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Graduate Application FAQs

The following are the most frequently asked questions related to the graduate application process. If you have a question that is not addressed here, you may email our graduate admissions team at

Degrees, Programs, and General Questions

We offer a Post-Bac Certificate in Global Health, a Post-Bac Certificate in Applied Epidemiology, and Post-Bac Certificate in Health Data Analysis.

Learn more about our certificate programs.

We also partner with the College of Education to offer a Master's Certificate in Physical Education. Learn more about the Physical Education Master's Certification Program (PE-MCERT).

We have 9 different MPH concentrations: Behavioral and Community Health (in-person and online), Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Services, Health Care Management, Health Equity, Health Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Physical Activity (online), and Public Health Practice and Policy (online).

We also offer three other master's degree programs: Master of Health Administration (online), MA in Kinesiology, MS in Couple and Family Therapy, and MS in Environmental Health Sciences. 

We have 8 different Doctoral Programs housed within our six School of Public Health units. These include Environmental Health Sciences; Kinesiology; Family Science; Maternal and Child Health; Health Services Research; Epidemiology; and Behavioral and Community Health.

The PhD in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics is a joint program between the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Mathematics managed by the Statistics program

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, Maryland on the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland. Our school offers undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is located in Baltimore. It is a separate institution and its Department of Epidemiology and Public Health offers master's programs and joint degree programs that have their own specific requirements. 

Our campuses collaborate and students are able to take courses offered by the other campus, but our programs are separate. The public health degree programs offered at both institutions are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. 

Prerequisite Courses: The MHA and MPH programs require a minimum of a college-level algebra course or equivalent for admission, however, some concentrations will have other standards and prerequisites requirements. So, applicants should check the program-specific requirements when applying.

If you do not have the required course, for some programs there may be an option to complete the course in the summer prior to enrolling.

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. 

The diversity of majors depends on the program; therefore, check with your department's Graduate Studies Director if you are unsure of the fit.

Most of our PhD programs require that you have a master's degree in a relevant field aligned with the program you are intending to apply to and/or relevant coursework in the related field of application. Check with the program-specific requirements before applying. 

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

To be full-time in graduate school, a graduate student must be officially registered for a combination of courses equivalent to 48 units per semester (9-12 graduate credits per semester) while part-time is anyone with fewer than 48 units per semester (1-8 credits per semester).

Some of our programs are more adaptable to part-time enrollment than others. Ask Graduate Studies Director of the program you intend to apply for.

You have the option to register for any** graduate course as a non-degree seeking student

Before registering for classes, you must first apply to the Graduate School for non-degree seeking student status.

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 Graduate Studies Director, and priority is given to degree-enrolled students. 

To visit the University of Maryland School of Public Health, please email

Aditionally, our Admissions team holds weekly virtual office hours. These informal chat sessions are a great way to get questions answered about the school, programs, or life in Maryland. 

We also hold regular formal Online Information Sessions and our annual Virtual Open House happens in October. Please check our events page and choose what better works for you.

If you are unsure of the best person to answer your question contact our admissions team at

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

Application Process and Requirements

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

The two parts are discussed in more detail on our graduate admissions page.

For all other programs, applications are submitted through the Graduate School Application Portal. Some programs may require additional steps, therefore, review each program-specific requirement carefully. 


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.

The UMD supplemental application for the SOPHAS programs is a UMD Graduate School requirement. It includes basic demographics (to determine Maryland state residency), a PDF copy of your transcript, a PDF copy of your statement of purpose (the same you submit in SOPHAS), and a $75.00 application fee.

SOPHAS Program Applicants:

  • SOPHAS fee is $145 this fee goes directly to SOPHAS.
  • University of Maryland 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.  


Neither the SOPHAS Application nor UMD 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 on the SOPHAS fees and fee waivers page. 

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

The MA in Kinesiology; PhD in Kinesiology; MPH in Public Health Practice and Policy (online); MPH in Behavioral and Community Health (online); Master of Health Administration (online); and Certificate in Global Health admit in the Fall and Spring semesters. The MPH in Physical Activity admits for summer.

All other programs only admit in the Fall semester.

Our master's degree programs and most of our doctoral programs don't require or have optional GRE submissions. Please visit program-specific requirements and check your program of interest requirements to learn more.

If you are applying for the PhD in Health Services and Research or the PhD in Epidemiology, GRE must be submitted to school code 0485 at SOPHAS. 

