School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Student Profile

Shakif Shakur
Master of Public Health / Master of International Public Health (dual degree)
Mode of study : 
Full-time, Internal & External
Country : 
Australia
Previous Education : 
Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (First Class Honours), Diploma of Child Health

Public health is immensely important to the overall wellbeing of individuals and communities, but it’s not something I even began to appreciate until after finishing medical school. I decided that pursuing further studies in this field would be the right choice at this stage of my career. With a strong international reputation for producing public health practitioners of the future, the option of completing a dual degree, and the flexibility of external studies, studying at UNSW wasn’t a difficult decision. I was fortunate enough to receive a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, which gave me the confidence to take a year away from clinical work to focus on my studies at SPHCM full-time.

Most important thing learned in your studies

I think that it’s important to critically think about different issues, keep an open mind, and use a variety of sources before forming your own opinion. The decisions we make in the field of public health might have profound impacts on individuals and communities and so these decisions should be made in their best interests.

The most challenging thing about your studies

Balancing my Masters with other endeavours has been at times challenging. I knew that I’d be returning to full-time work before completing my degree, so I decided to organise my own international internship during my second semester as I felt that it would be a great adjunct to the theoretical knowledge I was gaining. I spent two months at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva whilst continuing a full-time load, which required finding a good balance between work, studies and play.

Enjoyed the most

I enjoyed listening to our lecturers and guest lecturers talk about their respective career paths and experiences in public health. It’s given me solace knowing that everyone will have their own unique journey and that there’s a diverse range of opportunities for those interested in public health.

Message to newly commencing students

If you have the opportunity to enrol in units internally, do so and try to attend as many of the lectures and tutorials as you can. It’s easy to drop off in the latter half of the semester as assessments build up, but I found a lot of value in attending lectures in person when I was able to.  

How will your degree assist in your career

This degree will assist my efforts in finding my place within the spheres of clinical medicine and public health. Amongst other roles, in the future I hope to be a knowledgeable clinician, a public health advocate, and an academic.