Unbiased eyes, School of Public Health Edition
March 30, 2009 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I am considering two Schools of Public Health. Both have accepted me (hooray!). Both offer various plusses and minuses (boo!). Help me sort this out. Bonus points for answering if you tend to hire newly minted MPHs.

Okay. So I was accepted to both Tulane and University of Michigan. For Tulane, I applied and was accepted to their International Health program. For U-M, epidemiology (concentration international health.)

Some demographic basics:
-I have been working as a research assistant for the past year, and therefore am not exactly flush with cash.
-I live much nearer to Ann Arbor than New Orleans, and would be able to commute to U-M.
-New Orleans rental prices are significantly higher than I am accustomed to, but still well within the realm of possible.
-I am an extremely practical person, and yes, this will come up.

Larger looming concerns:

-The MPH from U-M is 60 credits, Tulane 45.

-The above means that it would essentially take me one semester less to finish an MPH from Tulane than from U-M. Financially speaking, I would still have to pony up more for rent during that time in New Orleans than staying here.

-The MPH from U-M is much more structured than the IH MPH from Tulane - does this make the degree appear 'better' or 'more rigorous' when I'm trying to find work?

-Is it just more effective to have a degree in Epidemiology specifically rather than something more fuzzy like International Health?

-I'm interested in the Peace Corps' MI program, which Tulane is associated with but U-M is not.

And a general question:
If I do attend Tulane, I would fill my schedule with as many methods courses as possible, and as many protozoology/malaria courses as possible. Would that information be more important on my CV than just, say, the name of my department on my degree?
posted by palindromic to Education (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently finishing up the MPH portion of an MD/MPH degree in Philadelphia. From what I've seen so far, the nature of the MPH degree means that it doesn't matter so much where you go or what's included in the program because it's so wide open to begin with. You get a little bit of everything, and you're going to get that everywhere. That being said, if you are interested in epi and doing research, I'd definitely recommend an MS in epi over an MPH. It's going to be a lot more focused and you're going to get a lot more opportunities to publish. You can get research experience with an MPH, but it won't be as intense.
posted by Kevorama at 10:27 AM on March 30, 2009

According to an old question from when you were applying, you stated that Tulane was your first choice and that it offered what you considered to be the coolest degree ever.

Don't second guess yourself now. Go to Tulane!
posted by agentwills at 10:46 AM on March 30, 2009

Both are great schools and I doubt anyone is going to care how "structured" your program was. It's always been my understanding that Tulane is known for its infectious disease program, so given that it seems you want to specialize in that area, I'd go to Tulane.

But...one thing you don't mention is whether or not there are opportunities for funding at either place. Depending on your background, you could possibly ta some undergrad courses to pay the bills (here at ucla the bio depts are always looking for qualified tas). Contact the department asking for a few current students that you can speak/email with and they should be able to tell you how to navigate funding--they may know which profs bring in the most grant money, etc. You also may want to contact the departments on each campus that you would be qualified to ta in and ask about opportunities.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:59 AM on March 30, 2009

Congratulations on your acceptances!

I think the most important factor in your decision is what you want to ultimately *do* with your MPH. I'm a student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and I work for the health branch of an international development consulting firm as a recruiter. In the development field, Tulane is golden. Its IH program is very well respected. Michigan? Great school, but not as internationally focused.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:39 PM on March 30, 2009

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