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ERIC Number: ED554160
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 156
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3031-4664-0
Undergraduate Public Health Majors: Why They Choose Public Health or Medicine?
Hilton, Warren
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
This mixed methods study examined the relationship between the motivations for attending college of undergraduate students with a focus on students with a public health major, and their desire to pursue graduate training in public health and subsequently, public health careers. The study highlighted the current public health workforce shortage and the need for more undergraduate students in public health to matriculate in graduate programs at schools of public health and then on to careers in public health. The problem that was addressed in this study was determining how to recruit more undergraduate public health majors and undergraduates in general to pursue master's level training in public health at a School of Public Health (SPH) at a large urban east coast university. The purpose of this research was to explore what factors influence public health undergraduates to pursue or not pursue graduate study and careers in public health. The research is significant because it provided evidence for administrators and faculty at the SPH to support new or enhanced recruitment/marketing strategies and curricular/co-curricular experiences that positively motivate undergraduate public health students to pursue public health graduate degrees and subsequently careers in public health. The research questions of the study focused on exploring how the motivations for attending college of undergraduate students affected their desire to attend graduate programs in public health and to choose careers in public health. The research questions also 1) uncovered curricular and/or co-curricular activities that influence public health undergraduates to pursue or not pursue public health graduate or medical school training, and 2) examined demographics characteristics that determined the likelihood of undergraduate public health students pursuing a public health graduate degree or medical degree. The study utilized a mixed methods explanatory design to examine the research questions as they are related to graduate public health and medical degree students at a large private urban university, with a focus on students who majored in public health at the undergraduate level. The study used a quantitative correlation method that was followed by a qualitative case study design. The quantitative portion of the study utilized an online version of the Students Motivations for Attending University (SMAU) Scale. The qualitative part of the study consisted of focus interviews with public health graduate students in the MPH program. Analysis of the results revealed several key conclusions: 1. certain intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for attending college, based on an analysis of variance (ANOVA), affected a students' choice of public health or medicine for graduate study and careers; and a students' perceived value of a medical degree; 2. students' perceived that participation in health related internships, community service/service learning, and research experiences played a role in graduate study/career choice of public health; 3. the education level of study participants' mothers was determined via a chi-square test to be significantly associated with career/graduate study in public health; and 4. a majority of students' (62%) reported that they lacked sufficient information when they entered college to make an informed decision on graduate study/career choice related to healthcare fields. The findings from the study provided data to individuals at the site who are responsible for recruitment, marketing, and undergraduate public health curricular/co-curricular decision. In particular, the study provides evidence for: 1. developing information via websites, campus visits and other mechanisms about public health graduate study and careers that appeals to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of undergraduates; 2. incorporating opportunities for undergraduates at the site to participate in health related experiential opportunities, have positive faculty-student interactions, and introducing public health concepts to all undergraduate students; and 3. creating information for websites and coordinating in-person events that provide information about public health careers and graduate study options. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A