Illini Union

Community Health:

Master of Public Health

Click to learn more!

Assess community needs. Develop innovative solutions. Implement impactful programs and policies. Focus on prevention. Build stronger, healthier communities.

BS-MPH General FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for the BS-MPH program?

Undergraduate students at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in I-Health, Kinesiology, or Community Health are eligible to apply.


How is the 5-year BS-MPH degree program different from the 2-year MPH program?

The curriculum and the requirements for the MPH degree are the same for the 5-year BS-MPH and the 2-year MPH program. However, only University of Illinois undergraduate students in I-Health, Kinesiology, or Community Health are eligible to apply for the 5-year BS-MPH. These applicants do not need to take the GRE. The only difference in the two degree tracks is when courses are taken. Students admitted to the BS-MPH program take up to 12 credits of MPH coursework during their senior year. This means that students interested in the BS-MPH must apply to the MPH prior to their final year of undergraduate study, usually during the summer before their Senior year. These students will need to collaborate with their undergraduate advisors to ensure they can take MPH courses and still finish their BS on time. Additionally, BS-MPH students will take more courses per semester to be able to complete their MPH at the end of the summer after their fifth year. Students who are admitted to the BS-MPH take a higher graduate workload (17 credit hours) compared to an average graduate student workload (12 credit hours). Students applying to the 2-year program must take the GRE and will complete all MPH coursework as graduate students.


When is it best to apply for the BS-MPH program?

It is best to apply for the BS-MPH degree AFTER your junior year but BEFORE your senior year. Applicants must complete at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework (i.e. must complete their junior year) before applying to the MPH program.

Most students will complete their junior year in spring term and should apply during the summer between junior and senior year for an August deadline. By the spring of the junior year, applicants should determine that they can take CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 during their senior year AND meet all the requirements for graduation with a BS by the end of senior year.


What if I decide that I am interested in the BS-MPH program after I start classes as a senior?

You can still apply for the BS-MPH program as late as the break between the first and second semester of your senior year for the January 1st deadline.


What if I decide I’m interested in the BS-MPH program during the last term of my senior year?

You have missed the deadline for applications for the 5 year BS MPH program. We recommend you consider applying to the regular 2 year MPH program (you’ll need to take the GRE exam). Note: it is possible for 2-year MPH students to complete the MPH degree in 1.5 years. To do this, a student enrolls sequentially in fall, spring, summer, and fall terms and takes a heavier course load each term.


What if I plan to graduate with a BS degree in between fall and spring terms of my senior year (a semester early)?

The BS-MPH program will work. However, you will not start the 5th year of the BS-MPH program until fall term, so you will have a spring and summer term off between your 4th and 5th years. You should not apply to receive your BS degree, as this will prevent you from applying to the BS-MPH joint degree program. You will receive both BS and MPH degrees after the end of 5th year.


What MPH courses should I take in my senior year that count toward both my BS and MPH degrees?

The three courses are listed below:

  • CHLH 410: Public Health Practice
  • CHLH 469: Environmental Health
  • An elective course/4th concentration course of choice from the MPH approved list of courses (View complete list here)

You can enroll in these courses after being accepted into the program. Please note that these are NOT pre-requisites for applying for BS-MPH.


Do I have to retake CHLH 410 or CHLH 469 if I already completed the courses prior to applying for the program?

You do NOT have to retake the completed courses. They will automatically apply toward both your BS and MPH degrees.


What are the minimum number of credit hours that should apply to both BS and MPH degrees?

The BS-MPH program is designed for applicants with THREE courses that total at least 10 credit hours that count toward both BS and MPH degrees. Applicants who do not have at least 10 credit hours should apply to the 2-year MPH program.

Because the MPH program requires 48 credit hours, and a maximum of 12 credit hours can be taken in the 4th year as a senior, BS-MPH students must earn at least 36 credit hours during the 5th year.


Is it possible to apply 12 credits from FOUR undergraduate courses to the MPH degree?

No. CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 are required courses for the BS-MPH degree. A student can only apply 12 credit hours from undergraduate study to the MPH degree, and hours cannot be split between classes. Since CHLH 410 is 4 credit hours, there is no way to apply 4 courses from undergraduate study to the MPH degree.

For example, consider a student who takes the following FOUR courses as an undergraduate:

  • CHLH 410 Public Health Practice (4 Credits) (Core course)
  • CHLH 458 Health Administration (3 Credits) (Approved elective)
  • CHLH 465 Social Marketing and Health Behavior (3 Credits section) (4th Concentration course)
  • CHLH 469 Environmental Health (3 Credits section taken as a junior) (Core course)

CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 are core MPH courses. CHLH 465 counts as a 4th concentration course. CHLH 458 is an approved elective course. The courses total to 13 credit hours. The student can apply 12 credit hours to both degrees but cannot split hours to be counted. This student would be advised to choose either CHLH 465 or CHLH 458 (along with the required CHLH 410 and CHLH 469) to bring into the MPH. This student will therefore bring in the minimum 10 credit hours to the MPH degree, and take 38 credit hours during the 5th year of study.


