on this info, is top 10 public health PhD based on international health too ambitious? Any guidance would be immensely helpful. Thanks in advance.

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On 8/14/2020 at 4:51 PM, jmillar said:

I made a column that mentions if you can submit the GRE even if they are waiving it, and whether they explicitly recommend it or not. In several cases, I've added "strongly recommended" if mentioned.

Thank you very much!

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5 hours ago, CurrentGHD said:

Hello folks!

I wanted to get your perspective on my application profile particularly on programs I should apply to and how high I should aim.

Undergrad gpa: 3.91 (Economics and Poli sci with a minor in Maths) from a small unknown US university

Grad gpa: 3.41 :( (Development economics and International development focused on quantitative analysis) from Georgetown University.

Worked extensively at the World Bank on education issues during grad school. Graduate capstone is focused on education service delivery with the World Bank as my client.  

Upon graduation, I had a field placement with the World Bank's Health, Nutrition and Population Group in sub-Saharan Africa working on a large scale public health project with substantive experiences in research, operations, and implementation. It was amazing experience on health financing and health systems strengthening. I was pivotal in creating $200m+ performance based public health contracts, designing and analyzing health surveys, supporting Ministry of Health on health resource allocation optimization. The project encompassed 6 ministries and 30 government entities across federal and state level, which really taught me ins and out of health system. Furthermore, the verification of performance required deploying HMIS, for which I drafted the ToR. This experience is why I want to pursue PhD as I think performance based financing is the way to go in a resource and capacity constrained setting.  After that I worked for a few months in Yemen for USAID. I have a publication in maternal and child health with another on the way.

My current interest lies on optimizing performance based contracts of community based health service delivery. But do I apply for public health programs, general international development program or economics program? There are also business school PhDs that focus on optimizations, which could be useful for my research interest. Just one program doesn’t seem to fit either my background or my research interest, and I don’t know how to shortlist my schools.

As you can see, my grad GPA is lower than undergrad, which is a huge negative. However, on quantitative courses such as advanced econometrics and applied econometrics, I did well. Based on this info, is top 10 public health PhD based on international health too ambitious? Any guidance would be immensely helpful. Thanks in advance.

That would not be too ambitious. You sound like a competitive candidate for top programs in Health Systems. I would not worry about a lower grad GPA given the quantitative nature of the program and prestige of the school - plus since you did well on the advanced quant coursework. Make sure you have good recs and statements of purpose.

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On 9/7/2020 at 7:25 PM, Qantu said:

Hi again,

Do you know what programs would be the best option if I want to apply to global infectious disease epidemiology?

Most programs have some global and infectious disease faculty and tracks. I think you'd need to narrow down your interests more. What diseases? What methodology? What country/region?

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On 9/9/2020 at 3:24 PM, ASA15 said:

Most programs have some global and infectious disease faculty and tracks. I think you'd need to narrow down your interests more. What diseases? What methodology? What country/region?

Thank you! You are right, I am interested in the intersection of  [neglected] tropical diseases and health systems capacity building. Specially, programs with a metrics/implementation focus rather than a clinical/laboratory focus. I am pursuing an Epidemiology research career that allows me to work on the field (i.e NGOs) rather than a faculty position.

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Hey guys, anyone else considering whether to put off for another cycle? I have yet to take the GRE, so it's kind of great that a lot of my top programs are not requiring it, but now more than ever seems like being as financially secure as possible pre-PhD and working another year may make sense.

Also I've been involved in every department at Brown during my MPH and am happy to chat about it. I'm gunning for health policy programs myself, but have a pretty extensive background across those departments besides biostats.

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Happy to see that this thread is up and running! I am planning on applying this cycle but I am having some doubts about my profile. 

My undergrad GPA was a 3.1 or 3.2 I believe. My grad GPA was 3.2. GRE Scores are Mediocre as well. I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and have worked in international development for the past 6 years. My work has been centered around : infectious disease (malaria, zika, HIV), nutrition and most recently, alcohol misuse. I worked with USAID and worked with top level researchers at the NIH. I have supported Zika, and Alcohol prevention research but I do not have any publications. Just experience. My interest is at the intersection of public health and sociology and I am interested in exploring the social influences/challenges that limits access of care for displaced/vulnerable populations . Given the current pandemic, I found myself looking to go deeper and exploring how the pandemic has affected these populations. With that said, I am looking at Social and Behavioral Health programs, health service research and community health programs. 

Its clear that my GPA scores are nothing to write home about but I do have a lot of work experience (at least I think I do, lol). So far on my list I have: 

Hopkins (SBH, Health Promotion, Population and Health), UNC, UT-Houston, UMD, Drexel, Columbia (was deferred last year to the MS program and declined), BU, Rutgers, UIC, University of Louisville, NYU. 

I am still looking around and checking faculty pages to find a good fit. I just don't feel like I am a strong candidate :( 

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2 hours ago, MNCH Hopeful said:

Happy to see that this thread is up and running! I am planning on applying this cycle but I am having some doubts about my profile. 

My undergrad GPA was a 3.1 or 3.2 I believe. My grad GPA was 3.2. GRE Scores are Mediocre as well. I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and have worked in international development for the past 6 years. My work has been centered around : infectious disease (malaria, zika, HIV), nutrition and most recently, alcohol misuse. I worked with USAID and worked with top level researchers at the NIH. I have supported Zika, and Alcohol prevention research but I do not have any publications. Just experience. My interest is at the intersection of public health and sociology and I am interested in exploring the social influences/challenges that limits access of care for displaced/vulnerable populations . Given the current pandemic, I found myself looking to go deeper and exploring how the pandemic has affected these populations. With that said, I am looking at Social and Behavioral Health programs, health service research and community health programs. 

