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Frequently Asked Questions


General Department of Public Health Questions

Yes, several of our classes are frequently offered online.  Also, beginning Fall 2021, we will begin to offer a completely online MPH program.  The online option will be for the following concentrations:

  • Community Health Education
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy and Management
  • Veterinary Public Health

Yes. A faculty contact is listed on each concentration webpage. You can also find faculty contact information in our directory. In addition, you are welcome to contact any of the alumni who have provided their contact information on our Alumni Profiles page.

Yes. Please send an e-mail to requesting an appointment. In the e-mail, please include the program and/or concentration in which you are interested so that we may determine the person best able to answer your questions.

Our physical address is 390 HPER, 1914 Andy Holt Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996. Click here for an interactive campus map.

No. The policy on admissions review generally prohibits enrollment of nondegree students, with the exception of PUBH 509 (which is a 1-credit hour seminar)

We seek to schedule required public health courses to benefit our diverse student body. While most of our courses are taught during the day, we also offer core courses on an evening rotation so that working and part-time students can be accommodated.

  • The University of Tennessee’s Master of Public Health program is the oldest Council on Education of Public Health-accredited program outside a School of Public Health. We first earned accreditation in 1969 and have consistently maintained that recognition for over forty years.
  • A 2020 alumni survey of 2001–2019 graduates indicated that 89 percent of the respondents ere employed in positions which utilize skills and knowledge they developed during the MPH program. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents indicated that they would recommend the MPH program to prospective students.
  • We work closely with the Knox County Health Department with which we have formed the first Academic Health Department (AHD) in the state of Tennessee. The AHD provides our students with community-based applied learning experiences, which increases our graduates’ marketability and readiness to enter the workforce.
  • Over 1,200 individuals have graduated from our MPH program since 1971.
  • Our location in the Tennessee Valley offers rich opportunities to work with diverse populations and agencies. Because of our proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education, students may gain experience working within a federal government agency or federal contractor during a field practice internship.
  • The MPH student body has the highest percentage of minority students in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, which reflects our commitment to, and value for, diversity.
  • The public health faculty’s academic preparation spans a variety of health-related disciplines and includes research and practice-based expertise. Students can build mentor/mentee relationships in their areas of interest.

You may defer admission for one year after your original application.

Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in order to request a deferral.

No. Coursework completed for undergraduate credit cannot be used to meet graduate degree requirements.

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Application Process—General

  • Domestic Applications
    • MPH
      • February 1: Summer admission
      • April 1: Fall admission
      • October 1: Spring admission
        (Note: Spring admission is open to new, part-time students only. New, full-time students will not be admitted for the spring semester.)
    • PhD
      • February 1: Fall admission
  • International Applications
    • International application deadline dates are often different from those for domestic applications.
    • International applicants should visit the Office of Graduate Admissions for current international deadlines.

All applications should be submitted online to the Office of Graduate Admissions.  Our department utilizes a single application through graduate admissions. This simplifies the application process for the student. All application materials will be submitted using this single point of entry.

The international application process is strictly monitored by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Therefore, all questions involving the international application processes should be directed to that office. Please be aware that application deadlines for international students vary from those for domestic students.  International deadlines can be found on the graduate admissions website.

TOEFL score requirements are set by the Office of Graduate Admissions. Questions concerning those scores should be directed to that office.

All applications are processed through the Office of Graduate Admissions.

From the Graduate Admissions website:

How to login to check the status of your application?

  • The Office of Graduate Admissions will notify you by e-mail of your application number and provide instructions on where and how to login to check the status of your application. Please allow seven to ten business days to receive the notification after you have submitted your online application and fee.
  • Once your application is received and added to our student database, you will be able to see the information we have recorded about you, when your supporting documents have been received, when your test scores have been received from ETS and when a final decision regarding admission has been made. It will take approximately four weeks for all documents to be noted in Status Checking. PLEASE BE PATIENT. PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE OUR OFFICE OR SEND E-MAILS INQUIRING ABOUT THE STATUS OF YOUR APPLICATION. This will only slow the processing of your application. However, if you find erroneous information on Status Checking, please contact the appropriate Graduate Admissions staff member to make corrections.

Yes. Graduate Admissions and our department both utilize the same application; therefore you will be applying to both at the same time.

The Graduate School requires a nonrefundable processing fee of $60.

With the exception of summer, a student who has not been enrolled for one full semester must apply to the Graduate School for re-admission and pay a nonrefundable re-admission fee of $30.

More information about polices for re-admission can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

The University of Tennessee Graduate School requires a nonrefundable processing fee of $30 for change of program.

Because admission to the Graduate School is an essential first step for admission to the program, we are unable to review application materials sent directly to us beforehand.

When submitting your Graduate School application, you will need to provide the names and email addresses of three people, who will each receive a link to an online rating form and will be directed to upload a recommendation letter directly alongside your application. Your references should be able to speak to your academic capacity, and should come from faculty members, academic advisors, employers, or professional colleagues.

Our deadlines are strictly observed. All application materials must be complete before an application can be reviewed. Those that are not completed by the deadline will not be reviewed and the applicant will need to revise the semester of entry for which they are applying.

In order for your application to be reviewed by the department it must be fully completed by the deadline date. To be considered complete, your application must contain all of the required materials AND must have been released to us for department-level review by the graduate admissions.

Because it can take some time all of your references to be collected and for graduate admissions to review and release your application to us, please apply at least four to six weeks prior to the deadline. Applications that are not fully completed  and released to us by the deadline date will NOT be considered for department-level review.

