FAQ: Pre-Application & Admissions Criteria
What transcripts don't you accept?
- notarized copies
- original transcripts in a language other than English or French with no translation
- translated transcripts without the original language (we need both!)
This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
Do you accept electonic transcripts?
Currently the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies is only able to accept e-references from Stanford University and the London School of Economics. All other transcripts must arrive in duplicate and in official, sealed enveloppes as per the UBC policy.
Can I apply if I have completed my undergrad degree, or will complete my degree by April, but my transcript does not indicate that it has been conferred?
Applicants may apply to the MPH Program by the February 1st deadline and if the Admissions Committee agrees to offer them a place in the program, the offer will be conditional to sending in 2 copies of the transcript indicating that the student has successfully completed the degree requirements. This is a common occurrence.
I use an agency that compiles all transcripts and references for me. Will you accept transcripts and references from the agency or do I need to get originals sent to you?
We do not accept transcript information that has been collected and summarized by an agency. All transcripts received must be original, in duplicate, and if not in English, accompanied by a translated copy. This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
I've taken some previous graduate-level course work. Can I transfer any of it into my MPH degree?
Master's students may transfer up to 12 credits or up to 40% of the total number of credits required for degree completion (whichever is more), provided that:
- The courses were not used to satisfy the requirements of another degree
- The courses were not used as a basis of admission to the graduate degree program
- At least a B standing (UBC 74%) was obtained in the courses
This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
I did one semester abroad during my undergrad. Do I need to submit transcripts from that university?
If your undergraduate transcript does not include the course number, title and final grade achieved from the institution attended abroad, 2 official copies of transcripts from all institutions attended must be received by the application deadline of February 1st.
How is my GPA for admission calculated (credentials from Canada & U.S.A.)?
All 300 & 400 level courses, irrespective of what year they were completed.
How is my GPA for admission calculated (credentials from outside of Canada & U.S.A.)?
All undergraduate courses are used to calculate the GPA. As an international student, there are specific requirements for each country, which can be found online at the UBC Graduate Studies Web site. Please follow this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select the country. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements set out for their particular country/university.
Do you accept the optional minimum criteria for GPA set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies website: “Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study”? ?
No. The MPH Admissions Committee agreed in March 2010 that this option is no longer acceptable for admission to the program. All applicants will be compared against the same standards of GPA calculation.
I have two or more degrees, which will be used for my GPA for admission?
We will use all eligible degrees to calculate GPA for admission. For example, if an applicant has two Degrees (at any level), and only one degree meets the minimum academic requirement set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the applicant is eligible for admission. If both (or all) degrees meet the minimum requirement, then the applicant is eligible for admission. If neither/none of the Degrees meet the minimum academic requirement, the applicant is not eligible for admission.
Do I have a chance of getting in the program if my GPA is under 76% (or equivalent)?
Generally speaking, if applicants don't meet the minimum academic requirements, they are not eligible for admission to any UBC graduate program. However, if an applicant has taken a couple of additional undergraduate or graduate courses and achieved a B+ or higher to demonstrate academic ability, AND the applicant has an extensive track record of working in public health, excellent reference letters and a focused letter of intent, the MPH Admissions Committee will review the application and if successful, write a letter requesting consideration of the applicant by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Faculty of Graduate Studies may or may not respond affirmatively to the letter.
What type of background does an applicant to the MPH Program typically have?
Many applicants are working professionals in the field of public health and who wish to extend their knowledge in public health, planning, research, evaluation, and leadership. Others have recently completed a Baccalaureate degree in areas which are relevant to the field of public health. Some of these areas are (but not limited to): medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition, pharmacy, midwifery, kinesiology, environmental sciences, microbiology, biology, statistics, sociology, psychology, anthropology and engineering or business.
Our successful applicants usually have some experience in the field of public health, including participation in research activities (research assistantships, published papers, conference abstracts, invited presentations) or teaching (teaching assistantships, teaching courses, developing teaching materials or curriculum, informal peer-based teaching, participation in or development of community-based teaching). We are also looking for evidence of leadership and initiative in working with people, whether or not this is directly focused on public health.
How strict is the February 1st deadline?
The February 1st deadline is firm. This is due to the high volume of applications we need to process and our responsibility to meet deadlines set by the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please take into account the timescale if applicants are applying from overseas or the originating country's mail system is unreliable, and allow ample time for transit time.
My referee can't get the reference in on time, can he/she email it later than 1st February?
No. The February 1st deadline cannot be extended for anyone due to time constraints on the MPH Admissions Committee. Applicants must choose a referee who can get the reference letter to the program office (online or by mail, see “References” section) on time. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure their referees have sent references in on time.
Letter Of Intent (LOI)
How long does the LOI need to be?
The LOI should be no longer than 700 words. It can be helpful to write the LOI prior to applying where word count is noted, and then copy and paste the LOI into the online application.
What should be in the LOI?
