May 3, 2012
3
0
Status
I've been fortunate to have gained acceptances to: BU, UPitt and GWU and I'm having a heck of a time deciding where I want to go. Any insight, thoughts, and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
 
Jan 25, 2012
59
0
Status
Other Health Professions Student
That's really a small amount of information for people to give you good advice on. What department are you accepted to? Career goals? Background? Expectations? This might help
 
Feb 13, 2012
96
0
San Francisco Bay Area
Status
Non-Student
I've been fortunate to have gained acceptances to: BU, UPitt and GWU and I'm having a heck of a time deciding where I want to go. Any insight, thoughts, and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
I say go to Johns Hopkins! I am assuming you left that out in your post, too.
 
OP
L
May 3, 2012
3
0
Status
I'm sorry, my post was really vague, my bad.

I'm interested in policy and program development abroad. Areas of interest include health care in disaster settings and women's health promotion.

I've pretty much tossed UPitt out of the running -- although the program is highly ranked there is barely a peep about it on here or in the field in general and that is just weird. Furthermore, their program seems a little antiquated.

I've been very torn about BU vs. GWU. It seems like there is a lot of BU bashing on here, but it doesn't seem like the bashing is coming from actual students in the program. They are highly ranked (their rankings have jumped a couple notches from 13 to 11), have very interesting courses and distinguished faculty. Yes they're expensive but I got a good size merit award making them cheaper than GWU. It seems like their IH Department really has their stuff together, with lots of resources and opportunities. Is this just good marketing? Where is the disdain coming from? Any BU IH students out there that can help?

That being said, GWU is attractive for their location and partnerships with major organizations, yet those opportunities seem very limited for such a large program. I was really interested in their Second Semester Intensive but I heard that what they advertise about that program is not exactly what you get (if anyone knows more about this please PM me). Not only that it is SUPER competitive. Their ranking is concerning and their faculty so-so. But, again, their location can't be beat, and I like the structure of their program and the faculty seems to have some good professional connections.

I guess it comes down to the fact that my impression is that the program at BU seems better overall, but there are some important factors I love about GWU. Also, it appears that from the global health end, GWU is a little ahead of BU. If you have any insight on this, please help.

For reference, I have also been accepted to Tulane.
 

Stories

Life Afficianado
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2009
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111
Los Angeles, CA
If it helps at all, Boston is a cheaper place to live than DC. But the quality of housing in DC is better, but more expensive. Weather in both places is horrible (Boston for the extreme winters/DC for the extreme summers). The T in Boston shuts down early, the Metro in DC always has track maintenance. Both cities have its share of crime and rough neighborhoods.

I have two friends who are at GW (one got a MPH, another in the psychology department). My MPH friend switched from global health into epi because she didn't realize what global health actually meant. She wanted more quantitative skills, which is why she switched into it. I had two friends at BU (I was a BU Epi person) who also made the same switch after initially starting in international health. And I have quite a few friends who added an additional area of study on top of their global/international studies.

That said, I don't know what makes a good versus average global health program, but from what most friends have told me, doubling up in another area with global/international health is a good idea.
 
OP
L
May 3, 2012
3
0
Status
If it helps at all, Boston is a cheaper place to live than DC. But the quality of housing in DC is better, but more expensive. Weather in both places is horrible (Boston for the extreme winters/DC for the extreme summers). The T in Boston shuts down early, the Metro in DC always has track maintenance. Both cities have its share of crime and rough neighborhoods.

I have two friends who are at GW (one got a MPH, another in the psychology department). My MPH friend switched from global health into epi because she didn't realize what global health actually meant. She wanted more quantitative skills, which is why she switched into it. I had two friends at BU (I was a BU Epi person) who also made the same switch after initially starting in international health. And I have quite a few friends who added an additional area of study on top of their global/international studies.

