Frequently Asked Questions


What distinguishes this MPH program from other online programs?

This hybrid program enables mid-career professionals to move forward in their careers while earning an MPH from a world-leading university. The uniqueness of this program lies in its flexibility, giving the student the opportunity to earn an MPH while keeping their professional journey and pursuing their career.

See what students have to say about this program here!

What can I expect from Berkeley’s program? What are the classes like?

Our program is ~90% online and ~10% on-campus. Most of your coursework will be online and asynchronous but you will also have opportunities to access faculty/GSI’s in real-time remotely during office hours. Many courses are built around group activities that help foster a sense of community, even in an online setting.

Do employers perceive the online degree differently? Where does “online” show up in my record?

Our graduates have not reported to us any negative attitude towards an online degree by employers. Many of our students are mid-career professionals who want to move forward in their careers while earning an MPH. The program is highly regarded and is much more practice-based than theoretical so that our students can apply their skills to the real world immediately. Also, when you’re applying for jobs, students list the degree as an “MPH” not an “online MPH”. Your diploma will only state “Master of Public Health”, the only place where “online” is displayed is on your transcript.


What study areas does the online MPH offer?

For the Online MPH program, we currently offer several areas of study. Please find them here

Do you offer Global Health coursework?

Our Global Health curriculum offers an in depth examination of some of the most important aspects in Global Health. Through three courses taught by global health faculty from UC Berkeley and UCSF Global Health Sciences, students gain a true trans-disciplinary perspective of how global challenges are being addressed in the field across public health and health sciences disciplines.

I have taken public health courses at another institution, can I transfer credits to Berkeley?

It is possible to transfer up to 4 semester units of coursework as long as the units were not used towards any degree. The transfer course(s) will have to be reviewed and assessed by the program and approved by the Graduate Division for transfer. This review/approval process will only happen after you’ve been admitted and enrolled into the program.

Other criteria:

— The student must have an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher from the previous university and earned at least a “B” in each course.

— The student must have a current GPA of 3.3 or higher while at UC Berkeley, which means you cannot apply for transfer credits until after your first semester at UC Berkeley.

Can online MPH students take on-campus courses?

Yes. if you live within commuting distance of the Berkeley campus or wish to spend a semester in the area, the full menu of on campus public health courses are available to you.

Do I get campus visits to UC Berkeley?

You’ll visit campus twice during the program: your first visit will be for 5-6 days in June of your first year as part of the Health Policy and Management Breadth course, PHW200E.  This first visit is not an orientation, the program orientation will take place a few days before the actual start of the program. The second visit will be 10 days in June of your second year as part of PHW289: Interdisciplinary Seminar.

On-campus visits include 8 hour days Monday through Saturday (no instruction on Sundays) full of learning activities. During your time on campus, you will attend guest lectures, participate in class discussions and work on team projects. While here you will meet with School of Public Health librarians and have access to Career Counseling/Leadership Development Services.  Our goal is to strengthen connections among online students and with SPH faculty through these popular on-campus visits.

Find out more about the on-campus sessions on the Student Experience page.


What’s the total length of the UC Berkeley online MPH program?

Our Online MPH program is a 2 year and 1 semester long program (27 months or 2.5 years). It is possible to finish in 2 years with approval by Academic Student Advisor.

What’s the typical workload per week?

On average, students spend 15-17 hours per week on coursework on top of their full-time professional work hours. Those hours include watching video lectures, doing problem sets, and engaging in discussions and group projects.


What’s the cost for the online MPH program?

The current tuition for the program is $1,216 per credit unit, with a minimum requirement of 42 units. The total cost is approximately $55,000 for all students including campus fees (~$700 per semester). Find out more information on the Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Can I get financial aid or a scholarship? How?

The UC Berkeley online MPH program is a self-supporting degree program (it receives no state funding), the options for financial aid include:

— FAFSA (federal funding, available only to domestic students).