Applicants should use the letter of intent to articulate their reasons for pursuing the MPH at UBC. It should identify specific and focused goals in the field of public health and how the applicant will use the skills and knowledge gained in the MPH program to achieve these goals. It's important not to duplicate information in the curriculum vitae. The LOI should demonstrate understanding of the field of public health.
Can I send the LOI separately?
Applicants must include the LOI in their online application in the space provided.
To whom do I address the LOI?
Applicants can address their LOI to the MPH Admissions Committee.
What should be in a reference letter?
Reference letters can be quite different as it depends on the relationship the applicant has with their referees (academic or professional). Reference letters that impress the Admission Committee are strong and detailed, indicating that the referee both knows the applicant and the program they are applying to. Letters should speak to academic ability, performance, initiative, independence, sense of social justice, perseverance, and other relevant qualities. The reference letter ideally would compare the applicant to other students in a quantitative way, i.e. – this student is in the top 10% of students I have previously taught.
Do you accept electronic references?
Yes. The MPH Program, through the Faculty of Graduate Studies, has initiated an “e-reference” process for MPH applications. If applicants list the referee's email address on their application, an email will be sent to the referee after the applicant has submitted the application. This email will contain a link to an online reference form that he/she can fill out and then submit to us. It will come to us instantaneously, avoiding the hassle and delay of mailing. Web-based email addresses (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail) are not accepted. Emails must come from a business email account (eg. @ubc.ca). Please note that to use this option applicants must submit their application online well in advance of the 1st February deadline so their referees have enough time to complete the reference.
This e-reference form is identical to the printable reference form. It is designed mainly for academic references. It can still be used by non-academic references, but they will find that much of it is not applicable. If a referee would like to send us a letter, they can attach and upload a PDF letter online.
If a referee is going to send a letter or the reference form by mail, here are some rules and guidelines: First, it should be typed on official letterhead. Secondly, the document should arrive in an envelope with the reference's signature over the seal. If an applicant collects the letters from their referees, please ensure that the signature is unbroken. We cannot accept references that don't have a signature over the seal. This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
I don't have any recent academic references. Can I use work references instead?
We prefer academic references, but would also accept a reference that speaks to your academic potential.
Do I have to use the general reference form or can my referee write a letter?
You do not have to use the general reference form, however, the content of your referee's letter should include the information outlined in the general reference form.
On the Faculty of Graduate Studies reference form, what is the degree/program/field of study I am applying to?
Program: Public Health
Field of Study: Public Health
How can I re-send the notification to my referee about e-references?
Applicants should have the option of re-sending an e-reference request reminder to their referees by logging into the online application system and looking in the reference section.
If you are unable to do so, please email UBC-Grad.App@ubc.ca for further guidance.
Can I change my referee after the application is submitted?
You can submit a request to change the referee in your application by contacting email@example.com, clearly indicating who will no longer be sending through a reference letter and details on the replacement referee.
If you indicated an email address for the original referee in the application in order for the referee to use the e-reference system, applicants will also need to inform the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC-Grad.App@ubc.ca so that they can send an email link to the new referee.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
What is a CV?
An excellent online guide to developing and organizing the CV is provided by the UC Berkeley Career Center.
Can I email my CV to the MPH office?
No. Due to the high volume of emails that come through during admissions, the MPH program does not have enough email capacity to accept hundreds of applicants' attachments. All CV's must be received by regular mail to the program office no later than the 1st February deadline.
Applicants are welcome to drop off their CV at SPPH reception, indicating their name, application number and program name on the enveloppe.
What is the quantitative requirement? Why is it needed?
The quantitative requirement is an undergraduate math or statistics course taken within the last 10 years wherein a grade of 76% (B+) was achieved. Applicants may also provide a GRE test score that is less than 5 years old with a result of no less than 153/170 for the Verbal component (previous exam score minimum of 500), and 148/170 for the Quantitative (previous exam score of 600) to fulfill the requirement. This is required due to the fact that the School of Population and Public Health requires experience in quantitative methods in order for the student to keep up with the course work taken in Term 1 of all our programs.
Do I have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?
Applicants will only need to take the GRE if they have no undergraduate math or statistics course OR the math/stats undergrad course was below 76% (B+) or more than 10 years old.
What Codes do I use for the GRE exam so that my scores are sent to the right office?
We do receive GRE scores electronically: Institution Code 0965, Department Code 0616.
How do I find out if my math or statistics course meets your requirement?
If applicants are unsure if their course meets the requirement you can email the course outline to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will confirm eligibility.
Can I apply if I am taking a statistics or math course that is in-progress and the grade has not been obtained by February 1st?
It is recommended that the quantitative requirement is met by the application deadline of February 1st. Applicants may apply to the MPH program if they are currently taking a math or statistics course, although this course MUST appear on your official transcript that you send in to the program office. Any applicant who does not meet the quantitative requirement by February 1st will be pre-screened. If the Admissions Committee agrees to offer a place in the program, the offer will be conditional to completion of the course and achieving the minimum of 76% (B+).
Can I apply if I am taking the GRE exam and the results cannot be sent to the program office by February 1st?
