MPH Berkeley's Online MPH vs. On-Campus MPH, dual/concurrent programs, other MPH programs in Bay Area

Aug 11, 2015
4
0
I've just started looking into MPH programs for 2016. I'm mainly interested in on-campus programs in the Bay Area or online programs anywhere.

I'm trying to decide between the Berkeley Online/On-Campus MPH and their standard On-Campus MPH.
Here are the differences between the two:
  • Huge cost difference: $47k for the 2-year Online program, and $24k for the On-Campus program for California residents. (I live in a nearby city, but it would still take about an hour each way to commute to UC Berkeley. That's one of the reasons I'm considering the online program. But the cost difference for the On-Campus and Online programs would probably be negated by the commute costs or cost of housing in Berkeley.)
  • The Online program is limited to interdisciplinary studies, without much ability to tailor the program to your interests and goals. In contrast, the On-Campus program has quite a few tracks, as well as a good number of concurrent degrees. I'm interested in the Health & Social Behavior and Health Policy & Management tracks. As for the concurrent degrees, I'm interested in the MSW/MPH and the MPP/MPH.
  • The Online program requires 2 years of work experience, while the On-Campus program does not require work experience. I have plenty of work experience - 8 years with the local and state government, but in standard office jobs, not in health or research.
  • According to a Berkeley representative I spoke with, the On-Campus program has thousands of applicants, while the Online program has a few hundred. So the On-Campus program is much more competitive.
Any thoughts about the Berkeley Online program vs. the On-Campus program? Is there a stigma against Berkeley's online program - would employers view it less favorably than the On-campus program? Any thoughts about concurrent MPH programs at Berkeley - how hard is it to get into them? How about other MPH programs in the Bay Area, such as those at USF and SF State?
 
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Stories

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Looking at your learning style might be worth a look. If you're capable of learning in an online environment, it might be a good option.

Another thing to consider is face time. Often times, without seeing someone's face, it's easy to forget about someone's presence. It's a bit harder to build a relationship with students and faculty without that physical presence. I assume networking opportunities might also be easier, as well.

I'd also suggest looking at reviews of the online program. See what people got out of it. I know online programs can vary greatly in what students learn from it.

I had an enjoyable experience on-campus for my MPH--so I can definitely speak to the positive experiences from being in class with classmates and faculty.
 
OP
Hypnautical
Aug 11, 2015
4
0
Thanks for your response, Stories. I think I'm capable of learning in either an online or on-campus environment.

If I chose the online program, I would miss the camaraderie and networking opportunities in the on-campus program. But I wouldn't have to commute to Berkeley or move there. It's a toss-up between the two. Does anyone know if you can apply to both?
 

Pudu2009

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Jan 6, 2015
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I think you can apply to both. The on-campus program goes through SOPHAS while the online program has its own separate application. You can apply to both and then later use the results to decide. If you get into both I highly recommend going on campus only. It is less than ten minutes walk from the Downtown Berkeley Bart station, so if its Bartable for you it would be perfect. You can also study on the train if the noise level doesn't bother you.

I think SF state only has a concentration in community health education and USF is a generalist program, so it may be more flexible, but that's all I know about those programs. East Bay and SJ state also have programs in community health education, and UC Davis (not really Bay Area but close enough) has a generalist program.
 
OP
Hypnautical
Aug 11, 2015
4
0
Hi Pudu2009, thanks for your reply. I think I'd prefer the On-Campus program, but I heard that admissions for the Online program is much less competitive. That's a major reason I'm looking into the Online program. I am not a terribly competitive applicant - my GPA in the last two years of undergrad was just below a 3.0. I do not have public health or research experience. I have not yet taken the GRE. I heard that the On-Campus program has thousands of applicants, while the Online program only has a few hundred. I'm not sure how many students are admitted into the On-Campus and Online programs.
 
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Pudu2009

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Jan 6, 2015
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I'm not sure if I'm the best person to ask since I didn't even apply to Berkeley (my overall GPA is probably lower than yours). I only know this because I was looking at Bay Area programs last year. I'll be starting my MPH program in a couple weeks on the East Coast.

What helped my application:
  • Three years of global health volunteer experience while in college (it was relatively minor but it helped me explain why public health.
  • Really high GRE scores (161 VR, 165 QR)
  • Strong letters of recommendation from two public health professionals whom I had worked with over two summers.
  • I tried to address in my personal statement the reason for my sub-par GPA and demonstrate how I have matured since graduating.
  • Had very solid experiences that I could use to answer the question "Why public health?"
I had applied to UC Davis with all of this and was rejected, but applied to three top 20 programs and was accepted at each of them (one of which was an online program). It is possible that, like for undergraduates, the UC's are accepting more OOS students due to the financial crisis. It could also just be that I was not a good fit for their program. If the former is true though, it will be another obstacle to face when applying to Berkeley (on campus). But, if you get in, it would be worth the risk as it is a great program.

