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Is a Certificate worth it?


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Hi all,


Background: I am currently working at a well known think tank in Washington, DC. My current position is largely administrative, along with a fair ammount of health/disability policy work. There seem to be many opportunities for growth in my job, so I hope to take on an increasing amount of policy work. While it would be ideal to use this money to go to graduate school, I don't think that working full time, commuting and taking two classes is going to be too much for me. I just graduated from a "public ivy" in May, so I was hoping to get in 2 or 3 years of experience before going back to graduate school full time. I plan to apply for MPP or MPH programs with a concentration in Health Policy. My dream program would be the MsPH at UNC. I am also interested in Georgetown, UVA, GW and American. However, it seems like a waste to forgo the generous reimbursment program. Instead of wasting that money, I thought it could be a good opportunity to get a graduate certificate.


The Program: The graduate certifice in Global Medical Policy at George Mason seems like it would be a great fit. It is an 18-credit program (6 courses, one which I am currently taking as a non-degree student). It is in-state, so the cost is low and they have a respectable MPP program. The Global Medical Policy program looks like a great mesh of public health, public policy, and international affairs.



  • This would allow me to take courses in my two areas of interest (MPP, MPH) so that I can gauge which course of study would be the best fit for me.
  • The cost would be quite low; about $2000 out of pocket with the funding.
  • My grades at the beginning of undergrad were poor, but improved drastically over the years (3.8 during my final semester). If I excel in the program, this may soften the blow of my poor freshman year grades.
  • Taking these courses may help me to advance in my current job.
  • If I decide I like the program at Mason, I can transfer the certificate into a degree program.



  • The certificate is similar to what I want to do for my graduate work, so it could be redunant.
  • While $2000 dollars is cheap for a certificate, it is still a lot of money for a recent graduate.
  • This will take a lot of time out of my schedule.


My question is, do you guys think that it would be worth the time and money to pursue the certificate? How beneficial will it be for me in the admissions process?


I really appreciate any input.

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