How to Write a Great Personal Statement for the Global MPH

How to Write a Great Personal Statement for the Global MPH

Imperial College London’s School of Public Health is renowned for conducting world-class research on today’s most pressing public health issues. No matter how compelling your research findings are, it is essential to communicate them clearly in order to promote positive change.

The same principle applies to your personal statement for the Global Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This personal statement is a chance to make the case that you belong at Imperial. Making that case clearly and effectively can be as important as your academic and professional qualifications.

Many students get anxious about this portion of the application, or worry that their writing skills aren’t up to the task. Our advice? Don’t panic!

You don’t have to be an outstanding writer to craft a great personal statement. Your task is to provide Imperial’s reviewers with the information they’re looking for in 1500 words or less. Let’s break the key points down into three specific areas: your past, present, and future.

1.Past: your background in public health

Start by introducing yourself. You’ve already provided a CV with your application, so this is an opportunity to put your experience in context. Tell us how and why you became interested in public health, the skills you’ve developed, and what you’re most proud of in your studies and career. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through!  

Key points:

  • Previous academic and professional experience
  • Relevant exposures to public health related work and research
  • Areas of interest in healthcare and why they interest you

Examples from the MPH Class of 2018-19:

“Throughout my years at University and recent postgraduate studies, I have worked in a pharmacy as a pharmacy/ dispensing assistant, in both community and hospital settings with the latter being involved with cancer clinical trials. These roles have greatly advanced my knowledge of patient care, different treatment options and health awareness strategies within the NHS and local CCGs.”

“I worked on a retrospective study to examine the trends and outcomes of aortic valve replacements performed on veterans from 2005 to 2015. Prior coursework in statistics equipped me to interpret data analyses. I co-authored two abstracts. I often considered how researchers contribute towards reducing health inequities in specific populations.”

2. Present: why you are applying to the Imperial College MPH

After you’ve introduced yourself, explain your motivation for your application. What is driving you to take your career in public health to the next level, and why is the Imperial Online MPH right for you? Make a compelling case why you are applying to this program, specifically, and why now is the right time.

Key points:

  • Your motivation for your professional and/or research career in public health
  • Why you are applying for the Online MPH program, specifically

Examples from MPH Class of 2018-19:

“My healthcare background has given me the drive to move my career from disease treatment to increasing awareness of disease prevention. With an increasing life expectancy and an uncertain national healthcare budget, prevention of poor health from preventable diseases has never been more imperative.”

“I am particularly interested in studying at Imperial College London due to its Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, as the research areas of the unit match my own areas of interest for future research which include big healthcare data, healthcare access and health policy; within these areas I have an interest in mental health, cancer and primary and secondary care.”

3. Future: goals for your research at Imperial and your career beyond graduation

Finally, show that you have a specific vision for your time at Imperial and your post-MPH career. Include a short proposal (150 words or less) for a research project that you would be interested in carrying out as part of your dissertation over approximately a three month period. This gives the team more of an idea of your research interests and motivation to undertake the online Global MPH program. If you are accepted, you will not be required to carry out the proposal from your application. If you’d like to pursue the proposal from your application as part of your research portfolio, you can.

Key Points:

  • Your future career goals
  • Your proposed research area

Examples from MPH Class of 2018-19:

“I believe the course will be able to provide an opportunity to obtain a more in-depth knowledge within these areas, but also developing a strong theoretical understanding of health policy, epidemiology and research methods, which I will give me the underpinning knowledge to undertake a PhD in Public health evaluation and policy in the future.”

“I aim to perform research to evaluate and improve the effectiveness and accessibility of health services for chronic conditions in low-income communities.”


One last piece of advice: write an honest statement that gets across your true character and motivations, rather than writing something you think the panel will want to hear. Imperial’s goal in requesting these personal statements is to get to know prospective applicants on a personal level. Focus on providing a clear account of who you are, why you’re applying, and what you plan to do during and after the program.

The Global MPH offers the opportunity to get a world-class graduate degree in public health from one of the top 10 universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2019). The program is affordable, flexible, and 100% online. As such, it attracts a diverse, highly-qualified group of students from across the globe. With a great personal statement, you can significantly increase your chances of joining the next cohort!