That said, I don't know what makes a good versus average global health program, but from what most friends have told me, doubling up in another area with global/international health is a good idea.
Thank you so much Stories, your reply was really very helpful. Actually, I saw previous posts where you mention doubling up w/ another specialty in addition to global/international health and I think it's a brilliant point, I will probably do that with policy. Thank you for that :)

It's also really nice to hear from an actual BU alum with friends at both BU and other schools. General statements like "BU is just a feeder school" or "That school sucks" aren't very helpful. I'm sorry, a "feeder school" that generally "sucks" would not be so close to making the top 10 in the rankings, it just doesn't make any sense. I'm really interested in finding out what the negativity is based on.

It's too bad that the T shuts down early, bummer. Do you recommend a car in Boston? I'm moving from the West Coast and I've been debating over whether or not I should have my car shipped there. Also, do you know anything about campus housing?

Finally, have your friends given you any insight on the quality of the GW program?

Thanks again for all of your informed, insightful posts, I appreciate it.
 

Stories

Life Afficianado
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2009
1,700
111
Los Angeles, CA
Thank you so much Stories, your reply was really very helpful. Actually, I saw previous posts where you mention doubling up w/ another specialty in addition to global/international health and I think it's a brilliant point, I will probably do that with policy. Thank you for that :)

It's also really nice to hear from an actual BU alum with friends at both BU and other schools. General statements like "BU is just a feeder school" or "That school sucks" aren't very helpful. I'm sorry, a "feeder school" that generally "sucks" would not be so close to making the top 10 in the rankings, it just doesn't make any sense. I'm really interested in finding out what the negativity is based on.

It's too bad that the T shuts down early, bummer. Do you recommend a car in Boston? I'm moving from the West Coast and I've been debating over whether or not I should have my car shipped there. Also, do you know anything about campus housing?

Finally, have your friends given you any insight on the quality of the GW program?

Thanks again for all of your informed, insightful posts, I appreciate it.
The main reason I suggested doubling up is because you never know what specialty skill you need. And adding more specialties never hurts. Particularly if you end up not being able to find international work for a little while, you have some domestic skills to fall back on. As we all know, international work is very desirable by many people, so it ends up being fairly competitive.

I'm a big supporter of my alma mater, but I won't blindly recommend it to folks. I know its weaknesses and strengths, especially after having done schooling elsewhere, as well. Particularly, a school where the focus was a complete 180° from BU. Yale is almost 100% research focused.

Most BU negativity stems from the fact that it's a "tweener" school. It's a safety school for people who have stellar marks, and it's a reach school for people who don't (this is also reflected in the undergrad student body). So you end up getting a student body of both reachers and settlers, and from that, you have a bunch of mixed emotions on the school itself. Personally, I had a wonderful time there and the opportunities (particularly research-wise) set me up for my career today, and I couldn't be more thankful of my time there. That said, I went there purely out of convenience. I only wanted to stay in Boston, and I my best friends lived (and still live) in Boston. Had I known more about what I wanted to do back then, I would have considered more options than just going right to BU.

It's also a much more practice-based school than say... a Harvard or Hopkins which focus much more on the "hot research" topics and aim to get work published in the top biomedical and science journals. And you get that bias in the education, too. Whichever you like better, research vs. practice, should dictate where you end up going to school because your experience will reflect that.

As for car--I wouldn't recommend it unless you live far from a T line or in certain neighborhoods (like Jamaica Plain, maybe even Allston) which are a little bit more car friendly. I personally think it's worth the extra money in rent to live closer to a T line, but your mileage may differ depending upon how you like living (going downtown often, for instance). I lived in Boston 6 years, lived near the green line (always <5 minute walk) and never even thought about owning a car (except for when I wanted to go play hockey, for which I'd use Zip Car).

I don't know anything about on-campus housing. I had no desire to live in the South End. It's a cute area during the day time. But there are parts, particularly right by campus, that is less than savory. I do know they recently built (or building?) a new housing complex right there, which might be super convenient and nice, given my experience with BU housing as an undergrad.

My friend said that the Epi department at GW was a weak point. The policy department was a strong point (as I think has been speculated on this board). Again, I have no idea what this means, but that's what she said.
 