— External funding. FAFSA has its own eligibility which could be found here: External funding refers to scholarships or fellowships not affiliated with UC Berkeley that you can seek out and apply to.

Can I enroll in a tuition payment plan?

Tuition payment plans can be made. However, these arrangements are made through Student Billing Services and not through the School of Public Health.

Can I receive employer-funded education?

We encourage you to check with your current employer about Employer-funded or Employer-sponsored Education Plans. These are increasingly being offered as additional benefits in an employee compensation package. Many employers offer some level of professional development financial support. Employers who participate in these plans benefit from tax credits and deductions that come from funding employee education. It its worth checking with your HR.


What are the requirements to apply for the online MPH program?

Ensure that you have complete at least one college-level stat/epi course with at least a grade of B+ or equivalent BEFORE you apply. If you are currently in a statistics/epidemiology course this semester and are applying for the next semester, you can upload a transcript indicating your current enrollment and then it is up to the admissions reviewers to decide if that is satisfactory for admissions. The review committee wants to ensure that the candidate has a foundation in quantitative skills to successfully complete our biostatistics and Epidemiology core courses. Last keep in mind that the two years work requirement must be met by the time the student starts the program.

What are the application cycles and the duration of the online MPH Degree?

Students earn their degrees in 27 months, taking 14 courses and earning 42-semester units. The program includes two intensive one-week on-campus experiences.

What are the admission rates for the online MPH?

On average, we receive 100-150 applications every term and accept 30% of them.

Do I need work experience?

Prior work experience, preferably in health sector related activities, is desirable, but not required.

What are the GRE requirements?

You must submit your valid, unexpired GRE scores through ETS using code code #4833 on or before the application deadline. Exemption may apply, please reach out to our Admissions Coordinator if you feel that you meet ​one or more of the following criteria:

✓ You have completed an MD, PhD, or equivalent doctoral-level degree from an United States accredited institution by the time you apply. Equivalent doctoral-level degrees are defined as: chiropractic, dentistry, education (EdD), medicine, optometry, osteopathy, podiatry, pharmacy, and veterinary. (Note: If your degree is from a non-US institution, please email our Admissions Coordinator for additional information about your degree for review and approval of your exemption.)

✓ You are currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree in medical, dental, optometry, business, or law school. Please submit your MCAT, DAT, OAT, GMAT, or LSAT scores, respectively, in lieu of the GRE exam. 

​(Note: If you are currently enrolled in a clinically based professional degree program (e.g., MD, DO, DMD, DVM, OD, PharmD), you must complete your degree requirements before the application deadline of the semester to which you are applying.)

✓ You have completed a MBBS degree and have passed Steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE. In order to be eligible for the GRE waiver, copies of both official USMLE scores must be uploaded with your application.

*All other professional school exams will not be eligible as alternatives to the GRE exam.

My GRE quantitative or overall score is low. Would you recommend that I take the GRE again and would it be possible to tie that score to my current application?

Please consider writing a short additional statement that explains any poor test scores or grades. Demonstrating interest and making a strong case for yourself with the goal of alleviating any concerns we’d have for your academic success would be a great addition to your application. You can also take a free online statistics course at Carnegie Mellon (linked here). By mentioning that you are taking this class (in the proposed additional statement above), and in performing well in this course, you can show the faculty review team that you are ready to hit the ground running in our program and that you have demonstrated the quantitative ability necessary for success.

Do I need to take a TOEFL test?

All applicants that have completed basic degrees from countries where the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa. 

This includes U.S. citizens who have obtained their basic degrees from an institution outside the United States.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic coursework with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.

We will accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. As language proficiency can change considerably in a relatively short period of time, standardized tests must have been taken within the past two years, regardless of the test used.

To qualify for a TOEFL exemption you must:

— Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.

— Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting* agencies. (United States universities only)

— Have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with a grade B or better at a regionally accredited* institution within the United States.

