MPH Help Choosing!! Berkeley vs. Harvard (Health Policy MPH)

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Feb 21, 2020
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Hi everyone! :)

I was recently accepted to Berkeley's Health Policy and Management program and Harvard's health policy program. I'm really unsure of which school to attend. After grad school I would like to work in commercial insurance or a state medicaid program in a leadership capacity, preferably on the west coast but I want the ability to move. I'm looking for a program that offers a lot of skills based classes (not looking for theory here), and preferably a capstone over a thesis. I'm currently an research analyst for a health policy group in DC and I've decided that the east coast really isn't for me, especially DC (although I'm willing to stay for grad school). Money is a huge factor, and even though my parents are will to help a little bit if I choose Harvard, I haven't heard great things about the aid they provide grad students. (Note: I'm still waiting on financial aid packages from both schools.)

Berkeley is currently my top pick, but I've had people tell me Harvard or Columbia could give me a better network post graduation in addition to their names weighing more :rolleyes:. For additional context, I've also gotten into Columbia (not a fan of their core curriculum), UW (they're restructuring their curriculum so I'd be a guinea pig, also not sure their health policy program is as strong), UCLA (still a top contender) and UC Irvine (back up). [<- If you have any thoughts on these schools I'll take it!]

I've mapped out some of my initial thoughts and considerations below, but I would really appreciate any advice or insights you have that might be able to help me fill these gaps.

- In state tuition my first year and dad's VA benefits make my second year free.
- Ability to pursue a dual degree (MPP/MPH) and a degree from Goldman would be amazing
- Ability to choose between 2 concentrations in Policy or Management
- More econ classes
- I love the bay/campus/everything about the school culture

- If I don't do the dual degree, it's hard to take classes at Goldman
- Class sizes are a smidge bigger
- The Bay is incredibly expensive
- Not as "prestigious" /I'll be turning down the immense privileges of an ivy league degree (social and professional) by choosing to attend here.

- Ability to choose between 3 concentrations in Policy, Leadership, or Analytical methods
- Prestigious name carries weight ?
- Ability to more easily take classes at the med school/business school/policy school
- More data-science-y classes

- Expensive private school tuition
- A bit more theory based it seems ?
- I know no one in Boston, nor do I want to stay on the east coast
- I've heard from people who've been that their educational experience was similar to their colleagues at UNC/Cal/UMich but with a bigger price tag.

Thanks so much for your input! :)

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