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Need advice picking my field of study

SoUnderRatedSoUnderRated 0 replies1 threads New Member
I received a Bachelors degree in Public Health not too long ago and I want to go to graduate school, but I do not know if it is really worth it. Its hard landing a job with just a bachelors degree, a lot of jobs that I have looked at want 2 to 5 years of experience. I am thinking that if I get a masters, it would open up more job opportunities but I wanted to go for a pHD. My problem is I do not know what disciple I want to study because I fear that I may choose a bad one like environmental science and limit my job options by being overqualified.
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Replies to: Need advice picking my field of study

  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering 7520 replies134 threads Forum Champion
    If you don't know what discipline to study, then how on Earth can you want a PhD? A PhD is not a simple credential. It's a major, career-trajectory-altering decision.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    Its perfectly acceptable to get a masters first. Look at masters degrees in public health before you branch out to a new field. Do you want to do research work and can you talk to professionals in public health to find out what benefits the masters will give you? I have never heard of a bachelors degree in public health, most students earn a masters to find a job in public health. A PhD is needed if you want to become a public health professor at a university and some subset of jobs that may be more statistics related.

    Environmental science often leads to policy jobs in government, such as the EPA, or private sector jobs. Often environmental science has a big chemistry component to get the best science jobs. Are you interested in chemistry and measurement sciences? Do you have the prerequisites for environmental science PhD programs?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30834 replies198 threads Senior Member
    You needn't worry over much about this just yet. Take whatever job you can land, and work for a couple of years. If you are reasonably competent, you are likely to have a chance at promotion and/or your work experiences will lead you to opportunities at other companies/organizations. All of that will help you define whether or not grad school is important, and if so, which degree and which field of study.
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  • juilletjuillet 12827 replies164 threads Super Moderator
    I've often heard people say it's difficult to land a job with "just" a bachelor's degree, but that's not strictly true. When talking about educational credentials, a bachelor's alone is by far the most common credential that people hold. About 25% of the American workforce holds a bachelor's degree as their highest degree, whereas only 15% of the American workforce has an advanced (graduate or professional) degree. (https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2017/educational-attainment-of-the-labor-force/pdf/educational-attainment-of-the-labor-force.pdf).

    Yes, a lot of jobs want 2-5 years of experience, but there are lots of jobs for recent college graduates as well. The unfortunate thing is that you are looking at a time of year in which many companies have already filled their need for entry-level employees through recruiting in the academic year. It's pretty common for new college grads who haven't found anything by the beginning of summer to take a bit longer to find a job. My husband, for a maybe extreme example, didn't launch his job search for a post-college job until April or May of his senior year in college. It took him 6 or 7 months to find full-time employment.

    If you don't know what you want to study, don't go to graduate school yet. Kick your job search into high gear and connect with your undergraduate career center.


    Also, why do you think environmental science is a 'bad' area? There are all sorts of applications of environmental science: corporations in the natural gas, commodities, and other industries need to understand environmental science, and there's increasing interest from nonprofit and government organizations in environmental matters that influence human health and wealth.
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  • me29034me29034 2168 replies107 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    There is a very similar thread by @Sethm2015 You should read the responses to that as your situations seem virtually identical.
    edited July 2019
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