Bachelor of Arts/Master of Public Health

Public health provides a community-based, systems-level approach to solving complex health problems. Students learn quantitative methods and analytical frameworks for tackling challenging issues such as health care access and environmental hazards.

For the most recent information, please visit the School of Public Health website.

The Bachelor of Arts/Master of Public Health program offered jointly by the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and the School of Public Health (SPH) is a blend of the undergraduate experience and graduate professional study leading to increased career opportunities in the field of public health. Students complete all degree requirements for the (128-credit) BA and all requirements for the (48-credit) MPH. Up to 16 credits of graduate-level School of Public Health coursework completed in the final two years of undergraduate study may be applied both as elective credit toward the BA and as credit toward fulfillment of requirements for the MPH. Careful planning and full-time enrollment can result in students’ receiving both the BA and MPH after a total of five years of study, rather than the usual minimum of five-and-a-half years. Students may complete the MPH degree on a part time basis if desired. The BA is awarded at the completion of all BA requirements; the MPH is awarded once students have completed all MPH program requirements and requirements for one of the eight MPH concentrations.

Public health is a diverse field that draws on expertise from many disciplines, including math, science, law, ethics, psychological and brain sciences, sociology, political science, and communications. Students applying to the BA/MPH program will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to public health as evidenced by their previous coursework, personal statement in the SOPHAS application, and past employment and extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, students in all CAS undergraduate concentrations are eligible to apply for the BA/MPH program, provided that they are not concurrently enrolled in another dual degree program. Students pursuing an undergraduate minor in Public Health must drop that minor if they are accepted and choose to enroll in the BA/MPH program. Students must apply for the program by April 1 of their sophomore year (for Fall admission) or by October 15 of their junior year (for Spring admission) and may apply prior to taking any courses at the School of Public Health. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.20, and successful applicants will generally have a GPA above 3.50.

Application to the dual degree program will consist of an application approval form signed by the Director of Prehealth Programs at the Pre-professional Advising Office, 100 Bay State Road, 4th Floor; a completed SOPHAS application to the School of Public Health; an official Boston University undergraduate transcript; three letters of reference, including two from faculty members at Boston University specifically addressing the student’s capacity to do graduate-level work; and SAT scores for Critical Reading, Math, Writing, Essay, and two subject tests (or corresponding ACT scores). GRE test results will not be required as part of the application.

Students accepted to the BA/MPH program will be required to meet certain standards and undergo further review prior to entering the SPH for their final year of study. For their undergraduate major in CAS, they must maintain the minimum GPA graduation requirement and fulfill all other requirements. Additionally, they must achieve a grade of B- or better in all SPH core courses in which they enroll as undergraduates and must attain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in all SPH courses. Upon completion of the BA degree, the student’s overall record will undergo a review by the SPH Assistant Dean for Education and the Director of Undergraduate Education, who will make a final decision regarding a full transition to the School of Public Health. This review may be referred to the SPH Admissions Committee.

By the time of graduation from CAS and as a condition of entry into SPH, students must have completed the following specific courses:

  1. Biostatistics: SPH BS 704 (3 credits); CAS MA 115 and 116; or CAS MA 213 and 214; or CAS MA 684. Students who successfully completed SPH BS 701 or SPH BS 703 between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 will have met this requirement. Students who take SPH BS 701, 703, or 704 to complete the biostatistics requirement must earn at least a B–. Students who take both CAS MA 115 and CAS MA 116; both CAS MA 213 and CAS MA 214; or CAS MA 684 to meet the requirement must earn at least a B in these courses. However, credit received for CAS statistics courses does not count toward the minimum total of 48 credits of SPH coursework required for graduation with the MPH; these courses count only as waiver of the biostatistics core course requirement.
  2. Epidemiology: SPH EP 713 (3 credits) or SAR HS 300. Students who take SPH EP 713 to complete the epidemiology requirement must earn at least a B– in SPH EP 713. Students who take HS 300 to complete the epidemiology requirement must earn at least a B in SAR HS 300. However, credit received for SAR HS 300 does not count toward the minimum total of 48 credits of SPH coursework required for graduation with the MPH; this course counts only as waiver of the epidemiology core course requirement.
  3. Either SPH LW 740 or the MPH Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights core course requirement (SPH LW 719 or SPH LW 751). Students who successfully completed SPH LW 707 between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 will have met the MPH core course requirement. Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights concentrators must take SPH LW 751 to meet the MPH core course requirement. Students who take LW 740 as an undergraduate to meet this requirement must also satisfy the MPH Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights core course requirement with LW 719 or LW 751 as appropriate after they complete the bachelor’s degree and transition to SPH.

Students are required to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Education and/or with a staff member in the Registrar’s Office at the School of Public Health shortly after being accepted into the dual degree program in order to plan their public health courses. Proactive planning is essential for timely completion of all MPH requirements. Students are also expected to review this tentative schedule of courses with their academic advisor at CAS. Students who have previously declared an undergraduate minor in Public Health will formally “un-declare” it at CAS Academic Advising, 100 Bay State Road, 4th floor, since courses taken toward the minor cannot also be counted toward the MPH degree.

Undergraduate Courses That Fulfill MPH Core Course Requirements

Students may complete the following undergraduate courses to waive particular MPH core course requirements. Students must note that courses used to waive MPH requirements DO NOT count toward the minimum 48-graduate-credit requirement for the MPH degree. Students will need to take additional coursework that will provide them with greater depth or breadth to meet the minimum 48-credit requirement.

  1. Students who attain a grade of B or higher in both CAS MA 115 AND CAS MA 116; CAS MA 213 AND CAS MA 214; or CAS MA 684 will have fulfilled the MPH Biostatistics requirement.
  2. Students who attain a grade of B or higher in SAR HP 353 will have fulfilled the MPH Health Policy and Management core course requirement.
  3. Students who attain a grade of B or higher in SAR HS 300 will have fulfilled the MPH Epidemiology core course requirement.

Additional information about the BA/MPH program may be obtained by making an appointment with the Director of Prehealth Programs in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Pre-Professional Advising office. Students must meet with the Director of Prehealth Programs well in advance of application to discuss their interest in the BA/MPH program and obtain the Director’s signature on an application approval form.