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PhD/DrPH after MPH

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by mercbenz159, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. mercbenz159

    mercbenz159

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    Mar 8, 2007
    Hi Namazu and other learned seniors on this board. I have the following admit:

    1. Johns Hopkins - MPH
    2. Emory University - MPH (Health Policy and Management)
    3. University of Alabama - MPH (Health Policy and Management)
    The problem that I am facing is that I would want to continue with a PhD or DrPH after I finish my MPH. It maybe soon as I finish or if financial constraints are there, then would be 2-3 years later.
    Which of these 3 schools would better suit me as per the situation?
    Does any school offer any benefit for doing PhD/DrPH after completing MPH from the same school. What are the other things that I may look for in these schools. Any word of advice would be valuable at this point of time.
     
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  3. namazu

    namazu Member 5+ Year Member

    169
    1
    Apr 17, 2005
    Thank you for your vote of confidence, but I do not claim to know much beyond what I found when I applied to programs, what I heard from other faculty and students, and what I have learned while visiting this board! Take my advice along with that of others, who have greater knowledge of different schools, and be sure to read the schools' websites carefully and speak with people there as well.

    1. Johns Hopkins - MPH
    - tuition and fees: $43,680/11-month program + books + housing
    - has department of Health Policy and Mgmt and some associated policy research centers
    - near Washington DC

    2. Emory University - MPH (Health Policy and Management)
    - tuition and fees: $42,600/3 semester program + books + housing
    - has department of Health Policy and Mgmt
    - near CDC

    3. University of Alabama - MPH (Health Policy and Management)
    - tuition, fees, and books: $15,471/3-semester year + housing
    - has a department of Health Care Organization and Policy and a Center for Health Policy

    They may all be good choices, depending on what you are looking for, so here are some things to think about:

    Look closely at the departments' faculty interests and especially the associated research centers. These will give you a good idea of where the department's interests lie. For example, you might find research centered around tobacco, health insurance, gun control, injury prevention, minority health, rural health, environment and health, international policy, bioethics, etc. If any of these in particular interest you, or you want to be exposed to a wide range of different topics, one school or another may provide better opportunities for you. If you want to continue at the school where you start, it would be a good idea to establish communication with faculty during your MPH and perhaps do research with them.

    UAB is *substantially* less-expensive than the other two, which may be a major consideration unless you have been offered a scholarship by Emory or Hopkins or have a lot of money to start with. It can be difficult to get research or TA jobs when you are in a short (1-1.5 year) MPH program.

    UAB's public health school is less well-known overall than the other two. This does not necessarily tell you anything about the quality of the teaching or research that goes on there in your field, but the reputation may be important in looking for employment, especially with employers that are less familiar with the nuances of public health schools. Johns Hopkins is probably the most widely-known, but Emory is also very well-respected.

    Johns Hopkins is near Washington DC, which in addition to being a US policy center, has headquarters of many international NGOs. Emory (near CDC) and UAB have a bit lower concentration of these things, but both are reasonably large cities and will have plenty of opportunities. If you are more interested in health policy at the local, state, or regional level, or if you can make connections with the local office of a national or international organization, proximity to any particular place may not matter too much. Speak with the career or MPH office at each school to find out what partnerships they have with organizations and governmental agencies, to learn how students locate capstone opportunities, internships, and potential employment.

    The campus at Johns Hopkins is in a neighborhood that struggles with crime and poverty. For this reason, most students do not live right near the school, but instead live a bit further away and take a shuttle bus or drive to campus.

    Talking to current students at each of the schools may be the best way to learn about housing, campus safety, things to do for fun in the city, etc.

    If you are an international student with a desire to have a strong community of people from your country of origin and easier access to familiar food ingredients, etc., you might want to check to see what is available locally. Within any of these universities, there will be people from all over the world; but in the surrounding communities it may be more difficult to find resources. There may be an office for international students that can help with both administrative issues (e.g. visas) as well as social issues (e.g. events for international students, sightseeing trips).

    Many PhD programs prefer that you have demonstrated your ability to do scholarly research and writing through a thesis. This is usually not a huge consideration for people who otherwise have strong academic records and substantial work experience. Since you have been accepted to the MPH programs at these three schools (not the more research-oriented MSPH or MHS type programs), consider the following:
    a) trying to satisfy coursework requirements as you would for a PhD (e.g., if there are two levels of biostatistics courses, and PhD students are required to take the more rigorous one, you might want to do that too, if you have sufficient background)
    b) taking note of other requirements (e.g. at Hopkins, there is a comprehensive exam at the end of a year of studies, and if you take the proper courses, you may be able to take the exam, which may facilitate continuing for a PhD)
    c) choosing a "rigorous" capstone project, and writing up the work as though it were a thesis
    d) doing some research while you are a student, as a way to demonstrate research interest and aptitude
    e) making connections with possible employers in case you need/want to take a break between the MPH and PhD/DrPH

    Hopefully others will chime in with more thoughts/opinions/personal knowledge of these programs. Good luck!
     
  4. mercbenz159

    mercbenz159

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    Mar 8, 2007
    Thanks a lot Namazu for the detailed account on the three schools. You are really doing an awesome job of guidance that you provide to us all. Not everybody helps, but you are one of the few who are gifted with such great traits.
    One more question directed towards you! - How difficult is it to secure a DrPH/PhD say about a 2-3 years gap after MPH. Any idea of the average duration a PhD might run for a Public Health guy?
     
  5. namazu

    namazu Member 5+ Year Member

    169
    1
    Apr 17, 2005
    It depends a lot on your work and academic record, statement of purpose, etc. There are no guarantees, but usually working for 2-3 years in a health-related field will help quite a bit.

    Depends on the field, but in epidemiology usually ~4-5 years after a master's, maybe 3 if you're super-focused and have completed a lot of the coursework already.
     
  6. mercbenz159

    mercbenz159

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    0
    Mar 8, 2007
    Thanks a lot Namazu, for the informative inputs.
     
  7. coolmavs

    coolmavs Member 5+ Year Member

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    Sep 21, 2005
    Great post Namazu, as ususal to the point and with relevant options and suggestions. Thanks.
     

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