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Frequently Asked Questions

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I want to study abroad the summer after senior year. Can I still do the APHP and start in the fall?

No, the 4+1 program requires students to begin their coursework in Summer Quarter. There is not another option here – this is a set requirement. The faculty in Global Health Studies are available to discuss other study abroad/academic programming options with you. 

I’m studying abroad during the Spring Quarter of my senior year, can I still do the program?


I am going to graduate early. Can I start and finish the MPH year early?

No, it is not possible to start and finish the MPH off-cycle. The APHP is designed to start in Summer Quarter and the coursework builds from Summer Quarter through the following Spring Quarter when students make their final presentations of their work.

As someone who is graduating early, what should I do until I start the program in the summer?

You have so many choices of what to do as someone who has finished undergrad early! You may wish to be engaged in research or community service as a volunteer or in a paid position, take an unrelated temporary job, travel, spend time with family, or do something else that you’ve wanted to do but never had the time to pursue.

What can I do to improve my chances of being accepted or how can I make myself a more compelling applicant?

The admission committee is looking for applicants who have goals relevant to public health and at least some research, work experience and/or volunteer experience demonstrating responsibility and teamwork. Grades should demonstrate an ability to handle the rigor and workload of accelerated graduate study. The outstanding applicant will be able to write in a manner that is clear, cogent and correct and have the vocabulary and fluency to express complex ideas in an easily understood manner. Strong applicants will recognize ethical dimensions of an issue and be able to identify an appropriate course of action and have the sound judgment to set priorities and identify public health issues.

I have a 3.4 GPA. Should I still apply for the APHP? Do I have a chance of getting in?

The admissions committee is committed to making a holistic review of the application and taking into account the rigor of the course material and the course load. So applicants who have close to 3.5 GPAs and are outstanding in other respects should apply.

What sets the Northwestern MPH program apart from other programs?

  • Northwestern is a leader in offering the MPH degree in two formats that are unusual: the full-time format that can be completed in 12 months (most full-time MPH programs take 2 academic years), and a part-time, evening format that attracts working professionals and medical students.
  • Northwestern’s MPH is analytically oriented (across all of the concentrations and generalist option), producing skilled graduates who are highly sought in the public health professional workforce.
  • In addition to concentrations in Epidemiology, Data Science, Community Health Research and the Generalist option, Northwestern’s MPH program offers a concentration in Global Health with the opportunity to complete field experience abroad.
  • Both full-time and part-time student take many of the same classes and benefit from the opportunity to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Class sizes are small with most classes having less than 15 students; required courses typically have no more than 40 students.
  • Field experience opportunities take advantage of the myriad community and governmental organizations in the Chicagoland area and the connections Northwestern has with public health colleagues around the globe.
  • As a small program (~ 100 MPH students total), Northwestern’s MPH can provide personalized attention for all students in a medical school environment and university environment with renowned faculty.

What is the typical profile of a Northwestern MPH student?

There is no “typical” MPH student. Our student body includes recent college graduates, career changers, medical and doctoral students, medical school graduates in residency and fellowship training, and working professionals in health care, research, and a variety of other settings. What all of our MPH students have in common is an orientation toward improving population health through discovery, innovation, multidimensional and analytical thinking, and collaboration.

What if due to unforeseen circumstances I can’t begin the +1/MPH year as planned?

If you are unable to begin the +1/MPH year as planned, you need to notify APHP leadership by May 1 of your senior year.  Once you decide to delay your entry into the MPH program, you will need to reapply for admission to The Graduate School by the following year’s deadline.  In this scenario, Global Health Studies courses taken as an undergraduate will count towards your MPH.

If your +1/MPH matriculation lapses by more than one year, you will need to apply through SOPHAS, the centralized application service for public health programs. In this scenario, any Global Health Studies courses taken as an undergraduate will not count toward the MPH.

I am also interested in applying for the Premedical Scholars Program (NUPSP). How would this work?

It is not possible to be accepted to both the NUPSP and the APHP.  Applying to the NUPSP program means that you are applying to start at Feinberg (FSM) shortly after college graduation.  If you are admitted through NUPSP and want to earn your MPH concurrent with your medical school curriculum, you may apply for admission to the MD/MPH program in the months just before medical school begins.   You could also apply to both NUPSP and APHP with the intention of doing the MPH degree before applying to other medical schools if you are not admitted to FSM through NUPSP.

How does advising work for the APHP while I am still completing my undergrad? While I am in the MPH plus one year?

Students will be assigned an academic advisor from APHP beginning in Year 1 (the final year of undergrad).  During this time the student and advisor will develop a Plan of Study through the Graduate Student Tracking System (GSTS), prioritize any MPH-related coursework that might be completed as an undergrad, and discuss plans for the field and culminating experiences.  During Year 2 (the +1 MPH year), the advisor can assist in MPH course selection, help identify culminating experience mentors, and guide the student in their career development.

What kind of financial aid is available for the plus one year?

Currently, all MPH students (including APHP students in their +1 year) are offered a scholarship that brings the MPH cost in line with a year of Northwestern undergraduate tuition. Most Northwestern students fund masters degrees fund their remaining tuition costs with loans. Additional information on tuition and financial aid is found here.

Can I use AP credits in place of the two pre-requisites?

No, the Math and Biology pre-requisite cannot be met with AP credit.

Can I propose my own field experience location or do I need to go to Northwestern arranged sites?

Either is possible, though it is much easier to go to a Northwestern arranged field site. All the work of setting up a Memorandum of Agreement between the University and the site will have been done in advance for you and the site will have been vetted and approved as an appropriate site for public health training. 

You may choose to propose your own field experience location but approval is not guaranteed and the time required to get an approved agreement between the university and the site may be impractical.  However, we do encourage you to consider building on relationships and contacts that you have developed during your time as an undergraduate to propose your own field experience location.

What do job prospects look like for recent MPH graduates?

Job prospects are strong.  In recent years, almost all MPH graduates have had employment within 6 months of graduation. Recent graduates of the MPH program have found employment in non-governmental health organizations as consultants and fellows, in academic medical centers as senior research coordinators, as staff members for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and in the administration of the Cook County Health and Hospital System.  

Will the program help me find a job?

Yes, the APHP can help guide you in your job search.   Some employers contact the  program seeking candidates for job openings. These opportunities are passed along to our alumni and current students.  Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) also has a dedicated staff member to guide masters students through the process of applying for jobs and post-graduate internships.  In addition, Northwestern’s Office of Fellowships has a wealth of resources and opportunities.