Tips for a Successful Application

The Population and Health Sciences admissions committee carefully reviews each submitted application in order to find the right students for our graduate degree programs. In addition to the official application requirements, we’d like to help you understand what we’re looking for, and how to put a strong application together.

“We use a holistic review process and give consideration to everything you put into your statements and other supporting materials. No one component will make or break your application. Our team is here to support you in achieving your goals. The application process is a big part of that journey,  and we're always here to help.”
-Kim Luzius, Admissions Chair

View MPH Application Requirements

*At this time, the online MPH is only open to admitted United States citizens and residents.

Answer the Big Questions

When reviewing your application, the admissions committee is looking for answers to the following questions:

  • Are you academically prepared to succeed in the curriculum? 
  • Does this program meet your career goals? 
  • How will your professional experience complement your academic experience ? 
  • Will you be an engaging, contributing member of our student body? 

In your application, we’ll ask you to share more about yourself and your goals. The following are key areas you’ll want to consider:

Academic Preparation

There are no enforced prerequisite courses for admission to Population and Health Sciences. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree; and we welcome applicants from all subject areas. In general, successful students have had strong grades in college-level math and science in subjects such as mig statistics, biology, and chemistry or professional experience using similar quantitative skills. This will help prepare for our quantitative courses, including Principles of Epidemiology, Introduction to Biostatistics (MPH).

Career Goals

Applicants should understand public health and/or population health, and be committed to the field. It’s not uncommon for applicants to be uncertain of the direction they’ll take in our electives or after graduation; however, we want to know that this degree program is aligned with your interests and goals, and that the learning objectives in our courses will prepare you for your next steps. If you’re unsure, start by exploring our Career Outcomes and the MPH courses

Professional Experience

These programs have been designed with working professionals in mind. The majority of our students work full-time throughout their course of study and bring 3+ years of professional experience from a wide variety of fields - both in and out of public health - to the classroom. The shared experiences and practical insights of our students contribute to a rich learning environment for the entire cohort. Students who have a real-world reference point, through work or volunteering, and who are able to implement newfound knowledge into their work, have great success and fulfillment from their course experiences. Wherever your career path has taken you so far, we want to hear how your unique professional perspectives will enrich class discussions and projects. 

Student Community

Our online community is robust and engaging. Students connect with peers, faculty, and staff on a regular basis both in and out of live class sessions. Tell us what unique perspectives and experiences you’ll bring to the Michigan Public Health and Population and Health Sciences student body, and how you might learn from others. Learn more about our student community through our student profiles.

Plan Your Approach Carefully

The first step in your planning should be to ensure you are able to meet set deadlines and avoid missing key touchpoints by reviewing our Important Dates for Online Degrees page.

Review Important Dates

Apply early for scholarship purposes

Applicants who meet the priority deadline will be the first reviewed for admission and first considered for the School of Public Health partial tuition scholarships. After the first round of scholarship review, decisions will be made on a rolling basis until funds run out. We will continue taking applications through the final deadline; however we encourage you to submit your application and all supporting materials as early as possible. If you wait until the final deadline to submit, your decision process may feel rushed as the fall term approaches. (Don’t forget to review our financial considerations information and explore funding sources outside of the School of Public Health.)

Make sure all materials reach us on time

All required materials must be submitted for your application to be considered complete. Some of these things are in your control, like your statements, and some of these things completely rely on other people or institutions. Make sure you request your transcripts and your letters of recommendation with enough time to meet the deadline. 

Note for applicants: We will only receive applications that have been completed and verified by SOPHAS. Monitor your status with SOPHAS and any related action items to avoid delays.

Carefully review your drafts and seek feedback from mentors and peers

Your written statements will demonstrate your capacity to effectively communicate ideas in writing. Strong written statements articulate a clear focus related to the degree program, demonstrate clear critical reasoning, make connections between past experiences and future goals, express specific interest in the curriculum, and are free from grammatical errors. It can be easy to lose sight of your point or make mistakes as you write multiple drafts. Plan ahead so that you have time to ask a mentor or peer to proofread your work. 

Choose your recommenders wisely

To get the best letter, you should choose someone who can speak to your potential to succeed in graduate school and the field of public health. Consider employers or supervisors, team leaders from volunteer experiences, and course instructors. Make sure you give them plenty of time to write their letter as well as some direction regarding what to include (i.e., help them answer “the big questions”). 

Read more advice from our Admissions team about how to select the right recommenders for your application in this blog post.

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss your qualifications with a member of our team, please email

Ready to Apply?

Start with our Applications & Deadlines to learn about specific degree application deadlines and requirements. Applications for fall 2024 will open in early September 2023.