The Department of Kinesiology and Community Health offers a joint BS-MPH degree program for undergraduates majoring in Community Health, I-Health, or Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Only students who have completed their junior year but have not yet completed their senior year are eligible to apply.
Read the general FAQs below to learn more about the BS-MPH and requirements to apply. See the attached handouts for more major-specific information for Community Health, I-Health, and Kinesiology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply for the BS-MPH program?
Undergraduate students in I-Health, Kinesiology, and Community Health are eligible to apply.
How is the 5 year BS-MPH degree program different from the 2 year MPH program?
The differences are explained on the brief major-specific information sheets and repeated here:
The faculty, curriculum, and degree requirements for the 5 year BS-MPH program are the same as the 2 year MPH program. Some differences are:
- The BS-MPH program is accelerated. BS-MPH students take a heavier course load during MPH work, so that BS-MPH students can earn both BS and MPH degrees in 5 years (including a summer term).
- BS-MPH students can count up to 12 credit hours of approved undergraduate coursework toward the MPH degree.
- The application process for the BS-MPH program is slightly different. Applicants to 5 year BS-MPH program do NOT need to take the GRE. The 5 year program has different application deadlines.
- The total cost of tuition is less in the BS-MPH program. BS-MPH students pay undergraduate tuition for senior year, and then graduate tuition for fall, spring, and summer terms in the 5th year. Students in the 2-year MPH program pay graduate level tuition usually for 3 or 4 semesters plus one summer term.
How are the courses sequenced in the BS-MPH program?
See the brief information sheet for your undergraduate degree for more information on what courses are appropriate as elective courses and as the 4th MPH concentration course.
Senior Year (4th year):
- CHLH 410 Public Health Practice (4 cr, fall term preferred)
- CHLH 469 Environmental Health (4 cr if taken in senior year)
400-level elective course OR one 400-level 4th MPH concentration course (3 or 4 cr)
Fall of 5th year:
Spring of 5th year:
- CHLH 540 Health Behavior Theory (4 cr)
- CHLH 573 Biostatistics (4 cr)
- CHLH 575 Chronic Disease Prevention (4 cr)
- CHLH 594* Cultural Competence (4 cr)
- CHLH 550 Health Policy (4 cr);
- CHLH 572 Principles of Epidemiology (4 cr)
- CHLH 577 Health Program Evaluation (4 cr);
Elective course or 4th concentration course (at either 400 or 500-level) (3 or 4 cr)
Summer of 5th year:
- CHLH 587 MPH Practicum (4 cr);
- CHLH 589 MPH Capstone Experience (2 cr);
(Courses denoted as 594* should have a new permanent course number during the academic year 2014-15)
Are there any MPH courses I can take in the summer between 4th year and 5th year?
No. Not at the present time.
What are the minimum number of credit hours that should apply to both BS and MPH degrees?
The BS-MPH program is designed for applicants with THREE courses that total at least 10 credit hours that count for both BS and MPH degrees. Applicants who do not have at least 10 credit hours should apply to the 2 year MPH program.
Because the MPH program requires 48 credit hours, and a maximum of 12 credit hours can be taken in the 4th year as a senior, BS-MPH students must earn at least 36 credit hours during the 5th year.
Is it possible to apply 12 credits from FOUR undergraduate courses to the MPH degree?
No. CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 are required courses for the BS-MPH degree. A student can only apply 12 credit hours from undergraduate study to the MPH degree, and hours cannot be split between classes. Since CHLH 410 is 4 credit hours, there is no way to apply 4 courses from undergraduate study to the MPH degree.
For example, consider a student who takes the following FOUR courses as an undergraduate:
- CHLH 410 Public Health Practice (4 cr) (Core course)
- CHLH 458 Health Administration (3 cr) (Approved elective)
- CHLH 465 Social Marketing and Health Behavior (3 cr section) (4th Concentration course)
- CHLH 469 Environmental Health (3 cr section taken as a junior) (Core course)
CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 are core MPH courses. CHLH 465 counts as a 4th concentration course. CHLH 458 is an approved elective course. The courses total to 13 credit hours. The student can apply 12 credit hours to both degrees, but cannot split hours to be counted. This student would be advised to choose either CHLH 465 or CHLH 458 to bring into the MPH, along with the required CHLH 410 and CHLH 469. This student will therefore bring in the minimum 10 credit hours to the MPH degree, and take 38 credit hours during the 5th year of study.
In my 5th year as a BS-MPH student, do I have to take the graduate student seminar course (CHLH 591)?
