Skip to main content

Click "Menu" to toggle open, click "Menu" again to close

FAQs

The following list of FAQs have been compiled to help you with commonly asked questions. These FAQs refer almost entirely to our on campus graduate programs. 

General Questions

Public health is all around us: in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. Many questions of our era involve public health. Are we living healthy lives? How does climate change affect health? Are children getting the nutrition they need to grow? And among the most pressing issues is whether communities have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

People in the United States live an average of 30 years longer than they did in 1900. 25 years of this gain can be attributed to innovations in public health.

The CDC: Top 10 Public Health Achievements of the Past Century

  1. Vaccinations
  2. Safer workplaces
  3. Motor-vehicle safety
  4. Control of infectious diseases
  5. Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke
  6. Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard
  7. Fluoridation of drinking water
  8. Healthier mothers and babies
  9. Safer and healthier foods
  10. Family planning

Some resources to explore the field of public health:

Tucson

The College of Public Health is based in Tucson, Arizona in the Arizona Health Sciences Center, which is just north of the main University of Arizona campus. The Health Sciences Center has a fully staffed library, small bookstore, coffee shops, and a cafeteria. The Health Sciences Center is also home to the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy, as well as biomedical research space and various centers our faculty and students contribute to, such as the Cancer Center and the Respiratory Center.

Phoenix

We also have a Phoenix Campus, which is located in downtown Phoenix at 7th St. Van Buren. Sharing space with the UA College of Medicine Phoenix, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Nursing, this campus offers many opportunities for practice-based learning in a large, urban environment. The three degree programs offered in Phoenix are the MPH in Public Health Practice, the MPH in Health Services Administration, and the dual MD/MPH programs, which are partial distance-learning programs.

Arizona's first and only accredited college of public health, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is uniquely situated in the culturally rich and diverse Southwest.

Distinguished for our outstanding community-based research and for our focus on eliminating health disparities, we offer outstanding opportunities to students for education, research, and community involvement. The College's interdisciplinary activities are enhanced by being part of the Health Sciences Center with campuses in Tucson and Phoenix.

Training students for the real world with rigorous, discussion-based classes and strong faculty mentoring.

World class research by faculty who focus on communities living in the Southwest, along the US/Mexico border, and globally.

Connected with communities with expertise in health disparities and community-based participatory research, particularly among Latinx and American Indian communities.

Diversity  The College of Public Health consistently ranks among the top 5 of the accredited schools of public health for American Indian and Hispanic students, and is home to a large cohort of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

Outstanding service learning opportunities offer students the chance to gain hands on experience in the application of public health principles in border health, rural health, urban health, sun safety, and more.

Active student groups including the Public Health Student Alliance, the Global Health Alliance, the Student Environmental Health Sciences Association, and the Social Justice Symposium Committee.

State of the Art Facilities  Drachman Hall features high-tech, comfortable classroom and meeting space.

Tucson and Phoenix have 350 days of sun each year and outstanding opportunities for hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities.

MPH & MS Programs Questions

The MPH and MS programs are designed to be 2 year programs for full-time students. Part-time students can take up to 6 years to complete the program, although most finish in 3 to 4 years.

Unfortunately, we do not offer a one year option for our MPH program. Some students who complete a certificate program or non-degree seeking classes prior to starting in the MPH program are able to complete the program in one year. If you are interested in this option, you may want to consider specific concentrations that have more flexible course sequencings, such as Family and Child Health or Public Health Policy and Management (note: due to course requirements and course sequencing, it is not possible to complete Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health, or Health Behavior Health Promotion in one year).

Yes!  With concentrations in Applied Epidemiology, Health Promotion, and Health Services Administration, our 100% Online MPH program is a two year program for full-time students.  The program is structured for working professionals, so students take one class at a time in 8 week sessions in fall, spring, and summer. Please visit the Online MPH website for more information!

If you have additional questions, please contact an enrollment advisor at 1-855-424-0279 or admissions@mphdegree.arizona.edu.  

Phoenix  >  For those living in the Phoenix area, the MPH in Public Health Practice and the MPH in Health Services Administration offer a mix of online and on campus learning.

Certificate Programs  >  At this point, the certificate programs we offer fully online are the Graduate Certificate in Public Health, the Global Health and Development Certificate, and the Clinical and Translational Research Certificate.

If you are searching for a fully online MS, PhD, or DrPH program, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) has a great search engine to find distance learning/online programs: http://www.aspph.org/program-finder

The MPH program is a practice-based, professional degree that trains students to work in the field of public health. In terms of the curriculum, MPH students are required to take all five core MPH courses (offered either online or on campus) to gain a broad base of knowledge in all of the areas of public health. MPH students also complete an internship as their capstone experience in order to obtain field-based public health experience in their area of interest.

Internship and employment opportunities for MPH alums include county and state health departments, non-profit organizations in the US, NGOs internationally, community-based programs at universities, the CDC, the World Health Organization, etc. View a list of previous internship titles and sites from 2006 to 2016, sorted by concentration.