EpiWin

Epic-demiology
Aug 20, 2011
188
0
Baltimore
Status
Other Health Professions Student
To add a data point about Boston, I never found a car necessary as the mass transit system in the city is extremely well-developed. Like Stories said, unless you live far from the T, the buses and trains run virtually everywhere you need to go, certainly with regards to BU. Some T lines unofficially run later into the night, and cabs are pretty prolific, albeit competitive around 2 AM.
 
May 20, 2011
75
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
General statements like "BU is just a feeder school" or "That school sucks" aren't very helpful. I'm sorry, a "feeder school" that generally "sucks" would not be so close to making the top 10 in the rankings, it just doesn't make any sense. I'm really interested in finding out what the negativity is based on.
Such statements should never be taken seriously. Boston U is respected not only on the East Coast, but throughout the nation/world. I think it is also important to remember the "posters" on SDN may not be an equal representation of what majority of incoming MPHers believe. This is an online website with no repercussions, so people say whatever they want.

P.s. I personally know one very intelligent applicant who will be attending BU this fall for International Health.
 
Jun 2, 2012
7
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Status
Hi! I got accepted in BU, Tulane and University of South Carolina. But I am so confused now which one to decide finally.

I am trying to decide between BU and Tulane. My concentration is Epidemiology. In BU I can complete it within 3 semesters but Tulane is an excellent option as well. I need to care the university's alumni and networking with Washington based NGOs and other working opportunities.

Also the tuition matters. Received a small merit scholarship at BU while Tulane doesn't offer it at masters level. But then again, does the tuition vary much between BU and Tulane?
USC is considerable on financial savings I guess.

Will be glad to receive your feedback!
 
Aug 30, 2010
16
0
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hi! I got accepted in BU, Tulane and University of South Carolina. But I am so confused now which one to decide finally.

I am trying to decide between BU and Tulane. My concentration is Epidemiology. In BU I can complete it within 3 semesters but Tulane is an excellent option as well. I need to care the university's alumni and networking with Washington based NGOs and other working opportunities.

Also the tuition matters. Received a small merit scholarship at BU while Tulane doesn't offer it at masters level. But then again, does the tuition vary much between BU and Tulane?
USC is considerable on financial savings I guess.

Will be glad to receive your feedback!
I did a comparison of BU vs Tulane during my decision-making and found that BU had much more interesting opportunities to take advantage of than Tulane offers. Financially, both universities are expensive and you're stuck with unsubsidized direct loans either way, so as you seem to be implying, the networking/job opportunities are major factors. Again, Boston certainly wins this hands down because New Orleans does not have the jobs like Boston, which also has opportunities in NYC and better links to DC.

Just my 2 cents...

I am curious which program that you pursue. Have you committed yet?
 
Jun 2, 2012
7
0
Status
Thank you so much for encouraging me. I needed it badly. I accepted BU (Epidemiology) few days back.

I am an international student and still juggling between subjects and am not sure if it's wise for me to go for MPH. I completed Bachelor in Medicine & Surgery and also have a desire to focus and work on radiology-imaging or anesthesiology but their process seems so long in the USA! I would be glad to find some short term options to specialize in those subjects after completion of MPH. Previously I had planned for MPH as my safety option so that I can have a good job following grad levels and if I still like the other subjects I mentioned, may try those long term options as they seem quite uncertain.
 
Jun 10, 2012
22
0
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Also, it appears that from the global health end, GWU is a little ahead of BU. If you have any insight on this, please help.

For reference, I have also been accepted to Tulane.
Global health-wise, Tulane, GWU and BU are probably pretty similar reputation wise, though I would rank Tulane a notch higher when it comes to global health. There are a lot of opportunities in Boston, but you have to remember that there are at least four other public health schools in the area, plus the whole eastern seaboard is super-saturated with public health schools, I think in New Orleans, Tulane is the only accredited school for probably 400 miles around (there is a non-accredited school somewhere in NOLA), so you definitely have options. Tulane as a public health school has great recognition worldwide, as well as good connections, and it sort of has it own special identity, like Emory. BU has a reputation as being a feeder school, and one student I met only had mediocre things to say, like it was sorta just a school where she happened to wind up rather than any place special. The rankings are determined on factors that often have little to do with how well a school prepares its students and provides worthwhile experiences. YMMV :cool: