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New to Public Health. Help?


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I very recently decided to apply to MPH programs after I realized that it would be a great route for HIV/STD prevention studies. Here are some facts about me:

B.A. Psychology

B.A. English

Overall GPA: 3.4

Major GPA (PSY): 3.5

Major GPA (ENG): 3.6

GRE Q: 630

GRE V: 630

Also, for the past ~2 years, I have done research in psychology and prevention. I did research in my last semester of undergrad, and I currently work full time as a Research Assistant at a firm that specializes in interventions (substance abuse prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, etc.). Also, simultaneously, I have worked as an RA for a faculty member at my alma mater. So...lots and lots of research experience.

My original plan was to apply to PhD programs in Psychology (which I still intend to do); but I would really like to get into an accredited MPH program- and I would almost prefer that over the Psychology programs I am looking at. But I am a total novice to this field and all of my colleagues/peers/mentors are involved in Psychology so I am hoping someone here can help me.

I have a few questions that I haven't seen a whole lot of answers to:

1) Are interviews a common theme in the admissions process for MPH programs?

2) Is it common practice to email faculty members and ask if they are accepting graduate students; or is a faculty mentor oftentimes chosen for you upon admission?

3) Can Psychology majors even apply to MPH programs?

4) I don't have poster presentations or publications from undergrad. How bad will this hurt me? I know it obviously helps to have these things; but will I get rejected for NOT having them?

Also, based on my stats and interests, does anyone have any recommendations for programs to apply to? I'm confident that I can write a good personal statement; and I should have plenty of good recommendation letters. I am aware that my stats are not great; but I can't change my GPA and while I can retake the GRE, I am hoping that I won't have to with strong letters, a good SOP and research experience.

Any advice is greatly appreciated :)

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1. Don't think so. I applied to 5 schools, no interviews.

2. I had a faculty mentor assigned to me on arrival. I ended up finding someone more related to my area of interest later anyway.

3. Of course. MPH applicants come from a variety of fields. Some programs have basic math requirements but even that seems rare.

4. It didn't hurt me. Unless that's why I didn't get into UDub... :) Seriously though, it's a professional program that seeks out diversity in its student body. There are kids fresh out of college, foreign doctors, mid-career changers. I think you're judged based on what you can bring to the class. That being said, rock those essays and find profs who really support your application.

Where you apply is going to depend on a number of things. You'll need to pick a concentration and look at schools from there. At least in my current program, it's not easy to switch concentrations once you're here. After I decided on my concentration, I made a spreadsheet of schools and had their admissions statistics. I ranked them according to a variety of categories (strength of program, cost, location, etc) and picked 5 to apply to.

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