sway_212

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Dec 18, 2013
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I have currently started working on my statement for MPH and while English is not my first language, I'd like to think I have a decent grasp of the language. I'll primarily be applying to Canadian universities and was wondering how I'm supposed to write which streams of mph I want to study in. For example, in the University of Alberta program, they offer several streams such as Epidem, Health Policy and Management, Environmental etc. I want to mention in my statement that I primarily want to study in epi, however wouldn't mind if I got chosen for Health Management either.

Now this might sound stupid, but I'm from Bangladesh and have never worked on applying to a university before. I'm assuming I need to select a particular stream which I want to study in and write about it in my statement? I want to write down other streams as a Plan B in case they don't have any more seats in the stream I want. I'm just curious as to how I'm supposed to word it properly. I'm interested in multiple streams with more emphasis on a few particular ones which interests me.

On a side note, I'm writing down some fieldwork and volunteer work which I've done here in Bangladesh but that got me thinking. I'm writing down my experiences but have no proof of what I did. How will the University know I'm telling the truth and not just making up false information just to beef up my chances? The information will be written in my CV as well and I'll write down my references as well but even then, is that viable enough?

Any feedback would be appreciated to this foreigner!
 

wwmmkk

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May 21, 2016
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I'm American and only applied to schools in the US, but maybe my thoughts will be useful for Canadian schools as well. I think Gradcafe is more geared to Canadian schools than SDN.

For most US schools, you can only apply to one track. Some allow people to choose a back up or don't require declaring a track until part way through the program. Usually this choice is made on the online application and not in the statement, but people do talk about in their statements as well. If Canadian universities allow people to apply for multiple tracks, you could say something like, "My primary interest is in epidemiology of [insert disease], and I am also interested in building a background in health management because I believe policy decisions about [insert disease] should be based on strong epidemiologic evidence." Obviously give a reason that is true for you.

When you sign your application before submitting it, you are indicating under penalty of law that what you have written is true. But I do not think any admissions committees actually check unless it seems like what you have written doesn't seem possible or make sense given your background, transcripts, reference letters, or other information in your application. I have never heard of this happening (because I don't think very many people completely falsify stuff) but I would imagine that if a program somehow found out an applicant lied, they would revoke their admission or remove them from the program.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
 
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sway_212

5+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2013
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I'm American and only applied to schools in the US, but maybe my thoughts will be useful for Canadian schools as well. I think Gradcafe is more geared to Canadian schools than SDN.

For most US schools, you can only apply to one track. Some allow people to choose a back up or don't require declaring a track until part way through the program. Usually this choice is made on the online application and not in the statement, but people do talk about in their statements as well. If Canadian universities allow people to apply for multiple tracks, you could say something like, "My primary interest is in epidemiology of [insert disease], and I am also interested in building a background in health management because I believe policy decisions about [insert disease] should be based on strong epidemiologic evidence." Obviously give a reason that is true for you.

When you sign your application before submitting it, you are indicating under penalty of law that what you have written is true. But I do not think any admissions committees actually check unless it seems like what you have written doesn't seem possible or make sense given your background, transcripts, reference letters, or other information in your application. I have never heard of this happening (because I don't think very many people completely falsify stuff) but I would imagine that if a program somehow found out an applicant lied, they would revoke their admission or remove them from the program.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
Thanks for the reply. I have already posted this on TheGradCafe and hope someone could reply there as well. I haven't started the application process yet but have just started working on my statement, so I didn't know I have to specify in the application which stream I want to get into. Thanks for that little tidbit on how to word it, really helped me on how to not sound unprofessional,

As for the information being true, I don't intend at all to post false experiences. However, I'm also a little concerned about my references. I just completed my MBBS here and all of my professors are doctors. They're very busy and here in Bangladesh, we don't usually make reference letters for getting into medical school. So when the university contacts them for my reference, I just hope they can check the email and put in a good word for me. I'll be sure to talk to them beforehand on what Im applying for, but even then I'm worried about it.

Thanks one again for the input! Best of luck!
 
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sway_212

5+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2013
13
0
I'm American and only applied to schools in the US, but maybe my thoughts will be useful for Canadian schools as well. I think Gradcafe is more geared to Canadian schools than SDN.

