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Whether to Transfer from UCSD Public Health to Vanderbilt Medicine, Health, and Society

graceaagraceaa 1 replies2 threads New Member
Hi, I'm a freshman studying at UCSD Public Health and considering whether to transfer to the Medicine, Health, and Society program at Vanderbilt University. I'm hesitating because I think I'm more interested in health behaviors and epidemiology, while it looks likes the core courses of MHS program at Vandy mainly focus on the sociology and anthropology aspects of health issues (such as Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities), AND MHS does not provide public health courses (such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and health behaviors and chronic diseases, which UCSD provides). I think my main goal is to get into a great grad school (Harvard or JHU) to study health behaviors or epidemiology. While UCSD may provide a more comprehensive system for me to learn public health, Vandy has a higher rank, a better reputation, as well as smaller classes, which I look forward to. Therefore, will transferring to Vandy help my grad school application? Can I ask for some advice whether to transfer from UCSD to Vandy or not? Thankssss!
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Replies to: Whether to Transfer from UCSD Public Health to Vanderbilt Medicine, Health, and Society

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7042 replies65 threads Senior Member
    It is true that the name of your undergraduate university *can* be relevant to grad school admissions but it is 1) typically less of one than you might think and 2) more likely to matter in different ways to what you are thinking.

    Almost nobody is as fixated on undergraduate "rank" as prospective undergraduates. For most of the rest of the world undergraduate programs fall into (very) broad ranges. For grad schools this is both more and less true: it is the relevance of your specific program that will matter, not the overall "rank" of your uni, and it is how good a candidate you are for that course that will matter, not the overall "reputation" of the university. This works both ways, btw- places that you might drool over for undergraduate won't even be on your radar for your masters or PhD.

    The idea is that you are going from a broad education and interest in a field to more specialized as you go from Bachelor to Master to Doctor.

    Which is why the whole premise of your question is so deeply problematic. You are essentially saying 'should I leave a program that covers what I am seriously interested in for one that I think has a better label but doesn't cover material that is deeply relevant to the grad school programs I want to go to?'.

    This is even more true if you are looking at Harvard or JHU, both of whose MPH programs require 2 years of full time work in the field after graduation before you can even apply. The program you are in (and internships you are doing as part of it) should be putting you in a position to get jobs in the areas of your genuine interest, which will both let you test that interest in real life, and help you fine-tune the area(s) that you want to become expert in. Switching to a program that is focused on different (albeit perfectly valid) objectives is like saying, 'I want to go from A to B, but I'm going to get off the direct train and take the train towards C, because it is fancier'. Not the best way to get to where you want to go!

    Can I guess that the choice you pose, between Vandy and UCSD, has some other element? Otherwise, it seems a little random....
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  • graceaagraceaa 1 replies2 threads New Member
    Thanks for your genuine and exhaustive response! It helps me to make a decision a lot! I'm considering Vandy only because I really want to transfer out of UCSD and Vandy has a high success rate of transfer haha. Now I'm just considering transfer to Emory, which has a major of my fit, "Human Health," and also the CDC nearby. Again, thanks for your insight!
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