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 has 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?

You have 4 years to complete the degree from the date of matriculation. However, most students can complete the program in 3 years. The program is flexible and if you need to take time off you are allowed to do so.

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.

Will I get an advisor?

Yes, upon matriculation you will receive a “new student orientation” package which includes information on your advisor.

Will my diploma indicate that I earned my degree online?

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