Applicants can apply to the MPH program if they are registered to take the GRE but the program cannot guarantee that the application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. It is essential that applicants write the GRE exam before January so that there is enough time to get the results sent to us on time.
General Application Queries
How much is tuition?
Can my application fee be refunded?
UBC application fees are non-refundable. Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies application fee policy for further information, as individual programs do not manage fees.
How many people apply to the program and are accepted?
The MPH program is very competitive. We accept 36 students each year.
In 2010 there were 359 applicants. In 2011, 301 applicants. In 2012, 328 applicants.
When does the first term start? Do you have a January intake?
The program starts in September. We do not have a January intake.
How long does it take to complete the MPH?
Students normally take 2 years to complete the MPH. It can be completed in 1.5 years if the practicum is completed in the first summer of the program. All UBC graduate programs must be completed within 5 years.
Is a thesis required?
The MPH program is a practicum-based degree. No thesis is required.
Do I need to find an Academic Supervisor?
No. As the program is practicum-based and not thesis-based, no Supervisor is required.
Incoming students are matched with Faculty Advisors who can assist with choosing electives and a practicum placement. Students meet their Advisor in the first month of the program.
Can I study the MPH part-time?
Applicants who are offered a place in the program can apply to study part-time before the start of their program. Be advised: there are very strict rules in place about studying part-time at UBC. It can often be more expensive than full-time studies and part-time students are not eligible for funding, scholarships, teaching & research assistantships, etc. Please read the Faculty of Graduate Studies policy very closely if you are considering this option.
Can I change from full-time study to part-time study once I have begun the program?
No. This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
Can I change from part-time study to full-time study once I have begun the program?
No. This is Faculty of Graduate Studies policy.
Do you give preference to local applicants?
The School of Population and Public Health does not have a limit to out-of-province or International students. We rank all completed applications and applicants are admitted based on merit.
Can I send documents to the program office before I apply online?
Yes. Any documents received prior to submitting the online application will be kept on file in the program office. Please note that you will not be able to check the status of your documents received until the online application is submitted.
Does the MPH program have rolling admissions?
No, the program has one intake per year, in September, and all applications are due on February 1st of that year. The Admissions Committee meets after this deadline to review all complete and eligible applications.
Is there an interview during the application process?
There is no interview component to the MPH application.
If I applied last year to the MPH, can I use the same documents?
Previous applicants may indicate on the appropriate place on the application form which specific files they would like pulled from our archive. We can pull transcripts that have not changed. We can also pull references from the previous year if necessary, although current, updated reference letters are recommended. All other documents should be updated and mailed to the MPH office. An updated Letter of Intent is required in the online application.
I am an Aboriginal applicant – is there anything I should do to inform you of this?
The online application includes a “Citizenship Information” section to note if an applicant is of Canadian Aboriginal Ancestry if they so choose. Please note that the MPH program reserves 2 seats in the program for Aboriginal applicants.
Will information sessions be offered regarding the MPH Program?
SPPH held an admissions information session in October 2012 and we will be holding another session in December 2012. In the meantime, the MPH website provides very comprehensive information on the program.
Is the MPH program accredited in Canada?
At present there is no accreditation body for MPH programs in Canada. Our program is fully compliant with guidelines established by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Is the MPH accredited in the United States (CEPH)?
At this time we are looking into the process for U.S. accreditation and further updates will be noted here. Our program is fully compliant with guidelines established by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Can I transfer between programs before starting? (eg: MHSc to MPH, MPH to MSc)?
All students must complete 1 full term in the program they were admitted to before requesting a transfer. All transfers need to be approved by the relevant program Admissions Committee, as well as the SPPH Student Admissions & Progression Committee. Please contact your Program Manager or Director for further information.
I am a current SPPH student wanting to apply to transfer to the MPH program. What do I need to do?
All SPPH students must complete 1 full term in the program they were admitted to before requesting a transfer to MPH. Please apply by the February 1st deadline by sending the following documents to the MPH program: an updated CV, Letter of Intent, and references (if possible). Previous transcripts and references will be pulled from your current student file. SPPH students applying for a transfer DO NOT need to apply online or pay an application fee. All transfers are reviewed and need to be approved by the MPH Admissions Committee, as well as the SPPH Student Admissions & Progression Committee. Please contact your Program Manager or Director for further information and the SPPH Program Transfer Policy.
Are any scholarships offered for applicants? Where do I find more information?
Students are automatically considered for GES/GSI funding upon admission into the program, though unfortunately there is limited funding available. Students are encouraged to investigate and apply for other external sources of funding. Please see Faculty of Graduate Studies website for a list of awards and financial aid: http://www.grad.ubc.ca/awards
Can I apply to more than one Master's degree program at SPPH?
Yes, and should an applicant be successful in applying to both programs, we ask that they inform both programs as to their decision.
Where are you located?
Our brand new building is in the former Library Processing Centre on East Mall. Directions can be found here.
Who can I contact for more information?
Please contact Kim Mantle at email@example.com or call 604-822-9207.
If you have any other suggestions for FAQ's, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org