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The HS&P program is open to students with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds.  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 January 15th and those submitting complete files by that date will be notified of admission decisions by the end of February. Applications are accepted up to March 15th, and those applicants will be notified of admission decisions by the end of April. Due to an annual shut-down in SOPHAS, please do not start your application before August 20th.

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.

Through SOPHAS, you will submit the follwing items:

  • Departmental Graduate Admission Application.
  • Application for Graduate Assistantship (optional).
  • One transcript (official or unofficial) from each college attended.
  • 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 school code for PSU is 4610, and the HS&P department code is 1903.
  • 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.