Biophysics or Public Health?

<p>Hi there everybody, I'm a prospective Johns Hopkins student and JHU has always been my number one choice and I can't wait to apply.</p>

<p>I'm having a really hard time choosing between the biophysics and Public Health Studies:natural sciences track majors so I wanted some feedback on each major (hopefully by alumni of the majors or current students :) ) I know you don't have to declare your major until the end of sophomore year but I still want some insight please.</p>

<p>I love the hard science feel of biophysics and the research is very lucrative. The intersection of molecular physics and biology has always interested me and I'm even pursuing biophysics research right now. I like the idea of a small class size with plenty of amazing research opportunities (which I'm sure at Hopkins is available in every major, which is another reason why Hopkins is awesome :P). I know it's awesome preparation for medical school too, which is my goal. So all in all, very interesting field that I know I would enjoy and pursue, amazing research, which is very very very important to me, and great exposure to hard sciences.</p>

<p>Now, public health is, from what I gather from the academic blogs on the Hopkins Interactive website, the study of the spread and nature of disease, physiology, and the socio-economics and management of Health Care. I love the social science application to the health sciences and the relevant, "life-changing," feel to this major. I feel like there are countless independent study opportunities, like studying abroad and applying public health abroad (for example malaria studies in a foreign country). However, I'm wondering what the research is like. Can Public Health Studies majors get involved with immunology/epidemiology/tissue research, or would the research gear towards the social sciences. I am also afraid that the Public Health major won't provide enough sciences ("hard" sciences so to speak). Is this true?</p>

<p>I'm particularly interested in what type of natural science research projects can majors pursue.</p>

<p>Correct me if I'm wrong on any of the points above and thank you so much for your help!</p>

<p>Well first off, pubic health studies has changed as a major. It's no longer split into natural sciences and social sciences and there's an additional required course. </p>

<p>As for research, it's definitely possible to still do hard research. If you read JHU_Phil's blog then he did a lot of research regarding glaucoma and cataracts both abroad and at the School of Medicine. If you're not doing engineering then definitely apply for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship which gives you 10,000 dollars to conduct your own independent research in any field you want. </p>

<p>You can definitely conduct hard science research and also take the courses. You can also e-mail the public health advisors. Their contact info is at krieger.jhu.edu/publichealth</p>

<p>I was neither a PH nor a Biophysics major, but I did end up going to medical school from Hopkins. It's great that you have a decent idea of what fields you're interested in, and there's really no need for you to have a definite choice made before you apply. Yeah, you're going to have to write about one of the majors on your application, but since it sounds like you would really enjoy both fields, I would strongly suggest that you avoid picking a field for sure before you get to Hopkins. You're not required to declare a major until your sophomore year, and you should take the opportunity to get a better feel for both fields before you make a decision. </p>

<p>As for some of your concerns, it's very possible to get involved in more "basic-science" research as a public health major. In fact, it's possible to get involved in pretty much any type of research as any type of major, especially if you start early and show an interest in spending a couple years in a lab/research group. It's just a matter of finding the right mentor who does work you're interested in and is willing to give you some freedom in picking a project that fits your interests (of course, you won't be given huge amounts of freedom until you get some experience in the lab group. And it'll be a lot easier if you bring in funding for the research you're interested in through a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship or a Provost's Undergraduate Research Award). Take a look at the website of the undergraduate</a> Public Health research journal and see the huge breadth of research students do - everything from basic science to population studies. </p>

<p>Hope that helps!</p>

<p>Thanks everybody, that really did help! I love how you can explore a major at Hopkins before you decide on it!</p>

<p>I'm bumping this thread because I have a follow up question. Say I choose biophysics, does that mean that I wouldn't be able to do some of the public health studies research abroad programs? I'm referring to disease studies etc. Thanks :)</p>

<p>bump 10char</p>