For most US schools, you can only apply to one track. Some allow people to choose a back up or don't require declaring a track until part way through the program. Usually this choice is made on the online application and not in the statement, but people do talk about in their statements as well. If Canadian universities allow people to apply for multiple tracks, you could say something like, "My primary interest is in epidemiology of [insert disease], and I am also interested in building a background in health management because I believe policy decisions about [insert disease] should be based on strong epidemiologic evidence." Obviously give a reason that is true for you.

When you sign your application before submitting it, you are indicating under penalty of law that what you have written is true. But I do not think any admissions committees actually check unless it seems like what you have written doesn't seem possible or make sense given your background, transcripts, reference letters, or other information in your application. I have never heard of this happening (because I don't think very many people completely falsify stuff) but I would imagine that if a program somehow found out an applicant lied, they would revoke their admission or remove them from the program.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Also as a side question, does it ever happen that a university offers you a seat in a specialization which you didn't apply for? Suppose I apply for Epi but they give me an offer for Biostat, does that ever happen? Or will they not offer a chance to another specialization in case your first choice is filled up? Even if the other stream still has seats?
 

wwmmkk

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May 21, 2016
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Also as a side question, does it ever happen that a university offers you a seat in a specialization which you didn't apply for? Suppose I apply for Epi but they give me an offer for Biostat, does that ever happen? Or will they not offer a chance to another specialization in case your first choice is filled up? Even if the other stream still has seats?

I've been reading these forums for a couple years, I don't think I have ever seen that happen. One US school (Emory) does offer people their second choice somewhat frequently, but most people get in for their first choice at other schools and decide to go there over Emory. I don't know what the norm for Canadian schools is though. Also, I don't think most schools have a set number of people they take for each track; if you're a strong applicant for MPH programs in general, they will probably take you for whichever track you are interested in. That said, biostat and epidemiology usually take applicants with more quantitative backgrounds.

If you are worried about your references not checking their emails or not taking a lot of time to respond, I would be sure to ask as many as possible. The US system allows for a maximum of 5 recommendations but most schools only require 3. If it's the same in Canada, I would ask 5 professors and hope 3 actually do it. Recommendation letters are not nearly as important as other parts of your application, so don't worry too much.
 
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sway_212

5+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2013
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I've been reading these forums for a couple years, I don't think I have ever seen that happen. One US school (Emory) does offer people their second choice somewhat frequently, but most people get in for their first choice at other schools and decide to go there over Emory. I don't know what the norm for Canadian schools is though. Also, I don't think most schools have a set number of people they take for each track; if you're a strong applicant for MPH programs in general, they will probably take you for whichever track you are interested in. That said, biostat and epidemiology usually take applicants with more quantitative backgrounds.

If you are worried about your references not checking their emails or not taking a lot of time to respond, I would be sure to ask as many as possible. The US system allows for a maximum of 5 recommendations but most schools only require 3. If it's the same in Canada, I would ask 5 professors and hope 3 actually do it. Recommendation letters are not nearly as important as other parts of your application, so don't worry too much.


I am interested in Epidemiology but like you said, that is probably the most sought after seat and that's what bothers me. That's why I was wondering if I could get into a secondary stream just in case. I don't think my qualifications are very lucrative. I recently graduated and became a doctor. I just started my internship at my hospital and besides that, I don't have any work experience. I did participate in a research during my study and also have some volunteer work but that's it. I'm fairly young at 25 and I know that age isn't looked at, but once again that just shows I'm still young with very little experience.

I'll still apply and see whats in store for me. Hopefully I do get a chance at a decent MPH program. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for all the information!
 
Nov 22, 2017
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I am interested in Epidemiology but like you said, that is probably the most sought after seat and that's what bothers me. That's why I was wondering if I could get into a secondary stream just in case. I don't think my qualifications are very lucrative. I recently graduated and became a doctor. I just started my internship at my hospital and besides that, I don't have any work experience. I did participate in a research during my study and also have some volunteer work but that's it. I'm fairly young at 25 and I know that age isn't looked at, but once again that just shows I'm still young with very little experience.

I'll still apply and see whats in store for me. Hopefully I do get a chance at a decent MPH program. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for all the information!

I’m not very sure about Canadian schools, but I know that many US schools consider the application process as way for you to get into the school, not the program. 25 also tends to be average age of many MPH students here. I would try to explain why you feel that an MPH would benefit you and your career in your PS. Many students with little work experience are accepted to MPH programs, so good luck!
 
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