Frequently Asked Questions


Which degrees are offered at UWM’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health?

We offer the Master of Public Health degree in five tracks – Biostatistics, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Public Health Policy and Administration and PhD programs in Public Health and Environmental Health Sciences. The Public Health PhD offers tracks in Biostatistics and Community and Behavioral Health Promotion. Click on the links to learn more.

Is the School accredited?

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Schools of public health and public health programs also have the option of becoming accredited through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). In June 2014, the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health was approved as an applicant for accreditation by CEPH, an important step on the path to becoming a fully-accredited school of public health. According to CEPH, most schools seeking accreditation for the first time take about two years to complete the self-study report from the time they become applicants. The accreditation decision usually comes within three years of the date of applicant status. The Zilber School of Public Health is on track to become accredited within the timeline recommended by CEPH.

I already have graduate coursework. Can I transfer credits?

Requests for transfer of courses taken outside of UWM or as a non-degree student at UWM require the Graduate School’s Transfer Credit Evaluation Form, in addition to the Course Equivalency Request Form. See the Transfer Credit Evaluation Form for rules of eligibility for transfer classes. You can also find more information regarding transferring credits here.


Can I apply online?

Yes. Please apply via SOPHAS.

Is there Spring admissions for any of the Zilber School of Public Health academic programs?

The Zilber School of Public Health does not currently offer Spring admissions. If you are interested in beginning study with us earlier than the Fall semester, please contact us at to discuss some options for doing so.

Do you accept applicants on a rolling basis? What is the deadline to apply?

The MPH program accepts applicants on a rolling basis until June 3rd for international applicants and July 15th for domestic applicants. The preferred deadline for the MPH is January 6th 2017 at 10:59pm CDT/11:59pm EST. January 6th is the final application deadline for the PhD programs. All materials, including GRE scores must be reported in SOPHAS to complete an application.

  • The deadline for international applicants to apply under our MPH rolling application process is June 3.
  • The deadline for domestic applicants to apply under our MPH rolling application process is July 15.

How many students are accepted into your program each year?

Our goal is to maintain a selectivity rate of 65% for the MPH program, and we have consistently met this goal from year to year.

Can I apply to more than one track?

Applicants can apply for more the one MPH track. Applicants who want to apply for more than one track must submit two separate sets of short answers via the SOPHAS application. Upon admittance to more than one track, the applicant must choose.

Can I waive the GRE? Are other exams accepted in lieu of the GRE?

Applicants may request a GRE waiver or substitution in the following situations:

  • Holding a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, JD, PharmD, MD); please note that terminal degrees from foreign institutions must be post-baccalaureate
  • Completion of an alternative standardized test (e.g., MCAT, LSAT, GMAT)

Note that a waiver must be requested and granted by admissions staff at the Zilber School of Public Health. Contact regarding GRE waivers and substitutions.”

What are GRE score requirements?

Average GRE scores and percentiles for admitted applicants in each academic program are as follows:


  • Quantitative: 148 (40%)
  • Verbal: 153 (64%)


  • Quantitative: 151 (50%)
  • Verbal: 157 (74%)


  • Quantitative: 154 (63%)
  • Verbal: 153 (59%)

Are there minimum GPA requirements?

The UWM Graduate School requires a minimum 2.75 GPA for admission. See exception criteria here. Note that a GPA above 2.75 does not guarantee admission, as GPA is only one part of the whole application.

I am an international student, is the TOEFL (English proficiency) exam required? I am an international student whose entire education was in English. Am I required to take the TOEFL exam?

The Center for International Education processes international admissions to support UWM’s graduate programs. View requirements here.

Working Professionals

Is it possible for a full-time working professional to earn a degree at the Zilber School of Public Health?

