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MPH now or later?


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Hi everyone :)


I'm set to graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Public Health this upcoming December, and the grad school question is looming- do I go or do I wait?


When I started this program, my intention was to go onto nursing (I was just finishing up a bachelors from another school-long story). I am still interested in the nursing field and intend on applying everywhere, but I have truly fallen in love with the public health field. I have become so passionate about what I am learning about, it's like a wild fire has been ignited inside of me and I love going to class, whereas I barely attended class as a psychology major. 


I have not worked in the public health sector yet, although I will have an internship this summer. I am fortunate enough to work for a huge healthcare organization in my area and I volunteer as a nursing aide at the local nursing home. I've got a 3.9 major GPA and a 3.4 overall GPA. One of my professors has said she will write a letter of recommendation as well as one of the physicians I work for. 


I am still unsure of which path to follow and I probably won't figure it out for a while, but do you think I would be able to get into MPH programs? I would still have to take the GRE of course, but I feel inadequate compared to everyone else here! I don't have much time to really gain a lot of experience in the field other than a summer internship, and I'm worried I won't be taken as seriously because "I don't really know what the profession entails"


I have taken and earned an A in epidemiology, social determinants of health, intro to us healthcare, women's health, migrant health, and research methods; as well as earning a B+ in biostatistics. I have also written a research proposal and will be conducting the research in the fall. I have a pretty good feel for what it's all about and such, but I don't know if inexperience will pose a problem :/


Thanks for the help!!

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Honestly, I think you have a good shot at getting into a good MPH program, especially if you get a good quantitative GRE score. HOWEVER, as someone who went right into an MPH program after undergrad, I urge you to consider taking a year or two to get experience first. This is for a number of reasons:


- You don't sound sure if you want to do nursing or just public health. It is possible to do public health nursing or some sort of combined MPH/MSN program, but I think you should be sure about your goals before you jump into that.


- You also don't mention what concentration of public health you would be interested in. This would be important to know when considering which programs to apply to.


- If you wait a couple of years and get research experience, you can improve your chances of getting some sort of FUNDING (merit scholarship or assistantship). MPH can be extremely expensive!


However, if you are just concerned about getting in, I think you are good :-). Also, if you have answers to these questions that you didn't mention in your post, then feel free to ignore me.

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MPH programs are not incredibly competitive, so you shouldn't have too much of an issue getting accepted to at least a couple. However, I strongly urge you to gain experience in public health first. Not only will this help you get into better schools, but it will give you a direction (something you are going to need to strongly convey in your SOP). Additionally, as mentioned above, you seem like you're torn between nursing and public health. These are two fields that can easily be utilized in conjunction with each other. But again, I suggest you gain experience in the field before you attempt to do so. Make sure this is something that you want. An MPH can be an expensive degree (especially at the top schools) and has relatively low monetary compensation coming out of it. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think you'll get more out of the curriculum if you have a couple years of working/professional experience. Not only does that give you some context and perspective, it allows you to visualize how the concepts you're being taught will apply (or not apply) to whatever profession you decide to pursue. Good luck!

Edited by Fred Garvin
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