Like primary care clinicians, public health professionals are concerned with disease prevention and health promotion, however their focus extends beyond the individual to population-based health. In fact, many health professionals pursue this training to enhance their knowledge of and/or engagement in the policies and politics that affect their practice. There is also a growing trend of students enrolling in combined or joint degree programs, i.e. MD/MPH, DMD/MPH, JD/MPH.
This broad and diverse career field encompasses five core disciplines:
- Biostatistics – the application of statistics to generate and interpret health-related data
- Epidemiology - the study of disease outbreaks to inform education and prevention
- Health Services Management & Policy – can also be pursued through a Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Health Education or Communication
- Environmental and/or Occupational Health
Additional areas of concentration include, but are not limited to, global health, maternal and child health, nutrition, and emergency medical services. Many public health jobs require a graduate degree, most commonly a Master of Public Health (MPH). While there are accelerated programs, most MPH programs are two years in length. Public health professionals are administrators, educators, policy advisors, researchers, and statisticians. They work in a range of settings, including local, state and federal health departments, health-focused non-profit organizations, hospitals and other clinical settings, research universities, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies. Read More
- Academic Preparation
- Get Relevant Experience
- Standardized Admission Test
- Application Process & Timing
Pre-requisite coursework varies from program to program, so students are strongly encouraged to review school-specific requirements. Requirements and recommendations will vary pending the program, as well as the core discipline. A degree specializing in biostatistics may require specific math coursework, while a health promotion program may recommend coursework in psychology or sociology.
Potential Recommendations or Requirements
|SUBJECT AREA||SEMESTERS||UVM COURSES|
1 to 2 semesters with lab
BIOL 1 & 2 OR
1 to semesters of psychology
1 to 2 semesters
Choose writing intensive courses, i.e. ENG 1, 6, 50, 57, etc.
1 to 2 semesters of calculusSome schools may also or only require 1 semester of statistics
MATH 19 & 20 OR
Economics – macro or micro
NFS 43EC 11 or 12
GET RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Pursue relevant experience to test and inform your career goals. Pending your interest area, you might want to volunteer in a hospital or community clinic. Alternatively, you may want to secure an internship with a local, state or federal health department. Get involved in a health promotions project or program on campus or in the community. Consult faculty or the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) regarding relevant research opportunities on campus, or seek an internship with a health agency or non-profit. Community-based volunteering can be a very effective way to develop your interpersonal and communication skills, and demonstrate your interest in a service-oriented profession.
Campus, Local and National Links
Check out the links below to get you thinking about just some of the many relevant settings on campus, in Burlington and beyond for gaining experience. Don’t limit yourself to this list.
- American Cancer Society
- American Diabetes Association
- American Heart Association
- American Public Health Association Internships
- Community Health Centers of Burlington Vermont
- National Institute of Health – Internship Programs
- UVM Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC)
- Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
- State of Vermont Internship Program
- United Way of Chittenden County – Volunteer Connection
- UVM’s Center for Health & Wellbeing
- Vermont Cares – Committee for AIDS Resources, Education & Services
- Vermont Department of Health
- Volunteer at Fletcher Allen Health Care
STANDARDIZED ADMISSION TEST
Most programs require scores from a standardized admission test with the application. Given the inter-disciplinary nature of these programs and the trend toward combined degrees, schools will accept some or any of the following tests:
GRE – Graduate Record Exam
GMAT - Graduate Management Admission Test
MCAT – Medical College Admission Test
LSAT - Law School Admission Test
PCAT – Pharmacy College Admission Test
DAT – Dental Admission Test
Be sure to check school-specific requirements.
APPLICATION PROCESS & TIMING
There are 49 public health schools accredited by the Council on Education of Public Health (CEPH). The majority of these schools subscribe to the centralized application service, SOPHAS. Candidates initiate application to member schools through this online service. Some schools may also require a supplemental (or secondary) school-specific application. Candidates should apply to non-member schools directly.
Check school-specific policies regarding letters. SOPHAS requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation, but will accommodate up to five if the receiving schools will accept them. At minimum, you should have two academic references, and one professional (employer or supervisor) reference that can speak to your potential as a health care professional. Choose reference providers who know you well and will support your candidacy with enthusiasm. Letters can only be submitted to SOPHAS electronically.
The SOPHAS application cycle begins in September and ends in August. The schools, and even different programs within the same schools, vary in their deadlines and enrollment dates. Generally speaking, deadlines for spring enrollment are in the fall, and those for fall enrollment are in the spring. Calendar for SOPHAS member-school deadlines.
Early application is strongly encouraged.
Last modified January 15 2013 10:53 AM