Frequently Asked Questions
How many applications do you receive?
For the Fall 2018 semester, SPH received roughly 3,000 applications for all degree programs.
How many students do you typically enroll in each degree program per application cycle?
Our Fall 2018 incoming class included approximately 340 MPH students, 40 MPH dual degree students, 15 PhD students, 40 MS students, and 10 DrPH students.
Is there previous coursework is required to apply for the MPH?
Applicants from all undergraduate majors and backgrounds are acceptable and encouraged to apply. Successful candidates display a solid mix of quantitative, verbal and reasoning skills.
Do I need work experience for the MPH program?
We do not have a work experience requirement. However, our classrooms are comprised of students with a mix of varied experiences – most have at least 1-2 years of work experience, while others have more extensive work experience.
What is the minimum GRE/GPA you accept?
SPH has no stated minimum GPA or GRE score for prospective students, though the most competitive applicants typically report GRE scores at the 50th percentile or above for each section, along with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
What institution code do I need to use when reporting my GRE scores to SOPHAS?
For submitting GRE scores to SOPHAS, please use institution code 3101.
I already have an advanced degree. Do I still need to submit standardized test scores?
Do I need to send transcripts to SPH as well as SOPHAS?
No. SOPHAS sends all verified coursework to SPH with your application and keeps copies of your official transcripts on file. You do not need to send your transcripts directly to SPH unless you are currently in a degree program and are accepted into a program here. In this case, you must send a final transcript from your current program once your degree has been conferred.
How many letters of recommendation do I need in order to apply? Who should write my letters of recommendation?
SPH requires that applicants provide a minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation, and no more than five (5). We accept letters written by professors, employers, supervisors, and other individuals who have a working relationship with the applicant. Letters should not be written by family, friends, or acquaintances. Admissions highly recommends that at least one (1) of an applicant’s letters of recommendation is written by a professor with whom they have worked closely or under whom they have studied. Depending on an applicant’s background, letters of recommendation may be a mix of professional and academic references. Below are some guidelines, but personal discretion may be used:
- If you have been in school within the past two years, you may have two (2) academic references and one (1) professional reference.
- If you have been in school within the past four years, you may have one (1) academic reference and two (2) professional references.
- If you have not been in school within the past four years, all three (3) may be professional references.
I have sent three letters of recommendation to SOPHAS, so why does SPH only have two?
SOPHAS sends your application to SPH Admissions once they have received the first two letters of recommendation; the remaining letter(s) will be sent to SPH Admissions as it (they) are received. Please note that we will temporarily consider your application incomplete until the third letter is received from SOPHAS.
What should I cover in my Statement of Purpose? How long should it be?
The Statement of Purpose is intended as an opportunity for applicants to provide a narrative of their education, experiences, and career objectives. Each program will have a slightly different emphasis for the statement. Please check application requirements for details about your program of interest
While there is no specific length requirement for the statement, applicants often submit 1–2 pages, single-spaced
How does SPH’s rolling admissions process work?
Our rolling admissions process for the MPH program enables Admissions to receive and review prospective students’ applications on an ongoing basis throughout each admissions cycle. Please note that the earlier in an admissions cycle an application is received and reviewed, the earlier the candidate will receive a decision notification.
For MS, PhD, and DrPH programs, decisions are not generally issued on a rolling basis. Our hope is to notify all applicants by mid-March.
Please tell me about SPH’s priority deadline. If I miss the priority deadline, how might this affect my odds of acceptance?
Admissions recommends that all SPH candidates for the MPH and MS programs submit applications by the priority deadline in order to receive equal consideration for the available seats within each program as well as available scholarship funds. Please note that while applications received after the priority deadline will still be considered for admission, the availability of seats within the program and opportunities for merit awards (if applicable) may be limited for qualified candidates.
Stated deadlines for PhD programs are hard deadlines. Applications received or incomplete after the deadline will not be considered for admission.
When is the application deadline?
Can I apply to more than one program in the same cycle using SOPHAS?
No. We only allow one program designation through SOPHAS. If the review committee recommends you for a different program, the Admissions Office will contact you directly.
Which programs offer spring admission?
Only the MPH and graduate certificates have a spring application process for a January start date.
Are my chances of being accepted different for spring?
No. If you are a strong applicant, we are happy to accept you for fall or spring.
Will SPH begin reviewing my application if it is considered incomplete?
No. Admissions will not forward your application for review unless all required items, including official test scores, have been submitted.
Should I wait for letters of recommendation and/or test scores to arrive before submitting to SOPHAS?
