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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 Master's Certificate in Physical Education, Post-Bac Certificate in Global Health and Post-Bac Certificate in Health Data Analysis

Learn more about our certificate programs.

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, and Public Health Practice and Policy (online).

We also offer three other masters degree programs: Masters in Health Administration (online), MA in Kinesiology, MS 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, MD. 

The University of Maryland School of Medicine, 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.

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 higher standards so applicants should check with the specific program when applying. 

If you do not have the required course, 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 Graduate Studies 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. 

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

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 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

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. 

While we currently can't have visitors to the school, the 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 we are also organizing a Virtual Open House to happen in October 2020. Please check our events page and choose what better works for you.

Alternatively, contact Lanna Duarte, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator, at She can schedule an online meeting with you or link you with the appropriate Department Graduate Studies Director.

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. All MPH and MHA programs and the MS and PhD programs in Environmental Health Services, 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.

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

For all other programs, go through the Graduate School Application Portal.  Some programs may require additional steps, therefore, review each program guide 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 shortened application for the SOPHAS program should be started after you receive an invitation by email AFTER your SOPHAS application has been verified.

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

SOPHAS Program Applicants:

  • SOPHAS fee is $140 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 in Health Administration (online); and Certificate in Global Health admit in the Fall and Spring semesters.

All other programs only admit in the Fall semester.

All of our master's degrees programs and most of our doctoral programs waived the GRE* for the 2021-2022 application process.

If you are applying for the PhD in Health Services and Research, GRE must be submitted to school codes 0485 & 5814 respectively at SOPHAS and UMD Application. Using both scores ensures that both the School of Public Health Program and UMD Graduate School have access to your scores.

For SOPHAS programs you should have your previous institutions submit original transcripts directly to SOPHAS. Please note, SOPHAS takes two weeks on average - or longer during peak volumes - to verify applications.

For the UMD supplemental application or for programs that have a TerpEngage only application, you should upload a pdf copy of your unofficial transcripts.

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.

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 tell 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 are intending 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, you should describe your contribution to the publication.

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.

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 5688 & 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.

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

If you are applying to a non-SOPHAS graduate program, please check with the specific program's Department Director for their minimum requirements.

Scores must be sent to school codes 5688 & 5814 for SOPHAS applications OR  5814 for Graduate School applications (non-SOPHAS). 

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 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.