Investing in an MPH degree can open doors to an impactful and rewarding career in public health. However, the cost of graduate school presents a challenge for many aspiring public health professionals. This guide provides an overview of MPH scholarship opportunities to help fund your education. The goal is to empower you with knowledge and resources for the financial planning process. Read on to discover scholarships that can help make your MPH dreams a reality.
Understanding MPH Scholarship Types
Scholarships for MPH programs fall under several main categories based on sponsor, criteria, and recipient requirements. Knowing the landscape of options helps in targeted searching and application strategies.
Most schools that offer MPH degrees also provide institutional funding through competitive scholarships. Award amounts and criteria vary but usually consider factors like academic merit, leadership, research experience, and career goals aligned with the university’s mission. Deadlines for fall admission are usually in early spring. Complete the FAFSA and any school-specific forms, emphasize your fit with the program in your personal statement, and maintain a strong GPA. Meeting with an admissions advisor can provide insight into each school’s priorities and process.
Individual departments within a public health school often offer scholarships focused on their specialty area. For example, an epidemiology department may allocate funds for students committed to an epidemiology career track. Demonstrate your fit and passion for the specific field in your application.
Minority and underrepresented groups in public health can find support through diversity scholarships. Requirements may involve belonging to a targeted racial/ethnic group and articulating how your background will contribute to the field. Show commitment to serving vulnerable populations through your intended career.
Government agencies, non-profits, and private companies sponsoring MPH education aim to attract talented candidates committed to their mission and workforce needs. Demonstrate alignment through relevant experience, career goals, and research interests you bring. Application timelines vary.
Beyond institutional sources research private foundations and organizations offering public health scholarships. Criteria focus on leadership, need, research areas, and identity groups like ethnicity, military service, or disability status. Thorough search engines can yield hidden gems; keep an open mind on fit.
Specific Scholarship Programs To Consider
Now, let’s explore some prominent scholarships that can significantly reduce your costs for an MPH. Strong candidates demonstrate the qualifications below through academics, experience, and mission fit.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MPH Scholarship Program
One of the most prestigious MPH funding sources is through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Full tuition, fees, and stipend support for one or two years in exchange for CDC employment.
- U.S. citizen
- MPH program accredited by CEPH
- GPA 3.0 or higher
- Research interests aligned with CDC priorities
Application deadline is typically in early November for the following fall term. Candidates are selected through a merit-based competitive process.
Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provides scholarships for MPH students committed to serving underserved communities through the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program.
- U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Accepted at CEPH-accredited MPH program
- GPA 3.0 or higher
- Commitment to primary care practice in underserved areas
Tuition, fees, and other educational costs covered plus a living stipend. Two-year service obligation in high-need Health Professional Shortage Area after graduation. Rolling application periods throughout the year.
Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship
This fellowship, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, provides generous support for graduate study in environmental fields, including environmental health.
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Accepted at accredited graduate program
- Research directly relevant to EPA mission
- Minimum 3.0 GPA
Up to $38,000 annually for tuition and living stipend. No post-graduate work requirement. Rolling application deadlines but recommend applying 4-6 months before intended start.
American Public Health Association MPH Scholarship Program
APHA’s program offers $2,500-$5,000 one-time awards based on merit and commitment to public health equity for full-time MPH students.
- Enrolled in CEPH-accredited MPH program
- Leadership experience and community service
- Focus on health equity and social justice
- Good academic standing
Application period typically February-March each year. Personal statements and letters of recommendation weigh heavily in the competitive selection process.
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health Scholarships
This association representing public health academics offers several named scholarship programs open to incoming or currently enrolled full-time MPH students.
- Enrollment in CEPH-accredited MPH program
- Demonstrated leadership, service, and academic merit
- Alignment with specialty focus area
- Financial need consideration for some awards
Award amounts vary between $1,000-$5,000. Scholarship rosters and application periods are accessible through individual ASPPH member school websites.
Additional Scholarship Databases To Explore
A Thorough investigation of available scholarships requires casting a wide net beyond single program applications. Research these comprehensive databases:
- Fastweb.com – One of the largest free scholarship search engines, filters by major, attributes, and more. Set up a profile.
- Petersons.com – Higher education resource with public health scholarship listings and filters. Browse annually.
- Diversitymba.com – Focuses on diversity and underrepresented groups in healthcare and public health fields.
- Cappex.com – The College search tool also features a large scholarship database to browse with custom criteria.
Casting the net widely through organized resources can surface unexpected funding fits beyond the usual suspects. Expand efforts beyond major deadlines into regular searches.
Strengthening Your MPH Scholarship Application
The competition for MPH scholarships is understandably high, given the life-changing impact such funding can provide. Take time to develop a strong overall application profile:
Maintain at minimum a 3.0 GPA, pursue research experiences like independent studies or internships, and request strong letters of recommendation from faculty. Quantify your academic highlights.
Statement of Purpose
Craft a compelling 1-2 page statement tying your background and goals to the sponsor’s mission or focus areas. Highlight relevant experiences and what makes you uniquely qualified. Proofread meticulously.
Visually summarize experience, skills, certifications, presentations, publications, if any, community service, and leadership roles in bullet points. Use a scannable format.
Practice responding confidently to questions about your fit and preparedness. Print copies of your application to reference smoothly. Make eye contact and convey genuine interest and enthusiasm.
Thank You Notes
Promptly follow up after deadlines or interviews with the specific reviewers and reiterate your interest and qualifications. A simple gesture can stand out positively.
Employers, schools, and scholarship committees want to invest in promising applicants who will make the most of the opportunity and “give back” through their careers. Portray yourself as such a strong candidate through strategic, thorough preparation.
Financial Planning and Alternatives
Realistically assessing your full cost of attendance and creating a funding plan is crucial before entering an MPH program. Scholarships alone may not cover all expenses, so explore additional options:
- Research assistantship or part-time on-campus job opportunities
- Federal student loans – Only utilize after maximizing scholarship and grant eligibility
- Payment plans offered by many schools to spread tuition cost over installments
- Graduate Plus loans for costs beyond subsidized eligibility
- Private student loans as a last resort with careful vetting of interest rates and terms
- Dual-degree programs may lead to tuition breaks vs. pursuing separately
For career changers unable to pursue MPH full-time, consider ceprofs.com options or executive-style part-time programs which offer more flexible schedules at a higher tuition rate. Combining sources creatively is key to feasibility.
With diligent searching and strong application materials tailored to each opportunity, public health scholarships can notably reduce – or even cover – the expenses of an MPH. Always consult program advisors as well for insider guidance and institutional fit recommendations during your process.
Pursuing an advanced public health degree opens incredible opportunities to impact health on a broad scale. However, graduate education requires significant financial investment. The purpose of this article is to educate you with knowledge of the scholarship landscape and provide actionable tips for your funding strategy.
Remember – the process takes time but yields life-changing results. Stay organized, follow deadlines religiously, and be proactive in customizing your candidacy to fit with different opportunities. With creativity and perseverance, scholarships are within reach for dedicated students who will apply their MPH to bettering population wellness. I wish you the very best in your public health funding journey and future career.