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 Master of Public Health (MPH) Program

No, our MPH program does not require GRE scores.

At this time, only the epidemiology concentration of the MPH program has STEM designation.

Yes. The University of Tennessee Master of Public Health degree is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). We first earned accreditation in 1969, making our program the first MPH program outside of a school of public health to receive this recognition. We have maintained our accreditation since 1969.

  • February 1: Summer admission
  • April 1: Fall admission
  • October 1: Spring admission
    (Note: Spring admission is open to part-time students only. No full-time students will be newly admitted for spring semester.)

Campus-based students: New part-time students can be admitted for the spring semester. However, new full-time MPH students are only admitted for the summer and fall semesters.

Additionally, due to the flow over Epidemiology concentration courses, there is not an option for spring admittance into our that concentration  If you wish to apply to our program as either a full-time student or a student interested in the Epidemiology concentration, you will need to apply for Fall admittance

Online students:  Full-time and part-time students are admitted year round.

A specific quota is not used for admissions processing. However, in order to maintain a proper student to faculty ratio for high quality teaching/learning, we manage enrollment to not exceed sixty-five to seventy students.

Public health is a multidisciplinary field that benefits from knowledge and skills of a broad array of people. Accordingly, there is no single undergraduate major that is considered as the best preparation for graduate study in public health. We welcome prospective students from a wide variety of undergraduate and professional disciplinary fields of study.

The MPH is a 42 semester credit hour program.

No specific course prerequisites for all applicants have been established for the MPH program. However, when reviewing applications, our faculty members might assign one or more prerequisite courses based on the needs of an individual applicant. Assigned prerequisites should be completed no later that the student’s first semester in the MPH program.

The most commonly assigned prerequisites are introductory courses in statistics and/or public health. Applicants to the HPM concentration might also be assigned an introductory accounting course.

We have found that work experience, even on a voluntary basis, provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in public health. However, we encourage all students who have a strong interest in public health to apply. In fact, the majority of our students have entered our program straight from earning their undergraduate degrees.

Applications are entered into the program-level review process as soon as they are fully completed. The review process can take one to three weeks. You will be notified via email regarding the results of our review.

Generally, a maximum of 15 credit hours may be transferred from a CEPH-accredited MPH program. Graduate courses completed within other academic programs will be assessed for appropriateness as elective courses for the MPH degree.

Our MPH program is a 42 semester credit hour program. Full-time students commonly complete the program in four semesters plus one summer.

Research opportunities vary by faculty member. Please see their respective profiles.

Please review the descriptions of the Community Health Education (CHE)Epidemiology (EPI), Health Policy and Management (HPM), Public Health Nutrition (NUTR), and Veterinary Public Health (VPH) concentrations. Veterinary Public Health is restricted to graduate veterinarians, DVM students enrolled at UT, and licensed veterinary medical technicians.

Yes. In order for your application to be reviewed by the faculty in that disciplinary area, you will need to specify the concentration for which you are applying. The choices are:

You may request a change of concentration at any time. Program changes require the approval of the faculty review committee for the concentration to which you are interested in changing.

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PhD Program


All questions should be submitted directly to program director: Laurie L. Meschke, MS, PhD

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Financial Questions

Tuition and fee costs are managed by the One-Stop Student Services office. For details please see the Cost of Attendance and Payments located on the One-Stop web page. Time of program you will want to check with them.

The University of Tennessee offers many different funding sources. You can look at currently available opportunities on the Graduate School’s Costs and Funding webpage or contact the program of interest for department funding.

The Department of Public Health does offer graduate assistantship positions. However, the availability of these positions is limited and competition for them can be quite steep. You can find more information about the assistantships and how to apply here.

  • Yes. All current assistants must reapply on a yearly basis.
  • Previous employment as an assistant does not guarantee reappointment.
  • Progress toward degree completion and effectiveness in meeting responsibilities of the assistantship will be evaluated.

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International Applicants

The MPH program does not currently require you to complete the GRE.

The Department of Public Health itself cannot provide waivers or exemptions for application fees.

The Application fees are under the direct jurisdiction of the University’s Graduate School.  The only fee waiver offered by the Graduate School is for McNair Scholar recipients. If you are not sure if you are a McNair Scholar recipient, you may review the information online at

For admission to a graduate program, an international student must have an equivalent 4-year bachelor’s degree. Individuals with degrees from foreign institutions must have earned a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on all undergraduate work and a minimum of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale on all graduate work.

The minimum score required for the IELTS is 6.5 and the minimum TOEFL score is 80.

These tests are only required if your country of origin is specified for needing the exam:

You do not need to choose a supervisor or mentor for the MPH program.  The MPH is a practice degree where students do not match with a faculty member before admission.

Yes.  All admitted students may apply for assistantships in our program.  However, we have few assistantships for MPH students as funding is prioritized for doctoral students. You can find more information about the assistantships and how to apply here.

Please visit the International Graduate Student website for more information on resources that are available to you.

In our program, only part-time MPH students are permitted for Spring registration.  Additionally, there is not an option for Spring semester admittance for students interested in our Epidemiology concentration as the flow of those concentration courses does not allow for a Spring semester start. If you wish to apply to our program as either a full-time student or a student interested in the Epidemiology concentration, you will need to apply for Fall admittance.

Yes, our program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

At this time, only the epidemiology concentration of the MPH program has STEM designation.

Please visit the graduate school’s website for international applicants.  Many of your questions will be answered there:

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