University of Maryland School of Public Health Frequently Asked Questions

Does the School of Public Health offer any Certificate Programs?

We offer a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, 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's degree programs are offered at UMD SPH?

We have 8 different MPH concentrations: Behavioral and Community Health (in-person and online), 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 master's degree programs: Masters in Health Administration (in-person and online), MA in Kinesiology, MS Couple and Family Therapy, and MS in Environmental Health Sciences. 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 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 Math Department, managed by the Statistics program

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

During my search, I noticed a ‘University of Maryland School of Medicine Public Health program.’ 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 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 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 University of Maryland's application?

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.

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

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.  

How can I apply for an application fee waiver?

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 here.

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 here.  

What are the enrollment terms?

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.

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

All of our master's degrees programs and most of our doctoral programs waived the GRE* for the 2020-2021 application process.

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

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.

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 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 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 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 the 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 differs by program and can be found here:

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 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.

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

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). 

I am still deciding on the 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?

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 Director.

I have additional questions. Who can I contact?

If you are unsure of the best person to answer your question, contact Lanna Duarte, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator, at

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