Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health
The BS/MPH dual degree program is a 5-year program offered jointly by Boston University’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College and BU School of Public Health. This dual degree program enables qualified students the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the specified concentrations at Sargent College and the Master of Public Health degree in any one of the concentrations at the School of Public Health.
Up to sixteen credits of graduate-level SPH coursework are completed in the last two years of undergraduate study and applied to both the BS and MPH degrees. At the completion of the BS degree requirement (128+ credits) at Sargent College, the Bachelor of Science degree will be awarded. At the end of the 5th year (32+ additional credits of SPH coursework), the Master of Public Health degree will be awarded.
This program seeks to enroll outstanding undergraduates who will be fully capable of successfully completing their undergraduate degree requirements while beginning a master’s degree. The selection process is rigorous and designed to identify students capable of excelling in a dual undergraduate/graduate course of study. The BS/MPH program is available to Sargent students, except those majoring in the combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Physical Therapy degree programs. The BS/MPH program requires a minimum of five years of full-time study—four years to acquire a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the specified concentrations at Sargent College, and a minimum of one year for the Master of Public Health degree in any concentration at the School of Public Health.
All BS/MPH degree candidates must complete a minimum of 48 graduate-level credits (i.e., SPH courses numbered 700 or above) to earn the Master of Public Health degree, and they must complete all other requirements for the MPH. During their undergraduate years, BS/MPH students may enroll in any School of Public Health courses for which they satisfy prerequisite requirements. However, a maximum of sixteen credits of graduate-level SPH coursework may be applied jointly towards the two degrees.
Note: Once students matriculate in the School of Public Health, they may choose to complete the degree requirements on a part-time basis, which will increase the duration of their studies.
At the completion of the BS degree requirement (128 credits) at Sargent College, the Bachelor of Science degree will be awarded, and BS/MPH students’ primary school of registration will change to the School of Public Health. BS/MPH students must meet all remaining concentration, core, and degree requirements for the Master of Public Health. Depending upon course sequencing and availability, students will be full-time students at the School of Public for a minimum of two semesters and until they complete the 48 credits required for the Master of Public Health degree.
Admission to the BS/MPH Program
Students in the second semester of their sophomore year or first semester of their junior year are eligible to apply to the BS/MPH program, though they may enroll in courses at SPH prior to applying. Sargent sophomores and juniors who wish to apply to the BS/MPH program must first complete the Sargent College BS/MPH Application Approval Form and meet with the Sargent College BS/MPH faculty advisor before initiating an application to the School of Public Health through SOPHAS, the centralized application service for the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2, and successful applicants will generally have a GPA above 3.5.
Application Deadlines and Decision Dates
No later than June 1
No later than January 8
Application to the BS/MPH program will consist of:
- a completed Sargent College BS/MPH Application Approval Form, signed by the Sargent College BS/MPH faculty advisor, submitted to Admissions at the School of Public Health
- a SOPHAS application to Boston University School of Public Health
- an official Boston University undergraduate transcript, submitted at the end of the semester in which you apply
- three letters of reference, including at least two from faculty members at Sargent College specifically addressing the student’s capacity to do graduate-level work.
NOTE: GRE scores are NOT required for application to the BS/MPH program, but the SPH admissions committee will take into account SAT scores in place of GRE scores. Students do not have to have SAT scores sent to SOPHAS, since these are generally available from Boston University.
Students who are accepted into the BS/MPH program must send a written confirmation of their intention to join the BS/MPH program to Admissions at the School of Public Health within 10 business days of receiving an offer of admission. Mutually accepted students in the BS/MPH program who have declared the public health minor at Sargent must undeclare the minor.
Students who are not accepted into the BS/MPH program may apply for entrance to the MPH program during their senior year. At that time, they may meet with the Sargent Student Records staff and SPH Registrar’s Office staff to determine which SPH classes they completed may count towards the MPH degree if they are accepted to SPH.