This seminar course is recommended but not required for the MPH degree.
The Graduate College allows graduate students to take up to 20 credit hours a semester without special approval. In my 5th year, can I take 20 credit hours in the fall, and 16 in the spring, and graduate at the end of spring term?
NO! BS-MPH students may NOT take the MPH Practicum course earlier than summer of the 5th year. There are no exceptions. All MPH students must take the Capstone course in the final term. This is summer session 2 for BS-MPH students.
Does the MPH program have requirements for academic performance?
Yes. These are explained in the MPH Graduate Student Handbook. Some of the important requirements related to grades are:
- BS-MPH students in undergraduate standing must achieve a minimum grade of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) in the following courses* to be eligible to progress into the 5th year of the program. These courses are directly related to MPH core courses, and indicate student performance at the graduate level. Failure to achieve a B or higher will result in dismissal from the BS-MPH.
*Includes any 400-level course applied to the BS-MPH taken at the undergraduate level
- CHLH 274: Introduction to Epidemiology
- CHLH 421: Health Data Analysis
- Students accepted to the BS-MPH program must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in each semester during the senior year. A GPA below 3.0 will result in dismissal from the program.
- All MPH students must earn at least a B- (2.7 out of 4.0) in all six MPH core courses (CHLH 410, CHLH 469, CHLH 540, CHLH 550, CHLH 572 and CHLH 573). If a student accepted to the BS-MPH program does not earn at least a 2.7 in a core course taken during senior year, the student generally will not be offered the opportunity to enter the 5th year of the program.
- In the 5th year of the MPH program, when the BS-MPH student is officially a graduate student, the student is required to have a cumulate GPA of at least 3.0.
How do I know if I am a strong applicant to the BS-MPH program?
Strong applicants to the BS-MPH program:
- Have an undergraduate GPA well above the minimum GPA of 3.0 required for admission to graduate school.
- Have strong letters of reference from people in a position to judge the ability of the applicant to do graduate level work. Usually these people are faculty members. If the applicant has an internship or work experience related to public health practice, their supervisor is an appropriate reference. Strong applicants will have no more than one letter from any of the following sources: an undergraduate advisor, a graduate student teaching assistant, or a university staff member or administrator.
- Demonstrate ability to do well in statistics, mathematics, and/or epidemiology courses as an undergraduate. STAT 100 Statistics (required for I-Health students) and CHLH 274 Introduction to Epidemiology (required for CHLH students) are examples.
- Have strong grades in undergraduate courses with content related to public health. These include CHLH 101 Introduction to Public Health, and KIN 122 Physical Activity and Health.
- Write a personal statement with a thoughtful explanation of why public health training fits into the applicant’s career plans.
- Demonstrate maturity and a good work ethic both inside and outside the classroom. Lack of maturity is a reason for denial of admission. BS-MPH students must take courses alongside more experienced graduate students in PhD programs and alongside students who have had work experience in public health.
When is it best to apply for the BS-MPH program?
It is best to apply for the BS-MPH degree AFTER your junior year but BEFORE your senior year. Applicants must complete at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework (e.g. must complete their junior year) before applying to the MPH program.
Most students will complete their junior year in spring term and should apply during the summer between junior and senior year for an August deadline. By the spring of the junior year, applicants should determine that they can take CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 during their senior year AND also meet all the requirements for graduation with a BS by the end of senior year.
I see that I need to register for courses during my senior year BEFORE I know if I am accepted into the BS MPH program. Should I register myself for CHLH 410 and CHLH 469?
It is not necessary for students to register for CHLH 410 and CHLH 469 in advance of being accepted to the MPH program. The MPH program will hold space for the student in the courses and guarantee that they can register if accepted.
Many students will decide to register for courses assuming they ARE NOT accepted to the program. BUT, the students also have a plan for their coursework in senior year assuming they ARE accepted.
What if I decide I’m interested in the BS-MPH program after I start classes as a senior?
You can still apply for the BS-MPH program as late as the break between the first and second semester of your senior year. For most students, this is the break between fall and spring terms, and the student applies for the January deadline. Applicants must have completed CHLH 274 with a B or higher to apply in January.
What if I decide I’m interested in the BS-MPH program during the last term of my senior year?
You have missed the deadline for applications for the 5 year BS MPH program. We recommend you consider applying to the regular 2 year MPH program (you’ll need to take the GRE exam). Note it is possible for 2-year MPH students to complete the MPH degree in 1.5 years. To do this, a student enrolls sequentially in fall, spring, summer, and fall terms and takes a heavier course load each term.
