Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

For the Fall 2017 semester, SPH received roughly 2,700 applications for all degree programs.
Our Fall 2015 incoming class included approximately 410 MPH students, 40 MPH dual degree students, 15 PhD students, 40 MS students, and 10 DrPH students.
There is no required coursework to apply for the MPH at SPH. While undergraduate coursework in math and science may enhance your application, it is not required for admission. Often candidates will have a basic undergraduate background in math and science, such as statistics or calculus, and biology or chemistry.
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.
For submitting GRE scores to SOPHAS, please use institution code 3101.
Yes. All applicants, with or without graduate degrees, must submit a standardized test score in order to be considered for admission. The test scores must be from within the past five years. Click here to review application requirements by program.
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.
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.

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.
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

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.

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.

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. 
Only the MPH and graduate certificates have a spring application process for a January start date.
No. If you are a strong applicant, we are happy to accept you for fall or spring.
No. Admissions will not forward your application for review unless all required items, including official test scores, have been submitted.
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.
Transcripts can be mailed to the Admissions Office at BU School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Talbot Building, T2C, Boston, MA 02118.
No. Students will have the opportunity to finalized their certificate choices once on campus.

International Applicants

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.
SPH requires all international transcripts be evaluated through WES (World Education Services).
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.
You will need either Form I-20 or DS-2019. BU’s International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) will review your profile in order to determine which immigration document is appropriate.
Upon acceptance, 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.
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 acceptance.
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.
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.

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.
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.
Merit scholarships are awarded to students based on the strength of their application for admission and are awarded through Admissions. Need-based aid is based on financial need as demonstrated through a student’s financial aid application, and is awarded through Student Financial Services.
Yes. There are departmental scholarships available from some departments. For more information, please visit Financing Your Education.
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.
Yes. For more information please visit the tuition benefits section of the BU Human Resources website.
There are a number of resources to help in finding scholarships:

Visiting SPH

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 page.
Please email your availability and interests to and a member of our staff will be in touch with you.
Absolutely. Please contact Admissions directly to arrange an opportunity to speak with faculty, students, and other staff at SPH. Please email your inquiry to
SPH guests may receive special reduced rates at a number of participating hotels near campus. For more information, see the Plan Your Visit page.
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.
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

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.
Please fill out our online request form to be added to our mailing list and receive updates and notices of upcoming events.
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.

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.

Student Life

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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A lot. Boston boasts top restaurants, world-renowned museums and theater, fantastic nightlife, and music venues that attract top acts as well as up-and-coming performers from around the world. To get a better sense of Boston life, check out Also, check out our online snapshots and profiles of Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods.