Prospective Students' FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences (SPCHS). The University of Montana is located in Missoula, a community of approximately 70,000 located in beautiful western Montana. Within the University of Montana's College of Health, the SPCHS offers academic programs leading to an online Master of Public Health (MPH), several online Certificate programs, and an in-person PhD in Public Health.

Importantly, we are the first and only Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited program in our state, with both our MPH and PhD programs accredited.


When can I start?

PhD Program: Fall & Spring Semesters. Application deadline is January 15th for Fall admission and by September 1 for Spring admission each year.

MPH Program: Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters. Application deadline for Summer and Fall is March 1st and for Spring is September 1st.

Certificate Programs: Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters. While there is no official deadline, please submit your completed application at least four (4) weeks prior to the start of that semester's classes.

Can I get my Certificate without a bachelor's degree and/or while I am an undergraduate student?

No, the Certificate programs requires twelve approved graduate level credits, therefore it is considered a graduate degree. For this reason, you must have graduate standing with The University of Montana in order to obtain the Certificate. If you are a senior with a GPA of 3.0 and if you receive consent of the instructor, you are welcome to take the graduate level courses. However, should you take the graduate level courses as an undergraduate student, you will receive undergraduate credit and the credit will not be counted towards the certificate. There are exceptions for Pharm D students, so please direct inquiries to your Pharm D advisor.

Can I transfer credit from another UM program or institution?

With your advisor's approval, you can transfer up to six credits towards electives in the MPH-generalist and MPH-CHPS degree programs. With both program advisors's approval, you can transfer up to three credits towards an elective in the MPA/MPH program.  Please also see The University of Montana Graduate School's policies for transferring credits.

How do I apply?

Application materials for the Certificates, MPH and PhD programs can be found under Public Health Graduate Programs.

What courses will be offered, and when?

See the curriculum page for information on course offerings and schedules.

Is the MPH right for me?

The MPH is a broad degree that appeals to students and professionals in a wide array of fields. As a practice-oriented (rather than research-oriented) degree, the MPH offers graduates a deeper understanding of public health issues, and the opportunity to earn more, be more marketable, and be eligible for more positions. The MPH may also be a valuable add-on degree for individuals with a PhD or MD.

What is the culminating experience?

The culminating experience is an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and competencies gained from the MPH coursework. The capstone experience involves an Applied Practice Experience (APE) and an Integrative Learning Experience (ILE).  Click here for more information regarding our MPH Capstones.

Can I complete the program on-campus rather than online?

PhD program: an on-campus only program.

MPH (Generalist) program: can be completed completely online although you may choose to take all of your electives on-campus and work closely with a campus-based advisor in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences.

MPH-CHPS program: requires a combination of online and in-classroom courses in order to be completed.

Certificate programs (CPH, CPHA, CE, CEHS, CGH): can be completed completely online depending on which elective courses you choose. If selected, there are some elective courses that would require you to take on-campus courses at UM-Missoula.

Should I apply for the MPH or one of the Certificate programs?

The advantage of any of the 12-credit Certificate programs is that it can be completed in less time than the MPH degree. The Certificate programs demonstrates an interest in public health, and may be a good way to get started on the MPH degree (although admission into the Certificate programs does not guarantee admission into the MPH program). The 42-credit MPH degree is a widely-recognized degree that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The decision about which program to apply for will depend on the depth of knowledge you would like to gain.

How can I find out about financial aid?

You can find out about financial aid through The University of Montana's Financial Aid website .