In terms of strengthening your application, you already have eight years of work experience going for you. If you are concerned about the type of work experience, you can always do some volunteer work such as Red Cross, etc. There are plenty of opportunities in the Bay Area. Make sure you have strong LoRs and a rocking personal statement that says why you want to pursue an MPH, why that particular concentration, why at Berkeley, and your future goals. You don't have to be specific about your goals (I just tied them to my volunteer work mentioning a desire to have a more active role). Try to get a high GRE score to offset your low GPA, and see the recent thread on GRE advice for study tips. Don't worry about having research experience, I didn't have any (although I don't know Berkeley's requirement, you may have to call them up and ask).

Another thing to think about is class size. Berkeley tends to have large class sizes, at least at the undergraduate level. They may be getting thousands of applicants, and they may be accepting a lot of them. If the online program is significantly smaller, then you will have just as much luck getting into either one of them.

My advice would be to apply to both programs this year as well as programs outside the Bay Area. Pick your favorite top 10, and maybe 2 or 3 top 20s. Apply to no less than five schools, and no more than ten (app fees are expensive). Consider JHU, its competitive but you have the 2+ years work experience they require. I'm fed-up with this drought we're in and other stuff, so I'm quitting my job and moving to the East Coast. Don't rule out quitting and moving. With your work experience you probably won't have a problem finding a new job. Many programs also offer evening classes or a part-time option, so you would still be able to work full-time. If you don't get in this year, you can take up some volunteer work like I mentioned above and try again next year.

Good luck to you :luck:
 
OP
Hypnautical
Aug 11, 2015
4
0
Hi Pudu2009, thanks very much for your thorough response. Although I don't have direct public health and research experience, I do have many years of volunteer experience at hospitals, faith-based organizations, and non-profits. Since 2009, I've helped to foster many puppies and kittens from the SPCA.

I've looked into Johns Hopkins and other schools, but I think I'd like to stay in the Bay Area for now. I would like to stay in the Bay Area after I graduate, and I heard you should go to a school where you plan to work afterwards.

Does anyone know about UC Berkeley's concurrent/dual degree MPH programs, such as the MSW/MPH, MJ/MPH, and MPP/MPH? How hard is it to get into both? Do they take additional time to complete? Do they cost more than one masters degree alone?
 

Stories

Life Afficianado
Moderator Emeritus
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Hi Pudu2009, thanks very much for your thorough response. Although I don't have direct public health and research experience, I do have many years of volunteer experience at hospitals, faith-based organizations, and non-profits. Since 2009, I've helped to foster many puppies and kittens from the SPCA.

I've looked into Johns Hopkins and other schools, but I think I'd like to stay in the Bay Area for now. I would like to stay in the Bay Area after I graduate, and I heard you should go to a school where you plan to work afterwards.

Does anyone know about UC Berkeley's concurrent/dual degree MPH programs, such as the MSW/MPH, MJ/MPH, and MPP/MPH? How hard is it to get into both? Do they take additional time to complete? Do they cost more than one masters degree alone?
At most schools, dual degree programs are shorter by a year (or so) than completing both degrees separately. So you'll usually save money on that one year. For admission, you'll have to be qualified to get accepted into both programs, and then they'll inform you of their decision of whether you get into both, just one, or none of the programs.
 

UNM

Aug 29, 2015
9
0
Status
Dentist
I've just started looking into MPH programs for 2016. I'm mainly interested in on-campus programs in the Bay Area or online programs anywhere.

I'm trying to decide between the Berkeley Online/On-Campus MPH and their standard On-Campus MPH.
Here are the differences between the two:
  • Huge cost difference: $47k for the 2-year Online program, and $24k for the On-Campus program for California residents. (I live in a nearby city, but it would still take about an hour each way to commute to UC Berkeley. That's one of the reasons I'm considering the online program. But the cost difference for the On-Campus and Online programs would probably be negated by the commute costs or cost of housing in Berkeley.)
  • The Online program is limited to interdisciplinary studies, without much ability to tailor the program to your interests and goals. In contrast, the On-Campus program has quite a few tracks, as well as a good number of concurrent degrees. I'm interested in the Health & Social Behavior and Health Policy & Management tracks. As for the concurrent degrees, I'm interested in the MSW/MPH and the MPP/MPH.
  • The Online program requires 2 years of work experience, while the On-Campus program does not require work experience. I have plenty of work experience - 8 years with the local and state government, but in standard office jobs, not in health or research.
  • According to a Berkeley representative I spoke with, the On-Campus program has thousands of applicants, while the Online program has a few hundred. So the On-Campus program is much more competitive.
Any thoughts about the Berkeley Online program vs. the On-Campus program? Is there a stigma against Berkeley's online program - would employers view it less favorably than the On-campus program? Any thoughts about concurrent MPH programs at Berkeley - how hard is it to get into them? How about other MPH programs in the Bay Area, such as those at USF and SF State?
Hi ,
I am looking into the MPH course at Berkeley , I stay in the Bay Area as well and pretty confused at the moment. I wanted to know as you haven't given gre, do u plan on giving it and isn't it mandatory ?
Hoping to hear back from you ..