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So I applied to a dual degree program. They rejected me for PA but accepted me into their MPH. I think public health is interesting but I wouldn't say it's a huge passion of mine. I thought a good backup plan if I don't get into PA this cycle is to just do the MPH. Not sure how it will play out as I am still waiting on a ton of schools. It's in a great area, so I know I'll like being at that school, and the opportunities are great in the MPH program. However, I'm also concerned about being in a bucketload of debt with two master's degrees by the time I finish, but at the same time moving out of home and scrambling for a bunch of jobs and volunteer work to afford rent and living expenses seems very stressful(my other backup plan). Would it be better to pursue the master's or just work for another year or two, if worst case scenario I don't get into PA school this cycle?

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That a tough question as you are still waiting on decisions from schools by the sounds of things. An MPH is not a bad way to improve your application, is it a one year program?

If it is more than a year and you feel that your application is already strong academically, I would say work for another year. Perhaps take a couple classes to slightly bump your GPA.

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4 hours ago, EMEDPA said:

MPH + other classes or MPH + volunteer or part time job.

I'm guessing if you do well in the MPH you would be a shoe in for their pa program the next cycle.

That's a good idea! I heard their MPH is actually pretty laid back, I could try to get shadowing and volunteer on the side. Their PAs take an accelerated version of the program in one year instead of two, maybe if I can double my course load it would save time and I'd have contacts in the program to reapply?

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4 hours ago, milesHenson1 said:

That a tough question as you are still waiting on decisions from schools by the sounds of things. An MPH is not a bad way to improve your application, is it a one year program?

If it is more than a year and you feel that your application is already strong academically, I would say work for another year. Perhaps take a couple classes to slightly bump your GPA.

It's two years long. The dual degree students do the MPH in one year though. I have a couple of poor grades but not many, I also don't have a competitive level of HCE, so I'm kind of curious if having an MPH would look better than just having a ton of hours?

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1 hour ago, silverstarlight said:

It's two years long. The dual degree students do the MPH in one year though. I have a couple of poor grades but not many, I also don't have a competitive level of HCE, so I'm kind of curious if having an MPH would look better than just having a ton of hours?

The MPH may give you a better shot at getting into that PA program, provided you do well. However not having HCE may also hurt your chances at other schools. Would it be possible to work part time while you are doing the MPH? That way you get the best of both worlds, an MPH and roughly one year more of HCE.

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Current MPH graduate here, who is also attending PA school this next May. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have made. Yes, it will be a struggle obtaining HCE while in the program full-time, but that's not to say having research experience isn't a great substitute if you expect to meet or exceed minimum HCE requirements for your programs of interest; I did both research and accrued HCE as a part-timer on the weekends. During your practicum or thesis, most of the coursework is out of the way and it provides a solid semester where you can extend the amount of HCE hrs you'd like to garner. Expenses are a whole different animal, but depending on the program there should be some scholarship opportunities both on acceptance and within the program once you have started. To name a few, my program in particular offered numerous GRA's, department-specific student excellence scholarships, and a handful of global health research grants.

Many topics in public health (population health dynamics, epidemiology, critical appraisal of literature, environmental health, health policy, etc) are increasingly relevant to medical practice, in particular the more community-oriented PA provider model. As we see it, public health encompasses all crucial social and human challenges. My time as an MPH student really solidified for me why I cherished the PA route over any other occupation, and also provided me with a wonderful set of tangible and critical thinking skills to be more successful in practice. DM me if you'd like to hear more about my experiences and opportunities when I was a student in the program. Lastly, I was able to reflect and fall back on my experiences as a public health student many times during personal statements, secondary app essays and interview questions, and it has gifted me with lots of success this application cycle.

Here is a link to an article that I believe does a great job of weighing the benefits/costs to pursuing a dual MPH/PA degree: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070060

Best of luck!

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