Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Frequently Asked Questions

What are the program requirements?

M.P.H. students take 45 semester credit hours for the non-thesis option. This includes 27 credit hours of core courses, 6-9 credit hours of specialization courses, 3-6 credit hours of electives, one credit hour of comprehensive examination and five credit hours (300 clock hours) of internship. For students who choose to do a thesis, six additional credits of thesis are also required. Please see the Graduate Catalog for a list of specific courses.

How are the program courses delivered?

All program courses are available online in asynchronous (no weekly lecture) or synchronous (required weekly virtual lectures). On occasion, a course may be offered in a hybrid format (a mix of virtual and face-to-face lectures). For students studying under a F-1 or J-1 student visa, you may not be able to maintain the course format student visa requirements if you study in the United States.

For information about the course format requirements for F-1 and J-1 visas, visit maintaining your visa status at NIU.

International students are welcome to complete the program online in their home country.

How long does it take to complete the M.P.H. as a full-time student?

It usually takes two calendar years (24 months) to complete the M.P.H. degree. This includes time spent in the internship during the second summer, and assumes that students will take 9-10 credit hours every fall and spring semester, and a three-credit class during the first summer.

Is it possible to earn the M.P.H. degree as a part-time student?

Yes. Many students with full-time jobs decide to enroll as part-time students, although some are able to balance being a full-time student with full-time work. If you take less than nine credit hours during fall or spring, you will be considered part-time. Some students progress by taking one or two courses per semester (3-6 credits). While it is possible to complete the degree in four years without ever becoming full-time, the maximum amount of time allowed is six years.

How much does the M.P.H. program cost?

The estimated cost varies, depending on whether you enroll as an in-state or out-of-state student, and depending on whether you enroll as a face-to-face or online student. Please contact the Office of the Bursar for specific questions related to tuition, or go to the following website to use the Planning and Cost Estimator. Tuition and fees change on a yearly basis.

How do the tuition and fees of the NIU M.P.H. program compare to other programs in the United States?

According to CostHelper Education in-state tuition for an M.P.H. degree at public universities ranges from $16,000 to $33,000, and out-of-state tuition ranges from $25,000 to $60,000. The online M.P.H. at NIU is currently estimated to cost approximately $30,000. This is near the low end of the out-of-state range, making our program very affordable. Face-to-face, in-state tuition is lower.

What tuition waivers are available?

Newly accepted applicants to the M.P.H. program, enrolling in the fall or spring semester, are eligible to apply for tuition waivers on the Graduate School website. Three types of tuition waivers have been awarded to M.P.H. applicants:

  • Recruitment tuition waivers
  • Under-represented minority tuition waivers
  • McNair Scholar tuition waivers

All require full-time enrollment and a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or a graduate GPA of at least 3.50 on up to nine credit hours. Both online and face-to-face students are eligible.

Accepted applicants who have been McNair Scholars as undergraduates are eligible to apply for the McNair Scholar tuition waiver. Accepted applicants who are U.S. citizens and are either African American, Latino or Native American, are eligible to apply for the under-represented minority tuition waiver. All accepted applicants with high enough GPAs are eligible to apply for recruitment tuition waivers, including international applicants.

Deadlines are always much earlier than the deadlines for admission. Filing an application for a tuition waiver does not guarantee that it will be awarded. Tuition waivers awarded for fall enrollment pay most tuition expenses for nine credit hours in the first fall and spring. Those awarded for spring enrollment pay most tuition expenses for nine credit hours in spring only. Those enrolling in the summer are not eligible for tuition waivers.

How difficult is it to find a job after graduating with an M.P.H. degree?

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) estimates that 250,000 more public health workers will be needed by 2020.

CEPH expects at least 80% of all M.P.H. graduates to have either found employment or be enrolled in another educational program within a year of graduation. Among those who graduated from our program in 2018-2019, 81% were employed by December of 2019, and another 6% were enrolled in other educational programs, such as medical school.

Does NIU offer job placement for students who graduate?

NIU offers a centralized department called Career Services. Career Services offers online posting for internships and jobs, career counseling, resume and cover letter preparation and practice interviews.

Some students have made valuable contacts and/or received a job through their internship experiences. Job opportunities are also posted on the M.P.H. Student Blackboard Community, to which all enrolled students have access.

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DeKalb, IL 60115


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