Western Kentucky University is also featured in our ranking 50 Most Affordable MPH Online Programs.
Master of Public Health Online
Both the master’s and the bachelor’s programs in public health offered by Western Kentucky University have full accreditation from a public health professional organization. It designed its Master of Public Health (MPH) as a cohort program, which means that students will work closely together in every class that they take. The online version of the program is the only accredited online MPH program in Kentucky and one of the only ones in the nation.
Online students must take the same courses that those attending Western Kentucky University do. This includes a required core that is worth 30 credits and includes courses designed to introduce students to the public health field. This core includes Introduction to Public Health, Biostatistics, Public Health Administration and Health Behavior. The Health Program Evaluation program teaches students how to evaluate and improve programs designed for the general public. Though the university asks students to take 12 credits of electives, it requires that they work with their advisors to make sure that they take the right classes based on their overall career goals and interests.
The program also includes an applied practice experience. Students must do 100 hours of fieldwork to complete the applied practice experience. This can include internships and a capstone. To complete the integrative learning experience requirement, students must create a final paper and then present or submit that paper for credit. The university allows students to do internships and base their papers around the experiences they had in the field. Western Kentucky University also allows MPH students to do applied practice experiences and write detailed research papers on an emerging topic for credits towards this experience.
About Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University is a large public university in Kentucky. Though established in 1906, the university actually has a much longer history. A business school opened in the small town of Glasgow that also offered some educational programs. This school would later move to Bowling Green. A second school opened in the city in 1890. Called Potter College, it only accepted women. The business school would later become the Western Kentucky State Normal School, which would also absorb Potter College and begin offering opportunities for all types of students. This new school would also become a state and teachers college and then a teachers college before becoming a state college and then a state university.
WKU also grew after it absorbed the Bowling Green College of Commerce. Not only did it gain new students, but it also gained new resources that led to the introduction of new programs. Known as Western Kentucky State College for many years, it did not become WKU until the 1960s. The university now has a Graduate School and an Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Those departments offer 13 graduate and doctoral programs. In addition to its MPH program, it also offers a Master of Social Work and multiple Master of Education programs. While WKU ranks on a national level, Washington Monthly also ranks it as one of the best graduate schools. The university now has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students.
Western Kentucky University Accreditation Details
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) granted accreditation to the WKU MPH program. This was the first accredited program of its type in the state. That accreditation applies to both the online MPH program and the traditional program. Since WKU has regional accreditation, transfer students can actually use credits they already earned towards an MPH. The university’s regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and its Commission on Colleges and allows students to use state and federal financial aid.
Western Kentucky University Application Requirements
Though WKU requires that MPH students have a bachelor’s degree, it also asks that they meet some other requirements too. It will accept those have a grade point average of 3.2 and a degree from an American college or university with regional accreditation. Those who have a GPA of 3.0 must also have a minimum score of 148 on the quantitative section of the GRE, 145 on the math portion and score at least 3.5 on the writing section of that exam. Students can also apply if they have a degree from a school outside of the US and have these same scores. WKU accepts students who have a graduate or a medical degree from an accredited American school too.
Students will use an online portal to apply. This portal will send their finished applications directly to the university’s graduate school. They will also submit their official test scores if needed and their official transcripts. WKU asks for two letters of recommendation that can include either professional or academic references. Students should also submit both an original essay and a resume. This essay must answer four specific questions that include:
∙Which version of the program they want to enroll in
∙Why they selected WKU
∙Any reasons they have for wanting to study public health
∙The plans they have after they graduate
Tuition and Financial Aid
WKU does not offer a standard rate for full-time graduate students because students will pay a rate equivalent to how many classes they take. Kentucky residents pay $607 per credit hour, but nonresidents pay $899 per credit hour. Military veterans and their dependents qualify for the in-state tuition rate. Distance education students pay $707 per credit hour for any graduate courses taken towards an MPH degree. WKU has an On Demand program that allows students to take shorter classes of just seven weeks in length. Any student taking one of these classes will pay $607 per credit hour at the graduate level.
MPH students can use the FAFSA to see if they will get any financial aid. WKU typically offers loans to those students via the federal loan program. This program provides students with unsubsidized loans of up to $20,500 per year. The government has a maximum borrowing limit for students that limits how much they can borrow in their undergrad years and in total. Students may want to apply for one or more private loans to cover some of their other expenses and costs too. Western Kentucky University mails out financial aid letters around a month or less after a student applies.