Certificates, Certificates, Certificates, Oh My! Why I Decided to Complete a Certificate

By Sofia Oveido, MPH’23 in Epidemiology

While I was scouring the many Rollins websites when deciding what schools to apply to for my MPH, I came across the certificates website and was intrigued by the different types of certificates degree-seeking students could potentially earn. Deciding whether or not to complete a certificate can be overwhelming with all of the options and classes. Whatever you decide to do, whether it’s to complete a certificate, complete two certificates (yes, it’s possible), or to not complete a certificate, it will be the best choice for you. I decided to complete a certificate, and I’m here to tell you why.

An existing interest
When I decided to get an MPH, I already knew that I had an interest in social determinants of health, health disparities, and how they affect human health. The social determinants of health certificate immediately caught my eye. I wanted an avenue to explore my current interests, and I saw a certificate as one way to do that.

A way to narrow down interests
Even though I knew I was interested in social determinants of health, I knew that I had a huge gap in my knowledge and didn’t know what types of research were possible in this field. I looked at the classes that could be used to satisfy the certificate requirement and realized just how broad this field of research is. I knew that taking these classes would provide me with an opportunity to potentially narrow down my already broad interests.

An opportunity to dive deeper
Although I had a background in public health and knew some things about social determinants of health, I knew I had a lot to learn. There is a faculty profiles website that allows you to not only filter by department, but also by areas of interest. The interesting research that faculty are conducting in the broad realm of social determinants of health intrigued me, and I knew that completing this certificate would teach me new research methods, give me the ability to gain more skills, and network with faculty whose expertise were in a topic I am deeply interested in.

A broad enough interest
One catch about doing the certificate is that you not only have to take certain classes to fulfill the requirements, but you also have to make sure that your thesis or capstone and Applied Practicum Experience (APE) are related to social determinants of health. Since social determinants of health is a broad topic, I knew that it would be possible to fulfill this requirement.

A little resume pizzazz
It doesn’t hurt to have a little extra to show on the resume.

Low stakes
If you enroll in the certificate, you can change your mind and decide to not do it. It’s sometimes difficult to find a topic that will fulfill thesis or capstone and APE requirements. Even if you’re not in a certificate, you can always take classes that are counted towards certificate fulfillment without the stress of finding a specific topic for thesis or capstone and the APE.

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