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Cecilia Chen

Columbia vs Johns Hopkins vs Yale- MPH

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Hi all!!

It's kind of flattered to be in such dilemma but it's REALLY hard to make a decision upon these admits.

I am an international student major in bioengineering, will graduate in June, got no working experience, and heading to the US for my graduate degree.

I'm not really sure what job that I exactly want after graduation, but I think it would be in a healthcare setting. Maybe something like healthcare consulting, management consulting, or managerial work in NGOs.

And I really fancy of working in foundations, like Gate foundations, to do some work that can help the improvement of health around the globe (and that's why I choose public health). I know that it would really hard to be in a management level, so I want to get some experiences in consulting firms, or other NGOs, NPOs, then move to a foundation to work with other social sectors.

The following are my admission results. Actually I also got UCLA and Umich, but I guess the private universities would be more likely match my career interests.


Columbia - Epidemiology with Global Health Certificate, MPH

 pros: flexible curriculum, a 6-month practicum in global health related settings, and it's NEW YORK!!! 

 cons: expensive cost in manhattan, quite large size of class, and the course may not be so technical, just general introduction


Johns Hopkins - Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, MSPH

 pros: course is skill-orientated, a lot of epi and biostat, Top1 Public Health School, might get half discount on the second year tuition fee

 cons: tight curriculum schedule, the school is more like an med institution rather than a uni, and it's Baltimore (kind of afraid abt the place)


Yale - Chronic Disease Epidemiology, MPH

 pros: flexible curriculum, yale alumni (quite same as Columbia)

 cons: don't know much about New Haven, live in a cold small town for two years


btw, all three uni, No fundings :(


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I went to Columbia Mailman (in Sociomedical Sciences). I will say that one significant advantage of being in New York during your MPH is that New York has TONS TONS TONS of health-related institutions of all stripes - the huge NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, lots of NGOs, lots of nonprofits, some public health think tanks, lots and lots and lots of hospitals and clinics and other kinds of institutions that need administrators. And oh, lots of consulting firms. It'd be a piece of cake to get an academic-year internship at one of these types of companies/agencies to get some experience in grad school, and I have very frequently seen that lead to employment out of grad school. I would imagine that kind of experience would be harder to obtain in Baltimore, and harder still in New Haven.

I also have to say that it was pretty amazing to be a graduate student in New York.

New Haven isn't a small town, by the way. It's a small city. I'm not being pedantic - the population of greater New Haven is almost a million people. It's not like living in State College, PA or Urbana-Champaign, IL or Athens, GA. You're also only a couple of hours from Boston and New York. Yale's program is good.

I also wouldn't say that JHU is anymore like a medical institution (or less like a university) than the other schools. Columbia's medical center is removed from the main campus, too, and all of your classes will likely be on the health sciences campus at 168th St. You won't actually have a whole lot of interaction with the non-health sciences students unless you motivate yourself to do it. Many large universities separate their medical complexes out because they either need the space for labs and rooms and beds, or they want to reach populations in the more urban core of the cities they're in (or both).

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I live in Baltimore and work at the School of Medicine. Though I wouldn't suggest living right be the SOM itself (not the nicest part of town), Baltimore as a whole isn't bad. There are a lot of really nice neighborhoods that students live in. Other students from Boston, New York, Chicago, and California say living expenses are much much cheaper than many other cities (I'm from Kansas, so it's more expensive than that, but I've never heard of someone being able to beat my $300/month rent and utilities and pet fee). There's a lot of stuff to do for really cheap. For example, I have Baltimore symphony season tickets, which cost $25 for the year. One of the nice things about Baltimore (actually any city really) is that there are tons of opportunities to try and help people and communities. 

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Hi Cecilia, 

How is your selection process going? I am in a similar position having to choose between Columbia, Emory and Johns Hopkins and am having trouble deciding :S. Would love to chat to learn more about how you're going about the decision. 

Best, Ariel 



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I'm bumping this because I'm curious if anyone chose Hopkins. I was wait listed and just notified of my acceptance and trying to make a decision myself! I would love to hear about how you made your decisions as well.

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