Around this time last year I was making decisions about graduate school. However, my decision was a little different than most. My question was not “what school of public health will I apply to?” but it was rather “should I go to a public health graduate school?”
Before my sophomore year of college, I had never even considered getting my master’s degree. However, when a program was introduced to me that seemed like it was made for me, all of that changed.
The University of Michigan School of Public Health offers a dual degree program called the Subsequent Undergraduate and Graduate Studies (SUGS) program to University of Michigan undergraduates. This program for undergraduates who are accelerated enough in their undergraduate degree allows students to begin taking School of Public Health graduate classes in their fourth (traditionally, senior) year of schooling. It offers these accelerated undergraduates the ability to walk away from the University of Michigan with a undergraduate degree and a graduate degree in a total of five years.
I had taken a pretty full course load most of my semesters at Michigan, and entered as a freshman with a decent amount of credits from Advanced Placement and college classes taken in high school. So I was more than capable of starting graduate school classes my senior year. I also fulfilled the second requirement of having a minimum of a 3.5 GPA.
The rest of the application process was very similar to what anyone applying to graduate school would experience. I had to take the GRE, gather three letters of recommendation, and write statement of purpose.
The ability to earn a master’s degree with just an additional year of schooling was too great of an opportunity for me to pass up. Plus the health effects of environmental issues is what I’m interested in, so it seemed natural that I would take the opportunity to focus on these health effects specifically.
Additionally, I believe my master’s degree will help me to be better lawyer in the future.
I encourage any undergraduate interested in public health to look into this program. It is a fantastic opportunity that should not be passed up.