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Do you accept electronic transcripts?

Yes. At the time of the application, please upload scans of your official transcripts (in PDF format) from all colleges and universities attended, including all front and back pages, in the online application system. Please do not mail official transcripts to our office. Applicants who are offered admission to the program will be instructed to mail official transcripts to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Can I apply if I have completed my undergrad degree, or will complete my degree by April, but my transcript does not indicate that it has been conferred?

This is a common occurrence and applicants may apply to the MPH Program by the application deadline. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the applicant based on the most recent official transcript (scanned and uploaded to the application) and may offer admission to the program based on these transcripts. This offer will be conditional and subject to the applicant meeting our admission requirements based on the official, final transcript that also indicates the student has successfully completed the degree requirements.

I use an agency that compiles all transcripts and references for me. Will you accept transcripts and references from the agency or do I need to get originals sent to you?

We do not accept transcript information that has been collected and summarized by an agency. All transcripts uploaded must be original, in duplicate, and if not in English, accompanied by a translated copy. This is Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies policy.

I've taken some previous graduate-level coursework. Can I transfer any of it into my MPH degree?

Generally, MPH students can transfer up to 9 non-SPPH credits towards the MPH degree. Please note that this is considered on a case-by-case basis and will only be considered once a student is in the program. All students must receive approval from the MPH Program Director to transfer previous graduate-level courses to the MPH degree. In addition, please keep in mind the following criteria that must be met:

  • The courses were not used to satisfy the requirements of another credential (including certificates)
  • The courses were not used as a basis of admission to the graduate degree program
  • At least a B standing (UBC 74%) was obtained in the courses
I did one semester abroad during my undergrad. Do I need to submit transcripts from that university?

If your undergraduate transcript does not include the course number, title and final grade achieved from the institution attended abroad, official scans of transcripts from all institutions attended must be uploaded by the application deadline.


How is my GPA for admission calculated?

Credentials from Canada & USA: All 300 & 400 level courses, irrespective of what year they were completed.

Credentials from outside of Canada & USA: All undergraduate courses are used to calculate the GPA. As an international student, there are specific requirements for each country, which can be found online at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Web site. Please follow this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select the country. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements set out for their particular country/university.

Do you accept the optional minimum criteria for GPA set out by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website: “Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study”?

No. The MPH Admissions Committee agreed in March 2010 that this option is no longer acceptable for admission to the program. All applicants will be compared against the same standards of GPA calculation.

I have two or more degrees, which will be used for my GPA for admission?

We will use all eligible degrees to calculate GPA for admission. For example, if an applicant has two Degrees (at any level), and only one degree meets the minimum academic requirement set out by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the applicant is eligible for admission. If both (or all) degrees meet the minimum requirement, then the applicant is eligible for admission. If neither/none of the Degrees meet the minimum academic requirement, the applicant is not eligible for admission.

Do I have a chance of getting in the program if my GPA is under a B+ (or equivalent)?

Generally speaking, if applicants don’t meet the minimum academic requirements, they are not eligible for admission to any UBC graduate program. However, if an applicant has taken a couple of additional undergraduate or graduate courses and achieved a B+ or higher to demonstrate academic ability, AND the applicant has an extensive track record of working in public health, excellent reference letters and a focused letter of intent, the MPH Admissions Committee will review the application and if successful, write a letter requesting consideration of the applicant by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may or may not respond affirmatively to the letter.

What type of background does an applicant to the MPH Program typically have?

Many applicants are working professionals in the field of public health who wish to extend their knowledge in public health, planning, research, evaluation, and leadership. Others have recently completed a Baccalaureate degree in areas which are relevant to the field of public health. Some of these areas are (but not limited to): medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition, pharmacy, midwifery, kinesiology, environmental sciences, microbiology, biology, statistics, sociology, psychology, anthropology and engineering or business.