Some programs allow part-time enrollment. The faculty and staff strongly recommend continued enrollment in at least two classes per semester (Fall and Spring). Note that Graduate School policy requires completion in seven years for the masters and ten years for the doctoral degree. Students who work full-time during the day can earn an MPH in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (CBHP) or Environmental Health Sciences (EHS). Courses in these MPH tracks are offered in the evening, online, or in a blended/Saturday format every other year to accommodate professionals who work during the day. The PhD in Public Health allows part-time enrollment in the CBHP track. However, students who commit to the program must be available for day time classes one day per week. The EHS PhD program requires a fulltime lab component, so it is not possible to earn this degree on a part-time basis.

What is the usual pattern of course offerings? Which are offered in Spring or Fall? Which are offered during the day or night? 

Click here to view the Two Year Course Schedule. Coming soon.

Can the MPH Field Experience be completed at a student’s current workplace?

A field placement at the student’s workplace is possible, but it must follow the criteria listed in the field experience handbook. In addition, students can take PH 790 credits over two consecutive semesters to reduce the number of hours per week, and in some cases, students with professional public health experience qualify for reduced field placement hours.

Other Field Experience

How does the field experience placement work? I want to do my placement at a specific site or in a specific area or focusing on a specific issue.

Special requests will be entertained and may be accommodated if possible. Generally, students pick their top choices off a set list of available experiences and apply to participate. Click here to view the Field Experience Handbook.

Am I in charge of finding my own Field Experience placement site?

Students attend a required workshop to learn about the course and procedures.  They work with their faculty advisors, Community Engagement Coordinator and the course instructor to find a placement.  The faculty and staff make suggestions and reach out to organizations that have hosted Field Experience students in the past.  They also make new connections based on a student’s interest.  A student is welcome to initiate contact with a potential site based on previous/current work experience and existing connections, and would let the Community Engagement Coordinator know first.  Being proactive is important to ensure a smooth beginning at the organization.

Is the Field Experience a paid internship?

Generally, students are not paid for their Field Experience. Students must pay regular tuition and fees for field experience credits. View current tuition costs by clicking here.

Are there any opportunities to gain practical experience and connect with community groups? Are there opportunities to learn about Public Health outside of the classroom?

Besides PH 790 Field Experience (required for MPH students), some classes include practical components. The Graduate School offers travel grant funding to attend statewide and national conferences when a student is presenting, and the Public Health Graduate Student Association (PHGSA) offers travel grants to attend conferences, as well.

Financial Information

How much does the program cost?

Typically MPH students enroll full-time over two years, which includes two Falls, two Springs and one Summer term, or part-time, which includes two classes per semester (Fall and Spring) for four years and sometimes Summer electives or Field Experience credits to shorten the part-time Plan of Study. View current tuition costs by clicking here to determine costs for you.

Are full-time students able to have a job during the program?

Yes, most of our MPH students work a part-time job that offers flexibility to accommodate their class schedule.

Do graduate students have available funding opportunities?

There are several scholarships available to MPH students, and the average award for MPH students is $4,800. Additionally, there is a $10,000 Chancellor’s Award and limited, competitive opportunities for PA, TA & RA positions for PhD students. PhD students are also encouraged to pursue independent research funding.

Visit the Graduate School Types of Funding page for additional funding resources including fellowships, assistantships, loans, and on-campus employment.

How do applicants/students apply for funding opportunities?

You are automatically considered for scholarships and funding when you apply for admission to the Zilber School of Public Health.

Some opportunities, like the Graduate School Fellowships, may require supplemental application materials, so read directions carefully. Visit the Graduate School Types of Funding page for additional funding resources. All applicants applying for University Fellowships (Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship or Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship) must submit their application no later than December 2nd, 2016.


What if I enter a track and decide I like a different track better after taking some courses?

There is an internal process in place to switch tracks if a student should decide they want to pursue a different track after they have started the program. However, this can delay the time in which the program will be completed, and there is no guarantee that students will be accepted into the new track.

Are there summer semesters?

The Field Experience course (PH 790) is required for all MPH students and it is typically taken during the summer between a student’s first and second years in the program. Other programs at UWM do offer some courses during the summer, but the Field Experience is currently the only public health course offered during the summer semester.

Do you offer dual degrees such as a MPH/MSW?

No, UWM does not currently have any dual degree programs.