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Boston University MS or Columbia MPH

  • Columbia

    Votes: 4 100.0%
  • Boston University

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Mar 3, 2020
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all,

So my boyfriend recently got into both Columbia MPH with an concentration in climate and health and Boston University MS for Climate and Health. He is stuck between the two programs and so I turn to you all for more perspectives/help make his decision. His ultimate goal is to pursue a PhD in epidemiology and to do research in infectious disease modeling.

Pros for Columbia:
  • has a practicum and a thesis
  • has faculty that he is aligned with the research goals for his PhD(infectious disease modeling)
  • many more epidemiology/modeling based classes as well as more diverse classes (classes that he is interested in)
Cons for Columbia:
  • cost is more expensive and COL may be more expensive as well
  • massive class sizes(100+ classes)
  • research is predominantly conducted in the second year as opposed to the first year
Pros for Boston:
  • tuition cost is around half the cost of Columbia
  • 1 year program as opposed to a 2 year program, leaving an extra year to do independent research/jobs before applying for a PhD
  • Boston professors appear to more engaging with the community/students (may make it easier to obtain an LOR)
  • smaller class sizes (10 person cohort currently as climate and health specifically is in its first year)
  • Boston has researchers that fit with "secondary" research interest (temperature related health mitigation strategies)
Cons for Boston:
  • only has a thesis
  • fewer modeling based classes(~2 classes or so)
  • does not have very much research based in infectious disease modeling

  • city each program is located in(no family/friends on the coasts
Are there other factors that he should also be considering as he makes his decision?
Nov 13, 2019
Status (Visible)
  1. Other Health Professions Student
Personally I think the pros for Columbia outweigh any of the cons and the pros for BU. If he wants to go on to a PhD program, he should be equipping himself with the best education/connections/foundation research while pursuing the MPH. It sounds like Columbia is academically a better fit based on what you said above.

I'll be heading to Columbia in Fall 2021 (decided to defer a year due to COVID-19) but I am finishing undergrad at a huge state university in NY, I've taken classes with 400+ students before. If he is coming from a smaller school environment, I can see how it can be intimidating. But, what I tell everyone is: big class sizes are only a problem if you make them one. At the grad school level (and especially going on to PhD studies eventually) if you aren't willing to advocate for yourself, then what's the point? I have learned that 9 times out of 10 professors are MORE than willing to help you with any and all issues, but they aren't going to do all the work for you.

Hope this is helpful!! Good luck to him!
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