|BUSPH Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions|
General Program Information
1. What previous coursework is required to apply for the MPH?
There is no required coursework to apply for the MPH at BUSPH. 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.
2. What is the minimum GRE/GPA you accept?
BUSPH 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 cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or above.
3. What institution code do I need to use when sending my GRE scores to SOPHAS?
For submitting GRE scores to SOPHAS, please use institution code 3101. For a complete list of BUSPH reporting codes, visit http://sph.bu.edu/admissions/reportingcode.
4. I already have an advanced degree. Do I still need to submit standardized test scores?
Yes. All applicants, with or without graduate degrees, must submit a standardized test score in order to be considered for admission.
5. Do I need to send transcripts to BUSPH as well as SOPHAS?
No. SOPHAS sends all verified coursework to BUSPH with your application and keeps copies of your official transcripts on file. You do not need to send your transcripts directly to BUSPH 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.
6. How many letters of recommendation do I need in order to apply? Who should write my letters of recommendation?
BUSPH requires that applicants provide a minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation, though 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. The Admissions Team 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 is a guideline to use but personal discretion may be used:
SOPHAS sends your application to BUSPH Admissions once they have received the first two letters of recommendation; the remaining letter(s) will be sent to BUSPH Admissions as it/they are received. Please note that we will temporarily consider your application incomplete until the third letter is received from SOPHAS.
8. What should I cover in my Statement of Purpose? How long should it be?
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.
9. How does BUSPH's rolling admissions process work?
Our rolling admissions process for the MPH program enables the Admissions Team 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 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.
10. Please tell me about BUSPH's priority deadline. If I miss the priority deadline, how might this affect my odds of acceptance?
Admissions recommends that all BUSPH candidates 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.
11. Can I apply to more than one program in the same cycle using SOPHAS?
Yes. Applicants may apply to a maximum of two separate degree programs using SOPHAS. Within the MPH program, you may only apply to one concentration. For example, you may apply to both the MPH and MS in Epidemiology. You may not, however, apply to the MPH in Epidemiology and the MPH in International Health.
12. Which programs offer spring admission?
Only the MPH has a spring application process for January start date.
13. Are my chances of being accepted different for spring?
No. If you are a strong applicant, we are happy to accept you for fall or spring.
14. Will BUSPH begin reviewing my application if it is considered incomplete?
No. The Admissions Team will not forward your application for review unless all required items, including official test scores, have been submitted.
15. Should I wait for letters of recommendation and/or test scores to arrive before submitting to SOPHAS?
No. As soon as your application is complete with items that you have control over (personal statement, resume or C.V., 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.
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16. Is there a different application cycle for international students?
No. International and domestic applicants follow the same admissions cycle. Please visit For International Students for more detailed information about application requirements for international applicants. Early application submission is recommended. Please contact the Office of Admissions if you are considering applying for spring term.
17. Which transcript evaluation services does BUSPH accept?
BUSPH encourages all international transcripts be evaluated through WES (World Education Services). This will ensure an equal review and equal consideration with all other applicants to the program.
18. Does BUSPH accept USMLE or ECFMG scores?
No. Prospective students must submit scores for the standardized test(s) specified by the program for which they are applying. This may include the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT or DAT.
19. How can international students secure funding?
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.
20. What kind of visa will I need in order to study at BUSPH?
You will need either Form I-20 or DS-2019. Boston University's International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will review your profile in order to determine which immigration document is appropriate.
21. How can I obtain the immigration documents that I need in order to apply for a student visa?
Upon acceptance, international students must submit the International Student Data Form (ISDF), which is supplied in the BUSPH acceptance package. Once the Admissions Office receives your completed ISDF and supporting documents, BUSPH forwards your paperwork to ISSO for processing and approval. For more information, please refer to the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) website.
22. When can I expect to receive my I-20 or DS-2019 from ISSO?
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.
23. If English was my language of instruction for my previous degree, am I still required to submit a TOEFL score?
No. International students are not required to take the TOEFL (or IELTS) if English was the language of instruction for a degree that they have previously received. The TOEFL/IELTS Waiver Form must be completed and sent to the BUSPH Office of Admissions in order to receive a waiver. Please note that the degree must have been completed and that its instruction was performed in English; it is not sufficient if merely one or several classes were taught in English and/or if the degree is incomplete.
24. Am I allowed to work on campus?
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 International Students & Scholars Office website.
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25. When should I apply for financial aid?
