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Master of Public Health

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Master of Public Health

Address:
Sturzebecker Health Science Center
855 S. New Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Name: Dr. Lynn Carson
Phone: 610-436-2245 | 610-436-2138
Email: lcarson@wcupa.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the WCU Master of Public Health (MPH) program accredited?

Yes, the MPH Program in the Department of Health at West Chester University received accreditation from The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in September 2006.

CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and certain public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health. These schools and programs prepare students for entry into careers in public health. The primary professional degree is the MPH but other masters and doctoral degrees are offered as well (CEPH, 2007).

Specific Objectives of CEPH:

The goal of the Council is "to enhance health in human populations through organized community effort." The Council's focus is the improvement of health through the assurance of professional personnel who are able to identify, prevent and solve community health problems.

The Council's objectives are:

  1. To promote quality in public health education through a continuing process of self-evaluation by the schools and programs that seek accreditation.
  2. To assure the public that institutions offering graduate instruction in public health have been evaluated and judged to meet standards essential for the conduct of such educational programs.
  3. To encourage - through periodic review, consultation, research, publications, and other means -improvements in the quality of education for public health. (CEPH, 2007).

What are the admission requirements?

Applications for admission to the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the Department of Health are accepted at any time.

The MPH Application Requirements

  1. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited in the United States or its equivalent from a school in another country.
  2. A minimum 2.80 undergraduate GPA is required for admission. Provisional acceptance may be possible under some circumstances for applicants who do not meet this standard.
  3. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Extended Education must give official acceptance. Only written notice from the Dean constitutes approval of admission, not correspondence with a department or an individual faculty member.
  4. Space must be available in the program.
  5. Requirements to resolve academic deficiencies are to be met prior to registering for graduate courses. Individual departments may have more rigorous requirements.

West Chester University's policy for graduate studies includes that the highest possible grades/test scores do not guarantee admission to graduate school, nor do low grades/test scores automatically disqualify a candidate. Our policy is that no applicant should be admitted unless we expect that applicant to do well enough to graduate and have no serious academic problems.

Note: Graduate admission decisions are made using a variety of criteria including the undergraduate grade point average, letters of reference and an applicant's goal statement. Individuals who have questions about their admissibility are encouraged to contact the Office of Graduate Studies or the MPH Program Director.

What is the admission application process?

Applications for admission to the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the Department of Health are accepted at any time. The following materials are required from all applicants:

  • West Chester University has an online application process. Click here to create an account and complete the online application.
  • Two official copies of your academic records (transcripts) from every college and university attended (except West Chester University). Each official transcript should be sent directly to you in the enclosed envelopes or your own No. 10 envelope. Make sure the envelope is marked “transcripts.” The envelope should be sealed with the registrar’s name signed across the seal. Do not open the transcript envelope. If the seal has been broken, the transcript is no longer official and will not be accepted.
  • A written statement of your professional goals should be inserted into the online application. Note: This statement is critically evaluated by Department of Health faculty. It should be a sample of your best professional writing and at the minimum it should include the following information:
    • Which of the four MPH Tracks (Community Health, Environmental Health, Health Care Management,or Nutrition) you intend to pursue
    • How your academic and/or professional background prepares you to study within your chosen MPH Track
    • Why you are choosing this particular MPH Track and how you hope it will help you reach your professional goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons who know you in a professional capacity
  • In the online application, you will be asked about your academic and employment history.

The applicant is responsible for assuring that all necessary materials are received by the Office of Graduate Studies by the recommended application deadlines. While the Department of Health accepts applications at any time, a student's ability to schedule desired courses may be impacted by the timing of application processing. All application materials become the property of West Chester University and may not be returned or forwarded to another institution.

Please be aware that an undergraduate statistics course is a prerequisite for two core courses in the MPH program. Students may begin the MPH Program (without the undergraduate statistics requirement) if other academic requirements are met, however students will be admitted under provisional status. To remove the provisional status and be eligible to register for HEA 520 and HEA526, proof of statistics course completion or the Statistics Competency Examination score is needed by submitting a copy of a transcript or score to the Department of Health and the Office of Graduate Studies.The Statistics Competency Examination is held by Dr. Stacie Metz (smetz@wcupa.edu).

Students who complete HEA520 and HEA526 without the undergraduate statistics course will not able to obtain Degree Candidacy and will remain in provisional status. We strongly encourage students to complete this undergraduate course as soon as possible. If students do not obtain Degree Candidacy they will not be able to complete the degree.

The Office of Graduate Studies (gradstudy@wcupa.edu) collects application materials as they are received. When a student's file is complete, and not before, the application is sent to the Department of Health. Departmental faculty evaluate the application then recommend either full or provisional matriculation or denial, as appropriate, to the Graduate Dean. A student is admitted to graduate study at West Chester University only after final action by the Graduate Dean.

For more information regarding the status of an application under review please contact:
Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education
McKelvie Hall, 102 Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383-2600
Voice: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
e-mail: gradstudy@wcupa.edu

Can I apply electronically?

