MPH Application Frequently Asked Questions:

How will I know if my materials have been received?
Upon receipt of your application packet in the Office of Academic Assistance & Graduate Admissions (OAA), you will receive notification via e-mail. You can check the status of your application here. Please allow two weeks after you submit your application for the system to update.

What should I do if I would like more information about the program?
Please contact us at (404) 413-1452 or e-mail your question to: sphadmissions@gsu.edu.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement for admission?
There is not a minimum GPA, but applicants with a 2.75 GPA and above are generally preferred. Please note that applications will be considered individually based on a number of factors including the rigor of the academic program and the school attended.

Is there a minimum GRE or GMAT score required?
Applicants are required to take either the GRE or GMAT unless they have earned a terminal degree (M.D., J.D., Ph.D., etc.) from a U.S. institution. While there is no minimum score required on the GRE or GMAT, applicants who score a 300 or above on the GRE are more competitive. Due to the strength of the applicant pool, applicants who score below a 280 are unlikely to be offered admission. Please note that GRE scores over five years old cannot be accepted.

Are there any pre-requisite majors or professional backgrounds for the MPH?
No. Applicants are admitted to our program with a host of different academic and professional backgrounds.

Where and what time are classes held?
All Master of Public Health classes are held at Georgia State University’s downtown campus. Classes are held in the afternoon as well as in the early evenings to accommodate working students. Click here for the GSU schedule. Please note that not all classes especially electives are offered in the evenings. Students may need to take courses in the afternoon as well as evening.

Do you offer any classes online?
While we offer a few online classes, we are not a distance education program, and most classes will be held in person on Georgia State’s campus.

What is the policy for transfer of credits?
Students who have completed graduate courses at other accredited institutions prior to enrollment in the MPH program may request that any such courses be evaluated for transfer of credit. The student must have earned a grade of “B” or better in all transferable courses. The maximum amount of credit that may be transferred is nine (9) semester hours. Exceptions to this rule will be granted on an individual basis. Click here for the Graduate Request for Evaluation of Transfer Credit.

Who should I get to provide recommendations?
The School of Public Health requires the applicant to submit three Reference Forms. While we do not require an academic reference, we recommend submitting at least one academic reference. Other recommendations should be sought from employers and/or supervisors from paid and/or volunteer work. It is suggested that a friend, relative, or peer not be used as a reference. Please give recommenders adequate time to submit their recommendation online or via mail.

What information must be included in my Statement of Interest and Professional Intent and how long should it be?
Your statement should address the following:

  • Your previous academic and professional experiences as well as any work in the area of health or health care;
  • Your career and personal goals and how you believe the MPH degree will help you achieve these goals; and
  • Your specific interest in the GSU program.

How much does tuition cost and how can I check on my financial aid process?
Please see Tuition and Fees

How can find out more about financial aid options at Georgia State?
You can check on your financial aid status by calling the Office of Student Financial Aid at (404) 413-2600 or online at http://www.gsu.edu/financialaid.

PhD Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply for the PhD in Public Health program?

The PhD application is processed through SOPHAS. Click here for PhD Admission Information.

2. Will you accept applicants in the Spring?

No, applicants will only be admitted in the Fall. The application and credentials deadline is December 15.

3. What are the application requirements?

The following list is a summary of application requirements. All documents should be submitted through SOPHAS.

  •  One copy of an official transcript from all colleges and/or universities attended.
  • Three references from individuals knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic, professional and intellectual abilities. One of the letters must be an academic reference.
  •  A Statement of Interest and Professional Intent.
  •  Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Applicants with an earned doctorate (including an M.D. or J.D.) from an accredited institution in the U.S. do not need to take either examination.
  •  Additional requirements for international students are found here.

4. Will you only accept the GRE/GMAT?

SPH only accepts scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Scores must not be more than 5 years old. MCAT and LSAT scores will not be accepted as substitutes for the GRE/GMAT. Visit the following sites for more details: GRE Registration: http://www.ets.org/ and GMAT Registration: http://www.gmac.com.

5. Are GRE/GMAT scores waived?
Applicants with an earned doctorate (including an M.D. or J.D.) from an accredited institution in the U.S. do not need to take either examination.

6. What are the codes for sending my standardized test scores?

Official GRE scores should be sent directly to SOPHAS from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) by using the code 3750. There is not currently a SOPHAS code for the GMAT, so GMAT scores should be sent directly to Georgia State University from ETS using the code 5251. Score reports from third parties will not be accepted.

7. What is the minimum required GRE to enter the PhD program?

Competitive GRE test scores (Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing) should range in the 60th – 70th percentile for all sections. The School of Public Health does not have a minimum score requirement, but applicants with scores below 300 are unlikely to be admitted.

8. What is the minimum required GPA (undergraduate & graduate) to enter the PhD program?

While no minimum GPAs are required, applicants with a cumulative undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.2, respectively, are considered more competitive. The Admissions Committee will also take into account the rigor of the academic program and degree.

9. Are there different admissions requirements for citizens of countries other than the U.S.?

For international applicants from countries/education programs in which English is not the official language, scores from the TOEFL exam are required. Click here for requirements for international applicants. For information on Georgia State University’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), click here.

