mk5

Jan 2, 2014
9
4
Oakland, California
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi all, I wanted to ask people for their insight on Michigan's 2 year MPH program being 60 units. From the 2 year MPH programs I've looked at (UC Berkeley and Emory), the units were 48. They all seem to be on a semester system. Does anyone know if this is a difference in unit calculations or is Michigan's program just being more rigorous (which is a good thing)?

I'm debating between Michigan and UC Berkeley for MPH epidemiology and just looking up information ahead of time. If anyone can provide insight on either programs, I would very much appreciate it!
 

OneDay81

7+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2009
540
7
Gulf Coast MS/LA
Status
Other Health Professions Student
You get 12 credits for electives and also get/pay for credits for internship and capstone. That's the difference I see between Michigan and emory. I didn't look at UC. I usually make a spreadsheet when comparing program requirements.

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
 
Feb 11, 2014
14
2
Both Berkeley and Michigan use the credit-hour system and appear to define it the same way: the number of hours in the classroom per week. I think you can expect to spend less time in the classroom at Berkeley, but that doesn't necessarily mean the program is less rigorous.

When I was at Michigan, 60 credit-hours didn't seem extraordinarily time-consuming; in fact I ended up with 66 in order to finish the Environmental Justice certificate.
 
Feb 11, 2014
14
2
Based on my previous post, someone wrote me a personal message asking more about Michigan. I thought I'd add it here in case others are interested. Let me know if you have questions, anybody.

--
On the post I wrote that the coursework wasn't "extraordinarily time-consuming." I chose those words carefully because it was definitely still tough -- I spent most evenings doing at least some homework and periodically had to do some all-night study sessions -- but my impression is that other programs are pretty similar. It's hard to put it in terms of hours-per-week... I found that if your study sessions are focused and productive, you have a good amount of down time in the evenings. But if you're unfocused and lazy, studying could eat up all of your free time.

You should be aware that Michigan is heavy on statistics compared to other schools. Something you'll find out pretty quickly is that most of the Michigan curriculum is based on the SAS programming language. If you want to be successful at Michigan, learn SAS early and well. Also, take advantage of the 12 credits they give you to study at other professional schools. That's a pretty unique part of Michigan's program. I used them to get an Environmental Justice certificate at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

After exploring several options for a capstone project (the school makes them easy to find), it turned out that working with my adviser was best. As part of the International Health program, I did research on dengue fever in rural Ecuador. It was pretty incredible to do door-to-door surveys at over 200 households in a very poor area. I checked all water containers in and around the home for mosquito larvae, then grew them up in a lab and identified the species under a microscope. I then analyzed the data to understand why the mosquitoes that carry dengue (Aedes aegypti) were found at some houses and not others. Pretty cool. Michigan advertises that funding is guaranteed for capstone projects, but that wasn't true for me. I paid for my own flights to Ecuador and didn't get a stipend, although food and lodging was taken care of once I arrived.

To answer a question specifically, your adviser is assigned to you when you arrive. There's no "speed dating" process or anything; the match is based on your application materials.

The atmosphere in Ann Arbor is really great for students. The university is by far the biggest thing going on in the city, so the shops and restaurants really cater to student culture. I usually went to State Street to study at coffee shops and get lunch, and that's a 10-minute walk from SPH. There's a proper downtown area on Main Street for fancier restaurants and shopping, but it's a longer walk. Also, if you're into live music, The Ark is a great place for live shows, usually acoustic.
 
OP
M

mk5

Jan 2, 2014
9
4
Oakland, California
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
@FreeRadical_. thanks for this post! I always appreciate when people take out the time to share their experiences!

Do you have any feedback on research, internships, GSI/GSR/TA opportunities as a masters student? Do you have time for this? Is this easily available to students?
 
Feb 11, 2014
14
2
Sure, there's time to work beyond regular school duties. For example, my wife worked 10 hours per week at a camping outfitter store and later worked as an administrative assistant at the hospital.

Personally, oddly, my only publication from the MPH program was from an extra-curricular research job working with my advisor (after competing with a pool of applicants) -- not the capstone project I described above. There are a good handful of research jobs like that that pop up throughout the year, because researchers often need more help than they planned for.

As for GSI/TA, I know several people who did that but it's a huge time investment. Actually, the guy who taught me everything I know about identifying mosquitoes under a microscope (from my capstone project) took a TA position with an undergrad parasitology course. You don't necessarily have to do something related to your field. I considering applying for a Spanish TA position because I was a Spanish major and tutor in college. In general, TA might look good on your resume but ultimately might not be worth the time sink.

But, as I mentioned earlier, if you're productive with your homework you'll have extra time to do what you want. If you're unfocused, paradoxically, you'll always be doing homework. Remember: done is better than perfect!

Edit: To round out my answer, "capstone project" is what Michigan calls your summer internship. That's required for every student, and the school makes it easy to find them, apply for them, and have time to do them. In your second school year, for example, there are even some credit-hours dedicated to having you analyze the data you collected during the summer.
 
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