Originally from Pakistan, Shereen Rahmat Minhas now works as a health promotion and communications consultant in Cairo, Egypt. She graduated in person at the University of Liverpool after studying online for her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool?
The University confers the same degree to on-campus as well as online students for this academic programme. I couldn’t possibly have left personal and professional commitments for an on-campus degree and, anyway, this was not possible in Egypt in my area of interest. The University of Liverpool’s public health programme is a well recognised, international degree.What did you enjoy most about your online MPH study?
Completion of each single assignment was motivating but especially getting ‘A’ grades in three compulsory modules was a particular achievement! I was able to learn at my own pace.
The programme didn’t hinder my personal commitments because of its flexibility. At the same time, I didn’t ever feel that I was missing on-campus learning because of the classroom discussions. They made the whole experience come to life and were a constant source of motivation.Did the structure of the programme help you to keep going?
The weekly assignments – specified readings, regular classroom discussions – keep you motivated and help you to finish the degree according to your pre-defined timeline.
I found the amount of work challenging but later I thought it was really useful. It requires a lot of reading, searching for relevant references from other authentic adademic sources, thinking, analysing and finally giving your original input on the subject in a well written, referenced form. In short, you don’t say a word without giving a reference.How did you fit online study into your life?
Good question! Most of the time, I studied from home on my personal laptop. I also travelled a lot so the laptop went with me everywhere. I completed assignments in hotels in Kenya (I was doing the module on Health Promotion), Dubai (Public Health Nutrition), Morocco (Quantative Research), Singapore (probably Quantative Research).
I remember submitting my final assignment for the Health Systems module from Qatar International Airport. I also frequently travelled to Pakistan during my masters and would complete my assignments even at my in-laws’ house. In short, it was fun and I never had issues as the instructors were always considerate. Actually, it was the best choice according to my life commitments.What are your top tips for other online students?
Just take one day at a time. Be regular in reading the readings, submitting assignments, submitting answers to Discussion Questions (DQs), following up on DQs on a timely basis. There is no short cut. You will have to run with the programme if you want to finish it in time.What did it mean to you to graduate in person in Liverpool?
My lifetime dream came true! I always wanted to graduate from an international university in the relevant professional field. I felt honoured to graduate from such a prestigious institution.I would recommend the University of Liverpool because…
It is worth spending the time, money and other resources as it returns your commitment.Shereen’s research
Shereen hopes to go on to publish her MPH research on Perceptions and Experiences of mothers in Pakistan with regard to exclusive breastfeeding. Shereen, who previously worked on a John Hopkins University maternal and newborn health initiative in Pakistan, found in her research that traditional beliefs/ customs and family members are the main influences on exclusive breastfeeding practices. “Mothers and elderly family members, especially mothers-in-law, could be the key for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding,” she said.Refer a friend, colleague, family member
Shereen recommended the University and the MPH programme to her husband Wasiq Mehmood Khan, a Technical Officer at the World Health Organisation in Cairo.