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The academic programs (MPH, MS and PhD) in the Department of Population Health Sciences are planning a joint Welcome Day for newly admitted students on Monday, March 18 in conjunction with the Philip M. Farrell Distinguished Alumni Lecture and the Department’s Annual Poster Session.  This will be a chance for newly admitted MPH, MS and PhD students to visit campus, connect with faculty, staff and students, and more importantly, learn about the excellent public health research and practice experiences taking place at UW.  We are excited to have the opportunity positively impact a student’s decision to choose the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

We will begin the day with a Welcome Day Roundtable Breakfast at the Pyle Center from 8:00-9:30 am on Monday, March 18 with registration beginning at 7:30.   A full breakfast will be provided.  For the day's agenda, please click here.

If you are new to the University, you will need to activate your Net ID to use the “My UW-Madison” portal which is required for course registration. You should activate your Net ID and free email account once you receive an enrollment invitation from the Registrar (please see next section). The university will use your campus email account to notify you of all important university business.
Once you receive your enrollment invitation, you can activate your Net ID by going to, choosing the “Activate your Net ID” link, and following the instructions. You will then receive your Net ID and campus email address. For more information on activating your Net ID and campus email account, visit:

MPH Enrollment

Summer Courses If you plan to begin your enrollment this summer, as indicated on your intent to enroll form, we would like to let you know about the courses that are available to you.  The Department of Population Health Sciences offers a series of one week/one credit courses.  You may choose from the courses listed in the summer schedule or you may register for other MPH approved electives offered in the Department of Population Health Sciences or across campus.  Enrollment in summer courses is optional, however; you may wish to take advantage of these specialized topics courses.  Here are a few tips for registering for summer classes:
  • If you are a dual degree student who will be in the program for one year, we strongly encourage you to enroll in the Field Experience Seminar this summer.
  • Students are NOT permitted to register for more than one course per week to allow for study time outside of class.

Fall Courses.  Many of you have already started to consider your course options for the fall semester. We would like to let you know about the courses you should choose from and how many credits you should plan on taking.   The fall course grid will give you an idea of the schedule of MPH core courses as well as other classes offered in the Department.  Please check the Schedule of Classes for detailed, up-to-date course information.  Students with questions about their academic course load, plan for completion, choosing electives, and determining when their field experience project might best fit into their coursework, should contact the MPH Program Office.

Class Selection.

POP HLTH 780, Public Health: Principles and Practice, 3 credits, Remington.

BMI 511, Introduction to Biostatistical Methods for Public Health, 3 credits, Fisher.
Students who have identified an interest in seeking advanced epidemiology and methods based courses should take BMI 551, Introduction to Biostatistics for Population Health (in place of BMI 511) as it serves as a prerequisite to Regression Methods.

POP HLTH 797,Introduction to Epidemiology, 3 credits, Skinner.

POP HLTH 781*, Introduction to Public Health, 1 credit, Various.
Introduction to Public Health seminar is a required course for all MPH students.  Students may choose from one of three different course sections.  Regardless of wheather you are entering as a full-time or part-time student, you must register for this 1 credit course at some point during yoru time in the MPH program.  It is highly recommended that you take this seminar during your first semester in the program.

POP HLTH 794**, Biological Basis of Population Health, 2 credits, Olson.
Entering students who do NOT come from a biological sciences background are strongly encouraged to take POP HLTH 794, Biological Basis of Population Health, prior to graduation from the MPH program.  Ideally students falling into this category will take POP HLTH 794 this fall.  This course will fulfill MPH elective credit.  If you have questions about whether or not you need to take POP HLTH 794, please take this self-test.

ELECTIVES***, Various titles/credits.  Choose from the list of MPH approved electives.
Most students will delay fulfilling their elective credit requirements until their second year in the program.  However, if there is an elective course which you feel strongly about taking this fall please let the MPH program office know as it may mean taking either Intro to Epidemiology or Intro to Biostatstical Methods for Public Health in the fall of your second year. 

Full-time (8-12 credits).  A student who is enrolled in the MPH program full-time will take between 8 – 12 credits for the fall and spring academic terms.  Most full-time students will take all the required courses in the fall, omitting any elective courses in their first semester.  Full-time students, who will be taking POP HLTH 794, Biological Basis of Population Health, will benefit from the material as it will prepare them for Intro to Epidemiology and thus may want to delay enrollment in Intro to Epidemiology until the fall semester of year two.

Students who are completing a dual degree program may qualify for a credit overload in the fall/spring academic terms.  Due to the need to complete a specific number of credits in a limited amount of time, dual degree students may register for up to 14 credits with permission.  Please consider your external commitments when making the decision to enroll in additional classes as the MPH curriculum is rigorous.