No. As soon as your application is complete with items that you have control over (Statement of Purpose, résumé/CV, all required sections of the online application, transcripts), you should submit your application. This will allow SOPHAS to begin verifying and preparing your application. Test scores and letters of recommendation will be added as they are received.
Where should I send my final transcripts if admitted to SPH?
Transcripts can be mailed to the Admissions Office at BU School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Talbot Building, T2C, Boston, MA 02118.
If I select a certificate during the MPH application process, is that binding?
No. Students will have the opportunity to finalized their certificate choices once on campus.
Is there a different application cycle for international students?
No. International and domestic applicants follow the same admissions cycle. Please visit individual program descriptions for program-specific international student requirements, and Transcripts
and English Language Proficiency for International Applicants
for more detailed information about application requirements for international applicants. Early application submission is recommended.
Which transcript evaluation services does SPH accept?
Does SPH accept USMLE or ECFMG scores?
How can international students secure funding?
International students are eligible for merit awards, certain department scholarships, University fellowships, and/or private loans. In some cases, independent organizations may also offer funding specifically for international graduate students. For further information, please visit Financing Your Education
What kind of visa will I need in order to study at SPH?
How can I obtain the immigration documents that I need in order to apply for a student visa?
Upon depositing, international students must submit the International Student Data Form (ISDF), which is supplied in the SPH acceptance package. Once Admissions receives your completed ISDF and supporting documents, SPH forwards your paperwork to ISSO for processing and approval. For more information, please refer to the ISSO website
When can I expect to receive my I-20 or DS-2019 from ISSO?
If accepted by ISSO, international students will receive their I-20 or DS-2019 within 15 business days following receipt of ISDF and supporting financial documents. In order to expedite the ISSO process, it is recommended that international students submit their ISDF and supporting financial documents immediately following their deposit.
If English was my language of instruction for my previous degree, am I still required to submit a TOEFL score?
No. If English was the language of instruction for a previous degree BUSPH Admissions will automatically waive this requirement. The required WES ICAP evaluation should indicate the language of instruction as English, and this requirement will be automatically waived. If your WES ICAP evaluation indicates any language other than English, you will be required to submit the TOEFL/IELTS Waiver Form with required proof from your institution.
Am I allowed to work on campus?
International students may work up to 20 hours per week on campus. Employment opportunities often include research assistant and teaching assistant positions. For more information, please visit the ISSO website
When should I apply for financial aid?
Though financial aid is not awarded until after a student has been admitted, it is in your best interest to begin the process as soon as possible. The FAFSA
application can be started as early as October 1. All prospective and incoming students should be in contact with Student Financial Services
What types of financial aid are available to SPH students?
For qualified students, financial aid packages may include merit scholarships, need-based aid, departmental scholarships, and federal loans. To learn more about financial aid for SPH students, please see Financing Your Education
What is the difference between merit- and need-based aid?
The Admissions Office awards merit aid scholarships to applicants at the time of their acceptance and are based on the strength of their application.
Need-based aid is based on financial need as demonstrated through a student’s financial aid application, and is awarded through Student Financial Services
Is departmental funding (scholarship) available?
Yes. There are departmental scholarships available from some departments. For more information, please visit Financing Your Education
Are research assistant and teaching assistant opportunities available?
Yes. A limited number of research and teaching assistant opportunities are available to students. To learn more about opportunities currently available, please visit Assistantships and Student Employment
. Current students are alerted to these opportunities directly from their academic department.
Does Boston University offer tuition remission?
Where can I search for scholarship opportunities?
There are a number of resources to help in finding scholarships:
Do you offer events for prospective students?
Yes, SPH hosts information sessions throughout the fall and early spring which provide a great opportunity to learn more about SPH, meet current students, and talk to members of the admissions team. To learn more, see the Events and Campus Visits
I won’t be able to attend a prospective student event. How may I schedule a campus visit?
Please email your availability and interests to firstname.lastname@example.org
and a member of our staff will be in touch with you.
May I speak with faculty members or current students before applying?
Absolutely. Please contact Admissions directly to arrange an opportunity to speak with faculty, students, and other staff at SPH. Please email your inquiry to email@example.com
Where should I stay when I come to visit Boston?
SPH guests may receive special reduced rates at a number of participating hotels near campus. For more information, see the Plan Your Visit
Is there parking available around SPH?
There is a parking garage located at 710 Albany Street, which is directly across the street from campus. In addition, metered street parking is available throughout the area.
How do I get to campus?