Requirements and review prior to matriculation to the SPH
Students accepted to the BS/MPH are required to meet certain academic standards and undergo further review prior to entering the SPH for their final year of study. BS/MPH students must maintain the GPA graduation requirement and other degree requirements for their particular major at Sargent College. Additionally, they must achieve a grade of B– or better in all SPH courses in which they enroll while undergraduates, and have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in all SPH courses. Students who achieve less than a B– in any SPH courses will be subject to dismissal from the dual degree program and must petition the SPH Associate Dean for Education and the Associate Dean for Students for permission to remain in the dual degree program. Upon completion of the BS degree, the student’s academic record will undergo a review by the SPH Assistant Dean for Admissions and the Assistant Dean for Education, who will make a final determination regarding a full transition to the School of Public Health. This review can be referred to the SPH admissions committee by the Associate Dean for Students.
By the time of graduation from Sargent College and as a condition of entry into SPH, students must have completed the following:
- Statistics: CAS MA 115 and 116; or CAS MA 213 and 214; or CAS MA 684; or SPH BS 701 (Elementary Biostatistics, 3 credits); or SPH BS 704 (Biostatistics, 4 credits). Students who attain a grade of B or higher in both CAS MA 115 and CAS MA 116, or in both CAS MA 213 and CAS MA 214, or in CAS MA 684 will have fulfilled the MPH Biostatistics requirement and are not required to take an SPH biostatistics course. (However, credit received for these CAS statistics courses does not count toward the minimum total of 48 credits of SPH coursework required for graduation with the MPH; and SPH BS 704 is the preferred Biostatistics course for all MPH candidates concentrating in Epidemiology or Biostatistics.)
- Epidemiology: SPH EP 713 (Introduction to Epidemiology, 3 credits)
- Health Law: SPH LW 719 (Essentials of Public Health Law, 2 credits) or SPH LW 751 (Public Health Law, 4 credits) or LW 740 (Health and Human Rights. NOTE: LW 719 and LW 751 fulfill the core course requirement in Health Law for MPH students (students who plan to concentrate in Health Law must complete LW 751 to fulfill the law core course requirement, while other non-law concentrators may use LW 719 to fulfill the core requirement). LW 740 does not fulfill the requirement for a Health Law core course, but it can be taken to fulfill this transition requirement for the BA/MPH or the BS/MPH.
Students are required to meet with the Registrar or Associate Registrar at the School of Public Health shortly after being accepted into the dual degree program in order to plan their public health courses in advance. Proactive planning is essential for timely completion of all MPH requirements. The tentative schedule of courses should then be reviewed with the student’s advisor at Sargent College. The six core courses required of all MPH candidates provide a broad exposure to the field of public health, and it is strongly recommended that students focus on MPH core courses during the undergraduate years. However, there may be variation in schedules due to course sequencing.
Undergraduate Courses That Waive MPH Core Course Requirements
Students may complete the following undergraduate courses to waive particular MPH core course requirements. Students must note that courses that waived MPH requirements DO NOT count towards 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.
- Students who attain a grade of B or higher in both CAS MA 115 AND CAS MA 116 or CAS MA 684 will have fulfilled the MPH Biostatistics requirement. The preferred course to meet the MPH Biostatistics core course requirement for Epidemiology and Biostatistics concentrators is SPH BS 704.
- Students who attain a grade of B or higher in SAR HP 353 will have fulfilled the Health Policy & Management core course requirement for non-Health Policy & Management and non-International Health students. Students who plan to concentrate in Health Policy & Management or International Health must enroll in SPH PM 702 or SPH IH 704, respectively.
Checklist for Students
- Meet with Sargent faculty in the fall of sophomore year to discuss application to BS/MPH program
- Complete required Sargent College BS/MPH Application Approval Form, have the form signed by the Sargent College BS/MPH faculty advisor, and submit form to Admissions at the School of Public Health
- Submit completed application through SOPHAS services by April 1 of sophomore year or October 15 of junior year
- Request an official BU transcript be sent to SPH Admissions at the end of the semester in which you apply
- If accepted, undeclare public health minor
- If accepted, schedule a meeting with the SPH Registrar’s Office
For detailed information and application materials, please contact:
Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation: Sargent College
Health Science Program
Department of Health Sciences
635 Commonwealth Avenue, 4th Floor, Room 405
For more information about programs through Boston University School of Public Health, contact:
Director of Undergraduate Education
Boston University School of Public Health