10. I am an international student and have a Masters degree from a U.S. school. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL is not required of international applicants who have received a degree from an accredited U.S. institution.

11. Can I be admitted to the PhD program without a MPH degree?

Admission preference will be given to students who have already acquired a Masters in Public Health (MPH) or equivalent degree. You must possess at least a Masters-level graduate degree to be admitted into the PhD program. Students who hold a Masters degree in a discipline other than public health will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

12. How competitive is the admissions process?

Acceptance to the PhD program is highly competitive. On average, 8-10 new students are accepted each year.

13. Is there an interview process?

Yes. Once a pool of competitive applicants is selected and notified, individual in-person or phone interviews will be scheduled. Final selection decisions will be made subsequent to the completion of all interviews.

14. Who can I contact in the School of Public Health for further information?

Please e-mail your questions to publichealthadvising@gsu.edu.


1. What criteria do you consider in the admission process?

The admissions committee will consider a variety of criteria in the selection of doctoral students including official GRE/GMAT scores, academic performance in previous degree programs, academic and professional background and experiences, recommendation letters, and the applicant’s personal statement. Additionally, competitive applicants will interview with SPH faculty in order to further determine research interests and academic potential.

2. What is the typical background of a successful applicant?

Although the selection of applicants is based on a variety of criteria, a successful PhD applicant will exhibit a solid academic and professional background, with evidence of meaningful experience in the field of public health or a closely related field. This experience should be reflected in a personal statement that demonstrates a significant motivation for conducting and sharing public health research. Additionally, letters of recommendation should provide clear evidence of the applicant’s potential as an independent researcher. Successful applicants will also show above-average performance on the GRE/GMAT.


1. What can I do to prepare for the PhD program?

Although not required, a Masters in Public Health (MPH) or an equivalent degree is highly recommended for students pursuing a PhD in Public Health. Not only does an MPH provide students with a solid foundation of public health competencies, many MPH students are able to gain research experience through research assistantships or other work opportunities. These experiences offer students the opportunity to determine a preferred focus for their PhD studies. For those prospective students without a MPH degree, previous research experience in rigorous academic or professional opportunities in the public health field is highly recommended.

2. Is a PhD program right for me?

A PhD in Public Health prepares students with specific public health research interests for a career in research or academia. Depending on the interest area, graduates of a PhD in Public Health program often teach in universities, lead research laboratories, or direct research projects at the federal, state, or local level. A PhD program requires a substantial time commitment and a significant interest in advancing one’s skills as a researcher in a particular field.

3. Do I need a research background to be successful in the PhD program?

A research background is not required for success in the program, but some experience in research is recommended. Potential applicants without a research background should be able to demonstrate a capacity to perform independent research through evidence of previous academic success, strong recommendation letters, and satisfactory GRE/GMAT scores.

4. What are the areas of study?

PhD students will choose one of three concentrations: Epidemiology, Health Promotion and Behavior, or Health Services Research. The specialized coursework will depend on the individual student’s research interests and will be determined by the student, his/her Major Professor, and his/her Doctoral Advisory Committee.

5. How is the program structured?

Visit the main page for the Doctor of Philosophy and click on “Core Curriculum” for more information.

6. Is the program a full-time program?

In order to fulfill the significant commitment required of doctoral students, it is highly recommended that students maintain full-time student status for the duration of the PhD program. Part-time will be considered for admission, especially for those working in a public health setting.

7. Can I study part-time?

At this time, applicants who can commit to full-time study will receive preference in the selection process. However, part-time applicants with especially strong academic or professional backgrounds may be considered.

8. How long does it take to complete the PhD degree program?

The amount of time required to complete the PhD program will largely depend upon the number of courses a student is able to take each semester and the amount of time he/she needs to complete and defend a dissertation. On average, however, a full-time student who enters the program with all the necessary prerequisite courses can complete the required coursework in 2 years and complete and defend a dissertation in an additional 12-18 months. It is reasonable to expect to take 3-5 years to complete the PhD program. The Institute requires that students complete all degree requirements within 9 years of the student’s semester of matriculation.

9. When do I enroll in Dissertation Research?

Prior to enrolling in Dissertation Research, a student must be accepted into candidacy.

The following is a complete list of requirements for admission to candidacy:

  •  All prerequisites set as a condition to admission to the PhD program have been satisfactorily completed.
  • The residence requirement (30 hours of consecutive coursework) has been met.
  •  A GPA of 3.2 (B) has been maintained for all graduate courses taken and for all completed courses in the program of study.
  • The Doctoral Advisory Committee, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Institute have approved the final program of study.
  • Written and oral comprehensive examinations have been passed and reported to the Graduate School.
  • The Doctoral Advisory Committee is confirmed and all members have been notified of their appointment.


1. What are the tuition and fees?

Information about graduate tuition and fees can be found here.

2. Do you offer financial support?

All admitted, doctoral students who plan to study full-time will be considered for Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and/or Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Assistantships cover the cost of tuition and provide a monthly stipend. Students are still responsible for university student fees. The Institute cannot guarantee this funding for all students.

3. Am I eligible for financial aid?

To determine eligibility for financial aid, please visit the University’s Financial Aid Office website at http://www.gsu.edu/financialaid/.