Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FAQs: Public Health Programs in the USA

By Megan Garber 
Associate Director of Career Services, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine 

Q. If I am currently enrolled in a graduate program, can I apply for a pre-OPT to work before the program?
A. No. USCIS defines "curricular practical training" as employment which is an integral or important part of your curriculum, and that means it is either required for your degree or you receive academic credit for the employment experience. Once you are enrolled in a graduate program, if the proposed employment is a required part of your studies, you may apply for permission to engage in CPT whenever your program requires your participation, even if it is immediately upon beginning your studies. If the job is not a required part of your study program, but you will receive academic credit, then you have been enrolled in valid, lawful status as a full-time student for at least one full academic year directly preceding your CPT application.

Q. Would a Public Health degree increase my chances of being accepted into a medical residency training program in the U.S. after passing the USMLE?
A. Many international students with a MD, MBBS or BDS chose to complete a Master of Public Health prior to applying to residency programs in the US and Canada. There are many other reasons for physicians to earn an MPH. Public health physicians work beyond patient treatment in the clinical setting. They work to improve health education and promotion in order to prevent illnesses and injuries. A public health education adds to your credentials, and it makes you a better doctor.

Q. I am an international undergraduate student studying public health. I am interested in knowing if the admission office values work experience from international applicants?
A. Some public health programs require professional experience, but not all. Relevant work experience will certainly add to your resume and may make you a more attractive applicant, but you may also be able to find schools and programs that already view you as a strong applicant.

Q. Is the CPT only applicable for students with a graduate degree from the US?
A. Yes. CPT is only applicable to students enrolled in U.S. universities.

Q. I am seeking an opportunity in doctoral programs in international bio-statistics. What critical perspectives do schools look for in their candidates? I am also interested in knowing future employment chances?

A. Bio-statistics programs may vary in their respective requirements and you should check each schools requirements before applying. Here is an example of the quantitative coursework you might find are required:

- 3 courses in calculus, including partial derivatives and techniques for multiple integrals
- 1 course in linear algebra
- 1 course in probability theory
- 4 additional courses in statistics or bio-statistics to include a general introduction, linear - regression, introductory mathematical statistics and an additional course in survey sampling, multivariate, time series, para-metrics, etc.

The American Statistical Association (ASA), job prospects for new graduates with master’s and PhD degrees in bio-statistics are excellent. Many biostatisticians work in government, industry, and academia, and recent graduates have been hired pharmaceutical companies, university research groups, hospitals, and health-related industries.

Megan Garber is the Associate Director of Career Services for the Graduate Programs in Public Health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Megan helps MPH and MSPH students prepare for their careers by organizing career panel discussions with potential employers and coaching students to improve their resume or CV and interviewing skills. She teaches students how to search and apply for field experiences, internships, student jobs and full-time job opportunities. Megan earned a Master of Science in Education in College Student Personnel from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.


  1. There are many questions about public health related. Same question i wanted to ask but here i have got all the answer and it helps me to know about it. Thanks!!

  2. This was very helpful! However, I was wondering if a person has a DVM, what are their chances of entering a Public Health Program? What would the job options be?

  3. This is impressive to know about Public Health Program in USA. I have to follow all these words as mentioned above in detail. I am currently enrolled in a graduate program that is why the word of collection are helpful for me. Thank you so much and keep posting things like this!


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