Section Menu

Frequently Asked Questions

Also see frequently asked questions for online classes.

How do I begin my M.P.H. degree at DMU?

Apply today! Applications are accepted during the application period for the term in which you are seeking admission, with new students admitted following our deadlines in June for fall enrollment, October for spring enrollment and February for summer enrollment.

Are there options to enroll in professional development courses if I’m not ready to apply for the degree program yet?

Yes. Individuals interested in enrolling in select professional development courses may review the requirements and courses online. Registration and completion of a professional development course does not guarantee admission to a degree program. We encourage you to contact the admission office directly for more information about this opportunity.

What will an M.P.H. degree do for me?

A graduate degree provides opportunity! The entry-level requirement for a management position in public health is a master’s degree. The majority of our students work in public health-related fields and desire to move into a management position or enhance their skills. If you have similar career goals, the M.P.H. degree will provide you with this opportunity. If you have limited public health experience, or are looking to transition your career into public health, an M.P.H. degree may supplement your academic and professional experience by providing nationally recognized competencies. As a generalist M.P.H. degree, you will be prepared with foundational knowledge of public health that will allow you to transition successfully into a variety of professional roles and lead a team or organization of diverse professionals toward a common goal.

Do I need to submit GRE scores?

Yes, applicants must supply the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants who have already earned a master’s degree or higher are not required to submit GRE scores. Results from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Dental Admission Test (DAT) or Law School Admission Test (LSAT) may be substituted for the GRE. There is no minimum score required for application. This is a new admission requirement in 2012, therefore there is no average score to report. The Des Moines University GRE code is: 2256. See the How to Apply section for details regarding application requirements.

What is the difference between the M.H.A. and M.P.H. programs?

The degree program you choose depends on how you see yourself fitting into the health care system. The kind of work you do – or would like to do – will influence your degree path. Each program offers a distinct course of study. The master of health care administration program emphasizes effective management and responsible oversight within the health care delivery system. The master of public health program focuses on identifying, resolving and preventing health problems that affect communities and populations. Beyond these foundations, both programs challenge students to lead their organizations toward satisfying the future wants and needs of their communities.

Public health takes a view of health care that is typically a more broad, community perspective. It focuses on identifying, resolving, and preventing health problems that affect communities and populations. The M.P.H. program is based upon nationally recognized, entry-level competencies that address changing health behaviors, the delivery of services in a culturally sensitive manner, service delivery with limited funding and protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of homes, workplaces, and food and water supplies.

The M.H.A. program emphasizes the history, organization and professional make-up of the health care system and develops the business skills for the student to manage or lead health care organizations and cope with the changes as dictated by society, the economy, public policy and the industry itself. Successfully managing within health care demands knowledge of what makes this industry so unique. It isn’t that most health care facilities or organizations are non-profit entities, or that they employ a vast number of uniquely licensed professionals that makes it so unique. Perhaps it is the value that our society places on life and nursing back to health those who are ill. In essence the M.H.A. is a business degree that focuses on the intricacies of the health care industry and prepares students to lead their organizations to meet, and even exceed, the needs of their communities.

Why earn a dual M.H.A./M.P.H. degree? When can I apply for a dual degree?

There is naturally some overlap between the M.H.A. and M.P.H. programs. One of our objectives is to mesh the principles of public health – intervention and prevention – with traditional health services management.

Along with sharing some course work, both programs build upon a growing awareness that prevention and community health, when integrated into the health care delivery system, offer the greatest potential for optimal health. Traditional health care (treatment of an isolated, single patient) is becoming an event of the past. The new system of delivering care needs to be built on a model that blends the fields of health care administration (designing and managing systems to deliver efficient and effective health care) and public health (a team, data, population, and community-based focus). A dual M.H.A./M.P.H. degree prepares students to respond and succeed within the new demands of the system.

You will need to choose a primary program to begin your coursework at DMU. After successfully completing a minimum of 9 credit hours in your primary program (M.H.A. or M.P.H.) with a GPA of 3.0 or above, you may complete the application for admission consideration for the second program. You should plan to be in close contact with your faculty advisor if applying for the dual degree option.

