This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2006
Reaction score

Members don't see this ad.

I've always been interested in international healthcare, esp in developing countries. I will be a 2nd time applicant this summer. Last year, I only applied to reg. MD programs, not even considering MPH. I dont even know if this can be generalized, but is it even harder to get into a MPH/MD than it is just MD?

1. It's hard enough to get into med school as is with a MD, but does trying for MD/MPH make it even harder?

2. Along the same lines, is it MPH/MD or none at all? Ie. what if I cant get into MPH program, does that mean I cant do the MD at all for schools? Is so, then this implies it would be much harder to get into schools as MPH/MD than a regular MD.

3. Also, I have no courses taken in Public health, just a strong interest in doing international medicine. Is it even worth it for me to apply to MPH/MD?

Thank you so much.


SDN Angel
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2005
Reaction score
The answer to this varies a lot from school to school. Some schools have you apply directly to the MD/MPH program because you start taking MPH coursework during your first year (I think Northwestern does this, for example). But a lot of other schools have you take an extra year to complete the MPH, so for those schools, you actually apply to the MPH program after you've already been accepted for the MD program. I'm pretty sure if you apply MD/MPH during the application process, if you don't get in MD/MPH, they will still consider you for just the MD. Here are a couple of things to thing about though:

-Since most schools make you take time off to do an MPH anyway, you can, conceivably not apply MD/MPH right now and still get in once you've been in school for a while and have a better idea where your interests lie.
-I ultimatly decided that that was a better idea because you can take a leave of absence from your medical school and do your MPH somewhere else. Not every MPH program has a great international health track, so it might be better if you left your MPH options more open and didn't restrict them to the school that you're at. In addition, not every MD school offers an MD/MPH.
-Depending upon what residency you choose, some residency programs will pay for your MPH and let you do it during residency. So it doesn't have to get done in medical school, and it might be free if you wait until residency.

Check out each schools individual guidelines for applying MD/MPH, and then apply accordingly. In addition, if a school has an MPH program, sometimes you can arrange to meet with the person that runs the program (or runs the MD/MPH program) on your interview day (even if you're interviewing for MD only). For example, even though I hadn't applied to Case Western as an MD/MPH, my interviewer still brought me to meet with the person who was running the MD/MPH program, and I was told that it would be easier if I started my MPH coursework as a first year, but I could apply to the program after I got accepted to Case. I didn't end up going to Case though, so I can't tell you how that worked out.

Sorry I didn't really answer many of your questons, but I hope this helps, and good luck!