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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have an online option to complete the MPH degree?
At this time, we do not offer an online option. Our program requires that students take classes on campus.

How long does it take to complete the MPH degree?
It varies depending upon the number of credits students enroll in each semester. Students who enroll full-time are generally able to complete the MPH degree in two years with one summer between the 1st and 2nd years.

When are classes offered?
During the Fall semester, the core MPH courses meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. During the Spring Semester courses meet on Monday and Wednesday. There may be exceptions. Elective courses meet at various times. Students enrolling in the MPH Program must plan on attending classes on campus.

Is it possible to enroll as a part-time student?
Yes, the MPH Program can be completed on a part-time basis, as long as all degree requirements are completed within five years of matriculation. The majority of students take the program on a full-time basis because the majority of core and elective courses required for the MPH degree are taught during the daytime hours.

What areas of specialization are available within the MPH program?
The MPH degree at UW-Madison can be tailored to students’ specific health interests due to the flexibility of our degree. All students complete a set of core courses, but beyond these required courses students are afforded great latitude in course selection from a list of methods courses, a list of approved electives which represent core and cross-cutting public health competencies, and the completion of a graduate certificate. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides our students with opportunities to enhance their educational goals and provide degree specialization with campus wide certificates and dual degree options.

Are most of the students in the MPH program from dual degrees?
Students in the MPH program range from dual degree health professions students to full-time single MPH degree students to part-time, working students. Approximately 1/3 of the students in the program are from dual degrees.

What are potential certificate options for MPH students?
Many MPH students add an area of specialization to their degrees by incorporating a public health related certificate offered at UW-Madison. There are several common certificates completed by MPH students.

Many of the courses required for these certificates can be used to fulfill MPH elective credit requirements.

Can I transfer credits from a previous institution?
The MPH Program allows a maximum of 12 graduate credits taken at the graduate level, to be transferred in from another university. Students must have taken the courses within five years of entry into the MPH Program and must have received a grade of “B” or above. Courses must be approved by the MPH Curriculum Committee upon admission to the MPH Program. Graduate level courses taken as an undergraduate will not transfer.

Is it possible to take courses before being admitted to the MPH Program?
If you are not enrolled in the MPH Program, but would like to take MPH courses, you may apply to enroll as a Special Student through the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. Instructor permission is required to enroll in courses as a special student. Graduate level courses taken as an undergraduate will not be counted towards the MPH degree.

What is the difference between a Master of Public Health degree and the MS/PhD in Population Health Sciences?
The MPH Program, a professional degree program, emphasizes practice in public health or healthcare settings whereas the MS/PhD degree program, a graduate academic degree program, emphasizes research of public health issues or clinically-related problems. In turn, professional degrees generally are suited for those who want careers as practitioners in public health or clinical setting (collaborating with individuals or groups to promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease in patients and community populations); whereas graduate academic degrees are generally suited for those who want careers as researchers of public health or clinically-related problems (finding solutions or understanding of public health or clinical issues through research and analysis). It is possible for graduates of either degree type to work in similar settings (such as government or non-profit organizations), but the scope or focus of their work would likely be different (practice vs. research).

What type of degree or academic background and experience do I need to enter the MPH program?
Students entering the MPH program come from wide-ranging academic backgrounds and have diverse public health experiences. Applicable undergraduate degrees with relevance to public health are varied and include biologic sciences, environmental science, economics, statistics, food science and nutrition, international studies, political science, psychology, nursing, social work, anthropology, geography, or others. Public health experience is highly valued and may include working in social service agencies, public health departments, volunteer organizations and health care organizations.

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to the MPH Program?
It is expected that students be in the 50th percentile or above in all categories.

Is public health experience required for admission to the MPH Program?
Public Health experience is one factor that the Admissions Committee uses to evaluate candidates for entry to the MPH Program. It is strongly recommended that students have some public health experience when they apply.

How can I gain public health experience?
Public health experience may be obtained in several ways. Some of the organizations that offer public health-related volunteer opportunities are:

Morgridge Center for Public Service
Health-related UW-Madison student organizations
AHEC CHIP Program

How do I apply for a dual degree program?
Students who wish to enroll in one of the approved MPH dual degree programs must apply to and be admitted to each program separately. Required materials depend upon your status at the time of application. Please view our Dual Degree information page.

What is the accreditation status of the MPH program?
The MPH Program has been accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since 2009.