Also view the Spring 2017 MPH Internship Conference program, which includes abstracts from each of the presentations. Most alums of the MPH program work in the field of public health, although a small percentage (5-10%) eventually pursue a doctoral degree or a health professional degree.

On the other hand, MS programs are designed to be more research-based. Instead of taking all five core MPH courses, MS students focus on the courses relevant to their field only. Additionally, MS students complete a research-based thesis as their capstone experience.

Many MS alums continue on to PhD programs, in which case they often end up working in academic institutions with teaching and research responsibilities. Those who do not pursue a PhD degree often work in research settings, such as working on clinical trials and other research at a university or private company.

All students are assigned a faculty mentor to work with during their time at the College of Public Health. The Office of Student Services also has student services professionals to assist you with your progression through your program. Below is the way we parse out these duties.

MPH Students

The College of Public Health utilizes a centralized model for advising MPH students. This means that you will receive advising regarding your plan of study, course sequencing of core and required courses, internship forms and process, and general programmatic policies and procedures from the student service professionals in the Office of Student Services and Alumni Affairs. Specifically, Tucson students work with Tanya Nemec, MPH Coordinator, who can be reached at tjnemec7@email.arizona.edu, or 520.626.3204. Phoenix students (Public Health Practice, Health Services Administration, and Phoenix MD/MPH students) work with Kim Barnes, Phoenix Coordinator, who can be reached at kim.barnes@arizona.edu or 602.827.2070.

After accepting your offer of admission, you will be assigned a Faculty Mentor. Your faculty mentor will help you conceptualize and plan your internship project, discuss elective coursework, and offer you career mentoring. You can keep this mentor or switch to another. Faculty are happiest when you get your specific needs met, so please feel free to switch to a faculty member whose public health interests align more closely to yours.

MS Students

Upon admission to the program, a faculty advisor is appointed for each incoming student.

Students benefit greatly from frequent communication with your faculty advisor. You will want to set up a meeting via phone or e-mail with your faculty advisor at some point before classes start or shortly thereafter.

During your first year in the program, you are encouraged to acquaint yourself with faculty members and their research interests. By doing this, you will be able to select a faculty member appropriate for each stage of your graduate career. You may schedule a meeting with the Program Director at any time during your time in the program to discuss which faculty member would best suit your interests and needs. As you advance and more precisely define your direction, you may ask a different faculty member to serve as your Thesis Director.

In addition to your faculty mentor, Michael Tearne is our Doctoral/MS Programs Coordinator, and he can be reached at mtearne@email.arizona.edu or 520.626.2112. Michael will help you with program, college, and university policies and procedures.

The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has partnered with the College of Medicine, College of Law, the College of Pharmacy, the Eller College of Management, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to administer six dual degree programs, plus one program that works in collaboration with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). Students have the opportunity to earn two complementary degrees simultaneously. Dual degree applicants are required to meet the application deadlines, testing requirements, and submit application fees to each program independently.

Academically, students are expected to fulfill the basic requirements of each program with the inclusion of course work that satisfies the requirements of both programs. Please click the following link to learn more about our dual degree programs.

  • Business - MPH/MBA 
  • Latin American Studies - MPH/MA LAS
  • Law - JD/MPH 
  • Medicine - MD/MPH
  • Mexican American Studies - MPH/MS MAS
  • Pharmacy - PharmD/MPH Program
  • Naturopathic Medicine Program - MPH/SCNM

Students are still expected to complete an internship for the MPH program, in addition to the second program’s requirements (e.g., a thesis for Latin American Studies). However, a thesis and internship experience may overlap, as long as separate reports are created. With proper planning, thesis/internship field and credit hours may overlap and count towards both degrees. Keep in mind that depending on your MPH concentration, the internship/thesis experience may require more or less credit hours. Follow the guidelines of your specific concentration’s internship credit hour requirements to plan sufficiently.

Full-time graduate students take 9 or more credits per semester, but to complete the program in 2 years, students typically must take 12 credits each semester until reaching their internship (when they take fewer credits to focus on their internship). Part-time graduate students typically take 3 to 6 credits per semester.

As a College, we are very flexible, in that students can be full-time one semester and part-time the next semester. However, students will want to check credit requirements for any financial aid they are receiving (including loans, scholarships, and assistantships).

The MPH/MS programs are rigorous. Every 3 credit class meets for 3 hours per week each of the 15 weeks during the semester. In addition, students should expect a minimum of 6 hours of outside of class time devoted to reading, studying, homework, papers, and group work.

Three credit classes are scheduled either once per week for 3 hours or twice per week for one hour and 15 minutes. Most of our classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 6 pm. At this point, there are very few night courses, and we don’t offer weekend classes. A few classes, such as the 5 core MPH courses, are offered either on campus in Tucson or online.