The Graduate College allows graduate students to take up to 20 credit hours a semester without special approval. In my fifth year, can I take 20 credit hours in the Fall, 16 in the Spring, and graduate at the end of the Spring term?

No. BS-MPH students may NOT take the MPH Applied Practice Experience (APE) course earlier than summer of the fifth year. There are no exceptions. All MPH students must take the Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) course in the final term (i.e. the summer session at the end of fifth year for BS-MPH students).


Does the MPH program have requirements for academic performance?

Yes. Some of the important requirements related to grades are:

  1. BS-MPH students in undergraduate standing must achieve a minimum grade of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) in the following courses to be eligible to progress into the fifth year of the program. These courses are directly related to MPH core courses and indicate student performance at the graduate level. Failure to achieve a B or higher will result in dismissal from the BS-MPH.
    • CHLH 410 (Public Health Practice)
    • CHLH 469 (Environmental Health) and
    • An elective or 4th concentration course of choice completed within the BS degree
  2. Students accepted to the BS-MPH program must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in each semester during the senior year. A GPA below 3.0 will result in dismissal from the program.
  3. All MPH students must earn at least a B- (2.7 out of 4.0) in all six MPH core courses (CHLH 410, CHLH 469, CHLH 540, CHLH 550, CHLH 572 and CHLH 573). If a student accepted to the BS-MPH program does not earn at least a 2.7 in a core course taken during senior year, the student generally will not be offered the opportunity to enter the fifth year of the program.
  4. In the fifth year of the MPH program, when the BS-MPH student is officially a graduate student, the student is required to have a cumulate GPA of at least 3.0.


How do I know if I am a strong applicant to the BS-MPH program?

Strong applicants to the BS-MPH program:

  1. Have an undergraduate GPA well above the minimum GPA of 3.0 required for admission to graduate school.
  2. Have strong letters of reference from people who know your academic ability. We require at least two letters of recommendation from professors who taught you. If the applicant has an internship or work experience related to public health practice, their supervisor is an appropriate third reference. Strong applicants will have no more than one letter from any of the following sources: an undergraduate advisor, or a university staff member or administrator.

    No letters from graduate teaching assistants are accepted.

  3. Demonstrate ability to do well in statistics, mathematics, and/or epidemiology courses as an undergraduate. STAT 100 Statistics and CHLH 421 Health Data Analysis are examples. These courses are NOT required pre-requisites for all BS-MPH applicants.
  4. Have strong grades in undergraduate courses with content related to public health. These include CHLH 101 Introduction to Public Health, and KIN 122 Physical Activity and Health.
  5. Write a personal statement with a thoughtful explanation of why public health training fits into the applicant’s career plans.


I see that I need to register for courses during my senior year BEFORE I know if I am accepted into the BS MPH program. Should I register myself for CHLH 410 and CHLH 469?

It is not necessary for students to register for CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 in advance of being accepted to the MPH program. The MPH program will hold space for the student in the courses and guarantee that they can register if accepted.

Many students will decide to register for courses assuming they ARE NOT accepted to the program. BUT, the students also have a plan for their coursework in senior year assuming they ARE accepted.


If I am accepted into the BS-MPH program, what happens next?

If you are accepted into the BS-MPH program, you will be asked to indicate by email whether you accept the offer. Since you will receive the offer within a week of the beginning of classes, you should be prepared to accept or refuse the offer within a few days of receiving it. This will allow you to attend required MPH courses starting in the first week of class. There are also orientations and meetings starting early in the term.

We will share your decision to accept admission to the BS-MPH program with your undergraduate advisor, with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and with the Office of the Dean of Applied Health Sciences.


When do I begin paying graduate tuition?

You begin paying graduate tuition in the fifth year of study. As a senior, you pay undergraduate tuition.


Are there tuition waivers for the fifth year?



When do I graduate with BS and MPH degrees?

Both BS and MPH degrees are conferred concurrently. That is, the BS degree is NOT conferred at the end of senior year. BS-MPH students should NOT file to receive their BS degrees. Doing so will prevent you from continuing in the joint degree program.

BS-MPH students who complete requirements for the BS-MPH degree at the expected rate will file for graduation at the end of the summer term of their fifth year.


Can I walk in graduation at the end of my senior year?

Yes and No. You may walk in the AHS graduation ceremony in Spring term at the end of your senior year (as an undergraduate student), but you will not be certified to graduate with a BS after the ceremony. You CANNOT walk in the University-wide graduation ceremony.


Can I walk in graduation in May of my fifth year?

Yes and No. You may walk in the AHS graduation ceremony in Spring term at the end of your fifth year (as a graduate student). You cannot walk in the University-wide graduation ceremony. You will not be certified to graduate with concurrent BS and MPH degrees until all requirements are met for both degrees (generally after the end of summer term).


Where can I find the official requirements for the MPH program?

The official requirements for the MPH program are explained under academics tab of our MPH website and are detailed in the MPH Graduate Student Handbook posted on the MPH website.