Like many other undergraduate students, Jeanette Deason knew she wanted to go to graduate school, but wasn’t sure where. A statistics major at the University of Iowa, Deason envisioned eventually working in medical testing and clinical trials.
When she attended a meeting introducing the new Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) program offered through the UI College of Public Health, the pieces started to fall into place.
“I didn’t know about public health at all, but when I heard about the type of careers and wide scope of options with this degree, it really sparked my interest,” Deason recalls.
The College of Public Health’s U2G program provides an opportunity for students interested in health sciences to earn both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in just five years. Deason chose to pursue the Master of Public Health (MPH) in quantitative methods. Other MPH options are available in community and behavioral health, epidemiology, occupational and environmental health, and policy. Master of Science degrees in epidemiology and industrial hygiene are also available.
U2G students begin taking graduate coursework in their fourth year, the same year they complete their undergraduate degree. They complete their graduate coursework in the fifth year.
Deason, who is originally from Granite Bay, California, says shifting from undergraduate to graduate-level classes was a relatively smooth transition.
“I think the biggest change was moving from the undergraduate mindset of ‘I’m taking this class because I have to to graduate,’ to ‘I’m genuinely interested in every class I have,’” she says.
Another benefit was the focus and personalization of graduate studies. “At the graduate level, the professors know your name and your interests,” she adds.
Deason is set to graduate this December, making her the first student to complete the U2G program. She’s currently looking for a job, ideally in a larger city. Right now, Denver or Chicago are on the top of her list.
“I want to be a biostatistician with clinical trials,” Deason says when asked about her dream job, adding that there are a lot of career choices available with her degrees, ranging from working for a pharmaceutical company to working in an academic setting. The latter is her preference. “An academic setting would offer more groundbreaking work and experience,” she says.