What kind of undergraduate degree do I need to qualify for admission?

We require a bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university.

Can I transfer credits from another program or receive credit for a previously earned master’s degree?

Students with previously earned graduate credit may apply for transfer of up to 12 semester hours of coursework. Transfer coursework is subject to approval of the Dean and/or Program Director, and will only be reviewed if it was completed within the past 4 years at a grade of B or better. Students must apply for transfer credit within one term of enrolling in a master’s degree at DMU. Requests for transfer credit will only be processed once an applicant is admitted to the degree program.

What if I don’t have a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average? Will I be considered for admission?

Though we recommend a minimum GPA of at least 3.0 for best consideration, all completed applications will be given a comprehensive review. Our average GPA of recently admitted students was approximately 3.40, while the range was 2.75 – 4.00.

I have a full-time job and a family, is it really possible for me to work toward a graduate degree?

Many of our students work full-time, care for their families, serve on committees and juggle many other commitments outside of school. The online format of the M.P.H. program provides a great deal of flexibility to students in completing the program. On average, students complete 6 semester hours or two courses each term. Course calendars are available in advance to allow students to plan their schedules around courses they need.

Is the M.P.H. degree available entirely online?

Yes, the entire M.P.H. degree can be completed online. All M.P.H. courses are offered online, many are offered multiple terms each year. The internship and capstone experiences can be completed within or near your own community. While you don’t have to come to DMU, you are welcome to visit for a tour, to meet your advisor or to participate in graduation! Learn more about taking classes online.

How do online/on-campus courses work? What are the differences and similarities?

All courses in the M.P.H. program are offered online; very few select courses are offered on campus. This format is a direct result of student demand and preference of online availability. Students value the online format for a variety of reasons; schedule, flexibility and convenience. Online courses have specific start dates and end dates with specific assignment due dates, but you set your own schedule for when you complete the coursework.

There are differences between course formats and students often say that online coursework tends to involve more reading and writing than on campus courses as the way to communicate with students and faculty online is through the written word. The on campus courses are very discussion driven with spontaneous conversation between students, faculty and guest lectures. The benefits and drawbacks to each format are different for each individual. The flexibility of earning your M.P.H. within your schedule while maintaining your professional and personal life balances any drawbacks for the majority of students.

How long do I have to complete the program? How long does it usually take students to complete the M.P.H. degree?

As a part-time student, taking an average of 6 semester hours at a time can complete the program in about 3 years. Full-time students, taking an average of 9 semester hours at a time can complete the program in 2 years. It is important to note that your ability to complete the degree within this time frame is dependent on when you start the program, how many courses are taken each semester, and your flexibility to take courses when they are offered. You have up to seven years after your date of acceptance to complete all degree requirements.

How does the internship requirement work?

Students are required to complete an internship. This experience is completed as an independent study where the student works directly with an M.P.H. internship coordinator, and an outside preceptor to develop the goals and objectives of the experience. The internship schedule is developed by the student, approved by the preceptor and coordinator, and can be completed within one year from the date the student is registered for the course. The course flexibility was designed to allow students to complete a field experience while accommodating their work schedule and family obligations.

Do you accept international students?

To be eligible to take courses on campus within the M.P.H. programs, you must either be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (students with a permanent residency pending status are not eligible for admission). International students, if admitted, are eligible to take MPH courses online only. Learn more about international student admissions.

When is the application deadline?

All application documents must be received by Des Moines University by the posted deadlines to eligible for admission for the upcoming term. Applicants must plan to allow for adequate time for application materials to arrive at Des Moines University.

International graduates should plan to allow more time for the application process especially if the international transcripts will need to be evaluated.

Term Application Period Begins Priority Deadline Deadline
Summer 2015 November 1, 2014 February 1, 2015 March 1, 2015
Fall 2015 March 1, 2015 June 1, 2015 July 1, 2015