Public Health Programs Application FAQs

Does the School of Public Health offer any Certificate Programs?

We offer a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Masters Certificate in Physical Education, Post-Bac Certificate in Global Health, and Post-Bac Certificate in Principles of Public Health (online).

More information about the programs and application process can be found here

What Masters degree programs are offered at UMD SPH?

We have 8 different MPH concentrations: Behavioral and Community Health, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Services, Health Equity, Health Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Physical Activity, and Public Health Practice and Policy (online).

We also offer three other masters degree programs: Masters in Health Administration, MA in Kinesiology and MS Couple and Family Therapy. More information can be found here

What Doctoral degree programs are offered at UMD SPH?

We have 8 different Doctoral Programs housed within our 6 School of Public Health departments. These include Toxicology and Environmental Health; Kinesiology; Family Science; Maternal and Child Health; Health Services; Epidemiology; Biostatistics and Bioinformatics; and Behavioral and Community Health.

Are there any online programs at UMD School of Public Health?

Currently we have two online programs.

  • The Certificate in Principles of Public Health is 15 credits completed entirely online.
  • The MPH in Public Health Practice and Policy is 42 credits. Courses are completed online and supplemented with 5-6 weekend days of onsite instruction at the College Park campus.

More information can be found at Online Public Health Programs.

During my search, I noticed a ‘University of Maryland School of Medicine Public Health programs.’ What are the differences between the UMD School of Public Health and UMD School of Medicine?

It can be confusing: these are two separate campuses with separate programs.  Please review information on both universities to determine which is the best fit, or if you, in fact, plan to apply to both.

The University of Maryland School of Public Health is located in College Park, MD. More information about the School and our Programs can be found here.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine, located in Baltimore, is a separate institution with different programs, requirements, and deadlines. More information can be found here.

How do I apply for a UMD School of Public Health graduate program?

The application process depends on the degree in which you are interested. All MPH and MHA programs and the PhD in Toxicology and Environmental Health, Maternal and Child Health, Health Services, Epidemiology, and Behavioral and Community Health all go through a two-part process: SOPHAS and the Supplemental Application.

The two parts discussed in more detail here.

For all other programs, go through the Graduate School Application Portal.  Some programs may require additional steps; therefore, review each program guide carefully. 

What is SOPHAS?

SOPHAS (the Schools of Public Health Application System) is a centralized application system that allows you to apply to multiple public health institutions using one application.

If you are applying to a SOPHAS program, please start the process early. Official transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and statements of purpose all go through SOPHAS.

What is the supplemental application?

The supplemental application for the SOPHAS program is accessed via an email invitation AFTER your SOPHAS application has been verified.

It includes basic demographics (to determine residency), a PDF copy of your transcript, and a $75.00 application fee.

How much does it cost to apply to a School of Public Health graduate program?

SOPHAS Program Applicants:

  • SOPHAS fee is $135 – this fee goes directly to SOPHAS.
  • Supplemental application $75.00 – this fee goes directly to the UMD Graduate School.

Non-SOPHAS Program Applicants:

  • Graduate School application portal $75.00 – this fee goes directly to the UMD Graduate School.  

How can I apply for an application fee waiver?

Neither the SOPHAS, Supplemental Application, nor Graduate School Application fee goes to the School of Public Health; therefore, we at the School of Public Health do not offer fee waivers.

There are limited SOPHAS fee waivers available. They are need-based and for participation in specific recruitment or extracurricular programs, e.g. Peace Corps volunteers, etc. It is essential that you apply early; more information can be found here.

The UMD Graduate School offers application fee waivers (portal and supplemental application) based on participation in specific extracurricular programs (e.g. Ronald McNair Scholars Program). More information can be found here.  

What are the enrollment terms?

The MA in Kinesiology; PhD in Kinesiology; MPH in Public Health Practice and Policy (online); Certificate in Principles of Public Health (online); and Certificate in Global Health admit in the Fall and Spring semesters.

All other programs only admit in the Fall semester.

Do the programs require the GRE? If so, what is the required GRE score?

The majority of programs with the exception of the Certificate Programs, and the MPH in Public Health Practice and Policy (online) require the GRE.

We do not have a GRE score requirement; however, scores above the 50th percentile for Quantitative, Verbal, and Writing sections are considered competitive. 

Are there exceptions to the GRE requirement?

Officially, no. However, case-by-case exceptions are sometimes made.

The department that will be reviewing your application packet authorizes these decisions.  

How do I submit my GRE test scores (i.e. school codes)?

If you are applying to a SOPHAS program, GRE must be submitted to school codes 0485 & 5814. Using both scores ensures that both the School of Public Health Program and UMD Graduate School have access to your scores.

