MPH Waiting to apply after experience VS. within a year of college

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by HowCavalier, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. HowCavalier

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    Hello all-


    I am a recent graduate and am currently working as an NIH IRTA in a semi-related field. I see that Harvard and JH both require 2 years of experience to even gain consideration for their MPH programs. Is it worth waiting another year to apply, as a opposed to just applying to other PH schools or degrees? Any personal experience or advice would be much appreciated

    Also, do students with just two years of related experience ever get into these MPH programs anyways? Really considering applying this year to an MSPH program instead for JH, and seeing if Harvard will count undergrad experience as sufficient...
     
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  2. Masgniw

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    I say wait.

    I had 1 year experience before my MPH and I wish I had more. I did well in my classes and learned a lot, but I wished I would have had more real world experiences upon which to pin my in classroom experiences. Biostats classes suddenly are more applicable. Health administration classes are more relatable. Basically, I think it would have been a richer, more well-rounded experience.

    Also, you can save aggressively for another year and help ease your financial transition into going back into the student world.
     
  3. Stories

    Stories Life Afficianado
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    I think you should consider your long term goals and how an additional year of research at NIH fits into those long term goals. If you enjoy your work now and this contributes to your growth and would make you a more attractive candidate, it might be worth it to stay.

    If your goals are much different than what you're getting out of the NIH program and you want to get right into work that a MPH would open up to you, you may consider going right away rather than waiting.

    My personal experience with NIH (I was a CRTA for 4 years) was positive and I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot and gained a lot of skills. But I was in an epidemiology program, so it was directly related to my career trajectory.
     
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  4. themmases

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    I would lean towards waiting.

    Work experience is valuable in MPH admissions, where about half students come straight from undergrad. Not everyone applying with work experience has research experience, and very few of them have excellent experience like working for NIH. If there's anything at all on the horizon at your job, such as the possibility of publications or getting input into setting up a study that interests you, stay for it. By waiting and doing the stuff you would do anyway to be good at your job, you can strengthen you application a lot. I recommend reading the application threads here and at grad cafe to see what other strong applicants are like.

    Anecdotally, people with work experience before their graduate degree seem to do better when job searching after, but as a current student I can't actually confirm that yet.

    Personally I worked for 4 years as a clinical research coordinator and it helped me a ton with getting into MS epi programs that I would have assumed were long shots (I majored in history so I had a definite lack of formal background to overcome). It didn't matter that I changed content areas. UIC matched me with an awesome advisor who shares my stated research interests, not my old work history, and it has never been an issue.
     
  5. EpiMarie

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    I agree with the previous posters - get at least 1-2 years of public health work experience before entering an MPH program. I had direct experience in research before I entered my program, which was one of the reasons why I was able to get an assistantship (which included tuition remission). Not many students had applied public health experience, so it made me much more competitive.

    Also, as a recent graduate (May 2015), I can confirm the bolded passage. My work experience before (and during) my MPH program helped me secure a job before graduation. Public health is one of those fields where work experience is weighed very heavily - the more, the better.
     
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