In terms of working, most full-time students report that they are able to work 10-20 hours per week (either on campus or off campus) while maintaining a 12 credit course-load. If a student works 30-40 hours per week or more, we strongly recommend that they take 3-6 credits per semester. These guidelines vary greatly depending on the student’s life, such as family responsibilities.

The MPH Internship is an MPH student’s culminating experience. The internship requires students to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in coursework to a project in a professional practice setting. Ideally, an internship meets both the learning objectives of the student and the needs of the internship site.

Additionally, the internship provides an excellent opportunity for students to obtain additional applied experience working in the public health field and further clarify their career goals. Internships might include planning a new program, evaluating a program, analyzing data, a policy analysis, etc.

MPH students often complete their internships at county and state health departments, non-profit organizations in the US, NGOs internationally, community-based programs at universities, the CDC, the World Health Organization, etc. View a list of previous internship titles and sites from 2006 to 2016, sorted by concentration. Also view the Spring 2017 MPH Internship Conference program, which includes abstracts from each of the presentations.

The College does not place students into their internship projects. Each MPH student creates his or her own unique internship, while meeting the MPH and concentration-specific internship requirements. To help with finding an internship, faculty members, alumni, and the Office of Student Services assist with networking; previous internship sites and site preceptors are made available to students; announcements for internships are passed onto students via an internship listerv; and some large organizations post internship openings on their website.

Upon completion of the internship, all MPH students write an internship report (in a thesis format) and present at the fall or spring MPH Internship Conference.

The MPH Internship Conference is a unique, student-planned and managed conference that is run like a professional conference, with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions for the interns to present on their experiences. Internship presentations are limited to 15 minutes with 5 minutes for questions, so they are very fast-paced. Attending an internship conference prior joining the MPH program, or within a student’s first year in the program, is a great way to learn about internship opportunities!

Because a thesis is a research-based project, students often work with faculty at the university or at a research-focused organization. Talking with your faculty mentor/advisor early in your program will help you find a suitable, interesting thesis project.

For accreditation purposes, we check with our alums one year post-graduation. At that point, over 92% of respondents have a position in public health or are pursuing further training (such as a PhD or medical school).

Approximately 1/3 of our alums work at governmental organizations (county/state health departments, the CDC, city planning, etc.); about 1/3 work in non-profit organizations in the US or NGOs internationally (such as the American Diabetes Association, Community Food Banks, Planned Parenthood, think tanks, etc.); and another 1/3 work in university settings (as faculty/staff in schools of public health, campus health, nutrition programs, outreach programs, etc.). A small percentage work in for-profit settings, such as mines and pharmaceutical companies, and a small percentage are pursuing further training, such as medical school or a doctoral program. See a list of positions held by our alums

While the College doesn’t offer placement services, our Office of Student Services and Alumni Affairs does partner with the main campus Career Services office to provide workshops regarding resumes, CVs, cover letter writing, social networking, mock interviews, networking with alums, and more.

Salary information varies widely based on previous experience/degrees and location of the position. Starting salary information for recent graduates from the program range as follows:

MPH/MS Biostatistics - $40,000-80,000 per year
MPH/MS Environmental Health Sciences - $50,000-80,000 per year
MPH/MS Epidemiology - $40,000-60,000 per year
MPH Family & Child Health - $30,000-50,000 per year
MPH Health Behavior Health Promotion - $30,000-50,000 per year
MPH Health Services Administration - $50,000-70,000 per year
MPH Public Health Policy & Management - $40,000-60,000 per year
MPH Public Health Practice - $40,000-60,000 per year

PhD and DrPH Programs

Our doctoral programs are designed to be 3-5 years in length for full-time students, which is broken down into 2-3 years for coursework and 1-2 years for the dissertation. Part-time students often take 5-8 years to complete doctoral programs.

Yes! Each program has different policies, but generally, the PhD degrees allow up to 30 credits from a prior master’s degree and the DrPH degrees allow up to 18 credits from a prior master’s degree. Any transfer credit must be graduate level, must have been taken at an accredited institution, and you must have earned an A or B grade. Most programs require that the courses be less than 10 years old. And, of course, there is paperwork involved! After admission, students work with their faculty advisor and our MS/Doctoral Coordinator to determine which classes might count toward their doctoral degree.

The PhD programs are research-based and train students for careers in academia, focusing on research and teaching. Students complete a traditional research-based dissertation, collecting and analyzing data in their area of interest.

On the other hand, the DrPH program is designed to be a practice-based doctoral degree, training students to be leaders in the field of public health (at county/state health departments, non-profit organizations, governmental organizations, etc.). As such, the coursework develops practice-based skills, and students can complete a traditional research-based dissertation or a practice-based dissertation.

Of the College’s graduate programs, the doctoral programs are the most rigorous, with the most demanding coursework and the highest standards for research. Students receive a great deal of support from faculty and the Office of Student Services and Alumni Affairs. However, students applying to a doctoral program should make sure that they are committed to a long-term, rigorous academic process.

