Frequently Asked Questions for Residential Graduate Students

General Questions

What is the difference between a Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) degree?

An MPH degree, sometimes referred to as a “terminal degree,” is intended for students who want to enter the workforce as public health professionals after graduation. It is a practice-oriented degree. In contrast, an MS is a research-oriented degree, best for students who want to pursue careers in research or continue on in academia. An MS is often a prelude to a PhD. Like an MPH, an MHSA degree is a professional degree, but focuses specifically on preparing students for leadership and management of hospitals, health care organizations, and other businesses in the health care sector.

Learn more about our graduate degrees and programs.

What is the average class size?

While class size varies based on the popularity of the class, whether it is a core course or an elective, and the nature of the content, the average class size for graduate courses is about 20 to 30 students. Our student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

Does Michigan Public Health have a strong alumni network?

Michigan Public Health has over 16,000 alumni. They drive positive change at nonprofit organizations, hospitals, insurance companies, universities, research firms, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and local and national government organizations. Prominent alumni include Larry Brilliant, Dr. Mona Hanna-Atisha, Pamela Pugh, and many more.

What kinds of jobs do public health master’s graduates get?

Professionals with public health degrees from Michigan Public Health pursue careers as diverse as the field itself. They are at the forefront of research, practice, and service in nonprofit organizations, government, private industry, health care, and beyond. 

Learn more about career outcomes for Michigan Public Health graduates.

What sets the University of Michigan School of Public Health apart from other schools of public health?

As a top five school of public health in the US, Michigan Public Health provides an unmatched educational experience. Our students pursue positive, transformative change through engaging learning opportunities with top faculty, access to innovative laboratory and field settings, and community-based and entrepreneurial training. Our staff offer a wealth of services that ensure our students are supported at every stage of their journey, and are prepared for success upon graduation. Our graduates join an active community of over 16,000 alumni and enter the world prepared to meet the challenges of a shifting landscape and anticipate where new challenges might arise. 

Applying to Michigan Public Health


What do you look for in an application?

Michigan Public Health practices a holistic review process when making graduate admission decisions. Reviewers give careful consideration to all materials submitted by a student. We look at grades and key coursework, essays, experience, and letters of recommendation. Standardized test scores are not required for applicants applying to any master’s- or doctoral-level program for the academic year starting fall 2021. If you have taken a standardized test such as the GRE or MCAT and want to submit your scores, please note that they will not be used as an official metric during application review. Scores may be used by some programs after the admissions decision is made to inform future use of standardized test scores in the admissions process. Reach out to admissions staff at sph-inquiries@umich.edu if you have questions.

Learn more about our admissions process and requirements.

What prerequisites do I need to apply? Is experience in health needed?

Prerequisites vary across our programs and departments. A student entering our Epidemiology department, for example, may be required to have completed coursework in biology or the health sciences. Experience in a health-related field, or a health-related degree, however, is not a uniform requirement. Our students come from diverse fields and educational backgrounds. 

Can I apply to more than one degree program at once?

Students can apply to multiple departments and degree programs (MPH, MS, MHSA, MHI, etc.) during any given year.

What happens after I submit my application?

Michigan Public Health practices a holistic review process when making graduate students admission decisions. Reviewers give careful consideration to all materials submitted by a student. We look at grades and key coursework, essays, experience, and letters of recommendation. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

How much is tuition?

Tuition costs differ for Michigan residents and non-Michigan residents, and from program to program. Learn more about tuition and attendance costs here.

What funding and financial aid options are available?

Financing your education at the School of Public Health is an investment in a better future. A variety of types of assistance are available to help you cover your costs — federal loans, work-study positions, scholarships, fellowships, graduate student instructorships, graduate student research assistantships, full-time and temporary employment, and private sources. 

Learn more about funding and financial aid opportunities.

What is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

The FAFSA and the CSS Profile for students entering in the Fall must be submitted by the deadline of March 31 in order for students to be considered for all available forms of aid. It is helpful for students to complete the FAFSA and Profile before March 1 so that all of the application documents reach the University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid by March 31.

How much should I expect to pay for books, living expenses, and other fees?

The University of Michigan Office of Financial aid includes these costs for public health students in their projected Cost of Attendance calculation. You can view them here

You should take into account additional factors when calculating the cost of living in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid publishes a standard student budget to help get prospective students started.

Life as a Student

What is it like to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan?

Ann Arbor consistently ranks among the country’s best places to live. Home to more than 150 parks and green spaces, more than 300 restaurants, and a thriving arts scene,  the city is a vibrant and diverse community for students, families, foodies, artists, sports fans, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Explore Ann Arbor and all it has to offer.

How can I learn about affordable housing?

University of Michigan Housing provides information about on- and off-campus housing options for students at every level. The university’s Dean of Student Life Office also operates an online program to help students find affordable, off-campus housing in the Ann Arbor area.

What types of student organizations can I get involved in?

Michigan Public Health has over 40 recognized student organizations. See the full list and learn more about how we support them. Michigan Public Health students can also get involved with many of the 1,000+ student organizations at the University of Michigan, or launch a brand-new organization on campus

Can I take courses at other University of Michigan schools?

Students at the School of Public Health can take courses in schools across the University of Michigan campus, including the School of Business, School of Social Work, College of Engineering, School of Law, and many more. Public health is an interdisciplinary field and we encourage our students to seek out new perspectives and educational opportunities.

Student Support

What kinds of support services do you offer students?

Michigan Public Health supports students in all aspects of their journey. From the earliest days of filling out your application and being admitted, to enhancing your education with career development, mental health, and well-being resources, navigating your coursework, and building networks of support, our Office of Student Engagement and Practice team is available to help students achieve their goals both personally and professionally. 

Learn more about student support and student resources at Michigan Public Health.

What career services are available?

The Michigan Public Health Careers Office is available to help students serve their professional ambitions. Services include everything from guidance on resume writing and internship opportunities, to job searching strategies and employer research.

What support systems are available for students with disabilities?

Michigan Public Health is committed to ensuring that graduate students receive appropriate and reasonable accommodations so that all students are supported in all aspects of their educational experience, including their employment related to their graduate education. There are a number of campus resources available to help graduate students with disabilities navigate the accommodation process. The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities offers information for students and links to other related resources for students with disabilities.

Are there Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or work-study positions available?

Doctoral students can apply to be graduate student instructors (GSIs) or graduate student staff assistants (GSSAs) for undergraduate courses. GSIs receive full tuition, health coverage, and an additional monthly living stipend. They can also apply to work as Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRA). Students who apply for need-based aid through the University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid may also be eligible for work-study funding as part of their need-based financial aid package. The University of Michigan Student Employment Office posts work-study positions and others for students. These positions range in type and location, but include office assistants and research assistants. For more information on GSI and work-study, visit our Funding and Financial Aid page.