Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drop or withdraw from a course once it has begun? Will I get a refund?

Yes. You can drop a course after it had begun. The important dates are sent to students prior to the start of the semester. If you drop the course prior to the add/drop date you will receive a full refund. If you drop the course after the add/drop date and during the withdrawal period, you will not receive a refund but the course will not appear on your transcripts. If you drop the course after the withdraw date, you will receive a grade of pass or fail. A fail grade will be factored into your GPA and you will have to repeat the course if it is a required course.

Can I speak with faculty or alumni prior to applying?

The program administrator keeps a list of alumni and faculty who are willing to speak with prospective students about the program. If you are interested, please email

Can I transfer credits from another institution?

Yes. You may transfer up to 2 courses or 6 credits from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. The course(s) may not be older than 3 years old, you must have received a B or better, the course(s) must be graduate level, you must submit a copy of the syllabus for faculty approval, and the course(s) must not have been used to complete the requirements for any other degree or certificate program.

Do I have to come to UMass Amherst?

No! The program is 100% online. You do not have to ever come to campus. However, you are encouraged to join us for networking events and for graduation in May.

How long do I have to complete the degree?

While the program is designed to be completed in 3 years, you have a total of 4 years to complete the degree from the date of matriculation. The program is flexible and if you need to take time off you are allowed to do so.

I am a Registered Dietitian. Can my internship and accompanying courses be transferred into the online MPH in Nutrition degree program?

In most cases, since the R.D. is a minimum prerequisite for the MPH in Nutrition program, the Dietetic Internship and accompanying courses cannot be transferred into the online MPH in Nutrition degree. Furthermore, the practicum is a requirement of the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and must be completed during your degree program, not before.

I have been put on a waitlist. How will I know if I get into the course?

If you enroll in a course and are put on a waitlist, you are responsible for checking your status daily in the two weeks prior to the start of the course. By agreeing to be put on the waitlist, you are agreeing to participate in the course and to paying the course fees. Waitlists are generally cleared during the week prior to the start of the course.

I have less than a 2.75 GPA from undergraduate work. Can I still be accepted?

Admission to the program is never guaranteed. If your undergraduate/graduate GPA is below 2.75 and above 2.50, you may be admitted as a provisional student. You must submit GRE scores (even if you qualified for a waiver). It is also advised that you submit 3 rather than 2 letters of recommendation. You must also take at least one (two is preferred) course as a non-degree student prior to submitting the application and achieve a B or better. You should submit the transcripts from this course with your application. For details on the full policy please contact the department at

I have never completed an online course. What is it like?

Just like with anything new you try, taking courses online may at first seem strange. Be assured that it will become second nature after a few sessions online! If you are new to computers it will take you longer to adjust to the new learning medium than those used to surfing the Internet. But the design of all our courses is to make them so user-friendly that the technology becomes invisible and what remains is a superb learning experience.

A Demo Course is provided for online viewing by UMassOnline to give you an idea of the way courses are organized and presented. Prospective students wishing to see the demo course should log in with the username "demo" and password "welcome". Survey results have found that students particularly enjoy the flexibility of scheduling their study hours online and the ability to work on the readings and assignments at home at any hour of the day or night.

I received my undergraduate/graduate degree from an international institution. Will this satisfy the required qualifications?

This depends. In most cases an international degree allows you to meet the minimum qualifications. You will have to provide official translated transcripts from the institution. They must not be copies sent from you. You may not qualify for the GRE waiver. Please contact the department at for more information.

May I audit classes?

You may audit classes with the permission of the instructor. Different instructors have differing criteria for class participation. These courses do not count for loan deferment purposes, but if you do not need or wish to receive graduate credits for a class, auditing classes may be a good choice for you. Learners are assessed full tuition for audited courses.

What are the qualifications for course instructors and practicum/project supervisors?

Instructors for online nutrition courses required by the Online MPH in Nutrition will be from among the Department of Nutrition’s Graduate Faculty as well as Clinical or Adjunct Faculty, who teach in the Online MPH in Nutrition program under annual or multi-year contracts, and bring current, practical experiences and expertise to the program. All of our online graduate-level instructors hold doctoral degrees.

Will I get an advisor?

Yes! Academic advising is available through the program office by e-mail, telephone, or in person throughout your Online MPH in Nutrition studies. You can also e-mail the Program Director, Dr. Patsy Beffa-Negrini, or the Graduate Program Director, Dr. Carbone, with your academic questions. The administrators of the Online MPH in Nutrition program are committed to making your academic experience personally rewarding as well as professionally enriching and year-round advising is an important part of that commitment.

Will my diploma indicate that I earned my degree online?

No. You are earning an MPH degree with a Nutrition concentration. The mode of delivery is not indicated on the diploma.