What to look for in a public health program?

By Karina Serrano, MPH’23 in Health Policy and Management

Application season is overwhelming and it can be difficult to decipher what program is the best fit for you! When narrowing down your top list of choices it can be helpful to create a list or Excel sheet with comparisons of all programs. This could also assist you with your final decision.

Start off broad:

Would I enjoy the city?

  • This will help you gain insight into how comfortable you will be! Although I encourage getting yourself out of your comfort zone, choosing a new city can come with some challenges. Will you need a car? Will you need to rely on public transportation? Look at programs that address these potential challenges!
  • Check out Rollin’s information on transportation here!

Do I see myself in the position of current students in that program?

  • Use this time to speak to ambassadors at different programs! You could also reach out to people on LinkedIn to ask for a quick 15-minute phone chat.
  • Speak to Rollins ambassadors from any department here!

Does this program have the concentration I am most interested in?

  • Many programs have the same acronyms such as HPM for Health Policy and Management and BSHES for Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences. However, I urge you to look into what actually comprises these programs.
  •  For example, I wanted to specifically be in a department that solely focused on policy. A large part of my decision was choosing Rollins for their specific health policy department within our HPM program. I was mindful in looking at programs that did not separate management from the policy! This also ties into looking at courses that I will speak of next.
  • You can look at the different Rollins programs here!

Get into the specifics:

Would I enjoy the courses within my intended program?

  • Look around departmental websites and compare courses. Do you see specific courses that interest you?

Does the school offer certificates that would enhance my education?

  • If you are set on getting a certificate in maternal health or data analytics, then I would start searching for the types of certificates offered! It could be useful to see the layout and qualifications of the certificate as well.

Do I want to continue my research?

  • Look into the faculty and see their research interests! If you see one that fits you, then you could reach out and speak to them about potential projects.

I kept these questions in mind when looking at my different MPH programs! Additionally, I looked into the campus culture, community, and organizations that aligned with my interest. I hope this helped you in guiding you on what you should look for in programs!

For more detailed information about program and certificate offerings for MPH and PhD programs as well as course offerings, see the RSPH 2022-2023 Catalog.

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