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Preparing for grad school in Epidemiology

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I am a second-year college student interested in getting a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. Is this a good field to go into? What should I do in college to prepare for grad school in epidemiology--should I take graduate-level classes if they are available to undergrads at my school? Is doing an honors senior thesis enough research experience, or should I try to join a lab to get more experience? What else should I do to prepare?
#graduate-school #graduate #publichealth #epidemiology

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4 answers

Maneet’s Answer

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Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection, and statistical analysis of data, amend interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research, public health studies, and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences.

There are various field in Epidemiology where you would want to contribute.

I will suggest you to see the free courses to know your interest : https://study.com/articles/List_of_Free_Online_Epidemiology_Courses.html

For your question regarding what should be the background to get in to the course, below link can help
https://study.com/articles/epidemiology_graduate_programs_in_california.html


All the Best.
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Maneet’s Answer

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Updated Translate
Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is a cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection, and statistical analysis of data, amend interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research, public health studies, and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences.

There are various field in Epidemiology where you would want to contribute.

I will suggest you to see the free courses to know your interest : https://study.com/articles/List_of_Free_Online_Epidemiology_Courses.html

For your question regarding what should be the background to get in to the course, below link can help
https://study.com/articles/epidemiology_graduate_programs_in_california.html


All the Best.
Hi Amy and Maneet! Great question and answer! I am employed by Fannie Mae as a project manager, so I don't have any experience in the Epidemiology field. Thanks for sharing the knowledge! Hope you are both safe and well. Patricia Banks Translate
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Kathleen’s Answer

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A strong epidemiologist has an deep understanding of health and disease to be most effective. I don't know what you are currently studying so it is difficult to guide you without this information. There are plenty of individuals who can do the math (which is important but.....)but what is important is having both an analytical mind and background in the clinical, medical, biochemistry, environmental health, or various other health related fields prior to enrolling in public health degrees. Many individuals will get a Master of Public Health or a Master of Science in Epidemiology prior to a PhD program. Most PhD programs will probably require a master's level first.
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Lisa’s Answer

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Hi Amy L.

I hope you’re enjoying your sophomore year in college and I am excited that you’re already thinking ahead.

To me, it seems like you’ve been thinking about this career choice for sometime and have already done some homework on how to prepare well. By the way, all your choices and suppositions are correct and aligned with the best ways to prepare. Also, the advice you’ve already gotten are good insights and I hope my contributions will also be helpful.

You couldn’t have chosen a better time to enter this field as the entire world journeys through a pandemic where an epidemiologist’s work will be critical for all of us.

First, I want you to breathe. Then, I want you to think about what type of epidemiologist you want to be, what will be your emphasis, and who are you passionate about helping (communities or groups). I also want you to consider taking classes specifically for this leaning (i.e., group or community of interest) and consider taking a few courses to learn more about them along with all the prerequisite courses needed for any PhD program (pace yourself), You may consider a minor to build your knowledge base and to give you more focus. So, it starts by building your knowledge base and passion as well as considering a possible minor that can help you discover your interest, guide your thesis and prepare you for the right PhD program that fits your passion. My hope is that these steps will also help you understand which research opportunity you should be focused on. Be patient...your AHA moment is in this place but you have to breathe and enjoy the process to see it.

In other words, you may need to spend some time doing some research with your Career Center staffers about possible emphases in this field and then start chatting up faculty in the field. Ask 3-4 faculty members for 15-20mins informative interviews about their work and be bold to ask for an externship to simple watch what they’re doing (if they are actively doing research). The faculty can also guide you with certain classes that may help you prepare. Be careful though, remember that every faculty is an expert in his/her area in the field and may try to sway you accordingly, so it’s important for you to have some inclination about who you want to serve and what you can see yourself doing everyday; so, start with the Career Center first..

Finally, once you’ve spent some time doing some self and field searching, please consider reaching out to places like the CDC and ask if you can speak with something in the field. I believe there is a CDC outfit in Oakland or Alameda near you. You can ask about volunteering or interning there as you build your knowledge and passion (not just your resume) in the field as an undergrad.

I apologize for the length of my response and I hope this information is helpful. Whatever you decide to do, my hope is that you will chase after something that will give you such a sense of purpose that you’ll feel like you could do it for free. For me, it’s serving students like you!

Be well, Amy L., happy searching!

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