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Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

School of Public Health and Health Systems

Accelerated Master's Program
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General Principles of an Accelerated Master's Program

The goal of Accelerated Master’s programs is to provide exceptional students a seamless transition into a master’s degree, with a potential to accelerate receipt of the graduate degree.

An Accelerated Master's program is one in which it is deemed academically advantageous to treat the educational process leading through either the Bachelor of Science (BSc) or the Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) programs to scientific and practice-based master’s degrees (i.e., Master of Science (MSc), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Health Informatics (MHI), or Master of Health Evaluation (MHE)) as a single continuous integrated whole, while at the same time satisfying the requirements for both degrees. This stands in contradistinction to treatment of the bachelor's and master's degree programs each as terminal activities. Accelerated programs, starting at the undergraduate level and terminating with a master’s degree from the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS), provide an alternative means, complementary to the existing undergraduate and graduate programs, for the attainment of master’s degrees in SPHHS.

The following are some general conditions that an Accelerated Master's degree program should satisfy:
  1. Students who elect to enter and pursue the Accelerated Master's program will fulfill the degree requirements of both the undergraduate program and the master’s program. This implies that:
    • Eight terms of full-time registration at the undergraduate level and at least two terms of full-time registration (or equivalent), generally more, at the graduate level are mandatory;
    • The undergraduate program must meet the requirements specified by each program (i.e., BSc in Health Studies, BPH);
    • The Co-operative work term requirements of the BSc and BPH programs must be met if this is a requirement for admission to the master's program of choice;
    • The graduate program must meet the requirements specified by each program (i.e., MSc, MPH, MHI, or MHE).
  2. There must be the opportunity to transfer from the Accelerated Master's program back to the undergraduate program.
  3. Admission to the Accelerated Master's program is on the basis of merit, as is continuance in the program. Students who fail to maintain sufficiently high standing will be required to revert to the undergraduate program.
  4. The culmination of the Accelerated Master's program is the master's degree; this may be attained either through the completion of a master's degree practicum, capstone and/or research thesis as required by each respective program.
  5. Recruitment into an Accelerated Master's degree program must have the flexibility to satisfy the requirements of individual students; at the same time, it must progress toward a well-defined area of specialization.

Organizational Structure for the Accelerated Master's Program

Application and Admission

Students must apply for admission to the accelerated program by the end of their 3A term. If admitted to the SPHHS Accelerated Master’s programs (MSc, MPH, MHI, or MHE), students will undertake graduate work during their 4A and 4B terms.

The bachelor's degree is awarded at the normal completion of the undergraduate program; up to four graduate courses may be applied to the master's program resulting in a potential reduction in the number of terms required to complete any of the master’s programs offered by the SPHHS (i.e., MSc, MPH, MHI, or MHE).

Minimum requirements for entry into the accelerated program for all students are, at the time of application to the Accelerated Master’s program: (a) cumulative average of 83%, (b) completion of a minimum of 13 units towards the undergraduate degree, and (c) various master’s program specific requirements.
Specific master’s requirements are as follows:
  • Master of Science – evidence of research skills normally demonstrated by satisfactory completion (mark of 75% or higher) of HLTH 333 or 344 and HLTH 204 or STAT 316 and/or extracurricular research experience (e.g., research in work settings or on co-op placements). Extracurricular research experience (e.g. research in work settings, including coop placements) may be taken into consideration.
  • Master of Public Health – satisfactory completion of a university-level course in basic statistics (mark of 75% or higher) and one year of work experience in public health related settings anticipated by BPH or BSc completion. Streaming into the MPH socio-behavioural or environmental health streams is highly recommended and the MPH general stream is not recommended.

    For the socio-behavioural stream, it is strongly recommended that students demonstrate competency in health promotion normally acquired through satisfactory completion (mark of 75% or higher) of 300-level courses in socio-behavioural sciences or population health (i.e., HLTH 301, 304, 305, 350, 352) and one year of co-op or extracurricular work experience by time of BSc or BPH completion.

    For the environmental stream, it is strongly recommended that students demonstrate competency in environmental or ecological health normally demonstrated through satisfactory completion (mark of 75% or higher) of 300-level courses such as HLTH 370 and one year of co-op or extracurricular work experience by the time of BSc or BPH completion.
  • Master of Health Informatics – demonstrated logical and analytic abilities normally demonstrated through satisfactory completion of courses (mark of 75% or higher) in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or engineering and/or extracurricular experiences (e.g., co-op or other employment).

  • Master of Health Evaluation – university-level courses in basic statistics or qualitative methods (mark of 75% or higher) and epidemiology (75% or higher) and one year of work experience in public health or health care related settings anticipated by time of BPH or BSc completion.
While students may be accepted into the accelerated program in specialty streams of the MPH, MHI or MHE or the MSc, it is expected that they will not be admitted into the general MPH program. This will ensure that graduates of the Accelerated Master’s programs have sufficient specialization thereby increasing the likelihood of success in acquiring employment after completion of their master’s degree. Exceptions to this rule may be made on an individual basis, based on support for general MPH stream admission by the student’s advisor.


