Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Which degrees are offered at the School of Public Health?
MS, MPH, PhD, DrPH, joint MPH/MSW and MD/MPH degrees, as well as Certificate programs in areas of public health, are available at the School. Students will concentrate their degree in one of four departments: Biomedical Sciences; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology & Biostatistics; or Health Policy, Management, & Behavior.

What is the difference between an MPH and an MS degree?
The difference between the MPH and the MS degree is breadth versus depth. MPH students are required to take at least one introductory course in Health Policy & Management, Social Behavior, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, thereby providing them with a broader understanding of the expanse of public health. MS students take the majority of their course work within their department to become well versed in their chosen field. MS students take the majority of their course work within their department to become well versed in their chosen field and complete a major research project with a written thesis, whereas MPH students complete 9 credits of internship work as their culminating experience.

Are internships required to complete a degree?
Internships are an integral part of the School of Public Health's mission. Each semester internship opportunities at the New York State Health Department, local county health departments, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and private sector businesses are made exclusively available to School of Public Health students.  Students also have the option to find other professionally fulfilling opportunities through the School's long-standing relationships with other organizations, alumni, and the Center for Global Health.

Which undergraduate degrees are appropriate for Public Health?
The field of public health encompasses many different fields, thus many undergraduate degrees can serve as an appropriate foundation for a degree in Public Health. Some examples of appropriate degrees are, but are not limited to, Human Biology, Health and Society, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Ecology, Anthropology, Health and Wellness, Nursing, Communications, Business, and Psychology.

What student support programs exist?
Upon enrollment students are matched with a Faculty Advisor who serves as the student’s main academic resource while at the School of Public Health. Assistants to the Chair in each academic department are also a significant source of student support. The Director of Internships assists students with identifying internships that suit each student's interests and career goals.  As interns, students will also have assigned mentors on site with whom they will be in frequent contact.

The University at Albany Disability Resource Center provides services for students with physical and academic disabilities, including pre-admission counseling, personal and career counseling, and coordination of assistance with academic accommodations. The University at Albany Counseling Center provides free counseling on a confidential basis for students who feel a need for these services. 

What career service programs exist?
The School of Public Health Internships and Career Services Office provides individual counseling and resume and cover letter review, in addition to hosting a variety of career events and programs to assist students entering or advancing in the workforce.  Topics include but are not limited to career panels with health professionals, networking events, interviewing techniques, leadership skills and etiquette in the workplace. Students also have access to the University at Albany Career Development Center, which provides career counseling and job placement services.

Can a part time student complete the degree?
Part-time study is permitted for the MPH degree.  Part-time study for the MS or PhD degree is permitted in certain departments in the School, including Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Health Policy, Management, & Behavior. Students interested in Biomedical Sciences or Environmental Health Sciences should contact the department directly to discuss part-time options. It is recommended that students carry at least three credits per semester and be continuously registered. In accordance with University policy, all degree requirements for the MS or MPH must be completed within six years; all degree requirements for the PhD or DrPH must be completed within eight years.

Do you host students who would like to visit the School?
We will gladly assist in making the necessary arrangements, such as a tour of the facility and the opportunity to speak with faculty members. Please contact to set up a tour.

How do I get more information
If you would like to request more information, please complete the Information Request form or contact

Admissions Questions

How do I apply?
To apply to the MPH, MS, PhD or DrPH program, all applications must be submitted through SOPHAS at

Applicants to the MPH/MSW and Certificate programs, or those interested in taking courses as a non-degree student can apply through the University at Albany’s Office of Graduate Admissions

What are the application deadlines for the various programs?
For the 2016 admissions cycle, deadlines vary by program and can be reviewed here.

In order for an application to be considered "complete" by the stated deadline, all application materials required by your program, including official GRE scores, letters of recommendation, WES evaluations, official TOEFL scores, etc. must be submitted to SOPHAS.           

Can I substitute the MCAT test scores for the GRE?
MCAT scores may be submitted in place of the GREs for most programs at the School of Public Health. The MCAT can be substituted for the GRE for all MPH Programs. For other programs, please contact individual departments for permission.

Can I receive a waiver for the GRE requirement for my program?
MPH applicants who have previously completed a graduate degree (MS, PhD, MD, etc.) at an accredited US university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher may submit a GRE Waiver Request Form.

MPH applicants who have successfully completed Step 1 & 2 of the USMLE may apply for a waiver by submiting an official score report and completing the GRE Waiver Request Form.

All other MPH applicants must submit an official GRE score report to SOPHAS.

What are the average GRE scores and the average GPA of applicants to the MPH program?
The average GRE scores of students admitted into the MPH program are: Verbal 153; Quantitative 150; Writing 4.0.  The average GPA was 3.35.

Where should I send my official GRE and/or TOEFL scores?
For applicants using the SOPHAS application system, please submit GRE scores using code 4216 and TOEFL scores using code 5688.

For applicants using the University at Albany Graduate Admissions application, please submit GRE and TOEFL scores using code 2532.

As an international student, do I need to submit a TOEFL score report?
All international students whose native language is not English must submit scores from a recent TOEFL examination. The University minimum TOEFL score accepted is 100.

For MPH applicants, a TOEFL waiver can only be granted for students from nations with English as an official language or have completed two semesters of study at a US university.

What is the tuition for study at the University at Albany School of Public Health?
For current semester charges please visit the Student Accounts site.

How can I fund my graduate studies?
There are a number of ways to finance your education at the School of Public Health. To learn more about the options available to you, review the SPH Financial Aid brochure.

Are there fellowships and graduate assistantships available?
The School of Public Health offers fellowships and assistantships to students who are in good academic standing and demonstrate merit.  Information about these awards can be found in the Financial Assistance section of our admissions web page. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must submit both the application for admission and the application for funding by the stated deadline.