Part-time (1-7 credits).  If you are attending on a part-time basis, you should make every attempt to enroll in POP HLTH 780 – Public Health: Principles and Practice, and POP HLTH 781 – Introduction to Public Health Seminar, this fall for a total of 4 credits.  These courses provide an excellent overview and introduction to the field of public health, and will give you the opportunity to learn from public health practitioners.  If you are unable to take these two fall classes, please let the MPH Program office know so that we can assist you in identifying courses that will meet your needs as a part-time student.

MPH Course Waivers and Credit Transfers

If you believe you should not have to take a required course because of previous coursework OR if you believe you should be able to count previous graduate level courses as electives toward your Master of Public Health degree, please contact the MPH Office.

MPH Orientation

Mandatory orientation for MPH students will be held on Wednesday, August 28, 2013.  Current students, alumni, program faculty and staff will be on hand to introduce you to our program and help you explore public health opportunities.  Please mark this date on your calendars.

Sometime before August, you will receive an enrollment invitation from the Registrar. This invitation will include an enrollment appointment time which will likely be no earlier than July(it will probably be earlier if you are a re-entry or a current graduate student). 
If you are new to the University, you will not be able to activate your Net ID to access the “My UW-Madison” portal (required for enrollment) until you receive this enrollment invitation. Please see section above regarding activating your Net ID.
All Population Health graduate students have holds on their enrollment each semester to ensure they receive advice from their academic advisor before they choose courses. Your advisor was listed on your admission notification letter from our department.
Once you have been advised by your academic advisor regarding your Fall 2012 course selection, please turn in a signed copy of the “Course Advising Form” to Quinn Fullenkamp at WARF 740 OR forward the email exchange between you and your academic advisor to Quinn Fullenkamp at
Full-time graduate students take between 8-12 credits a semester. The fall courses taken by incoming students who plan to enroll full-time are listed below. You can find course descriptions and syllabi in the "Course and Syllabi" section. 
  • Population Health Sciences 551: Introduction to Biostatistics
  • Population Health Sciences 795: Principles of Population Health Sciences

    Not required for Epidemiology Students.

  • Population Health Sciences 797: Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Population Health Sciences 794: Biological Basis of Population Health
    Please review the PHS 794 Biological Basis Self-Test and/or talk with your advisor to determine if you should take this course. You will want to enroll in this course if you do not have a background in a biological science. If you do not, this course will provide additional background to be successful in other Population Health courses.                                                                           
  • Medical History and Bioethics 545: Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Clinical Investigation
    You may want to consider enrolling in this fall course. If so, you will need to request permission from the course instructor (Norm Fost at  Please indicate you are a Population Health student in your request. You will be required to take at least one credit of medical ethics in order to receive your degree. Courses that fulfill this requirement are offered in both the fall and spring.

If you believe you should not have to take a required course because of previous coursework OR if you believe you should be able to count previous credits as electives toward your degree in Population Health, please discuss this with your academic advisor. Your advisor will make a recommendation regarding your request. Please keep in mind that waivers or transfer credits will only be considered for GRADUATE LEVEL COURSES TAKEN AS A GRADUATE STUDENT.
If your advisor recommends that a course requirement be waived or coursework from another institution should be given Population Health quivalency, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Kathy Rutlin ( via email. You should explain your request, the rationale for your request and attach a syllabus from your previous course(s). The Graduate Program Director and Program Coordinator will review your request and then contact you. Please note that such courses must have been completed within the last 5 years.
IMPORTANT: The MS/PhD Graduate Program can waive/transfer a maximum of 12 graduate level credits for coursework taken as a graduate student before beginning your degree.

Orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, August 27th. Please plan to attend this important orientation. It provides a helpful introduction to the MS/PhD Graduate Program, the Department, faculty, and staff. It also provides you an opportunity to meet your fellow students. You will receive additional information on orientation later in the summer.

Students tend to look in a variety of places for housing.  Parking is very limited and expensive on campus.  However, all students receive a free bus pass on the city buses for every semester in which they are enrolled.  It is a good idea to find a place that is close to a bus stop with the many routes that go to campus. Many apartment leases in Madison last for a year and begin either August 1st or August 15th. Here are a variety of housing resources to help you with your search:

Campus Area Housing Listing Service:

This search engine allows you to search for apartments by a variety of criteria (such as roommates, pets, price, on the busline, etc.)

Guide to Graduate Student Life:
Population Health MS/PhD Graduate Program Academic Guide and Other Resources:
Campus Map: 
Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau: 
Madison as a Great Place to Live: