Mar 10, 2010
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Is anyone here know enough to compare UC Berkeley to UWashington for infectious disease epidemiology? I'm be curious to what people have to say.
 
Feb 8, 2010
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Is anyone here know enough to compare UC Berkeley to UWashington for infectious disease epidemiology? I'm be curious to what people have to say.
I'm in the same boat as you-- deciding between UW and Berkeley (and Columbia) for epidemiology (current interest HIV/AIDS, but that may well change with exposure to a wider range of topics).

So I would not say that I "know enough" to make a comparison, but from visit days and speaking with others these have been my impressions thusfar:

-UW seems to have more of a focus on Epi, in that Berkeley doesn't even have a 2 year pure Epi MPH (is combined with Biostats).

-Epi faculty is larger at UW (self-reported 43 full professors vs. 12-24 core Epi professors at Berkeley). This doesn't include adjunct or affiliate professors.

-The visit day at UW was Epi-specific (rather than full SPH visit days I went to at Berkeley and Columbia). I actually preferred the visit days at the other schools, but UW definitely showcased the Epi department in and of itself. Additionally, UW had about 5-6 Epi professors at the visit day speak about their work (not including the ones I met individually for RA interviews), whereas there was only one Epi professor and one Epi faculty member circulating at the lunch tables at Berkeley.

-As for topic matter, the Epi department at UW seems to have the greatest focus and opportunities in Cancer and HIV/other sexually transmitted infections. It sounds like there is much less focus on non-sexual infectious diseases. I can't speak to this regarding Berkeley because they didn't spell out the research interests as explicitly, but you could check that out by going through faculty webpages.


Overall, it seems to me (from a prospective student viewpoint), that UW really has an academic edge over Berkeley in the Epi department. However, I am still swayed by the prestigious reputation of Berkeley and the more positive feeling I got overall from their visit day (as well as in-state tuition). Additionally, when I was speaking with professors at UW, Berkeley was the one other school I was considering that they seemed impressed by (e.g. "Oh, Berkeley has a great epi program!").

I'm still in the process of my pros/cons lists, but if anyone else has insight into Epi (HIV/Global Health) at UW, Berkeley or Columbia, it would be much appreciated!
 

dancingdoctor13

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Mar 28, 2010
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I am also considering UW (although for another program related to public health). I would love to hear from anyone else who knows a little bit about the school, grading system, accessibility of faculty, campus life, weather :), seattle as a place to live, people, etc. I am deciding weather to go to grad school before medical school or forgo grad school altogether. (I would be paying out of state tuition for UW)....btw, do you all know if the 2nd year of the program, you can establish residency and start paying in state tuition?
 

spumoni620

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I might be able to provide some perspective on Berkeley.

Keep in mind that I'm attending UCB and knew I wanted to go there from the beginning, so this will be admittedly biased!

Cal's epi/biostats program is pretty incredible - why I basically was motivated to apply. I've had a chance to work with 3 faculty who are all experts in HIV/global health - 2 were EIS officers (one of the most prestigious int'l health experiences offered by the CDC) and all do tremendous work in the field of HIV. UCSF Global Health Institute is closely affiliated with Cal's HIV/int'l epi arm, and they are already starting several initiatives - one geared at improving evidence-based measures for HIV-related policy in the developing world (an area that's currently sorely lacking). For example, the institute was involved in reshaping the current WHO guidelines for preventing and treating infectious diarrhea associated with HIV-+ children in developing countries (what I worked on in my research).

If HIV is your interest, you're also in the Bay Area, which offers scads of direct opportunities to participate in HIV-focused outreach and educational programs. I've never seen so much activism around this topic as in the Bay Area - several of the faculty I've worked with have lived here for 20+ years and are admirable experts in the field.

Feel free to PM if other questions specifically about the Bay Area or HIV!
 
Mar 31, 2010
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I was accepted into the UW MPH program, which is probably where I will be ending up. I visited Berkeley, and liked it a lot, but I was worried with the budget crisis if they'd raise tuition even more in California. UW waived my tuition and has offered a pretty generous stipend.

As for the questions, I don't know that you can establish residency in WA while you are a student, but it's really easy to google that and find out. They list out of state tuition and in state, but the majority of the public health programs are funded. As for living in Seattle, on average you are looking at about $700 a month rent. I've found places as low as $500 a month, but you'd really need a car.
 

dancingdoctor13

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How did u get your tuition waived, if you don't mind me asking? That's such a blessing for you and a stipend on top of that doing an MPH. Did I need to apply to a specific program in order to get the opportunity to have my tuition waived? Congratulations!
 

INTPThinker

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How did u get your tuition waived, if you don't mind me asking? That's such a blessing for you and a stipend on top of that doing an MPH. Did I need to apply to a specific program in order to get the opportunity to have my tuition waived? Congratulations!
They consider you for this along with your application. I did not even know they had something like this until I got offered the same thing.
 
Feb 8, 2010
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They consider you for this along with your application. I did not even know they had something like this until I got offered the same thing.

Is this the same thing as getting an RA position? I know that if you can get "hired" by a professor as an RA, UW waives the tuition and pays a stipend. I met with several professors on visit day to discuss positions, but none of them had any openings.

Or is this "tuition waver" somehow separate from an RA-ship and simply based on merit/need?

Thanks!
 
Mar 31, 2010
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I don't know about the MS programs, but I know for the MPH students they only take 2-3 a year, and that is so they can afford to waive tuition and give you the stipend. Your first year your award is the same as an RA or TA, but you don't have to do the work. Your next year, you have to find one of those positions if you want all the goodies to continue. It's pretty generous, I'm just really nervous about living in a city for the first time in my life.
 

INTPThinker

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Is this the same thing as getting an RA position? I know that if you can get "hired" by a professor as an RA, UW waives the tuition and pays a stipend. I met with several professors on visit day to discuss positions, but none of them had any openings.

Or is this "tuition waver" somehow separate from an RA-ship and simply based on merit/need?

Thanks!
It is not separate. I think you just have to find a professor that has an open project or that is expecting funding in the next few months. Then, it is more likely you will be able to take advantage of this.