Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you offer any degree programs via distance-education?
- How do students fund their studies?
- How do I find a graduate teaching assistantship (TA) or a graduate research assistantship (RA)?
- What is the pay for TAs and RAs?
- Can I work as an RA or TA in a department outside of the College of Public Health?
- How long does it typically take to complete each program?
- What are the differences among a Master of Health Administration degree (M.H.A.), Master of Public Health degree (M.P.H.), and a Master of Science degree (M.S.)?
- May I enroll as a part-time student?
- Can I apply using the Schools of Public Health Application Services (SOPHAS)?
- Does the College of Public Health accept applications for all semesters — fall, spring, or summer?
- Do students live on- or off-campus?
- How does the cost of living in Iowa City compare to other cities in the United States?
- How long do I need to live in Iowa before I qualify for resident (in-state) tuition?
- I'd like to meet with someone from the College of Public Health. Who should I contact?
We offer one program that is offered entirely through distance education: the Certificate in Public Health. We offer two additional programs that are offered through a combination of distance-education and short-term, on-campus study. These programs are the M.P.H. for Practicing Veterinarians and the Certificate in Emerging Infectious Disease Epidemiology.
Although we offer a variety of classes online, all of our other degree programs require at least a year of on-campus study, in most cases more than one year.
This varies tremendously by department and by degree program. Once you know what degree program you are most interested in, it is best to contact that program to find out how students typically fund their studies.
That said, many of our students have a graduate assistantship, which can be either research oriented or teaching oriented. If it is research oriented, we call it a graduate research assistantship, or RA. If it is teaching oriented, we call it a graduate teaching assistantship.
A limited number of fellowships, scholarships, and traineeships are also available. Each year some College of Public Health students receive University Fellowships, such as the Presidential Fellowship and the Dean's Graduate Fellowship.
Many of our students also use Federal Student Loans to support themselves during their studies. To be eligible for Federal Student Loans, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you must apply through the University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid.
This varies by department and by program, so check with the department or program to which you are applying or have been admitted. In some departments, applicants will be offered assistantships at the same time they are admitted to the program. Usually, however, students are first admitted to a program, then they can search for an RA or TA position the same way they would go about searching for any job.
Let your advisor and all of your instructors know you are searching for an assistantship. Make sure you have a well-prepared resume that highlights any research experience, lab or statistical skills, and your excellent academic credentials. Faculty members make the decisions about who gets hired and who doesn't, and they prefer to hire students they know well, either through class or as an advisee. So if you are looking for an assistantships, think of every class and appointment with your advisor as a job interview.
The UI Graduate College does post some open positions on their web site. However, this is not an exhaustive list. Check with your department or program for advice about the best way to search for open assistantships with their faculty.
If a student has a half-time (50%) graduate research assistantship, the workload is 20 hours a week for a professor on a research project. In exchange, the student receives a stipend of about $20,000 per year, and a tuition scholarship of about $5,000 per year.
Students with graduate research or teaching assistantships of at least 10 hours a week (also called quarter-time or 25% assistantships) qualify for resident tuition (also called in-state tuition) during the semesters they hold the position. Your assistantship also comes with excellent health insurance coverage for which you pay only 10% of the premium (around $22.00/month for a single student).
Yes, you can work as an RA or TA in any department in The University of Iowa. The salary and benefits are the same. As soon as you are admitted to The University of Iowa, you can start contacting departments about possible RA or TA positions.
Typically, an M.P.H., M.H.A., or M.S. takes two years to finish if you are attending full-time. A Ph.D. takes at least an additional three years beyond a two-year master's program, if you are attending full-time. Our certificate programs generally take a year to complete, because of the way the courses are sequenced.
The M.H.A. degree meets the needs of those seeking managerial positions in health care or health-related organizations. It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration (ACEHSA). Completion of an internship is highly encouraged for all students in this program. Students complete course work in health economics, management, and health care organization. Students in this program are generally full-time, and part of a defined student cohort. Combined degrees with UI's M.B.A. program and College of Law also are offered.
The M.P.H. degree is recognized as the primary professional degree in public health. It is an applied degree focused on preparation for a career in public health practice. Completion of a practicum in a public health setting, such as a health department or community agency, is required. Course work includes core content in epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral health, environmental health, and health policy and management. This degree is often completed by people with a prior clinical background, such as medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. It is often chosen as a second degree program by students working on a clinical degree (such as an M.D.), doctorate, or other master's degrees.
The M.S. degree is more research oriented than either the M.H.A. or the M.P.H. It is an academic degree focused on professional preparation for research careers or further academic study. Course work involves greater emphasis on research methods and is specific to the area of study, rather than providing a broad overview. Usually a thesis or comprehensive exam is required.
Students are welcome to take classes at their own pace, with the exception of the Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) program. The M.H.A. program very much prefers that students attend full-time and remain part of a cohort.
At this time, we do not participate in SOPHAS. However, we are fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Applicants should apply directly to The University of Iowa for the degree program of their choice.
All of our programs admit students to start in the fall semester each year. Some programs also allow students to start in the spring or summer, if their curriculum is flexible. Contact the department or program for details.
Most graduate students at The University of Iowa live in off-campus apartments or houses. An apartment located near a bus route is ideal due to limited on-campus parking, and because the University and city-bus network is very easy to use and inexpensive.
The Off-Campus Housing Service maintains a list of available rental properties. There are on-campus options as well. In particular, The University of Iowa operates two apartment complexes on the west side of campus, which are very affordable, popular with international students, and are open to University students and their immediate households. See more information at http://housing.uiowa.edu/departments/univapts/index.html.
Compare and contrast costs at http://www.relocationessentials.com/aff/www/tools/salary/col.aspx.
If you want to establish residency for tuition and fee purposes, you would have to live in Iowa for 12 consecutive months. During those 12 months, you could be registered no more than half-time at any institution in the state. For a graduate student, this means enrollment not exceeding 5 semester hours during fall or spring semester, and not exceeding 4 semester hours during the summer. This enrollment maximum is cumulative enrollment in Iowa. It includes your UI courses, Guided Independent Study courses, community college courses, classes at all public and private Iowa colleges, etc.
Generally, international students with F-1 or J-1 visas are not eligible for resident tuition because they are required to be enrolled full-time as a condition of their F-1 or J-1 status. However, students who hold a graduate teaching or research assistantship of quarter-time or more are assessed resident tuition for the terms during which they hold the appointments, and any adjacent summer session during which they are registered. Detailed information can be found at the web site of the Office of the Registrar.
If you know the degree program or department you are interested in, contact an admissions coordinator as a starting point. If you don't know what program you are most interested in, feel free to call or set up an appointment with Katie Yamaki, email@example.com or (319) 384-5469.