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Useful MPH Pre-Reqs (Help!)

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by wanderlust-adventures, May 18, 2014.

  1. wanderlust-adventures

    wanderlust-adventures 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hi there - I'm in need of some advice about preparation for my MPH!

    I'm a recent Dec. 2013 college graduate with a B.A. in Global Studies/Human Rights and B.I.S. (Individualized Studies) in Public Health, Gender Studies & Family Violence Prevention. I definitely know that I want to start my MPH in the next 3-5 years, but am taking some time off to get some work experience (currently working as a Clinic Assistant at a Women's Health Center). Basically my questions and concerns revolve around the science & math pre-requisites (as well as research experience desired) for most good MPH programs. I won't lie, I have no lab/scientific research experience, and I took some pretty b.s. classes to complete my undergrad requirements with Biological Anthropology + a lab and Intro. to Geology w/ a lab for science, and then a "Statistics for Poli. Sci." majors class that no program would actually count as Stats, for math (and I never took College Algebra).

    Most MPH programs I research seem to require at least statistics, and many say one full year of "science" and "math", but I'm wondering which classes you guys think would be most useful for building up my application? And what counts under the science umbrella? (Does that mean ONLY bio, chem, o-chem, physics, etc. Or could it be more along the lines of Anatomy, Physiology, Enviro. Health, Nutrition, etc.) And would a lab definitely be required for all of those?

    I'm deciding between a concentration in Global Health, Maternal & Child Health or Health Policy Administration (so definitely not something super stats heavy like epi) but I want to build the strongest application possible to ensure acceptance (and fingers crossed maybe a few scholarships) so I know I need to work on some pre-reqs. However, I also don't want to waste valuable time and money taking more undergrad classes than I need to, when I could be starting my Master's program sooner.

    So essentially what and how much science and math would you recommend? And do you have any recommendations about how I could get research experience to put on a resume? Would I have to contact a local university? A local health department?

    Thanks so much!
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  3. BPW1088

    BPW1088 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Hi @wanderlust-adventures,

    I have a few different options for you based on your academic and career interests. Since you're more interested in programming and health analyst positions, I would say that you should definitely focus on demonstrating your ability to excel in courses that are centered on both qualitative and quantitative analysis. I would say that before you make any decisions on whether or not you should take graduate level coursework, you should research the programs that most interests you; different programs require different prerequisites. For example, Johns Hopkins requires you to have taken a certain level science and math course. However other programs, i.e. Emory, do not require pre-requisites.

    Instead of taking courses, you could always take GRE Subject tests. I understand that you have not taken coursework in certain academic areas, though if you're able to teach yourself the material, then taking the subject tests might be a better alternative (more efficient and cost-effective).

    In terms of obtaining a research position, I would utilize your network of connections. I would definitely reach out to professors that you built relationships with and see if they're able to connect you with the proper people or use you on their own projects. I'm not sure where you did your undergraduate studies, though most large public universities are very research heavy. When professors are not lecturing, they're usually in the laboratory and their offices conducting research; not to mention, professors are very well connected to others in their academic area.
  4. Fedaykin

    Fedaykin 2+ Year Member

    Sep 25, 2010
    New Orleans
    Statistics is something you should never, ever discount. Even if it's not something that a school will require or that's specific to your concentration, being versed in statistics and statistical software is an extremely valuable qualification to have on your resume.
    BPW1088 likes this.

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