Illini Union

Community Health:

Master of Public Health

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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 Community Health, I-Health, or Kinesiology are eligible to apply. Only students who have completed their junior year but have not yet completed their senior year are eligible to apply. Please visit the Admissions section of the MPH website to learn more about applying to the BS-MPH program. Please be sure to read the Application Requirements and How to Apply: BS-MPH sections in detail.


How is the BS-MPH degree program (1-1.5 years) different from the 2-year MPH program?

The curriculum and the requirements for the MPH degree are the same for the 1-1.5 year BS-MPH and the 2-year MPH program. However, only University of Illinois undergraduate students in Community Health, I-Health, or Kinesiology are eligible to apply for the BS-MPH. 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 accelerated pace. Students who are admitted to the BS-MPH take a higher graduate workload (up to 17 credit hours) compared to an average graduate student workload (12 credit hours). 


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

BS-MPH applications are taken twice per year - August 1st and December 15th. It is best to apply for the BS-MPH degree AFTER your junior year but BEFORE your senior year. Most students will complete their junior year in spring term and should apply during the summer between junior and 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.

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.

Applicants are recommended to apply in the summer before their senior year, as if they are admitted, this gives them two semesters of flexibility in which to take the courses that count towards both the BS and MPH degrees. It also allows students to know about their graduate program plans earlier and reduce stress during the school year. In addition, applying in August also gives students an opportunity to revise their application based on feedback from the admissions committee review and reapply in December if needed.


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

Students in this situation would apply for the December 15th deadline. Please note that this deadline occurs during the busy end of the semester time in the fall, so we encourage students applying in December to plan ahead to allow time to complete their application.


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 BS-MPH program, however you may still be able to apply for the traditional MPH program. The MPH program has a deadline in spring semester. Please read the Application Requirements and How to Apply: MPH sections in detail to learn more about the MPH application process and deadlines. 


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 graduate year(s) of your 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 completing your MPH degree.


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

BS-MPH students are allowed to apply 12 credit hours from undergraduate study to the MPH degree. This will come from the following courses the student takes during their undergraduate studies.

  • CHLH 410 Public Health Practice (4 Credits)
  • CHLH 469 Environmental Health (3-4 Credits depending on when taken)
  • 400-level elective course OR one 400-level 4th MPH concentration course (3 or 4 Credits)

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.

*There is a possibility that some BS-MPH applicants complete one or more of senior year MPH courses (CHLH 410, CHLH 469, Elective/Concentration course) before they apply to the program. They are not required to retake the courses after entering the joint degree program and those credits will automatically be applied toward both the BS and the MPH degrees.


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 their graduate enrollment time.


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 MPH core courses. 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. During the year(s) of study when a 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. Pre-requisite requirements: Before applying for the BS-MPH program, all Community Health and Interdisciplinary Health major applicants are required to complete CHLH 274: Introduction to Epidemiology and MUST obtain a B or higher grade in it. This pre-requisite does NOT apply to Kinesiology majors.
  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. Have strong letters of recommendation from people who know your academic ability. Please see the Application Requirements section for more information and tips about writing your personal statement.
  6. Write a personal statement with a thoughtful explanation of why public health training fits into the applicant’s career plans. Please see the Application Requirements section for more information and tips about writing your personal statement.


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.


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

The official requirements for the MPH program are explained under the Academics tab of the MPH website.


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 register and then 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 and for the duration of your graduate work. As a senior, you pay undergraduate tuition.


Are there tuition waivers for the graduate year(s) of study?

No. The BS-MPH and MPH programs are not eligible for tuition waivers.


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 during their planned final semester. The BS-MPH in Epidemiology is completed in 1.5 years, and the BS-MPH in Health Behavior & Promotion can be completed in 1 or 1.5 years.


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.


When will I walk in graduation for my graduate degree?

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). The timing of your graduate graduation depends on which BS-MPH program and length of study you are completing. BS-MPH in Epidemiology students graduate in December of their second MPH year. They can walk in any University-wide graduation ceremony offered by campus in December (this varies year-to-year) and/or walk in the AHS graduation ceremony and/or University-wide ceremonies the following May. BS-MPH in Health Behavior & Promotion students on the 1.5 year track would do the same as the BS-MPH in Epidemiology students as noted above. The BS-MPH in Health Behavior & Promotion students on the 1 year track graduate in August after their graduate year. They may walk in the AHS graduation ceremony in Spring term of their graduate year of study, but you will not be certified to graduate after the ceremony since you will still need to complete the summer semester. You CANNOT walk in the University-wide graduation ceremony.


I am interested in the BS-MPH. What are the next steps?

  1. Register for and attend an MPH Info Session. Dates/times are listed on the MPH website home page.
  2. Review the MPH website in detail, including the general BS-MPH FAQs, and Application Requirements section, and the How to Apply: BS-MPH section on the website.
  3. Meet with your undergraduate advisor to ensure you have room in your schedule to take the three courses needed for the BS-MPH by the end of senior year.
  4. Contact for questions or more information.

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