SPH is located in the South End of Boston at 715 Albany Street and is easily accessible from Logan Airport, major highways, local public transportation, and major bus and train stations. Visit the Directions to Campus
page for complete directions by car and local public transportation.
General Program Information
Is SPH accredited?
Yes. SPH is a fully accredited school of public health through CEPH (Council on Education for Public Health), and our Healthcare Management certificate in the MPH degree program is CAHME accredited.
How can I request information about the School and the program in which I am interested?
Please fill out our online request form
to be added to our mailing list communication plan and receive updates and notices of upcoming events.
Can I take a class before I am officially accepted into the program?
Yes. We do allow non-degree students
to take up to two courses before being accepted into the program. Many residents of the Greater Boston area take courses for professional development, skills development, or to get a better feel for the program before applying.
Does SPH offer online courses?
Starting with Fall 2019, students will have the option to take the MPH Integrated Core curriculum online through the Hybrid MPH degree program.
What is the total cost of a degree from SPH?
The total cost of the MPH degree is 48 credits x $1,651, with fees associated for full-time and part-time study, or $79,224. The total cost of an MS degree is 32 credits x $1,651, with fees associated for full-time and part-time study, or $52,832. All costs are based on tuition rates and fees for 2018-2019.
93% of SPH students receive funding in the forms of need-based aid, fellowships, scholarships, loans, or tuition remission. You can find more information about financing your education on our tuition and fees webpage.
What internships are available?
Hands-on field experience is critical to your success in public health. Because of this, there is a practicum requirement
for the MPH program
and a practical training requirement for the MS in Applied Biostatistics program
. The SPH Careers and Practicum Office
is always available to help advise you on career strategy and the SPH Handshake database
lists hundreds of practicum opportunities, many of which are paid engagements.
Past practicum sites include Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, International Center for Research on Women, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.
Why study public health in Boston?
The Boston Public Health Commission
, located less than a mile from the SPH campus, is the country’s oldest health department and traces its history back to when Paul Revere was named Boston’s first health officer. Our campus is also within walking distance of the Health Care for the Homeless Program
and Boston Medical Center
, one of the largest safety net hospitals in New England.
The BU CTE Center is at the forefront of research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel. The BU Sloan Epidemiology Center’s Black Women’s Health Study has been studying the hire rate of illness in black women since 1995. The Framingham Heart Study, a project of Boston University and the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, has studied the common factors or characteristics that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) since 1948.
Researchers in Boston have the most National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of any city in the US and these create opportunities for students in the Boston area.
How long is the MPH program? Can it be completed in 1-year?
The MPH program can be completed through several formats:
- 16 months/accelerated
- 2 years/full-time
- Part-time (average completion is 3 years)
Students are not able to complete all requirements within 1 calendar year.
Is an MPH worth it?
This degree prepares you to help develop solutions to the world’s greatest public health challenges. 92% of BUSPH graduates are either employed
or continuing their education within 6 months of completing their degrees and the average starting salary of our graduates is $60,281.
What careers can I pursue with a Master’s degree in Public Health?
What extracurricular activities does SPH offer?
BU School of Public Health students participate in many extracurricular activities, including Student Organizations
. The Graduate Student Life office plans activities and events from duck tours to professional sports games. Students at SPH may join any student organization sponsored by BU at large, and have access to the University’s FitRec Center which sponsors various sports and outdoor clubs. For more information, please see Student Life
How is SPH involved with the greater Boston community?
We partner and collaborate with local groups through the Activist Lab
, the student practicum program, and through the investigations of our researchers. SPH runs the only federally funded Partnership in Health and Housing
in the country dedicated to improving the health of public housing residents. This collaborative research is community-based and involves residents directly in the planning and work of the research. In addition, we have numerous connections with state and city public health agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community health centers.
What volunteer opportunities does Boston offer?
As a major metropolitan city, Boston teems with volunteer opportunities across a spectrum of service organizations. Students may pursue opportunities coordinated by BU and SPH Student Services, as well as through sites such as serve.gov
that match independent volunteers with local organizations. Through SPH’s student organizations, numerous fundraising and public health awareness events are run throughout the year. To learn about student life at SPH, visit Getting Involved
Will I be able to live on-campus while studying at SPH?
Unfortunately, there is no BU owned housing available on the BU Medical Campus for SPH students. Students can explore graduate housing opportunities at BU’s Charles River Campus. BU Off-Campus Services provides up-to-date apartment and roommate listings for housing near the BU Medical Campus and around the Boston area. Visit Housing Resources for comprehensive information about securing housing while at SPH.
What can I do for fun in Boston?