By Sarah Borg, MSc Public Health
I moved to London from Adelaide, Australia in September 2014 to undertake a one-year full time Masters of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Prior to this I completed a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree at the end of 2012 and had been working as a doctor for almost two years before coming here. My interest in Public Health sparked when it was very briefly covered in my medical course. I decided I wanted to study this area of medicine in more depth and I chose the School because it is one of the top universities in the world for Public Health. I wanted to study with students from all over the world with varied backgrounds, under esteemed, experienced, passionate, first class lecturers. The course content is well structured and incredibly useful for anyone who wants to work in any area of Public Health or do research. The lectures and seminars are stimulating and empowering, and there is a high level of student support available.
Here are my top five reasons for studying at the School:
The course structure does vary slightly between Master’s courses but the overall structure is very similar and based around three academic terms. The first of which involves mostly compulsory subjects, which are usually epidemiology, statistics and economics. The second and third terms involve five intensive five-week modules chosen from a list that allows you to pursue individual interests. For the MSc Public Health, the first term consists of compulsory core modules: epidemiology, statistics, economics, and principles of social research which give a background knowledge essential for use in the Public Health field, as well as two modules of your choosing. I chose Issues in Public Health and Health Promotion Theory. For MSc Public Health you also chose a stream which focuses the subjects you chose. I took the Health Promotion stream. For terms two and three I chose two more Health Promotion subjects, Family Planning Programs, Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Globalisation and Health. This allowed me to explore my interests and I found the subjects very inspiring and stimulating. You also work on a summer project (a sort of “mini dissertation”) which allows you to do some research in an area you are interested in.
The School’s campus is right in the heart of the city, just next to The British Museum and a short walk to Oxford Street, making it an ideal location for those new to the city who want to explore. You are literally next door to the Senate Library (aka the Ministry of Magic from Harry Potter), as well as about fifteen minutes from the British Library, so along with the School’s library, you have plenty of quiet study spots to take advantage of. In the warmer months you can also utilise the grass in Russell Square and squeeze in a bit of sun. Most importantly, there are plenty of cute little cafes and coffee shops close by to the campus.
The School is one of the best in the world in its field. In terms of Public Health it is world-renowned. Not only does this look good on your resume and impress interviewers, but it means that your lecturers are usually world leaders in their fields and provide you with a wealth of knowledge stemming from actual experience. It’s a great chance to develop professional relationships with these lecturers as well as opportunities to undertake research with them.
The School’s worldwide reputation obviously draws in students from all over the world with varying experiences from different backgrounds. The School is unique in that when considering applications it also takes into account experience as opposed to just focusing on academic grades. This means that your classroom is full of peers who have a wealth of experience and knowledge that you can draw from. This makes tutorials and seminars all the more interesting and invaluable.
Whilst the university is in the United Kingdom, the course does not just focus on this country, and instead on Public Health all over the world; in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. This provides students with a more broad, and comprehensive knowledge of Public Health, meaning you can take what you’ve learnt and apply it to work in any country, not just in the UK.
If you have an interest in research, the School is the place to be. It is one of the world’s leading research universities and research in Public and Global Health is highly rated for impact. At the School you will be taught how to critically analyse research and how to effectively conduct research. These invaluable skills are imperative for any future work in the field of Public Health.