The Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Penn has agreements with the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Nursing to offer a submatriculation program for Penn undergraduates who would like to pursue an MPH. The majority of the MPH coursework will be completed after the undergraduate degree is complete and will add at least one additional year to your time at Penn.

Should I Consider Submatriculating?

The submatriculation option is designed for students who have a passion for public health and have career goals that align obtaining an MPH. It is an opportunity to get a head start on MPH coursework as you finish your undergraduate degree. It’s a big decision to decide to pursue a graduate degree at this earlier stage; it’s important to make sure it makes sense for your timeline and future goals.

This experience provided me with the training necessary to integrate community health, the social determinants, and cultural awareness into research. Submatriculting into Penn’s MPH program showed me the power of obtaining a rigorous, interdisciplinary education for the benefit of those who are underserved and underrepresented in healthcare.

Nicole Harrington

MPH Submatriculant | BA 2023, MPH 2024

Overview & Details

Submatriculation is an opportunity to get a “head start” on the MPH requirements while students are completing their undergraduate coursework. The MPH requires a total of 14 CUs, and a maximum of 4 CUs can be taken while students are still completing their undergraduate degree. Once students graduate with their bachelor’s degree, they have 10 CUs remaining. The shortest timeline to complete these courses is 3 semesters, which could be done in one year from undergraduate graduation if they use their summer semester. There is flexibility to extend the time to complete the MPH degree, but it cannot be finished any shorter than one year after graduating with their bachelor’s degree.

Application Timeline & Guidelines

The earliest students can apply to this program is the fall of their junior year, with the potential to start in spring of junior year. Students can apply as late as the fall of senior year, but this will dictate how much overlap time you have to take classes that count toward the MPH. Prospective submatriculants should not apply via SOPHAS.

Here are the steps in the process if you are interested in submatriculating:

1. Reach out to Anita Stief ( to discuss your interests and goals to see if the MPH would be a good fit.

2. If you plan to move forward with applying to the MPH, students in the College need to complete this form in consultation with their major advisor and College Contact.

3. Once your undergraduate program has given approval, and you return the signed forms to the MPH team, then you will submit the MPH application materials directly to our program staff:

– Completed application form (this will be sent to you directly)

– Unofficial Penn transcript

– Current resume/CV

– Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to some combination of your suitability for graduate study, interest in public health, and/or goals for an MPH.

– Personal statement that (1) demonstrates an understanding of public health and explains the nature of your interest in the field, (2) addresses how Penn’s MPH program will prepare you for a successful career in public health, and (3) how your personal or lived experiences will help shape the Penn MPH community and influence your training goals. This statement should be about 1-2 pages, single-spaced.

Joanna Kim

MPH Submatriculant | BA 2022, MPH 2024

More than anything, the flexibility, rigor, and interdisciplinary emphasis of the MPH program drew me to apply as a submatriculant. My transition into graduate-level coursework and the MPH program was made truly seamless due to the close support of the MPH faculty and the stimulating dedication of my peers in the program. Submatriculants are uniquely poised to apply their knowledge and experience of Penn while engaging with peers who offer fresh and different perspectives, as the program is composed of students from a wide array of backgrounds and career stages.

Submatriculating into the Penn MPH program was truly one of the best decisions I could have made.

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