Upon admission to the program, a Faculty Advisor is appointed for each incoming student. Typically, this faculty member will be primary faculty in your program of the college, and s/he will share your research interests.

Students benefit greatly from frequent communication with your faculty advisor. You will want to set up a meeting via phone or e-mail with your faculty advisor at some point before classes start or shortly thereafter.

During your first year in the program, you are encouraged to acquaint yourself with faculty members and their research interests. By doing this, you will be able to select a faculty member appropriate for each stage of your graduate career. You may schedule a meeting with the Program Director at any time to discuss which faculty member would best suit your interests and needs. As you advance and more precisely define your direction, you may ask a different faculty member to serve as your Dissertation Director, and you will form a Dissertation Committee, as well.

In addition to your faculty mentor, Michael Tearne is our Doctoral/MS Programs Coordinator, and he can be reached at mtearne@email.arizona.edu or 520.626.2112. Michael will help you with program, college, and university policies and procedures.

We list all of the required coursework for the PhD and DrPH programs at the links below,, as well as anticipated timelines and important milestones at the bottom of each academic page:

PhD Biostatistics
PhD Environmental Health Sciences
PhD Epidemiology
PhD Health Behavior Health Promotion

DrPH Maternal and Child Health
DrPH Public Health Policy and Management

Admissions Questions

Admissions to the graduate programs are competitive. Depending on the program and the year, 50-70% of MPH and MS applicants are admitted. At the doctoral level, 10-30% of PhD and DrPH applicants are admitted.

The University of Arizona is a land grant institution, so we do encourage Arizona residents to apply to the program. However, no preference is given to in-state or out-of-state students. At this point, approximately 65% of incoming students are Arizona residents (at the time of application; many students hail from other parts of the country originally) and 35% are from other states or countries.

Unfortunately, a GPA of 3.0 is a requirement of the University of Arizona Graduate College. We do occasionally admit applicants who fall below a 3.0. Those applicants have exceptional applications otherwise: strong GRE scores, relevant work experience, outstanding letters of recommendation, and a focused, well-written personal statement.

So that you have a sense of how the GPA is calculated, the Graduate College will look first at your last 60 units of coursework (typically your last 2 years of undergraduate coursework); if you don’t have a 3.0 in your last 60 credits, they will look at your cumulative undergraduate GPA. Many students have a much better GPA in their last 60 units, so you might want to calculate what yours would be. If you have taken 12 or more graduate degree credits (either in a graduate program or as a non-degree seeking student), then the Graduate College will base their GPA calculation on those 12 units. If you have a 3.0 GPA in any of those areas, that meets our minimum requirement.

Please note that our faculty admissions committee will review all of your GPA calculations, including your cumulative, first 60 credits, last 60 credits, math, science, social science, and other GPAs, as calculated by SOPHAS. Each of these is important, so even if you meet the minimum requirement, the admissions committee may have concerns if any of these areas is too low.

Some of our applicants use the Additional Experiences section of the SOPHAS application to briefly explain a lower GPA. These reasons often include not finding the right major at first, needing to work during college, health problems, or dealing with family/personal issues. It is always better to address such an issue in your application than to ignore it.

One option some applicants take is to take some graduate level coursework (12 units, typically, or 6 credits at the UA) and ensure that they do exceptionally well in graduate level coursework (primarily A grades). More information on being a non-degree seeking student. While doing well as a non-degree seeking student does not mean that you will be automatically admitted to a graduate program, it can help to strengthen your application.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test for graduate school admissions. Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the exam aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. It is similar to the SAT or ACT, but is used for entry into graduate programs rather than undergraduate programs.

The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at testing centers nationally and worldwide. To find the testing center nearest to you, upcoming exam dates, and seat availability, please visit the GRE website.  

The GRE predicts how well a student will do in their first year of graduate school, so it is an important part of the application. However, the GRE is just one part of your application, and every application is reviewed holistically. We know from previous experience that those with low GRE scores often struggle in graduate school. We encourage you to prepare for the GRE and follow these tips:

  • Study from a GRE preparation book (make sure it is a recently dated book)
  • Take multiple practice tests
  • Avoid taking the GRE during finals week or other stressful times in your life!
  • Scores are valid for 5 years, so taking the test early is a great idea. If you have down-time over the summer, that’s a good time to take the GRE.
  • If you struggle with standardized tests, take a GRE Prep Course:
  • The GRE can be retaken once each month. If your first scores are not as high as you had hoped, and if you have the time to study and the resources to retake it, you may want to consider retaking the test.

The average GPA and GRE scores change from year to year.  The most recent averages are:

Average GPA
Incoming MPH/MS  //  3.54
Incoming PhD/DrPH  //  3.81

Note:  GPA is calculated based on the highest of cumulative, last 60 credits, or graduate level GPA.