For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT), and 570 for the paper-based format (PBT). Guidelines on demonstrating English language proficiency through the TOEFL or IELTS exams are outlined on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division page

Be sure to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam early to be considered for admission!

Is there anything unique about application process for international students?

UC Berkeley welcomes all international students to the program. Before applying for the program, please ensure you’ll be able to attend the on-campus required visits.

What is the process for international transcripts and translations?

English translations are required for transcripts in all languages except Spanish. English versions must be issued by the degree-awarding institution or by a certified ATA translator. The ATA number must appear on the certification to be considered, and notary certification is not acceptable. Unfortunately, we do not accept third-party evaluations (i.e., WES).

In addition to the general requirements, you’ll need to upload the following documents as part of your application:

— Transcripts in the original language and in English translation

— Degree certificate(s) (with title awarded and conferral dates) in the original language and in English translation

I can't get my unofficial study abroad transcripts. They're listed on my UG transcript as Pass/Fail courses. Is this enough?

No, our graduate division needs all transcripts. Please order your official transcript and have it sent to our Admissions Coordinator’s attention.

I don't have the 2 year work experience to fulfill application requirements, can I get a waiver?

Work experience, whether public health related or not, is an important aspect of the program.  It is possible to petition for an exemption based on exemplary work experience completed prior to earning a bachelor’s degree.  

Contact for more information.

When Accepted

Are students allowed to take more than 2 courses in any semester?

The Berkeley Online MPH is designed for working professionals and “full time" is 6 units or two classes per semester for 7 semesters. The program is structured to take one 3 unit class half semester at a time, so half of the semester you take and complete one course, and the second half you’ll complete the second course.

After completing all first year courses you may petition to take 1 additional course (total =3) per semester. To petition, the following criteria must be met:

— All first year required courses must be completed 

— B+ grade or higher in all but one first year UC Berkeley online MPH courses.

— The enrollment limit is 3 courses per Semester starting your 4th semester

— Students who take 3 courses in a semester and do not achieve a semester GPA average of B or higher, will not be permitted to take 3 courses per semester in any subsequent semester.

Can I skip a semester?

Yes, you might have some life changes that require your full attention for a period of time. If needed, you have the option to skip one semester up to one year before resuming your professional online MPH program. You can also pause the program all together for a period of up to 5 years.

What does the online MPH practicum entail?

Students are required to complete a 110 hours practicum experience. Practicum work starts in semester 2 and is completed by the end of semester 6. 

We do our best to support, guide, and provide contacts for students. It is set up to be a student-lead process where the student makes contacts and the field supervisor assists crafting a project that the student might do within that organization or agency.

The purpose of the field practicum is to provide a structured pathway for students to obtain practical experience within the field of public health and an opportunity to practice the skills they have acquired in the curriculum. The program encourages students to use this practicum requirement to broaden their exposure to working opportunities in the field of public health and to expand their network of professional contacts.

Can I transfer from the online MPH program to an on-campus MPH Program?

It is possible to transfer into an on-campus MPH program.  Transfer requires an internal review and acceptance of the candidate by the residential program of his/her interests before the transfer is processed. Once admitted into an on-campus program the student will work with the divisional program manager on transferring credits to the residential program. 

Students must complete 1 semester in the online program before transferring to an on campus program.

How does the comprehensive examination work?

The final comprehensive exam is administered during the last semester of the program. You’ll receive more information once you’re a student. It’s a comprehensive exam that tests your ability to apply what you’ve learned to real-world practice. This examination does not require a campus visit but will require a registered proctor.

3.5 hour proctored exam: 2 short essay Q’s, 20 multiple choice questions.

The UC Berkeley online MPH Program requires a comprehensive examination consisting of written components covering subject matter in the Online MPH degree curriculum.  The basic purpose of the examination is to demonstrate your ability to apply the knowledge acquired during the program to understand, assess and mitigate challenges to the public’s health. A significant component of the exam will be case-based.