There are funding opportunities for public health programs across the United States. However, universities invest more on their Ph.D than MPH. Ph.D students can function in many capacities than MPH students.
Here is a link to a wonderful article : How to fund MSc or PhD Degree Programs in the USA. That describes the types of funding available for Msc/PhD programs in the US. I encourage you to read. We will need it for this one
A. MPH programs
- The most common type of funding available is graduate assistantships (called GA).
With a GA, tuition has been paid and you also get a monthly/biweekly stipends. GA is equivalent to RA or TA (refer to the link above).
- The other is tuition scholarship (called TS).
Tuition is also paid, like in GA, but you will not get a stipend. Instead, you will be eligible to work on campus. I know how you feel about TS, but it is better than none.
Before you apply to any MPH program on SOPHAS, endeavor to go through the institution's website on funding. If you are unsure, send an email to the school to confirm funding availability for MPH programs.
Factors for funding
1. Your overall application
- all applicants is ranked based on their overall points ( explained in the previous thread).
- Funding is reserved for the first 3 - 5 admitted students (depending on the program size)
- Universities will also offer you admission without funding but give you an option to:
- Pay out of pockets
- Get loans if possible ( you'll need a US citizen to sign)
- search for funding in other departments
- Get a TS
- Some universities operate a free departmental policies, where an MPH student can get a GA position in the other departments (nursing, biology, nutrition).
- They usually advertise these GA positions openly on their websites ( under job section)
- You can apply for these positions online once your admission letter is issued ( even while still outside the US.)
- Some people may decide to get to the school without funding and ask other departments for open positions.
Few years ago about 10 students from Nigeria were admitted to the school of public health. Two were funded with admission. Another three applied to other departments and got GA positions.
The other eight students decided to travel to the school without funding. Eventually, they all got either TS or GA before classes commenced. It was a risk, but they were aware of the GA policies in that particular university.
- GRE is essential for admission into MPH or Ph.D programs. Unlike other programs where GRE can be waived, it is important for public health programs listed on SOPHAS.
- Note that Americans also write this exam for graduate admissions, although it can be waived for them. Do not think that they are treating you unfairly as an international student
-If GRE is waived for you during your admission process, it means you will not be considered for funding (well, not in all cases).
- Also note that having GRE is not a guarantee for funding.
However, no GRE means you will likely not be considered. I know students that were denied funding in their first semester because they did not write GRE. Some later got GA in their second semester. That is, they had to pay for the first semester out of pockets. GRE is important for admission and funding.
SOPHAS schools are CEPH accredited and seem to follow the same policy. Non-SOPHAS schools usually waive GRE for students. Their funding is also limited and not guaranteed. Yes, GRE is expensive, please save and take it.
There are some PH-related courses that do not require GRE. I will try to address this later. If you are aiming for a good PH school with funding, you must take GRE.
B. Doctorate PH programs
Some Ph.D admission letters come with funding while others do not. Funding is very vital to successful completion of Ph.D programs. The program is strenuous and demanding enough to combine any form of work with it.
I will devote another article to doctorate PH programs. I will share some of my experiences during the application process too. I will also address people with MPH programs outside the US and how to navigate the Ph.D application process.