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Admission

The HS&P program is open to students with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds; a master's degree is required for admission.  Students with an MPH in health management and policy or an MPA in health administration are particularly well prepared for the program. Master’s degrees in other areas of public health or in other disciplines are also good preparation. 

Doctoral students are admitted in the fall of each academic year; off-cycle admissions are rare.  Review of applications begins on December 1st and those submitting complete files by that date will be notified of admission decisions by the end of January. Applications are accepted up to February 1st, and those applicants will be notified of admission decisions by the end of February.

For admission to the Health Systems and Policy PhD Program, prospective students must apply directly through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system, the centralized application service for CEPH accredited schools and programs of public health.

Apply to the Health Systems and Policy PhD program here*.
*Please note that on the SOPHAS website, the program will be listed as Health Policy and Management PhD. This is the SOPHAS standard title, which we cannot change. 

Through SOPHAS, you will need to submit the following items with your application:

  • One transcript (official or unofficial) from each college attended. (International students must submit a WES Evaluation through SOPHAS. Click here for more information.)
  • Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Applicants whose GRE scores are more than five years old are strongly encouraged to retake the exam.  The GRE code in SOPHAS is 1045.
  • TOEFL scores (official or unofficial) if required.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for success in the doctoral program. At least one letter should be from a current or former graduate program professor.
  • Personal statement (approximately 500 words) addressing areas of research interests, including any shared interests with current faculty; career goals; relevant experiences in teaching, researching, publishing, and/or volunteering; and how the HS&P program connects to academic and professional goals. 
  • One academic or policy-oriented writing sample.  Some examples might be a paper written for a graduate course, a published academic journal article, or a professional paper.  Please note that papers should have a single author (i.e. do not submit papers with multiple authors). 
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
If you are admitted and accept, you will also need to submit the brief Portland State University online graduate application in order to be admitted to the University. There is no additional fee for this application.

Portland State University's graduate application requires the following documents in addition to what you have already submitted through SOPHAS:

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency through the submission of TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE-Academic exam scores (for applicants whose first language is not English)
  • Double-sided scanned copies of your official transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended will need to be uploaded

Click here for FAQs about SOPHAS.