If you are applying to our programs outside of SOPHAS, you only need to submit GRE scores to 5814.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

The minimum GPA for admission is a 3.0, which is a UMD graduate school requirement (all graduate programs throughout the university follow this guideline).

However, a 3.0 GPA may not be considered competitive for the specific program to which you are applying. Therefore, speak with the Department Director for more information.

The GPA cutoff is for the final earned undergraduate degree.

I went through a “discovery period” in college. What if I don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement?

In rare cases, GPA exceptions are possible.

The application review committee has the option to submit a justification for a GPA waiver for applicants that have an otherwise exceptional packet, but fall slightly below the GPA.

These decisions are solely up to the application review committee and must be approved by the Graduate School.  

How is the GPA calculated?

Through the SOPHAS system, GPA is calculated by their office and verified via official transcripts and applicants’ entry of courses and grades.

The UMD Graduate School and supplemental system calculates GPA via calculations at the end of your official transcript.

The application review committee also looks closely at GPA trends: for example, GPA in the last two years, GPA within the major, math GPA, and GPA for courses related to the graduate program of interest.

Do the programs have preferred undergraduate majors or prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite Courses: The MHA and MPH programs requires that you have completed at least one undergraduate statistics course (300 level or higher; biostatistics, etc.) and earned a B- or higher. There is an option to complete the course in the summer prior to enrolling.  

Other programs may have additional prerequisite requirements or preferences. Please review with the Department Director.

Prerequisite Majors: We do not have prerequisite majors. Students in our graduate degrees come from a wide range of undergraduate majors, from dance to English literature to microbiology. 

Diversity of majors depends on program; therefore, check with your Department Director if you are unsure of the fit. 

What is the cost of tuition?

Tuition is calculated per credit, and additional fees are charged per semester. 

The exact breakdown of tuition costs and fees can be found at UMD Graduate Standard Tuition and SPH Non-Standard Tuition

Review the program outline for exact credit requirements.

What types of funding are available?

There are a limited number of funding packages offered to exceptional PhD applicants and, in rare cases, exceptional masters applicants.

These packages usually consist of base tuition costs and a small stipend in exchange for a Research Assistant position or Teaching Assistant position.

Outside of these degree-funded packages, students are sometimes able to obtain semester-long positions within the School of Public Health and throughout UMD.

Funding resources: UMD funding opportunities, Graduate Assistantship positions, ASPPH: financing your degree.

I have a job that I love. Can I complete the graduate program part-time?

Part-time versus full-time simply refers to the number of credits you complete per semester.

Full-time in graduate school is considered 9-12 credits per semester, while part-time is 1-8 credits semester.

Some of our programs are more adaptable to part-time enrollment than others. Ask your Department Director.

I completed my degree outside of the US. What are the requirements for international applicants?

If you are applying to a SOPHAS program and completed an undergraduate or graduate degree outside the US, you must submit a WES (World Education Services) evaluated transcript directly to SOPHAS.

WES is a service that translates official transcripts from institutions all over the world. They will provide the US equivalent degree and GPA using US metrics (4.0 scale).

For the non-SOPHAS programs and the supplemental application, you will need an English translated transcript.

English proficiency testing (TOEFL or IELTS) is required if your degree program was earned in a country where the official language is NOT English.

Scores must be sent to school codes 0485 & 5814 for SOPHAS applications, or just 5814 for Graduate School applications.

More information about the requirements and exempt countries can be found here: UMD English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Based on the UMD policy, I must submit English proficiency test scores. What are the minimum scores?

All SOPHAS programs require a minimum of 100 for TOEFL and 7 for IELTS.

Please check with the non-SOPHAS Department Director for other minimum requirements.

Scores must be sent to school codes 0485 & 5814 for SOPHAS applications, or just 5814 for Graduate School applications.

I am still deciding on next steps. Are there options to take one or two graduate level courses to help me decide?

You have the option to register for any** graduate course as a non-degree seeking student. Additional information can be found here.  

You must first apply to the Graduate School for non-degree seeking student status; the application process and requirements are described here.

Upon admission you will be able to register for graduate courses.

**some courses within the School of Public Health require permission from the instructor or Department Director, and priority is given to degree-enrolled students. 

I would like to tour the School of Public Health and meet faculty. What are my next steps?

The absolute best option is to attend the SPH Graduate Open House, hosted annually in October.

Alternatively, contact the School of Public Health Graduate Coordinator, Dr. King-Marshall at eckm@umd.edu. She can schedule a consult or link you with the appropriate Department Director.

I have additional questions. Who can I contact?

If you are unsure of the best person to answer your question, contact Dr. King-Marshall at eckm@umd.edu.

Department Directors can answer questions about each program; email is usually best. Graduate Department Director Contacts