Transfer Credit and Course Waiver

School of Public Health Policy

Within specific guidelines, students in the MPH degree program may apply for transfer credit for any graduate-level courses taken outside of the School of Public Health that the student would like to apply to his or her SPH degree program. This includes all courses taken at other schools within Boston University and through the Academic Consortium. All requests for transfer credit will be considered on an individual basis by the appropriate department chairperson or departmental designee and must be approved additionally by the SPH registrar. Grades assigned to transfer credits will not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average (GPA) at the School of Public Health.

Students in other degree programs (MS, PhD, or DrPH) should check with their program director regarding transfer credit policies for their specific degree program. MPH dual degree students are not eligible for transfer credit.

A completed Request for Transfer Credit or Course Waiver Form must accompany each request along with a course description, syllabus, reading list, official transcript, and any other materials requested by the department designee or the SPH registrar. The Request for Transfer Credit or Course Waiver Forms may be obtained from the bookcase outside the SPH registrar’s office, Talbot 210C and on the School of Public Health website. There are a small number of courses that are preapproved for transfer credit; they are listed in the Course Rotation Guide. Students must submit a transfer credit request for these classes but do not have to submit the additional documents (syllabus, reading list, transcript).

General Requirements for Transfer Credit

Current MPH students must have all courses preapproved through the SPH registrar’s office. Students are advised that academic credits for courses taken at other schools and colleges, including Boston Consortium schools, may not transfer at the same numeric value as they are offered at the host school. BUSPH credits are calculated at a minimum of 10 contact hours per credit, where contact hours are hours of direct instruction in the classroom. There is no rounding up of contact hours.

As part of the preapproval process, students are informed of the number of credits they may be awarded; therefore, it is vital that the student apply for preapproval.

All courses for anticipated transfer credit must meet the following criteria:

  • Courses must be officially documented as graduate-level courses.
  • Transfer credit is contingent upon completion of the course with a B (3.0) or better. Official transcripts documenting the final grade(s) must be sent to the SPH Office of the Registrar.
  • Courses cannot have been used in the past or be used in the future towards another degree or certificate program.
  • Courses must be taken at an accredited U.S. institution.
  • Courses must have significant, direct public health content. For example, foreign language courses would not be considered for transfer credit for the MPH degree, nor would an organic chemistry course.
  • Hybrid courses will not be considered for transfer credit or waiver.

Courses taken prior to matriculation must meet the above criteria, must have been taken within the past five (5) years, and must not have been used towards the completion of another degree program.

General Requirements for Course Waiver

Current MPH students may petition to be waived from core course or concentration requirements based on previous coursework. Relevant courses must have been taken within the past five years. Students must have earned a grade of B (3.0) or better in the classes in question. Students must complete a Request for Transfer Credit/Course Waiver Form and provide the requested documentation with the form to the SPH Office of the Registrar. Students may be asked to demonstrate their proficiency in the courses to be waived. The decision to grant a waiver is at the discretion of the department representative. Such waivers will not reduce the overall number of course credits to be taken in the School of Public Health (48 credits for the MPH degree). Requests for waivers should be forwarded to the SPH Office of the Registrar.

Maximum Transfer Credits Allowed

MPH students may petition to have a maximum of 8 required credits transferred to meet MPH degree requirements. MPH dual degree candidates may not apply for transfer credit. Transfer credit includes courses taken at Boston University schools or colleges that are not the home schools of the dual degree program. The 8-credit maximum does not apply to students who graduated from BU with a BA or BS.

Online Courses

Online, graduate-level courses from CEPH-accredited schools and programs will be considered for transfer credit or waiver according to the general requirements stated above. Should those requirements be met, the credit for the online course will be calculated as a percent of the total credits for the MPH degree program at the home school. For example, an online course granted 3 credits within a 55-credit program would be 5 percent of the total program. Five percent of the MPH program at BU equates to 2 credits; therefore this class would be awarded 2 BUSPH credits. There is no rounding up.

Students will be considered for core course waivers should the online course align with the required MPH core course at BUSPH. For international health concentrators or students studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, courses that are similar to the international health core courses in health policy & management and social & behavioral sciences will be considered. Students requesting waivers from concentration requirements through online coursework should speak to their department representative or chair.

International students must comply with immigration regulations regarding applying online courses to their degree program. Currently, international students studying under the auspices of an F-1 visa may take no more than one class or 3 credits of online or distance education courseswork per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter.

Students Who Completed BUSPH Credit during Their Undergraduate Years

Students matriculating into the SPH who completed Boston University SPH graduate-level courses during their undergraduate years may seek to apply the credits to the MPH degree requirements. Students who are not part of an approved dual degree program must obtain a letter from their undergraduate school or college verifying that the credits were not counted towards the bachelor’s degree major or minor. The credits may not be double counted towards the bachelor’s degree major or minor and the MPH degree.

In all cases (single bachelor’s degree, minor, or 4+1 degree program students), a maximum of 16 credits of graduate coursework taken during the undergraduate years may be counted towards the MPH. Established SPH minimum grade policies apply.