Mar 9, 2013
Hi all,

Quick question about possible paths to follow with an MPH. I'm planning to apply to schools next Fall, but I'm torn between the policy side and epidemiology. Pretty much all of my courses and work experience in undergrad has been biology-based, which would lean toward epidemiology, but I know that I don't want to work in a lab throughout my career doing research. I've had a lot of experience in research labs and have decided it's just not for me. This is what led me to become interested in the policy side of health care.

I was wondering, would schools accept someone with an extensive science background into a policy/management program? I really don't have any econ/finance classes at all under my belt.

Thank you!


7+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2010
Medical Student
I don't see why not. I just finished the health policy & management M.P.H. and my B.S. was in biochemistry. There were others in my program with science backgrounds too. It was not an obstacle. I'm currently applying to med schools, and I must say that having the HPM background has really helped me throughout this application process to articulate issues in health care and leadership in medicine. We in science and medicine can't work in a vacuum, I think it's great to expand into the HPM track!
Feb 17, 2013
Echoing the above post, you will have absolutely nothing to worry about applying with your science background. If you're applying for a program where you will be picking up on quantitative skills like epidmeiology/economics, programs certainly want people with strong quantitative skills, but that doesn't mean you need to have majored in econ or stat. A basic stats course here or there might help, but as long as you do well on the quantitative portion of the GRE, you should be fine. What matters most is your passion for public health, your experience, and how well you can tie them in into a strong application.


Life Afficianado
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
Several organizations (AAAS, FASEB, etc) offer science policy fellowships for individuals with no policy background, as well. So for those who are trained scientists but with no background in policy, there are several opportunities outside of their trained disciplines.