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Epi - MHS Hopkins vs. MPH Michigan

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by swemory2007, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. swemory2007

    swemory2007 2+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    I am currently considering a Michigan MPH Epi and Hopkins MHS Epi. Any insight? I want to go into public health practice after earning my masters, and I know some people say that an MHS is en route to a PhD, but that it could also be considered a "comparable degree" to an MPH. Thoughts? Also, what about Michigan vs. Hopkins? I have heard Hopkins is very competitive in nature, whereas Michigan and other schools seem more collaborative.
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  3. Coclean

    Coclean Field Rat 5+ Year Member

    Oct 24, 2006
    Only comment is that when I asked professors what they thought about MHS vs MPH I was told that the MHS would not "look" as good as an MPH. For me my MSPH will be my terminal degree in public health (but I plan other degrees afterwards). Also, as you may know I work for Hopkins, but don't go to school there for a number of being that I didn't like the atmosphere in the program as much, it felt competitive to me and I knew a lot of unhappy students there. I want to do later training there...but not this training. I think in the end grades may be easier at Hopkins there where I chose.....but I was told by a number of professors that they did not think the curriculum was as good as other campuses...or that opportunity would be as good (and I was already working for Hopkins when I was told this....and was told by my research advisor who knows me very well)

    No comment on Mich, other than I know it is a great program! Good luck with a tough choice!
  4. namazu

    namazu Member 5+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    "Very competitive" = not true. My impression is that the Johns Hopkins "competitiveness" rap actually comes from the undergrads (80% pre-med or something ridiculous like that) -- I don't think it's really true at the grad school level . In fact, I know a bunch of master's students in Epi organized a group to motivate each other in writing their theses, students study in groups (voluntarily) all the time, there are Epi-department intramural sports teams, and generally a collegial atmosphere. Yeah, there are probably a few uber-competitive people and some grade-grubbers, but you'll find such people anywhere and I don't think it's Hopkins-specific.

    Also in contrast to what Field Rat has said, just about everyone I know who's gone MHS in Epi at Hopkins has found a good job afterwards (most of them didn't go on to get a PhD, at least not immediately). It may vary by department - some of the other departments, like Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, have a reputation for being full of premeds a the master's level. The Epi MHS vs. MPH degree didn't hamper people I know; people know that Hopkins Epi MHS is roughly equivalent to an MPH at some other schools (a little more focused/less broad, perhaps, and with a thesis instead of a capstone). Many of these Hopkins Epi MHS people also had prior work experience, or did internships at NIH, or worked with local nonprofits while in school, so there are definitely opportunities to get hands-on experience.

    I've heard plenty of people complain about the way the Epi curriculum is taught at Hopkins (compared to, say, Columbia), but I don't think it's less demanding - and it may be more demanding - than most other places. The Hopkins program is very intense by reputation, they have a weird 4-term-a-year system (and 16 credits required each term the first year), and there's a comprehensive exam at the end - so it's tough, but I don't get the sense that people are in competition with one another.

    One more potential downside about Hopkins (besides the lack of green space near campus - Michigan could run circles around Hopkins as far as niceness of living nearby!) is, of course, the cost. Hopkins is generally more expensive. However - and I'm not sure how well they advertise this - if you pass the comprehensive exam at the end of your first year, they'll automatically give you a 75% tuition discount your second year. Since you're not required to take many classes at that point, some friends have told me they didn't think it was such a great deal. But it's still something to factor into the 2-year cost for the program. Michigan is cheaper to begin with, and also gives money more freely to good applicants (often half-tuition discount the first year).

    Either way you go, if you do good work, I think you'll do fine as far as finding a job. Honestly, barring strong differences in terms of faculty/strength of your area of interest, I'd choose based on cost and quality of life.

    Hope this helps!
  5. namazu

    namazu Member 5+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    P.S. To clarify: it's usually the ScM degree that's "en route to a PhD" - the MHS is generally for people who want to go into public health practice afterwards. (Not a hard and fast rule, either way...) MHS is more like an MPH that way.
  6. AndrewJ42

    AndrewJ42 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Ann Arbor, MI
    i would completely agree with namazu, in terms of education, you can't go wrong with either school as they are both very well known and respected Public Health schools. I live in Bethesda, MD about 30-40 minutes from Hopkins and 2 of my roommates attended there for undergrad and they were quite happy with the Hopkins lifestyle..barring the ocassional break-in and gunpoint robbery, but happens anywhere.

    I would again agree that in terms of green space, you can't beat Michigan. The school's location in a fairly small town and there being rather nothing around Ann Arbor other than snow in the winter and trees and lakes in the summer makes it a great place to be if you like the outdoors...then again, if you have access to a car and want to drive about 20-30 minutes, you'll be out in the woods in no time.

    I think Michigan and Hopkins are about par in terms of price if you are an out of state student...30K at each I'm thinking? But you really have to decide whether you'd like to live in Baltimore or Ann Arbor...and in terms of MHS vs. MPH, there are going to be lots of debates on which is better, but in the end you'll get a job where you want..

    If you're looking more internationally, when they see MHS next to your name, they may ask what you're degree is all about...but when they see you graduated from Johns Hopkins...i'd think it would quelch any thoughts about the value of that degree. I'm personally going to be attending Michigan because of the program that I'd be going into (Health Management and Policy)..I personally chose Michigan over larger city schools because I attended a big city school and I long for the peace and quiet that a small town can bring to my studies :) (haha...yeah)

    But you can't go wrong either way and if you do go to Michigan next year, I look fowards to meeting you!

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