Average GRE scores (combined verbal and quantitative scores)
MPH/MS  //  304
PhD/DrPH  //  310

Work, volunteer, and/or internship experience can be an important part of your application. Some areas of the college, such as Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, and Epidemiology, will be most concerned with your academic background and GRE scores. In those cases, relevant experience strengthens your application, but isn’t necessary.

Other areas, such as Health Behavior Health Promotion, Health Services Administration, and Family and Child Health, really do want to see that applicants have worked, volunteered, and/or interned in a health-related field, a relevant organization, or generally helping people. Relevant experience can come in many ways. For example, teachers often have great experience with developing curriculum and assessment. A business manager has experience with developing budgets and managing people. In particular, the Family and Child Health – Global Health program requires that students have experience with living and studying, working, or volunteering outside the U.S.

If you do not have prior experience, we recommend that you start by volunteering with an organization that interests you. Examples include Casa de los Niños, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), the American Diabetes Association, the Community Food Bank, and organizations that work with foster children or refugee communities.  

Many cities have volunteer centers that can help you find an appropriate volunteer position. In Tucson, the Volunteer Center of United Way is a great resource, and in other parts of the country, the Hands On Network connects people with volunteer opportunities.

We require 2 letters of recommendation for the MPH program, and we require 3 letters of recommendation for the MS, PhD, and DrPH programs.  You can submit up to 5 letters of recommendation, and our admissions committee will review them all.  For an MPH applicant, we like to see at least one letter from a faculty member who can speak to your academic abilities (although we understand that this may not be possible for applicants who have been out of school for 5 years or longer).  For MS, PhD, and DrPH applicants, we recommend at least two letters from faculty members who can speak to your academic abilities.  The other letter(s) can be from a work, volunteer, or internship supervisor who can speak to your professional abilities. Other letters may come from advisors and mentors.  We strongly discourage personal references (friends, family members, clergy, etc.).  Letters are submitted to SOPHAS electronically.

One of the wonderful aspects of public health is that it is incredibly interdisciplinary! There is no perfect undergraduate degree or major for public health. The top three undergraduate majors of incoming public health graduate students are consistently Biology, Psychology, and Public Health, followed by an assortment of other majors including Anthropology, Chemistry, Engineering, Math, Sociology, Journalism, Spanish, Communications, Political Science, Statistics, Education, and on and on. If you are entering a field that requires more math or science, such as Biostatistics or Environmental Health Sciences, you will want to make sure to meet their prerequisites. Make sure to view our Admissions Criteria for any program you are considering.

We do not conduct interviews for our MPH/MS programs, so it is important that your SOPHAS application reflect all of the information you want our admissions committee to know about you. Some of our PhD/DrPH programs do conduct interviews (in person or via skype/phone) with top applicants. The main purpose of a doctoral interview is to ensure there is a good match between the student and the faculty advisor.

The deadline is the date by which you must e-submit your application on SOPHAS and all of your documents must be received by them (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.).

The SOPHAS processing time of 2-4 weeks comes after the deadline. We strongly encourage you to have official transcripts sent to SOPHAS as early in the process as possible. Many college/university Registrar’s Offices close for winter break in mid-December, so waiting until then to request that transcripts be sent is not advisable if you are trying to meet a December or January deadline.

Note: GRE scores can be received by SOPHAS 3 weeks after the deadline, which means that you must take the GRE by the deadline date. Please make sure to submit your scores to code 4253 the University of Arizona College of Public Health/SOPHAS, which routes your scores directly to SOPHAS. In addition to submitting your official GRE scores, we also recommend that you type your unofficial scores into SOPHAS in order to expedite the process.

Both deadlines indicate the date by which you must e-submit your application and have all materials into SOPHAS. Applying by the priority deadline gives you the highest priority for both admissions and for funding. The secondary deadline is for those who miss the first deadline, but we typically don’t have as much financial aid available (although federal loans are always available). The application process is the same. Some programs admit on a rolling basis after the deadlines, if space is available.

Yes, you can apply to multiple schools and programs in SOPHAS. Each school is likely to have its own deadline that must be followed. It is your responsibility to keep track of the different deadlines for each school and to submit the appropriate materials on time. You may find it helpful to plan on submitting all of the required materials for each school by the earliest deadline.

You can also apply to up to 3 programs within the UA College of Public Health. In this case, you will write a unique statement of purpose for each program to which you apply, describing your specific interest in each program. You will rank order your program choices (#1, #2, #3).

Yes, we have a short supplemental application through the Graduate College.  This application has an $85 application fee for U.S. applicants and a $95 application fee for international applicants:   https://apply.grad.arizona.edu/users/login

Yes, you must complete both the SOPHAS and Graduate College applications. Yes, you must send University of Arizona transcripts, as well as transcripts from any other U.S. college/university you have attended.

We send admissions decisions via e-mail and mail. We have a two month admissions timeline, so you will be notified of admission on the following schedule:

December 1 deadlines – Notified by the first week of February
January 5 deadlines – Notified by the first week of March
March 1 deadlines – Notified by the first week of May

We recommend that you contact Amy Glicken, Director of Admissions, at coph-admit@email.arizona.edu or 520.626.3201. Amy will be able to provide information on ways to improve your application in the future.