Yes, you may apply online.

Can I transfer courses from another graduate institution?

Up to nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit from other CEPH-accredited MPH Programs may be transferred for credit toward the MPH core courses at West Chester University. Additional course work for MPH Tracks may be transferred in from other programs. The acceptance of transfer credit is based on review and approval by the MPH Program Director and Track Coordinators. Only grades of “B” or better will be accepted for transfer. Transfer credit must carry a letter or numerical grade of “B” or better and cannot be a pass/fail course.

Is it possible to work full-time and complete the MPH program?

Yes, students can enter the program with part time or full time status. Students who maintain part time status are registered for 3-6 credits per semester. Students who maintain full time status are registered for 9 -12 credits per semester. Most students working full time prefer to complete the MPH program on a part time basis.

How much does the MPH program cost?

West Chester University offers flat tuition billing for full-time students (9+ credits per semester) and our tuition is competitive as compared to annual tuition of the regional universities (see Tuition & Fees). The current tuition and fees can be found at the WCU Bursar's Office.

Is financial aid available?

The purpose of financial aid at West Chester University is to provide financial assistance and counseling to students who can benefit from further education, but who cannot obtain it without such assistance. Financial assistance consists of gift aid in the form of scholarships or grants and self-help aid in the form of employment or loans. The main responsibility for meeting educational expenses rests with students. Financial aid is a supplement to family contributions and is to be used for educational expenses. Eligibility for financial aid, with the exception of some assistantships and scholarships, is based on demonstrated financial need. Family income, assets, and family size influence the demonstrated financial need of the student. Please direct questions concerning financial aid to the Office of Financial Aid (610-436-2627). The Department of Health has a limited number of scholarships or awards. The availability of awards varies by emphasis area.

Are graduate assistantships available?

Graduate assistantships are available in the Department of Health and across the university.

University-Wide Graduate Assistantships: Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for university-wide graduate assistantship opportunities. For maximum consideration for support, university-wide applications are due by April 15th to be eligible for a fall semester assistantship, or by October 15th for a spring semester assistantship.

Department of Health Graduate Assistantships: The Department of Health has very limited number of graduate assistant positions. We ask that students follow the procedure outlined below during the application and decision process for graduate assistantships. When positions are filled in the Department of Health, students interested in pursuing a graduate assistantship are encouraged to contact the Office of Graduate Studies for additional opportunities in other departments.

To be eligible to receive a graduate assistantship specifically in the Department of Health, the student must complete our Department of Health graduate assistantship application form and satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Must be a fully matriculated, degree-seeking, graduate student; normally, certification students are not eligible, and provisionally accepted students are not eligible unless the provisions are removed before the semester begins. Exceptions must be approved by the graduate dean.
  2. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for current graduate students (if a graduating senior, the undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0).
  3. Must provide list of employment/volunteer/award history, report level of computer software expertise, submit a statement of professional goals, and submit three letters of recommendation from professional/academic references.
  4. Complete a Department of Health Graduate Assistant Application found on the MPH website and submit the application to Dr. Bethann Cinelli in room 207 by April 2nd for a fall semester assistantship and October 1st for a spring semester assistantship.

For both Department of Health and university-wide graduate assistantships, full-time graduate assistants, in return for 20 hours of assigned duties per week, receive tuition remission and a stipend of $5,000 for the academic year and must be enrolled as full-time graduate students (9-15 credits). Half-time assistantships involving 10 hours per week of assignments also are available. For these, students enroll in six credits of course work and will receive tuition remission for those credits as well as a stipend of $2,500 for the academic year. Full-time graduate assistants are not allowed to hold other on-campus employment simultaneously. Part-time graduate assistants may work on-campus a maximum of 10 hours per week in addition to holding an assistantship.

Maintaining graduate assistantships requires students to demonstrate both satisfactory performances in meeting assigned hours, dates, and responsibility, as well as good academic standing. Students holding graduate assistantships who fail to maintain good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.0) will have their assistantships revoked or will not have them renewed. This policy includes courses taken during summer sessions. Full-time graduate assistantships are given for a maximum of four semesters. Half-time assistantships may be granted for up to eight semesters.

What are the residency requirements for an International Student?

International students seeking admission to a master’s degree program must complete an admission application via the online Graduate Admissions Application. For up-to-date information on the requirements, please visit the Center for International Programs website.

Can I take courses before being admitted into the MPH program?

A non-degree student may be admitted to take a workshop or other credit-bearing class. Non-degree students may schedule up to nine credits of course work on a non-matriculated basis. Students taking courses under this policy are expected to meet the minimum GPA required for graduate work and may need to seek permission prior to enrolling. Taking courses on a non-degree basis does not guarantee admission and credits earned may not necessarily be applied to a degree program at a later date. Additional course work may be taken only after the student has applied and been accepted as a matriculated student into the MPH Program. Students taking only special courses, such as workshops, are the exception to this rule. Courses taken under non-degree status may not necessarily be applied to degree programs at a later date. Students should begin the formal application process immediately after they have decided to pursue a graduate degree at West Chester University.