Our successful applicants usually have some experience in the field of public health, including participation in research activities (research assistantships, published papers, conference abstracts, invited presentations) or teaching (teaching assistantships, teaching courses, developing teaching materials or curriculum, informal peer-based teaching, participation in or development of community-based teaching). We are also looking for evidence of leadership and initiative in working with people, whether or not this is directly focused on public health.

Application Deadline

How strict is the application deadline?

The deadline is firm for the completion of the online application as well as the receipt of all application documents. This is due to the high volume of applications we need to process and our responsibility to meet deadlines set by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Please take into account the timescale if applicants are applying from overseas or the originating country’s mail system is unreliable, and allow ample time for transit time.

My referee can't get the reference in on time, can he/she email it after the deadline?

No. The application deadline cannot be extended for anyone due to time constraints on the MPH Admissions Committee. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure their referees have sent references in on time.

Letter of Intent

How long does the LOI need to be?

The LOI should be no longer than 500 words.

What should be in the LOI?

Applicants should use the letter of intent to articulate their reasons for pursuing the MPH at UBC. It should identify specific and focused goals in the field of public health and how the applicant will use the skills and knowledge gained in the MPH program to achieve these goals. It’s important not to duplicate information in the curriculum vitae. The LOI should demonstrate understanding of the field of public health.

Can I send the LOI separately?

Hard copies are not required to be mailed to the MPH office. We accept the LOI via upload in the  Program-Specific Questions section of the application.

To whom do I address the LOI?

Applicants can address their LOI to the MPH Admissions Committee.


What should be in a reference letter?

We ask that referees provide comments that offer a picture of the applicant's abilities and potential to succeed as a graduate student, public health professional and/or researcher. Specifically, we seek input on the applicant’s:

  • Academic ability and initiative
  • Quantitative, analytical and reasoning skills
  • Critical thinking and complex problem solving skills
  • Ability to interpret and communicate data clearly and effectively
  • Demonstrated compassion, professionalism, integrity, and sense of social justice

If possible, please provide examples for your assessment of the applicant on these criteria. It is also useful to provide information on the context in which you have gotten to know the applicant (e.g., work environment, applicant’s role and responsibilities or the educational/course setting). The admissions committee finds it helpful if the referee can compare the applicant to other students or staff in a quantitative way, i.e. this student is in the top 10% of students I have previously taught or supervised in the past number of years.

Do you accept electronic references?

Yes. Referees have the option to complete an electronic reference in the online application system, or write and upload a letter. If a referee would like to send us a letter, they can attach and upload a PDF letter online. If applicants list the referee’s email address on their application, an email will be sent to the referee after the applicant has submitted the application. Emails must come from an institutional or a business email account (eg. @ubc.ca). Referees with web-based email addresses (ex. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) can not complete the electronic reference in the online application. We will not accept any non-institutional emails. Please note that  applicants must submit their application online well in advance of the deadline so their referees have enough time to complete the reference.

Please note that due to the current covid-19 situation, we will not be accepting hard copies of references. References are due before the deadline of December 31st, 2022.

I don't have any recent academic references. Can I use work references instead?

We prefer academic references, but would also accept a reference that speaks to your academic potential.

Do my referees have to use the electronic reference or can they write a letter?

Referees can write and upload a letter in lieu of the electronic reference.

On the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies reference form, what is the degree/program/field of study I am applying to?

Degree: Master
Program: Public Health
Field of Study: Public Health

Can I change my referee after the application is submitted?

You have the option to change a referee in your online application yourself. Alternatively, you can submit a request to change the referee in your application by contacting mph@spph.ubc.ca, clearly indicating who will no longer be sending through a reference letter and details on the replacement referee.


What is a CV?

An excellent online guide to developing and organizing the CV is provided by the UBC's Centre for Student Involvement & Careers.

Can I email my CV to the MPH office?

No. Due to the high volume of emails that come through during admissions, the MPH program does not have enough email capacity to accept hundreds of applicants’ attachments. We accept CVs via upload in the Standard Questions Section in online application.