Never fear!  You can apply without those requirements and plan to take the courses either in the spring/summer prior to starting in the MPH program or within your first year in the program. Keep in mind that the math requirement must be taken before BIOS 576A Biostatistics in Public Health and EPID 573A Basic Principles of Epidemiology. Many of our recommended course sequencings for full-time students recommend that students take these two courses in their first semester. In these cases, it will be advantageous to take the math prerequisite either before applying to the program or in the spring/summer prior to starting in the program.

Some concentrations, such as Biostatistics and Environmental and Occupational Health, are looking for students with a higher level of math and science.  In those cases, you will want to take the prerequisites before applying.  More information on our admissions criteria.  

The University of Arizona Graduate College allows students to transfer up to 20% of the total degree requirements for a master’s degree, so you can usually transfer up to 9 credits. Our Graduate College will make sure that the courses you took are graduate level, that they are from an accredited institution, and that you obtained an A or a B grade. Because students have 6 years to complete a master’s degree at the University of Arizona and because any transfer courses start the 6 year clock, there may be more hoops to jump through if your coursework is older.

For a required course, the faculty member who teaches the course here will review your course syllabus and ensure that the course covers the same content that we cover here. For courses like Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Environmental and Occupational Health, that usually isn’t a problem, as the courses tend to be very similar at all accredited schools of public health. For other courses, there may be more variation.

If the course will count as an elective, your faculty mentor will sign off that the course can count as an elective.  

Typically, you will start the transfer process in the summer or fall of your first year.

You must apply to a specific concentration, and you are admitted by the faculty in that concentration. The MPH in Public Health Practice is the closest to a generalist MPH degree we offer. However, if you are admitted, you can switch concentrations. Click on the header below this called Can I switch concentrations within the MPH program? for more information.

Yes! Applicants can choose to apply to up to 3 programs or concentrations at the UA College of Public Health through SOPHAS (paying an additional application fee for each program).  You will write a unique Statement of Purpose for each program to which you will apply, and you will rank order your top 3 choices.  If you are admitted to your #1 choice, great!  If not, our faculty admissions committee will review your application for your #2 choice and so on. Applicants can only be admitted to one program or concentration within the College of Public Health.

We recommend researching each concentration carefully by reviewing the description and curriculum for each concentration. Other ideas for picking the right concentration:

  • Visit the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health Areas of Study page
  • Read about the faculty members in the area you’re interested in
  • Talk with students in the area you’re interested in!  We can help you connect you, and you can also read about our student Ambassadors on the Meet Our Students page  
  • Sit in on a class
  • Attend an Information Session
  • Consider your undergraduate major!  If you were a math major, maybe Biostatistics is the right fit for you; if you were a biology major, Epidemiology or One Health would be a great fit.  On the other hand, if you were a Health Education major, maybe Health Behavior Health Promotion would be too similar and it might be in your best interest to pick a different concentration where you would gain a new skill set, such as Family and Child Health or Public Health Policy and Management.
  • Talk with our Director of Admissions, Amy Glicken, at coph-admit@email.arizona.edu or 520.626.3201

It is definitely possible to change concentrations once a student has started in the program. If you start in the program and then decide you want to change concentrations, we ask you to write a revised statement of purpose to reflect your interest in the new concentration. The faculty in the new concentration will review your updated statement and your original SOPHAS application to make sure you meet their admissions criteria (for example, if you wanted to switch to Biostatistics, our faculty would make sure you had the math background required).

Approximately 100 new MPH students start in the program each fall, and about 3 or 4 students change their concentration at some point during the program. Most students identify the right concentration from the beginning, but a few students do find their niche in another area of public health.

Also consider that you can take your electives from another concentration and you have some flexibility in your internship to combine concentrations (e.g., a student who is interested in Global Health and Epidemiology could complete an Epidemiology internship internationally).

