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PhD programs and work experience


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Hi everyone!


I just opened an account here, after reading all of the useful and positive feedback, and I am thinking of applying to PhD programs in Behavioral Health/Community Health with a concentration in reproductive health. Because of my low GPA and relative inexperience, I'm wondering if I should wait a year or two and find a job in public health to make my application stronger. Here are my stats:


BA: Double in Health, behavior, and society + Psychology

GPA: 3.8

MPH GPA: 3.56

BA & MPH received at University of Rochester (I was in the 3-2 MPH program there).


Experience: Internships that basically add up to 2 years experience; including developing male sexual health program for family planning branch of local health department, collecting/analyzing survey on tobacco use among youth in India, summer fellowship in urban health, and summer fellowship in health policy.

Presented at a national conference.

GRE Scores: Verbal-161(87%), Quant-156(65%), Writing-4.5(78%)


I really want to apply to top PhD programs, so Hopkins, UNC, Emory, and I know that's aiming extremely high for me. Any feedback would be welcome and appreciated! Thanks everyone : )

Edited by ygao15
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  • 2 weeks later...

Why not do a limited application cycle this year and see what happens?  Apply to your top, top choice programs and also look for jobs.


For what it's worth, I went straight into a PhD program in public health from undergrad.  My undergrad GPA was much lower than yours (a 3.42); I did not do an MPH and in fact did not have a master's; and I didn't have any practical public health experience.  I did have 2.5 years of research experience in undergrad, though.  Your GRE scores are low-ish but still acceptable, I would say.  You may want to retake them if you have the time and money.


I would apply to JHU, Emory, and UNC this year and see what happens.  That's what I did - I applied to four MPH programs and my dream PhD program, not expecting to get admitted.  Well, I did.

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