Transfer Credit or Waiver Policies

Any graduate-level courses taken outside of Boston University School of Public Health that students would like to apply toward their MPH degree program are subject to SPH’s Transfer Credit and Waiver Policy. This includes courses taken at other schools within Boston University and through the Academic Consortium. Students must obtain pre-approval to take courses outside of of the School of Public Health. The pre-approval process takes approximately six weeks.

There are a small group of courses at other BU graduate schools that are have automatic approval. Students who wish to have the courses “count” toward the MPH degree must complete a request form for credit for a pre-approved class and submit the form prior to the start of the semester in which they are registered. No other documents (syllabus, etc) are needed. Students must still meet the minimum grade requirement (B or better) for the course to “count.” Courses registered at BU will show on the transcript, however, regardless of whether they are counted for the degree program.

All requests for transfer credit or MPH core course waiver will be considered on an individual basis by the appropriate department chair or departmental designee and must be approved as well by SPH’s Registrar. Grades assigned to transfer credits are not included in a student’s college grade point average calculation (GPA); however, students must earn a minimum grade of B in any course being considered for transfer credit or waiver. Courses may not transfer at the same value as granted at the host school if the course is taken outside of Boston University. In this case, the SPH Registrar’s Office staff will calculate the credit value of an approved course based on the formula of 10 contact hours per credit. There is no rounding of credits.

For students entering before academic year 2009–10, no more than sixteen (16) transfer credits will be accepted toward the MPH degree. For assistance, please see a staff member in the SPH Registrar’s Office.

For students entering in academic year 2009–10 or later, no more than eight (8) transfer credits may be applied to the MPH degree. For details, see the current Transfer Credit Policy.

Students who were undergraduates at Boston University and took School of Public Health courses as undergraduates may be able to waive classes or apply credit so long as the courses did not count towards their undergraduate major or minor. For more information, click here.

MPH dual degree candidates may not apply transfer credit toward completion of the requirements for SPH; all of their coursework must be taken within the School of Public Health.

Once a student has paid his or her tuition deposit, he or she may pursue transfer credit or MPH core course waivers by submitting the required form and documents. Please be aware that students must submit an official hard copy of their transcript with the other requested documents, as the SOPHAS application does not include an official, hard copy transcript. Requests for waivers or transfer credit take four to six weeks to process. All waivers or transfer credits must be documented with the SPH Registrar’s Office at least the semester before the student would have taken the course in question (which means summer for students entering in the fall).

A waiver is a means by which a student may apply previous coursework, including undergraduate courses, to waive MPH core course requirements. Academic credit is not awarded, so a waiver does not reduce the total number of credits that must be earned for the degree (48 credits for the MPH degree). The waiver may be based on one course or a set of equivalent courses that demonstrate proficiency in the core course. A designated faculty member in the academic department housing the core course that the student seeks to waive will make the decision. Students who are concentrators in the concentration or department in question may be held to a different standard than students who are not concentrators. Students who are granted waivers must take course credits to replace the credits from which they have been waived. The credits do not have to be from the same department or category.

Course credits towards SPH degree requirements may be awarded through the transfer credit process. New MPH students who have already completed graduate level courses at another Boston University school or college or an accredited US institution or CEPH-accredited institution must apply to transfer the credit earned to the MPH degree; students in other degree programs should check with their program director. In all cases, courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Courses cannot have been used in the past or will be used in the future towards another degree.
  • 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.
  • Courses taken prior to matriculation must meet the above criteria and must have been taken within the past five (5) years.
  • If the student’s transcript shows that the student was in a degree program, the student must submit a letter from the Registrar’s Office at that school stating the student has withdrawn from the degree program.
  • Courses must be officially documented as graduate level courses.
  • Transfer credit is contingent upon completion of the course with B or better. Credit will not transfer if a student earns below a B in a pre-approved course.

Questions? Contact the SPH Registrar’s Office. Forms are also available in hard copy on the shelves outside of Talbot 210 Center.