  1. Priority Deadline  >  We recommend that you apply by the priority deadline, if at all possible.  This will give you the highest priority for admissions and for funding.  If you miss the priority deadline for any reason, we do have secondary/late deadlines for all of our programs.  View our deadlines here.
  2. GRE Scores  >  Make sure to send your GRE scores to the University of Arizona College of Public Health/SOPHAS, code 4253.  Once you have your scores, please also type the raw score and percentile into SOPHAS, as this will help us begin reviewing your application.
  3. Transcripts  >  Send transcripts as early in the application process as possible.  Make sure to send transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended, including community colleges, directly from your schools’ registrar’s offices to SOPHAS.  If you are trying to meet a December or January deadline and you are taking courses in the fall with grades that will post in December, please list those courses on SOPHAS as Planned or In Progress with no grades (waiting until your grades post may delay your application.
  4. International Transcripts  >  If you have a degree from a country outside of the U.S. or Canada, we strongly recommend that you have your transcripts evaluated by WES at www.wes.org/cas.  This process takes time, so we recommend starting this process early.
  5. Work and Volunteer Experience  >  While you will upload a resume with your application, there is a section on SOPHAS that asks applicants to enter their work and volunteer experience.  Although it seems a bit redundant, our admissions committee likes to see you enter your work and volunteer experience in both places.  Think of this as a chance to highlight all of your incredible experience!
  6. Statement of Purpose  >  The statement of purpose is your opportunity to introduce yourself to our admissions committee by sharing your background, your public health interests, and your career goals, as well as why you are interested in a specific area of public health and would like to join the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health.  Because we don’t conduct interviews for most of our programs, this is a very important part of your application!  You will want to edit your statement for spelling, grammar, and clarity, and you may want to ask for editing help from a trusted advisor, friend, or family member. Please note that this is the only section on SOPHAS that can be personalized for each school or program to which you’re applying.
  7. Letters of Recommendation  >   For an MPH applicant, we like to see at least one letter from a faculty member who can speak to your academic abilities (although we understand that this may not be possible for applicants who have been out of school for 5 years or longer).  For MS, PhD, and DrPH applicants, we recommend at least two letters from faculty members who can speak to your academic abilities.  The other letter(s) can be from a work, volunteer, or internship supervisor who can speak to your professional abilities. Other letters may come from advisors and mentors.  We strongly discourage personal references (friends, family members, clergy, etc.).  Letters are submitted to SOPHAS electronically. Make sure you are asking references who know you well, who can speak to your potential to be successful in graduate school, and who will write you a strong letters of recommendation! Sending them your resume and statement of purpose will help them in crafting a great letter for you.
  8. Specific Admissions Criteria  >  Each of our programs has specific admissions criteria that you will want to review as you complete your application.  Links to these criteria are located at:https://publichealth.arizona.edu/graduate-students/admissions/programs
  9. Anything Out of the Ordinary  >  If you have something unusual on your application, we recommend that you address these issues in the section of SOPHAS called Additional Experiences.  Examples might include a whole semester of withdrawals (W grades), a low GPA, a semester or year where your grades dipped lower than usual, or low GRE scores, Our admissions committee understands that many issues arise when students are in school, such as health problems, family/personal issues, having difficulty with the transition to college, not finding the right major at first, needing to work full-time through college, etc.  We ask that you address the issue, sharing as much or as little personal information as you feel comfortable, so that the admissions committee has some context regarding the issue.  Please contact our Director of Admissions at coph-admit@email.arizona.edu if you have questions or would like help with discussing your situation.
  10. Faculty Advisor for PhD and DrPH Applicants  >  One of the most important pieces of an application to a doctoral program at the College of Public Health is finding a faculty advisor whose research interests and areas of expertise align with your interests.  Through the admissions process, the College of Public Health seeks to ensure that we have sufficient faculty with relevant research experience to effectively mentor you through your doctoral program and your dissertation. Please research the faculty in this program and outline which faculty members you hope to work with in your Research Statement.  Given that faculty commitments change from year to year, we strongly recommend that you list at least two faculty with whom you would like to work.  Although you are welcome to contact specific faculty to discuss our program and your goals, it is not necessary for you to communicate with faculty before or during the application process.

If you are admitted to an MPH or MS program, you can automatically defer your admission for either one semester or one year (to the spring or fall of the following year). We strongly recommend that you defer to the fall semester, as we hold our new student orientation in the fall and you will meet your cohort then. Also, all recommended course sequencings are based on a fall semester start. You would simply let our Director of Admissions know via e-mail at coph-admit@email.arizona.edu.

If you have been admitted to a PhD or DrPH program, deferrals are not automatic. Please contact our Admissions Coordinator at coph-admit@email.arizona.edu to request a deferral.

Photo of Student with "A mountain" in background as sun sets

Student Life Questions (written by graduate student Ambassadors)

Tucson is very active! Year round people partake in biking, hiking, running, etc. Although there are a lot of things to do on and around campus, we suggest driving to find beautiful hiking trails and skiing opportunities. For more information check out Visit Tucson.

Tucson is very much a “College Town” in which the whole city stands behind and supports UA initiatives, developments, and athletics. We have noticed that Tucson has a distinct southwestern charm that reflects the historic housing districts and local businesses that help make up Tucson. We really appreciate the breadth of community events that take place at various times throughout the year. Such as: Tucson Meet Yourself, the twice-annual Fourth Avenue Street Fair, the All Souls Procession, and Cyclovia. Within an hour’s drive of Tucson, there are great camping spots in various state parks, wine tastings in Sonoita, and a trip through history in Tombstone. Although the university, downtown, and nightlife is centrally located and easily accessible, Tucson is rather spread out. Also, Tucson stays roughly 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Phoenix and other central Arizona cities.   