Students interested in applying for the Accelerated Master’s program should discuss their eligibility for the program and, if appropriate, obtain an application form from their undergraduate advisor. Students applying for the master’s degree in Public Health and Health Systems (PHHS) must identify a faculty member who will direct or supervise the MSc research or will serve as their academic advisor for their professional graduate studies (i.e., MPH, MHI, or MHE studies).

Admission to the Accelerated Master's program is normally restricted to students with a consistently good academic record at the end of the 3A term who would be granted "conditional admission” to the particular master’s program. The condition to be fulfilled upon completion of the undergraduate degree requirements and submission of an Intention to graduate - Undergraduate Studies form is "satisfactory completion of the requirements of the BSc or BPH degree with at least a 75% average on the last 20 courses of undergraduate study."

Students who are granted this admission would be notified at least one month prior to the end of their 3B academic semester. As in any program culminating in a master's degree, a Faculty supervisor or Faculty advisor is appointed on admission.

Course Plan and Sequence

Students applying for MPH, MHI or MHE streams must demonstrate specialized undergraduate preparation through completion of all required courses in those streams. Students should work with their graduate supervisor to develop an academic plan that includes a coherent sequence of courses leading from undergraduate through master’s studies. The academic plan must be submitted to the relevant graduate program coordinator by the end of 3B.

To be considered for admission to the Accelerated Master’s program, students must have accrued accelerated undergraduate credits, having completed a minimum of 13 units by the end of 3A and a minimum of 15.5 units by the end of 3B. That is, students will have accelerated their undergraduate studies over and above the normal five course (2.5 unit) semester load prior to conditional admission to the graduate program. After conditional admission to the Accelerated Master’s program they may take 600-level courses equivalent to the number of accelerated undergraduate credits accrued at the time of admission, up to a maximum of four 600-level courses.

As noted above, graduate-level courses taken toward the accelerated MSc, MPH, MHI and MHE degrees may be applied against BSc and BPH requirements, or master’s program unit requirements, but not both. Graduate courses taken in excess of requirements for the BSc/BPH degrees (40 courses) may be applied to the master’s program.

Experiential and Work-Integrated Learning

A successful transition from graduate school to professional and academic careers is more likely if students develop, document and integrate their professional and scientific learning. Therefore, the School of Public Health and Health Systems strongly recommends that students’ entering the accelerated programs seek work experiences that take the form of co-operative placements, practica, specialized program streams, courses tailored to their specific career aspirations, and selected topics that provide opportunity for co-instruction by academic and practice-based instructors. Creating world-ready graduates is a shared responsibility of the student and the advisor. Experiential and work-integrated learning should be part of each student’s academic plan. Upon conditional admission to the accelerated MPH program the student will be placed in a special co-operative work term sequence that will afford the student a sixth work term placement. Students will complete their academic work in the spring term and immediately attend the MPH Foundation course in August.

Completion of Undergraduate Degree Requirements: Co-op Work Sequence

For study/work term sequence information, refer to the Accelerated Master's Program Study/Work Sequence.

Granting of Degrees

All students must meet all degree requirements for the relevant bachelor’s and master’s programs. The BSc or BPH degree will be granted at the normal time (i.e., spring convocation following the 4B term) unless the student has taken an extra co-op work term, in which case the degree will be granted at the fall convocation. The program, however, culminates in the MSc, MPH, MHI or MHE awarded at either spring or fall convocation.

Postgraduate Scholarships

Students in the Accelerated Master's program may apply for Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS) scholarships, or other scholarship competitions at the same time as their colleagues in the master’s programs. Full-time students may also be eligible for SPHHS research and teaching assistantships when enrolled in master’s programs.

Withdrawal or Failure

Students may remain in the Accelerated Master's program provided they maintain sufficiently high academic standards. The minimum is a cumulative B average (75%).

A student who fails to maintain this standard will be required to withdraw from the Accelerated Master's program. In such a case, all courses taken up to the end of 4B, including those originally intended to fulfill part of the master's degree requirements, will be counted towards the Bachelor's degree program and marks therefrom included in the term averages as appropriate. Should the student have then satisfied the requirements for the BSc or BPH degree, it will be granted at the next convocation.

If a student does maintain at least the minimum standard mentioned above, but decides to withdraw voluntarily from the Accelerated Master's program, the 4A and 4B results will be calculated including the courses originally intended to fulfil part of the master's degree requirements. If the requirements for the bachelor's degree are then satisfied, the BSc or BPH will be granted at the next convocation.

Further information is available in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.


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