Prospective students seeking aid for fall should start financial aid applications just after January 15th using FAFSA. Prospective students seeking aid for spring should complete the FAFSA at the time of their application to BUSPH. While financial aid is not awarded until after a student is accepted, it is essential that the appropriate paperwork is complete in advance so that it may be processed immediately following the decision for admission. All prospective and incoming students should also be in contact with the Office of Student Financial Services.
26. What types of financial aid are available to BUSPH students?
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 BUSPH students, please see Financing Your Education.
27. What is the difference between merit- and need-based aid?
If applicable, merit scholarships are given to students based on the strength of their application for admission and are awarded through the Admissions Office. Need-based aid is based on financial need as demonstrated through a student's financial aid application, and is awarded through the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS). In order to receive need-based aid, applicants must complete the FAFSA and one additional form available upon acceptance.
28. Is departmental funding (scholarships) available?
Yes. There are departmental scholarships available from some departments. For more information, please visit Financing Your Education.
29. Are research assistant and teaching assistant opportunities available?
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 of these opportunities directly from their academic department.
30. Does Boston University offer tuition remission?
Yes. Boston University offers a competitive Tuition Remission program which is available to full-time employees of both the Medical Campus and the Charles River Campus. For more information, please visit the Benefits Section of the BU Human Resources website.
31. Where can I search for scholarship opportunities?
There are a number of resources to help in finding scholarships:
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32. Do you offer Open House events for prospective students?
Throughout the fall, BUSPH hosts afternoon and evening events for prospective students. These information sessions provide a great opportunity to learn more about BUSPH, hear from faculty, meet current students, and talk to members of the admissions team. To learn more, please visit Local Events.
33. I won't be able to attend a Prospective Student event. How may I schedule a campus visit?
34. May I speak with faculty members or current students before applying?
35. Where should I stay when I come to visit Boston?
BUSPH guests may receive special reduced rates at a number of participating hotels near campus. For more information, see the "Plan Your Visit" page.
36. Is there parking available around BUSPH?
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.
37. How do I get to campus?
BUSPH is located in the heart of Boston at 715 Albany Street and is easily accessible from Logan Airport, major highways, local public transportation, and major bus and train stations. Click here for directions to campus by car and local public transportation.
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General Program Information
38. Is BUSPH accredited?
Yes. BUSPH is a fully accredited School of Public Health through CEPH (Council on Education for Public Health. We recently were awarded a 7-year re-accreditation taking us through 2018. More information can be found here.
39. How can I request information about the School and program in which I am interested?
Please fill out our online request form to receive printed materials via USPS.
40. How long is the MPH program? Can it be completed in 1-year?
The MPH program is designed to be completed in a minimum of 3 semesters or 1.5 years. We do not recommend or encourage students to attempt completing the program in one calendar year.
41. Can I take a class before I am officially accepted into the program?
Yes. We do allow non-degree students to take 8 credits 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. This process is handled through the Office of the Registrar. Credits taken as a non-degree student are automatically counted toward the program if you are subsequently admitted.
42. Does BUSPH offer online courses?
No, at this time we do not offer distance learning.
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43. What extracurricular activities does BUSPH offer?
Within BUSPH, students may participate in a range of organizations such as Rotaract, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Student Senate. Throughout the year, the Office of Student Services hosts activities and events such as a Boston Harbor cruise and Duck Tours; plan trips to see Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox games, and host a number of dinner outings around campus. Students at BUSPH also have access to the University's FitRec Center and student organizations on both the Charles River Campus as well as the BU Medical Campus. For more information, please see Student Services.
44. How is BUSPH involved with the greater Boston community?
Engagement with local communities is a fundamental part of the BUSPH mission, which strives to improve the health of populations locally, nationally, and globally. We partner and collaborate with local groups through our public health practice office, the student practicum program, and through the investigations of our researchers. For example, BUSPH runs the only federally-funded Prevention Research Center 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, non-profit organizations, and community health centers.
45. What volunteer opportunities does Boston offer?
As a major metropolitan city, Boston teems with volunteer opportunities across a spectrum of service organizations. Students may pursue opportunities coordinated by the Student Services Offices of BU and BUSPH, as well as through sites such as serve.gov, which match independent volunteers with local organizations. Through BUSPHs student organizations, numerous fundraising and public health awareness events are run throughout the year. To learn about student life at BUSPH, visit the Student Insider.
46. What can I do for fun in Boston?
A lot. Boston boasts top restaurants, world-renowned museums and theatre, 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 Boston.com. Also, check out our online snapshots and profiles of Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods .
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