For SOPHAS programs, you should have your previous institutions submit original transcripts directly to SOPHAS. Visit the SOPHAS Help Center to learn about transcripts submission. Please note that SOPHAS takes two weeks on average - or longer during peak volumes - to verify applications.

For the UMD supplemental application or programs with a TerpEngage-only application, you should upload a pdf copy of your unofficial transcripts during the application process.

You must submit official transcripts to the University of Maryland Graduate School if you are admitted into one of our graduate programs. This also applies to applicants who sent official transcripts to SOPHAS.

The minimum GPA for admission is 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.

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.

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 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.

If you are applying to a SOPHAS program, your recommendation letters must be submitted directly by the recommender through SOPHAS. If you are applying to a non-SOPHAS program, your recommendations should be submitted directly by the recommender through the UMD Graduate Application Portal (TerpEngage). In both cases, you will add the recommender email to the recommendation letters section of the application, send recommenders an invitation and they will receive a link to submit their recommendation letter.

For applicants applying to a SOPHAS program: if you are applying to more than one SOPHAS school, make sure you inform your recommenders to write a general letter since the same letter will be used for all programs you will apply to in SOPHAS.


Your statement allows you the opportunity to submit a tailored narrative describing your education, experience and professional career objectives. Your SOP and objectives must be original and specific to the program to which you are applying. Your statement should be approximately 2 double-spaced pages and should describe your:

  • Personal and professional background that led you to public health/ health administration
  • Interest in the specified graduate program and or MPH concentration if applicable
  • Public health topics of interest and faculty you are interested in working with 
  • Your specific career goals

Make sure you upload PDF documents to prevent problems with document format.

Some of our programs require that you submit a writing sample that showcases your ability to write graduate-level work.

In a writing sample, you should present your ideas clearly, and demonstrate your analytical ability in an area related to the program you intend to apply to. It can be an excerpt of a master's thesis, an article or other published manuscript, a policy brief, or a piece of an academic paper you have written. If you are submitting a published paper where you are not the first author, describe your contribution to the publication.

The Priority Deadline (or best consideration deadline) is the deadline to receive the strongest consideration for acceptance. 

Applications must be complete and verified by the posted deadline to be considered a priority application. Admission offers are made on an ongoing, space-available basis after the priority deadline until the final deadline.  

These supplemental questions are an opportunity for you to provide context on at least one of the prompts about personal experiences. The UMD graduate school requires that you submit one response; you may complete two or all three questions as well, and we (and the UMD Graduate School) encourage you to do so. They are to be short essays that will add context to your application and provide additional elements for a holistic admission review, so they should not be a repetition of your SOP or CV. 

In SOPHAS, you will have a similar prompt in the "Additional Educational, Professional and Life Experience" section. You will upload the same responses in SOPHAS and in the UMD Supplemental Application.

International Students

  • 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.
  • For the non-SOPHAS programs and the supplemental application, you will need an English-translated transcript.
  • English proficiency testing (PTE, TOEFL or IELTS) is required if you do not hold a degree from a U.S. institution or from one of the English-speaking countries listed on the Graduate School website.  If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with international credentials, you will still be required to submit English test scores if you do not hold a degree from one of the countries on the exemption list.
    • SOPHAS programs applicants must have scores sent to school codes 5688 & 5814.
    • Use 5814 for Graduate School applications.
    • More information about the requirements and exempt countries can be found here: UMD English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Please visit the University of Maryland Graduate School website for an overview of the International Admissions. Also, visit their International Students FAQ page.

Most of our programs require a minimum of 96 for TOEFL, 7 for IELTS, and 68 for PTE for full enrollment. The Graduate School's International Admissions page has more detailed information on requirements.

The MPH, MS, and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences programs require a minimum of 100 TOEFL (sectional scores: Speaking,  24;  Listening, 25;  Reading, 26; Writing, 25), 7 for IELTS and 68 for PTE.

The programs at the University of Maryland School of Public Health with STEM designations are:

Tuition, Funding, and Financial Aid

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

The exact breakdown of tuition costs and fees differs by program and can be found on our tuition and fees page.

Review the program outline for exact credit requirements.

There are a limited number of funding packages offered to exceptional PhD applicants.

These packages usually consist of base tuition costs, health insurance benefits 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 assistantship positions within the School of Public Health and throughout UMD (

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