What if I plan to graduate with a BS degree in between fall and spring terms?
The BS-MPH program will work. However, you will not start the 5th year of the BS-MPH program until fall term, so you will have a spring and summer term off between your 4th and 5th years. You should not apply to receive your BS degree as this will prevent you from applying to the BS-MPH.
Why does my undergraduate advisor need to concur with my application to the BS-MPH program?
Applicants to the BS-MPH program need to ask their undergraduate advisor to concur with the application, by sending an email to MPH Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org). This email concurs that: (1) it is possible for the applicant to take all required courses for the MPH degrees in their senior year, and (2) it is possible for the applicant to meet all requirements for the BS degree by end of senior year. Note that if all required courses cannot be taken within the expected 5 year time frame, graduation with BS-MPH will be delayed and additional tuition costs will be incurred. It is the student’s best interest to meet with their undergraduate advisor to assure their plan of study for a BS degree can be adapted to meet the requirements of the 5 year BS-MPH degree program.
What are the deadlines for application?
As noted above, there are two deadlines each year for the BS-MPH program.
Summer Deadline 2017: Only for students who completed their Junior year prior to Summer 2017.
August 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for a COMPLETE APPLICATION is before classes start in fall term. Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes: personal statement, resume, official transcript (sent directly to the MPH from the university and other colleges attended), and 3 letters of recommendation as outlined on the MPH website. The official transcript MUST include grades from the previous spring term, and be requested formally through the registrar. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure all letters of recommendation have been submitted by August 1st. Students may contact MPH Admissions (email@example.com) to determine if their application is complete. Wise applicants begin the application process many weeks before this deadline.
Applicants are informed of the admission decision a few days before fall term begins, and will be advised on how to proceed with registering for BS-MPH courses. Provide the best contact email and phone number in your application so the admissions committee can reach you immediately if you are accepted to the program.
Winter Deadline 2018: For Seniors who plan to complete their BS in Spring/Summer 2018 only.
January 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.: Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes: personal statement, resume, transcript, and 3 letters of recommendation as outlined on the MPH website. We recommend applicants for the winter deadline upload an UNOFFICIAL transcript as part of the online application before finalizing and submitting the application. The unofficial transcript must include grades from the previous fall term. The applicant should also formally request that an official transcript be sent to the MPH program, via the registrar. Again, wise applicants begin the application process many weeks before this deadline, but wait to submit the online application until they have an unofficial transcript with fall grades.
Applicants are informed of the admission decision a few days before spring term begins, and will be advised on how to proceed with registering for BS-MPH courses. Provide the best contact email and phone number in your application so the admissions committee can reach you immediately if you are accepted to the program.
If I am accepted into the BS-MPH program, what happens next?
If you are accepted into the BS-MPH program, you will be asked to indicate by email whether you accept the offer. Since you will receive the offer within a week of the beginning of classes, you should be prepared to accept or refuse the offer within a few days of receiving it. This will allow you to attend required MPH courses starting in the first week of class. There are also orientations and meetings starting early in the term.
At the time you accept the offer, you should let us know your situation regarding CHLH 410 and CHLH 469. If you have not already taken these courses, you should inform us when you plan on taking CHLH 410 (either spring or fall), and confirm that you can take CHLH 469 in spring term.
We will share your decision to accept admission to the BS-MPH program with your undergraduate advisor, with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and with the office of the Dean of Applied Health Sciences.
When do I begin paying graduate tuition?
You begin paying graduate tuition in the 5th year of study. As a senior, you pay undergraduate tuition.
Are there tuition waivers for the 5th year?
When do I graduate with BS and MPH degrees?
Both BS and MPH degrees are conferred concurrently. That is, the BS degree is NOT conferred at the end of senior year. BS-MPH students should not file to receive their BS degrees. Doing so will prevent them from continuing in the joint degree program.
BS-MPH students who complete requirements for the BS-MPH degree at the expected rate will file for graduation at the end of the summer term of their 5th year.
Can I walk in graduation at the end of my senior year?
Yes and No. You may walk in the AHS graduation ceremony in spring term at the end of your senior year (as an undergraduate student, but you will not be certified to graduate with a BS after the ceremony. You cannot walk in the University-wide graduation ceremony.
Can I walk in graduation in May of my 5th Year?
Yes and No. You may walk in the AHS graduation ceremony in spring term at the end of your 5th year (as a graduate student). You cannot walk in the University-wide graduation ceremony. You will not be certified to graduate with concurrent BS and MPH degrees until all requirements are met for both degrees (generally after the end of summer term).