10 September 2009

You take the good, you take the bad...

So you know how all summer EVERY blog entry was about how I was sick? Then EVERY entry was about MJ? Well, now you have to suffer through EVERY entry being about PhD applications. Sorry.

So... the update thus far.

There aren't many schools that offer PhDs in Health Services Research. Of those that do, I immediately eliminated UCLA, UC-Berkeley, Texas A&M, U of North Texas (never even knew they existed), U of Minnesota, and SLU. After a little more consideration, I eliminated U of Alabama at Birmingham, U of Iowa, U of Florida, U of Arkansas, and Ohio State. Which leaves me applying to: U of Washington, BU, and Pittsburgh.

But I found out that Pittburgh's programme is REALLY new. The SPH (School of Public Health - us public healthers are REALLY fond of abbreviations, acronymns, and backronyms) is well-established, but the HSR PhD programme is BRAND NEW. As in, if I were to be admitted next year, I'd be in their second admitted class. And that makes me really leery. Especially after being at Drexel for two years and hearing "you're the biggest class we've ever had and we don't know what to do with all of you" for two solid years.

However, I spoke to a woman at BU yesterday and she told me that they have a grand total of... THREE seats to offer to applicants for next year's class. THREE. They normally seat four, but one of this year's acceptees deferred to next year. She mentioned that while she knows I have a Master's degree already, I might want to consider applying for their MSc programme in HSR. People who do their MSc programme and go on to apply to their PhD programme in HSR are "typically pretty successful applicants." Of course, the downside to that is that I'd have to come up with my own funding if I was a Master's-level student again.

BUT, she did say that most of those students don't complete the Master's and they transition to the PhD programme after the first semester. The courses taken during the Master's programme count toward the PhD. AND, it doesn't cost any more to apply to both programmes. So I am considering it.

But after being in shock from hearing her say "three seats available..." It just echoed in my head all evening... like an effect from a bad horror movie. So I started giving Seattle a really hard look. And I really liked what I saw. I'd pick an area of concentration, and I easily selected mine last night.

But applying to only three schools when I know that one is BRAND NEW (and thus probably not accepting many students) and another is only taking three students makes me really nervous. So now I'm looking at some of the schools I had rejected after a lot of thought. Maybe I could stand Ohio State...? or Minnesota...?



The former Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Drexel's SPH (he left Drexel the fall after I graduated) answered my email to him earlier this morning. Apparently, he is "more than happy" to write a letter of recommendation for me for my PhD applications.


  1. hey - aT LEast we know what to expect!!

    I'm still hoping for boston!

  2. I don't know anything about UW's (University of Washington) program, but I love Seattle. I've lived here most of my life, and if you can get over the grey sky, then you will love it too!

  3. I'm new to your blog (found you through Ravelry), fellow knitter, blogger and Korean adoptee - and Ijust started my 2nd year in a PhD program at the U of Minnesota. Good luck on your applications! It's exciting!