The Downtown Phoenix MEZCOPH Campus is an exciting place to learn and live. Downtown Phoenix houses multiple health centered colleges including The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, Northern Arizona University School of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant, as well as many Arizona State University programs. This environment fosters a culturally diverse and strong interprofessional education. Downtown Phoenix is also home to various professional sports teams including the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns. Downtown also has a variety of entertainment options such as the Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, houses mostly all major parades, and an event called first Friday that is the largest art walk in the nation on the first Friday of every month. Besides downtown, there are other great attractions like the Arizona Botanical Garden, Phoenix and World Wildlife Zoo, and the Musical Instrument Museum. If you are more of a person that enjoys the outdoors then Phoenix is perfect since it has great hiking areas all around, with my favorite being Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak. One of our favorite things to do is to attend Major League Baseball spring training games at stadiums all over the valley. The food, nightlife and entertainment options in Phoenix and the Tempe and Scottsdale regions will prevent any potential boredom. With the modern light-rail system connecting these major cities and popular destinations together, you can be sufficient without owning/driving a car.

As a preface, due to the broad spectrum of topics and concentrations offered here at MEZCOPH, each student has a uniquely different learning and living experience. We have found that the core public health courses offered do provide a beneficial foundation, albeit demanding at times, that will really expand your scope of what public health truly means as well as its various services and functions. Here at MEZCOPH, we feel privileged to learn from amazing professors who truly practice what they preach (many professors balancing outside research interests while committed to their course preparation, lecturing, and students). We also enjoy feeling encouraged to collaborate with faculty and community members/agencies through service learning opportunities that are built into some classes to apply course concepts to real-world situations. We have made strong friendships with our classmates as well as peers from different concentrations. For fun we enjoy hiking, playing pick-up soccer/basketball/Frisbee/softball games, grabbing tasty food on University Avenue, and frequenting various coffee shops around town. As a Division-1 athletic program in the PAC-12 Conference, we have also been able to enjoy the festivities associated with college football game day and rooting strong from the student section, The ZONAZOO.

As a MEZCOPH student in Tucson, we enjoy not having to migrate all over campus to attend class. The College of Public Health operates out of a new building with state of the art technology integrated in the classrooms and computer lab. Centrally located in one building eases the process of getting to and from classes in addition to scheduling appointments with faculty and administrators. We have also experienced both personal and professional service from the Office of Student Services and Alumni Affairs who consistently seem happy and willing to help prospective and current students.

As a MEZCOPH student in Phoenix, it feels like you get the best of both worlds. You have a beautiful city with so many things to do and you have this beautiful facility for your classes. The classes for Public Health are held in the building that housed the first high school in Phoenix. This building is part of the biomedical campus in Phoenix, which also houses Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Health Sciences Education building. As far as the student life, you really create great friendships with all the students since we are a much smaller class. Although the classes are challenging, the professors provide copious amount of assistance and are always there to answer any questions. The best thing in our opinion is the faculty and administrators at the campus. They are always there to help and invite you with open arms to discuss any questions, concerns, or just chitchat with them. They truly make you feel welcomed at the campus and they want to see you succeed.

There are many ways to get involved with student organizations on campus as a graduate student. View our list of active student organizations here.

There are also many on-campus student groups outside of the College of Public Health, including the Graduate & Professional Student Council, that you may explore and get involved in. A list of the existing clubs on campus may be found here. Many of the listed clubs are open to graduate and undergraduate students.

Volunteering in town is an excellent way to better understand and connect to the diverse community of Tucson. While there are many places to volunteer your time, the following list may help guide you in your search. Some opportunities are ongoing, while others are fun, one-time events, ranging from folk festivals to short-term migrant shelters.

Some popular opportunities among students include:

VolunteerUA: VolunteerUA sends out a newsletter with different volunteer opportunities, and also offers a volunteer matching service based on your personal interests. Most of these include ongoing opportunities.

The Volunteer Center of United Way is also an excellent resource for students searching for volunteer opportunities. 

There is truly no shortage of excellent community organizations in Tucson and Phoenix, and volunteering may help guide you towards a fitting internship or research project.

We are lucky to be located on a thriving campus with many resources! View our list of campus resources.


If you have additional questions, please contact one of our student services professionals:

Graduate Programs (MPH, MS, PhD, DrPH)   
Amy Glicken, MPH, Director of Admissions  
coph-admit@email.arizona.edu  |  520.626.3201

Phoenix-based Programs (MPH Public Health Practice, MPH Health Services Administration, and Phoenix MD/MPH)
Kim Barnes, MPH, Phoenix Coordinator  
coph-phoenix@email.arizona.edu  |  602.827.2070

Online MPH Program
admissions@mphdegree.arizona.edu  |  1-855-424-0279

Graduate Certificate Programs & Non-Degree Seeking Students
Michael Tearne, MEd, Certificate Programs Coordinator
coph-certificate@email.arizona.edu  |  520.626.2112

The University of Arizona