Information for Prospective Students
"Everything you ever wanted to know about Schools of Public Health"
Schools and Colleges
Students of schools of public health are incredibly diverse in their ethnic,
economic, and professional backgrounds. They come from all areas of the United
States and the rest of the world. Some enter graduate schools of public health
directly from undergraduate school or another graduate program, others have
worked for some time in other fields and are returning to school to enhance
their careers. Public health has something for everyone because of its inter
disciplinary approaches and incorporation of a wide range of interests and
Academic and Student Life
ASPH is home to the membership of accredited schools of public health and several member programs of public health that are seeking accreditation as schools of public health. Each school has its own character and environment. These schools offers a wide range of degree concentration programs from MPH, MHA, MHSA, MSPH, DrPH and PhD, as well as joint degrees such as MD/MPH, JD/MPH, MBA/MPH, MSW/MPH, MPP/MPH, etc.
Get a feel for what it's like to be a student by
checking out each school online.
Applying to a school of public health
While schools of public health look for high graduate entrance exam scores and GPA, other aspects of an applicant's record, such as a career achievement, professional experience, and clarity of career goals, are equally important. Admissions decisions are based on an overall assessment of the ability of applicants to successfully complete the degree track area selected. Each program or track within a given department may set additional requirements for admission, therefore, applicants should refer to the individual programs for details. All schools of public health require competence in effective communication (both verbal and written); therefore, students should try to take advantage of undergraduate opportunities to hone these skills.
A typical application package would include:
Selecting an Undergraduate major
There is no one recommended undergraduate major for students intending to apply to a school of public health. Students of public health come from a variety of educational backgrounds; a quality undergraduate education will be a plus for any applicant.
However, there are some undergraduate majors that can be beneficial when
applying to a school of public health. For example, if you are interested in
epidemiology or biostatistics, a math major or basic science major is ideal.
For Behavioral Sciences or Health Education, you might want to consider
sociology, psychology or anthropology as a major. For studying Health Services
Administration, you might want to consider a business background. To study
Global Health, a social science degree is helpful. For those who want to study
Environmental Health, you might want to study either biology or chemistry.
Maternal and Child Health lends itself to both biology or social sciences.
Getting public health experience
Most schools do accept students without prior work experience; however, all schools look favorably on applicants who have at least a little experience. Contact the schools you are most interested in attending and ask about their specific requirements. Whenever possible, it is recommended to gain some experience in the field before applying to schools of public health.
There are many options for individuals who are looking to get experience before applying to a school of public health.
Schools recognize that it is sometimes difficult to gain experience before applying, so some schools of public health have developed programs that offer opportuntities for potential applicants to get experience before applying. When speaking to schools of public health before the application process, ask them if they offer work experience programs.
Another way to gain some exposure to public health is to conduct information interviews from members of the public health community. Schools will look favorably upon your initiative, which may help in the application process, and you will be able to connect with public health professionals.