Its clear that my GPA scores are nothing to write home about but I do have a lot of work experience (at least I think I do, lol). So far on my list I have: 

Hopkins (SBH, Health Promotion, Population and Health), UNC, UT-Houston, UMD, Drexel, Columbia (was deferred last year to the MS program and declined), BU, Rutgers, UIC, University of Louisville, NYU. 

I am still looking around and checking faculty pages to find a good fit. I just don't feel like I am a strong candidate :( 

Your experience is so incredible and impressive! Sounds like you can offer some perspective and ask unique research questions. I also sometimes worry that PhD admissions is merely a numbers game, but try to stay optimistic. I imagine PIs want to work with motivated and passionate students, not merely someone that has gotten good grades with limited life experience. Good luck! 

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Hi everyone,

decided to only apply to 2 programs (3 the most). I'm an international student and I can only afford to go to schools with full funding. We'll see how it goes. If I don't get any offer then I'll add a few more programs next yr. 

Undergrad GPA from an international institution  : 3.5ish

Grad GPA from a U.S. institution: 3.97 

GRE: will take early next month. Aim for the 90% for V&Q.

Publications: my sore throat. Only a 6th author publication so that basically means nothing😅. Might submit a first author by the time of application. 

Experiences: Graduated 5 yrs ago, but my international status has created some gaps. Been working in academia consistently for 3 yrs. Did a few RAships and one TAship during my 3 yr masters. 

Research interests: implementation research, my struggle has been to figure out how to narrow it down, to me, this is more like a methodology that you could apply to all populations and diseases, and public health is collaborative in nature so I don't have to be an expert in one specific disease. But I doubt program would like the candidate not having a more narrowed focus. 

LORs: I think all my 3 LORs will come relatively strong. All of them are either full heartedly IR researcher or have grants with IR focus. 

Target programs: UCSF Epi & Translational, UW Global Health in IR. I actually only want to go to UCSF. I think I'm a little bit crazy having that mindset. Rational being location & curriculum & mentorship in IR. As an international student, I don't mind doing global health but quantitative courses will make me more competitive in the job market. I don't have any epi experience at all so I find it a bit challenging writing the statement to articulate my purpose. 

My master program has great mentorship in IR, but I hope to go to a bigger city and expand my networks. Good luck everyone!  

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On 9/13/2020 at 12:42 PM, aca105 said:

Hey guys, anyone else considering whether to put off for another cycle? I have yet to take the GRE, so it's kind of great that a lot of my top programs are not requiring it, but now more than ever seems like being as financially secure as possible pre-PhD and working another year may make sense.

Also I've been involved in every department at Brown during my MPH and am happy to chat about it. I'm gunning for health policy programs myself, but have a pretty extensive background across those departments besides biostats.

I was planning on applying next yr, but because of COVID I decided to apply this yr to test the water, can always decline an offer if I decide to. Only applying to the schools I would 200% want to attend, and if I don't get an offer, I'll work another year and reapply. 

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On 9/19/2020 at 8:57 PM, xxxxling said:

Hi everyone,

decided to only apply to 2 programs (3 the most). I'm an international student and I can only afford to go to schools with full funding. We'll see how it goes. If I don't get any offer then I'll add a few more programs next yr. 

Undergrad GPA from an international institution  : 3.5ish

Grad GPA from a U.S. institution: 3.97 

GRE: will take early next month. Aim for the 90% for V&Q.

Publications: my sore throat. Only a 6th author publication so that basically means nothing😅. Might submit a first author by the time of application. 

Experiences: Graduated 5 yrs ago, but my international status has created some gaps. Been working in academia consistently for 3 yrs. Did a few RAships and one TAship during my 3 yr masters. 

Research interests: implementation research, my struggle has been to figure out how to narrow it down, to me, this is more like a methodology that you could apply to all populations and diseases, and public health is collaborative in nature so I don't have to be an expert in one specific disease. But I doubt program would like the candidate not having a more narrowed focus. 

LORs: I think all my 3 LORs will come relatively strong. All of them are either full heartedly IR researcher or have grants with IR focus. 

Target programs: UCSF Epi & Translational, UW Global Health in IR. I actually only want to go to UCSF. I think I'm a little bit crazy having that mindset. Rational being location & curriculum & mentorship in IR. As an international student, I don't mind doing global health but quantitative courses will make me more competitive in the job market. I don't have any epi experience at all so I find it a bit challenging writing the statement to articulate my purpose. 

My master program has great mentorship in IR, but I hope to go to a bigger city and expand my networks. Good luck everyone!  

Your background looks really strong to me. I think 6th author publication is worth something, too!! If you can work that first author pub into your CV (eg if you submit soon) that’s even better. You got this!

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Hi everyone! So glad to have found this forum. I am planning on applying for few DrPh programs. I am based abroad so I'm only looking into schools with distance programs. So far the ones I found are USF, UNC and Indiana University. My GRE scores expired years ago and luckily these schools have dropped GRE requirement. 

A bit background: Undergrad 3.5 GPA majored in Chemistry. MPH Epidemiology with 3.3 GPA. Collectively I have 10 (5 were post masters) year work experience working in public health at NIH, GWU (alma mater) HHS and Dpt of State office of Global AIDS coordinator. I've been working for past 2 years as a technical advisor in southern Africa working in HIV/AIDS and I'm still here. I have also co-authored 13 articles and one commentary recently published on Lancet Global Health. 

I don't know if my application is strong enough. My GRE isn't the strongest and I just can't try to retake the GRE. I would love to hear anyones advise/experience and also knowledge of the DrPH programs in the above-mentioned universities. One thing I noticed for UNC those recently accepted have like 20+ years experience and I wonder if I even have a shot.

Thanks for reading this far!

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