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Medical Should I pursue an Mph before medical school?

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  • Oct 14, 2011
    1. Academic Administration
      Some background information, I am graduating in May with my bachelor's of science in public health and a minor in biochem. I decided instead of taking a normal gap year I would pursue my mph. I am mainly doing this because I have a strong passion for public health and would like to make myself a more well-rounded candidate for med school, i.e. more work hours, research, and publishings. Currently, I have over 1000 hours of health care experience from working as a pct and later as an EMT-B for the 911 service in my county. I was recently accepted into UCLA for epidemiology and UC Berkeley for Infectious diseases and vaccinology. My goal in the future is to get my MD or DO and wanted to know if attending one or the other schools would have more benefits. I wanted to know if one program or another depending on the topic would translate better into medical school. Both are amazing programs and cost about the same for me debt wise. I like both programs but am torn between which one to attend. If I was translating into academia it would make sense to pick the school with the program that matches the aspiring Ph.D., but I'm unsure how it will translate into medical school applications. Now I understand some may view this as a waste of money but I am fascinated with public health and all the applications it can have in practicing medicine. I am leaning towards Berkeley because I am passionate about infectious diseases and love studying them, but I'm worried an overall focus of epidemiology may be more helpful in medical school than just a straight focus of infectious diseases. In the end I'm unsure even if medical schools will really care.

      TLDR: epidemiology or infectious diseases and vaccinology translates better for medical school applications.
      If you are trying a GPA repair, an MPH is not going to help much, if that's what you are asking. Not sure if either program is "better" for admissions purposes.

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    • Oct 27, 2013
        Not for GPA repair, my GPA is high enough to get into where I want cGPA 3.6. Just trying to decide which program would make me a better applicant for medical school, or if in reality, it doesn't matter that much and I should just pick whatever program I like better.

        it doesn’t really matter. Neither are needed. Go with what you like or if one will help you more in the future regarding career trajectory.


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          If it purely is a degree matter, I actually recommend this for post-medical school rather than before. The likelihood of external funding is much better post-professional and if you are ok with your GPA, then the MPH does not really make your application more competitive. If you are translating into academia, you are better off trying to compete for an MSTP if a PhD in one of the basic sciences (Immunology and Emerging Infectious Diseases are traditional MSTP concentrations) is your end goal. I don't follow your logic on the MPH making it more competitive or your career trajectory if you pursue the PhD before the MD if practice is an outcome. And if you do not want to practice at all and just want academia, you can possibly bypass the MD route, tenure and promotion are actually harder for the MD/PhD route as you have to qualify on both grounds.
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