Am I eligible for the MPH Fast Track Program?

Only West Chester University undergraduate students are eligible for the MPH Fast Track program.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • WCU undergraduate students must be in their senior year (with a completion of 90 credits) with a cumulative 3.0 grade point average before the start of the graduate courses.
  • All students will complete a MPH Fast Track Approval Form and meet with their undergraduate and appropriate MPH program advisor in the spring semester of their junior year to prepare for the MPH Fast Track Program.
  • Students will again meet with the MPH advisor during their senior year to ensure appropriate advising for the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies.
  • Undergraduate students will apply for admission into the MPH Program in the spring semester of their senior year.
  • Statistics Requirement: All students will need to complete MAT121: Introduction to Statistics before enrolling in HEA520: Public Health Epidemiology and HEA526: Biostatistics for Public Health. Students also have the option of completing this course equivalent at a Community College or another university. Course equivalencies at regional universities are available on the Office of the Registrar’s website under Transfer Information - Course Equivalencies.
  • WCU Majors Eligible for the MPH Fast Track Program:
    B.S. Public Health/Health Promotion
    B.S. Environmental Health
    B.S. Nutrition/Dietetics
    B.S. Health Science
    B.S. Health Science/Respiratory CareB.S. Professional Studies/Health Science Minor/Nutrition Minor
  • Other WCU Majors: All WCU Majors will be considered for the MPH Fast Track Program if these students take two 400 eligible health courses and two graduate health courses during their senior year and meet the requirements for taking graduate courses as an undergraduate student. These students will need to meet with a MPH advisor during their junior year.

What Track should I select?

Students may choose one of the following tracks within the MPH Program: Community Health, Health Care Management, Environmental Health,and Nutrition.

What prerequisite courses must I take prior to matriculation into the MPH program?

The MPH Program draws a variety of students representing a wide array of health and non-health related undergraduate majors. The minimum requirements for the graduate program include:

  • Undergraduate Statistics Requirement: Students who have not had an introductory course in statistics will need to complete this course before enrolling in HEA520: Public Health Epidemiology and HEA526: Biostatistics for Public Health. Students have the option of enrolling in MAT121: Introduction to Statistics, at West Chester University or enrolling in a similar course at a community college or another university. Course equivalencies at regional universities are available on the Office of the Registrar’s website under Transfer Information - Course Equivalencies.

Statistics Competency Examination: Students have the option of completing a Statistical Competency Examination (administered by the Department of Health, under the direction of Dr. Stacie Metz). This exam is scheduled at the start of fall/spring semesters. A score of 85 or better will be accepted as a replacement for the undergraduate statistics requirement. This option should only be considered if the student has previous experience with introductory statistics through other courses that may not appear on the transcript as traditional statistics courses. If students are considering this option, please contact Dr. Stacie Metz (email: smetz@wcupa.edu) for more information about the competency exam.

Students may begin the MPH Program (without the undergraduate statistics requirement) if other academic requirements are met, however students will be admitted under provisional status. To remove the provisional status and be eligible to register for HEA 520 and HEA526, proof of statistics course completion or the Statistics Competency Examination score is needed by submitting a copy of a transcript or score to the Department of Health and the Office of Graduate Studies.

Students who complete HEA520 and HEA526 without the undergraduate statistics course will not able to obtain Degree Candidacy and will remain in provisional status. We strongly encourage students to complete this undergraduate course as soon as possible. If students do not obtain Degree Candidacy they will not be able to complete the degree.

  • Computer Literacy: All students should be computer literate and be able to access the university email system, MyWCU and Desire to Learn (D2L). Students should be proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • All students should have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.80.
  • Specific Requirements for the NutritionTrack/Undergraduate Preparation

The nutrition curriculum within the MPH Program requires specialization in nutrition and dietetics in addition to public health fundamentals. For students who apply to the program without undergraduate training in the nutrition and dietetics field, the following prerequisite undergraduate courses must be completed prior to acceptance into the nutrition concentration: “C” or better grade in an introductory nutrition course, one year of anatomy/physiology, organic and biochemistry.

The MPH Nutrition Track does not prepare students to become Registered Dietitians. If students are interested in becoming Registered Dietitians please visit http://www.wcupa.edu/_academics/healthsciences/health/nutritionanddietetics/default.asp for information on WCU’s Undergraduate Program in Dietetics.

What is the time limitation for MPH program completion?

All requirements for the master’s degree including course work and the Applied Learning Experience I and II must be completed within six years of admission into the MPH Program. It is important to note that MPH Track advising sheets offer two course rotations to complete the degree within two or three years. Students do have the option of taking one course a semester but this may take up to six years for program completion.

What if I have more questions about the WCU MPH program?

If you have any additional questions about the MPH program, please contact Dr. Lynn Carson, MPH Program Director, at lcarson@wcupa.edu.