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Which school?

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by a11ysa11y, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. a11ysa11y

    a11ysa11y Junior Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Claremont, California
    Hi everyone,

    I thought I would throw this question out to everyone and get everyone's opinion. I'm choosing between three schools for a PhD/ScD in epidemiology:

    choice 1: Harvard, with a tuition waiver, but no living expenses. In Boston, that can be killer, and I am already in substantial debt.

    choice 2: Yale, with a full tuition waiver and stipend of close to 26,000k a year

    choice 3: UWashington, with tuition waiver and a small stipend each month (no where close to Yale's), but for only 9 months.

    It seems from reading postings, that Yale's reputation in public health does not fare well. Is it worth it though to go through the agony of worrying about how I'm going to pay for food/rent? Is the job opportunity gap that great? I thought it may be helpful to get people's thoughts.
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  3. AndrewJ42

    AndrewJ42 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Ann Arbor, MI
    as my old professor Jonathan Mayer just told me (University of Washington SPH..Epi)..."Harvard, blah...I taught there, it's "okay..."" Maybe it's his bias to Washington, but if it wasn't for my stubborn personaility...I would have probrably stayed at the UW for my MPH rather than choose UMich...although Dr. Mayer was quite happy i was choosing his alma mater :)...

    my vote goes in for UW...I know the stipend at Washington isn't the greatest, but in terms of area and life...I can't think of any better place in the nation. I know that the faculty at UW is top notch!

    Harvard is a great school, but as your said Boston is REALLY expensive and if you're going to live near the school...Back Bay area/near the Longwood campus where the SPH is located..then you're going to be paying a lot for that...

    Yale is an intresting case, i believe it was Southerdoctor who first mentioned Yale's current research that could be something you should look into to see if SPH has been affected by the problems...but they are giving you lots of money...and that is very hard to turn down..

    Again, I say Washington...maybe it's because I bleed purple and gold...good luck!
  4. AgentSik007

    AgentSik007 Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    New York
    AndrewJ42, shame on you for all this bias towards UW! :p

    Anyway, congratulations, your acceptances are amazing!

    My opinion is that you will be better off in your career going to Harvard. Yes you should be concerned about the expense factor, but I think it will mostly be for your first year in the program. Most PhD students tend to get awarded fellowships in their second year or so, especially if you search proactively. The APHA usually lists available fellowship opportunities and Harvard should have some as well. Before you rule it out completely, call the Epi department and ask around about fellowship opportunities after your first year. If they have them, I think the debt sacrifice for the first year will be worth it then.

    Overall though even if you go to Yale, you won't be at a loss either. Granted, their program has taken a slight set back in the past several years. However, it is still one of the world's best academic environments. You will have plenty of research opportunities, excellent professors (most of whom are a lot more approachable than at Harvard), and you will have financial security for the next several years (which appears to be your main concern with good reason).

    I don't know much about UW but I would take AndrewJ42 advice very much into consideration as well, it's apparent from this forum that he has a lot of experience to back it up.
  5. MPHopeful

    MPHopeful 2+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007

    All I can say is, you need to give lessons here on how to put together a strong application. :thumbup:

    You're in an enviable position to say the least. :)
  6. AndrewJ42

    AndrewJ42 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Ann Arbor, MI
    oooh and NIH Pre-Doctoral Fellowships!! look into those!

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