MPH Getting into GWU & Deciding on a specialization: Epi, Promotion, Biostatistics

arc5005

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2011
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Medical Student (Accepted)
My goal is to go to GWU for my MPH. I'm not currently interested in programs elsewhere, but that could change if my circumstances change.

I'm a 25 year old male. I currently have my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from a good regional private university. I do not have any real work experience. I have about a 3.2, but I'm currently taking a year of health-classes to bump up my GPA at a local community college & to get more health-science credits/knowledge. I'm taking Anatomy, Physiology, Organic Chemistry I & II, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Molecular Genetics, and Microbiology (over this current year). I'm hoping after this year my undergraduate GPA should be about a 3.5

I'm torn between medical school and public health, so I'm preparing myself for both, and plan to take the new MCAT 2015 in the summer of 2015.

However, I'm interested in first committing myself to a MPH, but I can't decide which specialty. I'm currently having a hard time deciding which career path I would like to take in reference to specialties within Public Health. I'm leaning the most towards epidemiology, but I'm still unsure what individuals in the other specialties do such as in health promotion, health policy, and biostatistics. What type of careers do they get, and are they eligible for PhD programs afterwards? My thought is that if after I finish my MPH and I decide I do not want to do medical school, I would most likely go on for a PhD within the public health field.

I'm moving to Washington DC after my classes this year and I want to work for GWU hospital to get the tuition benefits, and then apply to a MPH program there.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or tips about specialization would be greatly appreciated.
 
Aug 8, 2013
24
2
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Other Health Professions Student
Hi! I went to GW for my MPH in Epi. I would say that either Epi or Biostats are your best bet. If I could do it again, I would probably go the Biostats route, or get the certificate in Biostats (had I known I could do that, given that the curriculum is nearly identical except for two courses for the MPH). Biostatisticians also have to best job prospects. Epi is okay, but at the master's level, local organizations and companies are hungry for biostatistics expertise. You pretty much need the PhD with an epi concentration to advance in your career, from what I've seen. At the PhD level, from my research, if you take enough courses in biostatistics, you can even be called a biostatistician with an epi degree.

You can also do a certificatein any of the other concentration for 12 more credits beyond the master's; basically one additional semester of course work. A non-degree seeking student just going for the certificate would have to take 18 credits to get the certificate. Something to consider.

Working at GW and getting the tuition benefits is even better, because it's expensive, and i'm sure even more so with a big beautiful new public health building.

Also, an MPH in Epi with an MD is also highly sought after and a great asset in the current health climate, especially if you want to get into clinical research or any international health stuff (e.g. current Ebola crisis or the enterovirus outbreak).

Best of luck to you!
 
Oct 15, 2014
177
123
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hi! I went to GW for my MPH in Epi. I would say that either Epi or Biostats are your best bet. If I could do it again, I would probably go the Biostats route, or get the certificate in Biostats (had I known I could do that, given that the curriculum is nearly identical except for two courses for the MPH). Biostatisticians also have to best job prospects. Epi is okay, but at the master's level, local organizations and companies are hungry for biostatistics expertise. You pretty much need the PhD with an epi concentration to advance in your career, from what I've seen. At the PhD level, from my research, if you take enough courses in biostatistics, you can even be called a biostatistician with an epi degree.

You can also do a certificatein any of the other concentration for 12 more credits beyond the master's; basically one additional semester of course work. A non-degree seeking student just going for the certificate would have to take 18 credits to get the certificate. Something to consider.

Working at GW and getting the tuition benefits is even better, because it's expensive, and i'm sure even more so with a big beautiful new public health building.

Also, an MPH in Epi with an MD is also highly sought after and a great asset in the current health climate, especially if you want to get into clinical research or any international health stuff (e.g. current Ebola crisis or the enterovirus outbreak).

Best of luck to you!
Do you know whether the majority of PhD students in epi at GW get some kind of funding? Thanks!
 
Aug 8, 2013
24
2
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Do you know whether the majority of PhD students in epi at GW get some kind of funding? Thanks!
Before the school was renamed, earlier this year, I cannot say that I even knew of many PhD students to be honest. i know that only about 2 or 3 of my TAs were doctoral students, the rest were instructional assistants who were more advanced in the MPH or other master's programs or graduates of on of those programs.

That being said, I think the reason behind what I perceived as low enrollment in the PhD program was lack of funding. A few PhD students also were studying part time and working full or part time to help pay for their degree, so that may also be why I never really got a strong presence of doctoral students around the department.Now, the school has been given a generous donation to be renamed so perhaps there is more money to fully fund doctoral candidates. You would have to follow-up with the school to find out what their funding mechanisms are, though.
 
Oct 15, 2014
177
123
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Before the school was renamed, earlier this year, I cannot say that I even knew of many PhD students to be honest. i know that only about 2 or 3 of my TAs were doctoral students, the rest were instructional assistants who were more advanced in the MPH or other master's programs or graduates of on of those programs.

That being said, I think the reason behind what I perceived as low enrollment in the PhD program was lack of funding. A few PhD students also were studying part time and working full or part time to help pay for their degree, so that may also be why I never really got a strong presence of doctoral students around the department.Now, the school has been given a generous donation to be renamed so perhaps there is more money to fully fund doctoral candidates. You would have to follow-up with the school to find out what their funding mechanisms are, though.
Thanks for the information!