Reviewing the Entry Selection Criteria For MPH in the United Kingdom

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To the author’s knowledge, this is the first study to review the entry selection criteria for MPH in the United Kingdom. Student selection is an important part of SOPH activities and all course directors interviewed felt that their selection process was adequate, since they had achieved good results over the years. There are a few differences in the student selection process used by SOPH in the United Kingdom, with directors playing different roles in the admissions process. These roles range from deciding and implementing the admissions criteria to functioning in a supervisory or supporting capacity for the admissions board. In some cases, the entire admission process is handled by an external agency. However, the activities of this agency are audited for quality by the course director.

The traditional tools like the academic transcript, personal statement and reference letters still play an important part in student selection. Although there has been little research done by UK SOPH to validate these tools, directors generally agreed that the academic transcript and personal statement were among the most important criteria for student select. A good academic transcript which records previous academic performance was described as essential and could predict anecdotally whether the candidate can cope with the demands of a Masters Degree programme. The personal statement was described as equally important, as it reveals the student’s desires and aspiration, indicates motivation and reflects evidence of experience in public health. These opinions were justified based on the evidence of the effectiveness of these tools found in the literature. However, the issues surrounding the quality of the academic transcripts of different univ...

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...culties encountered with this project was scheduling interviews with course directors who tend to have a very busy schedule. This factor limited the number of participants that could be included in the study. Qualitative data usually benefits from investigator triangulation, where more than one observer reviews the collected data, increasing the chances of a richer and more valid interpretation. This project was however carried out independently and as such the findings presented could not benefit from a different researchers perspective.

Another limitation was the difficulty in getting data from other universities with regards to student performance on the course. Only two Universities provided requested data and as such the findings cannot be generalised. A comparative study of student background and performance across all SOPH in the UK will be quite useful.
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