Master of Public Health FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition, Funding, and Campus Life

Are there international tuition fees?

International and domestic graduate students pay the same tuition fees. See here for more information on student fees.

How do we pay for tuition?

SFU provides 6 ways to pay for tuition and has detailed information for payments on their website.  Find more information here.

How do I find out about scholarship and funding opportunities?

Look on our website to see scholarship and funding information for both prospective and current students. We recommend reading both sites.  Funding is limited for professional programs so be prepared to fund the entirety of your program.

What will the workload be like?

As a full-time MPH student in our program, students can expect to spend 52 hours per week between classes and course work. This is based on spending 2-3 hours per credit per week not counting time spent in lectures or tutorials. Please see this library site for tips on pacing your studying.

What does a typical day at university include?

MPH students will typically have between 1-2 classes/day with a heavier course load in the first two terms. Many students utilize the various study rooms and classrooms to work on group projects, study and socialize. There are quiet study rooms for getting you work done as well.

What is public transit like to SFU? Can I easily get to campus from train lines around Vancouver?

There are multiple routes to get up to campus depending on where you live. Various busses come up the mountain regularly to take students on and off the mountain. The U-Pass BC program is a transportation package which provides students in Metro Vancouver with universal and affordable access to public transit. The program is a partnership between Simon Fraser University, the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), the Graduate Student Society (GSS), TransLink, and the Province of British Columbia. You can find more information about the U-Pass BC Program here.

Any advice for housing off-campus? Where do a lot of students live?

Many students use Craigslist and Facebook to find off-campus housing and roommates. It is difficult to secure something more than 2 months in advance. You can find more about residences and off-campus housing on the SFU website here.

How does housing deposit work- can we get refund if we cancel for any reason? What are housing costs? When are they due?

All of these questions are answered on the SFU Residence and Housing website or you can email

Course Work, and the MPH Program

I want to do a public health degree! Should I do an MPH or an MSc?

How do I compare MPH options in Canada to see what program is right for me?

This tool compares 18 Masters programs across 9 different variables. This is the tool you need to start with your Master’s program research.


What makes the MPH program at SFU stand out from other Canadian MPH programs?

Our program has a strong focus on social justice as a lens to work with social inequities in health and the social determinates of health. We also have a wide interdisciplinary faculty that has allowed us to intentionally design our program to give a broader perspective on public health. These facets of our program equip our graduates with an interdisciplinary skill set aimed at responding to ongoing and emerging public health challenges.

We are also only 1 of 4 Canadian MPH programs to hold the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation.

How many students are in the MPH cohort each year?

There are between 40-50 MPH students in each cohort

Do MPH students have to worry about mandatory courses filling up, or are they given priority when it comes to registration?

All MPH students are guaranteed to have seats in every required course. 

Are students who do not meet the statistics prerequisite required to complete a statistics course before the program begins?

Yes, if students have not completed the prerequisite but are recommended for admission, the admission will be conditional on the successful completion of this prerequisite prior to the start of the program. If you already meet the statistics prerequisite but would like a refresher, we suggest the online module Introduction to Statistics. This module does not fulfill the prerequisite requirement—it is a suggested refresher only.

What's the difference between a thesis-based and course-based masters?

The MPH program is a professional, course-based degree that includes a full term practicum and a capstone experience that mirrors, as much as possible, a real-life practice experience. This focus prepares MPH students for public health practice post-graduation. The MSc and PhD programs are research-based thesis programs that are not course-based and where the thesis is the major focus of the program.

However, we do provide an option to take on a thesis-based MPH project, in place of the capstone, if you would like to build stronger research skills. This follows the traditional model of a research thesis whereby you must secure a supervisor who is willing to supervise you through an original research project. You must come up with a research proposal that must be defended to a committee made up of at least two Health Sciences Faculty members. This option significantly extends the time to complete the MPH degree by at least two to three terms.

What is the MPH capstone?

The MPH capstone takes the form of an authentic, complex case study where students will work collaboratively in teams of 4-5 to specify an issue(s), examine the populations impacted, apply secondary data to understand the issues, propose an appropriate conceptual framework(s) for analyzing and synthesizing the data and finally will propose recommendations for comprehensive solution(s) that will address the challenge.

The capstone will not provide new content but will draw on skills and knowledge from the program while allowing students to deepen their learning on various issues/topics. It provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate a synthesis of competencies based on CEPH accreditation.

The capstone is scheduled in April after the last day of classes (during the exam period) in your last term over 9-10 business days.

What can I do now to start preparing?

Look at our website, get to know the various faculty members and do the virtual orientation on SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website! If you already meet the statistics prerequisite but would like a refresher, we suggest the online module Introduction to Statistics. This module does not fulfill the prerequisite requirement—it is a suggested refresher only.

Advising | Mentoring

Do MPH students have an individual faculty advisor?

