Master of Public Health

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the Program

Do I need to take the GRE exam?

No, applicants are not required to take the GRE exam. Reporting test scores is optional. If test scores are reported, they will be considered in the application review process. The University’s code is 1832.

Are interviews required during the application process?

Interviews are generally not conducted as part of the application process. However, in special circumstances the application review team may request an interview to learn more about an applicant.

How do I submit letters of recommendation?

Contact information for recommenders will be entered into the online program application. The application system will automatically email instructions to recommenders. We suggest that applicants let recommenders know in advance to expect the email.

What is the application deadline?

Application deadlines occur on January 15 and March 18 for enrollment in the fall quarter. Application reviews will be conducted following each application deadline; therefore, for the greatest likelihood of acceptance, students are encouraged to apply early. Late applications may be accepted if space permits. International students must meet the March 18 deadline to allow sufficient time for obtaining necessary visas.

Can I get an application fee waiver?

In order to request an application fee waiver, you must first submit an application. Once an application is submitted, your application status portal will display the option to request a fee waiver by filling out a short form and providing documentation, if required. If you are applying to one of the schools or divisions which allows multiple applications, you will need to ensure you are on the status page of the correct application; a separate waiver request must be submitted for each application.
Application fees are non-refundable. If you intend to submit a fee waiver request, do not pay the application fee until you receive a decision about your request. If you pay the application fee, and later have your waiver request approved, the fee will not be refunded.

Fee Waiver Categories and General Eligibility Criteria

  • University of Chicago degree program students and alumni

This waiver category is available in most programs to any applicant who has received or expects to receive a degree from another UChicago program.

  • Current or recent participants in qualifying programs

This waiver category is available if you have participated in one of the following:

  • CIC Applicants
  • Fulbright/IIE Fellowship Recipient
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program
  • Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)
  • Project 1000
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • U.S. armed forces or uniformed services: currently serving (active duty or reserves) or honorably discharged
Who is required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores?

Applicants to the graduate schools and divisions of the University of Chicago who do not meet the criteria below must submit proof of English language proficiency. This policy applies to all* graduate programs; the score level required for admission varies by program. Only the TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic tests are accepted as proof of proficiency.

Waiver Criteria

English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood; or you were enrolled for at least one academic year in full-time status in a course of study at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories within the past ten years: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Education in English-medium institutions in other countries or territories does not qualify for the exemption.

Please Note

High school or secondary school does not qualify an applicant for exemption; nor do part-time or research-based programs that did not involve full time coursework in English.


How long does it take to complete the program?

The program can be completed in as few as 15 months: 4 full-time quarters (3 classes/quarter) and one summer practicum experience. Part-time students can take up to 5 years to finish their degree.

Are transfer credits accepted?

We do not accept transfer credits from other universities. However, at the discretion of the Program Director, students who have taken similar courses elsewhere may be able to waive a required course and identify an elective to take instead. Students who complete courses in the MPH curriculum in the University of Chicago’s Graduate-Student-At-Large program prior to matriculating into the MPH may transfer up to two credits, with the approval of the Program Director, provided the courses did not count toward the completion of another degree. 

May I switch between full-time and part-time?

Students may switch between full-time and part-time status throughout the program. Students with F1 and J1 visas are required to maintain full-time status. Note that to be eligible for federal loans, students must enroll in a minimum of 2 classes/quarter.

May I change my concentration during the program?

Prospective students will be asked to select a tentative concentration at the time of application. Once admitted, students will work with their academic advisor to select a concentration that best aligns with their career interests and goals. The concentration can be changed during the program with approval of the academic advisor.

What is involved in the practicum experience?

The required practicum experience provides students the opportunity to gain applied practical experience in a public health field of their choosing. Students primarily work with external partners in a variety of public health settings to gain experience through work that is mutually beneficial to both the student and the host site. Program faculty and staff will work with students to help identify a suitable practicum site. It is expected that students will complete approximately 80-100 hours of hands-on public health or research experience during their practicum.

What is involved in the capstone?

The capstone serves as a culminating project in which students put into practice the knowledge and skills they developed in their coursework and practicum experience. Program staff will assist students in identifying an appropriate capstone mentor, drawn from the program’s faculty and lecturers. Students with a research focus will complete a research project as their capstone, while those students with an applied public health focus will complete an applied project that aligns with their field of interest. The required capstone class will provide instruction on project design and management, literature reviews, research and referencing, and writing and presentation. A final capstone paper and presentation will be required of all students. 

Other Questions

Is the program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)?

The curriculum has been designed to align with CEPH accreditation standards to position the MPH for future accreditation; CEPH does not consider programs for accreditation until the first class has graduated.

What is the difference between the Master of Public Health (MPH) and the Master of Science in Public Health for Clinical Professionals (MSCP)?

The Master of Public Health program is a professional program designed for students interested in careers as public health researchers or professionals, and is open to all students who have completed a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. The curriculum leads to the degree of Master of Public Health (MPH). The Master of Science in Public Health for Clinical Professionals is designed for the professional enhancement of individuals who already have doctoral-level expertise in Medicine and related clinical disciplines. The curriculum leads to the degree of Master of Science (MS). Please see the MSCP page for additional information.