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DrPH - how important is research experience?


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Since this PhD app cycle wasn't as successful as I hoped it would be, I am trying to re-evaluate my application and re-apply for Fall 2022. Those who applied to DrPH programs - how important is research experience in this case? What do you think helped you to get in?

thanks!

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While research experience can certainly set you apart, I don’t think it is the end all be all for DrPH programs. I have minimal research experience but was accepted to all of the programs I applied to. I think there were a few things that helped me. I have a great deal of leadership experiences from grad school and within my work. Although only in the field 6 years, I’ve had increasing responsibilities and have actively sought out experiences that make me a better leader and public health practitioner. In my personal statement I was able to paint a clear picture of why I love public health and how the DrPH would help me make a greater impact in my area. Lastly, I had pretty solid letters of recommendation. 
 

I hope this was helpful. I get the sense that programs really look at applicants holistically. 

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59 minutes ago, HopeFaithandDrPH said:

While research experience can certainly set you apart, I don’t think it is the end all be all for DrPH programs. I have minimal research experience but was accepted to all of the programs I applied to. I think there were a few things that helped me. I have a great deal of leadership experiences from grad school and within my work. Although only in the field 6 years, I’ve had increasing responsibilities and have actively sought out experiences that make me a better leader and public health practitioner. In my personal statement I was able to paint a clear picture of why I love public health and how the DrPH would help me make a greater impact in my area. Lastly, I had pretty solid letters of recommendation. 
 

I hope this was helpful. I get the sense that programs really look at applicants holistically. 

Thank you for your reply!! his is very helpful! I, too, have 6 years of experience -- but mostly from work. Some programs ask for a writing sample - can you share what sample you chose to provide, as in was it work-related or a school essay?

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5 hours ago, AnxiousKronk said:

Thank you for your reply!! his is very helpful! I, too, have 6 years of experience -- but mostly from work. Some programs ask for a writing sample - can you share what sample you chose to provide, as in was it work-related or a school essay?

My programs didn’t require a writing sample, but I think I would have used a grad school paper. 

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I was accepted outright into one program (Tulane! - they are revising their program), wait listed at two (BU and Hopkins... Was ultimately rejected from both, but encouraged to reapply to Hopkins - although they probably say that to everyone), and outright rejected from GW and Rutgers.

I don't have much research experience, but I do have a significant work history (10 years) with varied roles (grant writing, coalition coordination, teen sex ed, grant writing, Veterans Health, local health department); and I wrote very clearly about why I want the DrPH and what my goals are from the program. I made sure to reach out to faculty members from each school to learn more about the program and explain my interests (intersection of faith and how it could reduce adverse maternal health outcomes and my desire to create programs that meet Black women where they are AKA in church lol). I think having some experience with qualitative research was helpful, but I don't have any publications.

I did however have SOLID recommendation letters. I think that might have made the difference considering how competitive this admissions cycle was. PLUS my grades weren't stellar when you look across undergrad and grad. I graduated from undergrad (10 years ago) with a 2.7... I finished my MPH + certificate with a 3.7ish... So yeah, it's safe to say they look holistically.

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