The MPH degree is a course-based intensive professional program that is not thesis based. This allows us to break out of the thesis mentorship model of a single faculty supervisor, with one or more supervisory committee members. Instead, we have adopted more of a distributive model of mentorship for our MPH students. View the MPH advising guide. Elements of this include:

  •  Director, MPH Program
    The director plays a pivotal role in the guidance of students throughout their time in the program and is always available to answer questions or concerns.
  •  The Graduate Program Office
    Course plans, Graduate Student Regulations, Funding opportunities and logistics, ‘faculty navigator’
  •  Student Mentee Program
    Each student will be assigned to a second year MPH peer, with attempts to create a match with the interests’ students express in response to a welcome from the Grad Caucus
  •  Mentorship from faculty instructors
    • Students are encouraged to make full use of instructor consultation hours, not only to seek answers to questions/concerns about course work but also to discuss issues related to the field of practice covered by the course, including career opportunities within these fields
    • We host informal networking with faculty working in key fields of research and practice to support students getting to know our faculty and locating faculty for advice about practicum and career choices as well as professional networking opportunities
  •  Interest Groups
    Our faculty has several interest groups and forums that students are encouraged to participate in. Examples include our Environmental and Occupational Health discussion group, our Research in Progress dialogues, and a Research Seminar Series.
  •  Networking
    Students will be given opportunities to network with and gain insights from our MPH alumni from the 10 years of graduates that have passed through our program.

Career and Student Outcomes

What are the career outcomes of students who graduate from the MPH program?

Over 80% of our alumni have found jobs in population and public health within 1 year of graduation. Typical entry level jobs that our students have accessed include:


  • Research Assistant - Centre for Excellence for Women's Health, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Qualitative Analyst, First Nations Health Authority
  • Qualitative Research Coordinator, BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Research Coordinator, Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA)

Program Evaluation

  • Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Alberta Health Services
  • Evaluation Specialist, Integrated Primary and Community Care at Fraser Health
  • President, Catalyst Consulting Inc.

Program Coordination and Leadership

  • Project Coordinator, My Health My Community at Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Manager, Moving Ahead and Settlement Program, Immigrant Services Society of BC
  • Population Health Equity Initiatives Leader, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
  • Coordinator, Youth Sexual Health Needs Assessment at Planned Parenthood Toronto
  • Program Manager, RainCity Housing and Support Society
  • Lead, Policy Initiatives Association of Registered Nurses of BC
  • Community of Practice Coordinator, Centre for Addiction Research British Columbia

Health Promotions

  • Director - Provincial Health Promotion and Primary Care at Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Health Promotion Specialist, Prostate Cancer Canada
  • Community Health Specialist, Fraser Health Authority
  • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Worker, Canadian Red Cross

Knowledge Translation

  • Program Support Officer, Knowledge translation and research uptake at the University of Manitoba and Utar Pradesh Technical Support Unit
  • Health Information Analyst, BC Ministry of Health

Public Health Policy and Strategic Development 

  • Senior Consultant Strategic Transformation Team, Fraser Health Authority
  • Policy Analyst, Environmental Health Services, Yukon Govt
  • Program Analyst, Public Health Ontario
  • Senior Advisor, Business Development and Partnerships at Canadian Institutes of Health
  • Senior Consultant, Strategic Transformation Team at Fraser Health

I am interested in working in Public Health with a focus on Indigenous health and perspectives. Will the FHS MPH program help me prepare for this work?

We are continuing to integrate Indigenous perspectives into our courses and strengthen our learning experiences to prepare culturally competent health practitioners. In addition to a focused Indigenous health course, we have included two Indigenous health and wellness modules in the first two terms, as part of the foundational core courses, and have prioritized Indigenous perspectives, and health and wellness as a cross-cutting theme throughout the program. In addition, we are fortunate that a number of our practicum practice partners offer excellent learning experiences with a focus on Indigenous health and wellness.

Can I do a PhD after an MPH?

Several MPH students each year consider pursuing further graduate training and apply to the FHS PhD program or other programs after completing the MPH degree. Taking advantage of research experiences during your MPH training and being involved in preparing manuscripts for publications, where possible, will increase the chances of being accepted into a PhD program. While it is not required, pursuing the MPH thesis option will provide a definite research experience and increase opportunities to become involved in preparing manuscripts for publication. 

As an MPH student, am I still able to do research with a researcher during my school term or is that only available to MSc students?

We have number of MPH students who work as Research Assistants (RAs) with faculty on their research projects. It will depend on what it is students are interested in and how much research experience vs. practice experience students would like to gain. There are many tasks to juggle in the MPH program and students must have the ability to balance it with the research component, while at the same time finding a faculty member with a project in a place that can be contributed to.

Practicum | Student Placements

Are practicum opportunities paid?

No. The Practicum is not defined as, or expected to be, a paid work opportunity. MPH students need to be prepared to fully fund their degree and practicum. You can expect a planned, supervised and evaluated practice experience where you are mentored and supported by qualified public health preceptors and faculty. In addition, students are encouraged to take note of various funding opportunities that come up each year.

Are we set up for practicums through SFU or will we need to independently find our practicum location? Where will I be placed? 

We work with our practice partners to identify practicum opportunities for our students every year.  For example, last year we had over 90 practicum opportunities from 60 different organizations across a variety of practice domains.  However, some students do elect to find their own practicums.  We had 9 students find their own practicums last year.

 Visit our past practicum locations to find further information.

Is it possible to do your practicum at the place you already work?

Except under exceptional circumstances, students are required to conduct the Practicum outside their current or past workplaces, so they have the opportunity to gain additional public health exposure and expand their professional network.

What is expected in the practicum?

Bridging theory and practice in different public and community health settings, the practicum is a planned, supervised and evaluated practice experience where you are mentored and supported by qualified public health preceptors and faculty.

MPH students learn how to apply public health concepts, methods and theory in public health settings in Canada or globally. After the practicum and upon return to the program in the fall, students prepare and present a poster summarizing the practicum experience. View the practicum guide (updated each year) and find examples of previous practicum posters for detailed information.

Where can I find more information?

Visit our website, ask one of our current students, or contact the Graduate Program Assistant at