Graduate Application Instructions

Two separate applications to SOPHAS and UC Berkeley must be completed and submitted before your application file is considered complete. Incomplete application files will not be reviewed.

Note: if you are applying for the Joint Medical Program, MBA/MPH, or MSW/MPH programs, you do not need to submit a SOPHAS application.

1: Submit an online application to SOPHAS with the following items:

  • CV or Resume,
  • Statement of Purpose,
  • Personal Statement,
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. (Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically),
  • One set of official transcripts from each institution you have attended,
  • Official GRE test score sent to SOPHAS, if applicable (code 4227),
  • Official TOEFL test score sent to SOPHAS, if applicable (code 5688),
  • No need to include the UC Berkeley Applicant ID# in the SOPHAS application
  • SOPHAS application fee.


2: Complete an online application to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division with the following items:

  • Unofficial transcripts,
  • If you are submitting international records, upload a copy of the degree(s) with corresponding English translations (if applicable).
  • Official TOEFL score sent to UC Berkeley, if applicable (code 4833),
  • Include your SOPHAS Application ID number in the UC Berkeley application,
  • UC Berkeley application fee.

Visit the UC Berkeley Graduate Divisions Website Application Page

If you are applying to more than one school in SOPHAS and they have different deadlines, enter only the school(s) with the earliest deadline, and then complete and submit the application. To apply to additional schools, you may add another school designation to your existing application and fill out the program materials section for that specific program. If you have questions, please contact the SOPHAS customer support department directly.

If you have completed the application but are waiting on any supplemental materials, (e.g. letters of recommendation, GRE scores, transcripts, etc.), you can still submit your application and should do so by the application deadline. It is acceptable for supplemental materials to be submitted a few days after the deadline. While there is a small grace period for supplemental materials to be submitted, you need to submit your application by the application deadline—otherwise your application will be considered late and ineligible for review.

Note: An official GRE score report should only be submitted to SOPHAS and will not show as received on your UC Berkeley application. You only need to confirm receipt of your GRE scores on your SOPHAS application.

Submitting Transcripts

Official U.S. transcripts of all the schools you attended for post-secondary education must be sent to SOPHAS. The mailing address can be found on the SOPHAS website.

For application review purposes only, include copies of transcripts for all of the post-secondary institutions you attended, including study abroad institutions. During the online application process, you will be prompted to upload scanned documents. Uploaded (unofficial) transcripts should be recent and include the following: your name, the institution name, dates of attendance, conferral date if applicable, grades/marks received and credits. Do not send official transcripts until this time, unless you are requested to do so.

Note: Official transcripts will be requested if you are admitted and then decide to attend UC Berkeley.

Please do not send any materials to Berkeley Public Health—any unsolicited materials will be destroyed.

Submitting Test Scores

The procedure for submitting your test scores varies depending on which exam score(s) you choose to send. Please read the directions below carefully. Your application will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed by Berkeley Public Health’s Admissions Committee without the required test scores.

If required by the program you are applying to, GRE scores must be submitted electronically by the testing service to SOPHAS. To send an official GRE score report to SOPHAS, please use code 4227. GRE scores are valid for five years. In order to apply, you must retake the test if your scores are more than five years old.

Applicants who have completed an MD, PhD or equivalent doctoral-level degree at the time of application from an accredited institution are not required to submit GRE scores.

Students currently enrolled in or who have completed a degree in medical, dental, optometry, business or law school can submit their MCAT, DAT, OAT, GMAT or LSAT scores in lieu of the GRE. Other professional school exams are not eligible as alternatives to the GRE exam.

Applicants who have completed an MBBS degree from an international institution and have passed Step 1 and Step 2 of the USMLE are not required to submit GRE scores. In order to be eligible for the GRE waiver, copies of both official USMLE scores need to be uploaded with your application. If you did not complete the USMLE, you will be required to submit your GRE scores.

We do not have a minimum GRE score as we review applications holistically; however, competitive applicants tend to score in the 50th percentile and above. Many program pages include the average GRE scores of admitted students for that specific program.

Letters of Recommendation

Berkeley Public Health’s Admissions Committee requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation be submitted electronically to SOPHAS with your SOPHAS application.

Typically, we recommend you have at least one letter of recommendation from an academic and two from individuals who can evaluate your professional experience. However, please thoroughly look at the requirements and qualifications of the program you are applying to for more guidance. Overall, it will be in your best interest to have three individuals who can attest to your academic and/or professional ability to succeed in a public health career.

For academic references, we recommend you ask professors who you think will write the strongest recommendations. A strong quality letter attesting to your ability to succeed in the program will weigh more than a generic letter from a high-ranking professor.

Berkeley Public Health does not accept hard-copy letters sent to our offices.

Essays: Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement

Statement of Purpose
Word limit: 1,500 words

Your Statement of Purpose should explain why you are pursuing graduate training in public health. Your essay should also explain your eventual career goals and why you need a degree in your specific program. You can choose to explain why you are pursuing this degree now and why at Berkeley Public Health. If you are applying to a doctoral program, include your proposed research topics. Please be sure to check your program’s page, as some programs have specific questions to answer. If there are no specific program guidelines, please follow the above-mentioned general guidelines.

Personal History Statement
Character limit: 5,000 characters (about 750 words)

Your Personal History Statement gives you an opportunity to add some individuality and depth to the information provided in your Statement of Purpose. Your Personal History Statement can include information about who you are as a person, your family background, cultural background, socioeconomic status, educational advantages and/or experiences growing up. It is intended to give you the opportunity to provide a narrative about your diverse personal experiences. It is important to be concise and impactful by focusing on a specific part of your life experience.

Note: Not all schools require a Personal History Statement but we do.

Additional Application Instructions for International Students

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

TOEFL or IELTS scores are required from all applicants from countries in which the official language is not English (please see the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website for exceptions to this policy).

The minimum scores required are:

  • TOEFL: Paper: 570, Internet (iBT): 90
  • IELTS: 7

Note: The TOEFL requirement is not based on your citizenship but is based on your country of education. If the official language of your country of education is not English, you will be required to take the TOEFL. If you would like to see if your country of education qualifies you for a TOEFL exemption, please contact Berkeley Public Health’s Admissions Office.

The USMLE and other similar exams are not approved substitutes for the TOEFL.

Official scores must be submitted to SOPHAS and UC Berkeley.

  • To send scores to SOPHAS:
    • For TOEFL scores, the code is: 5688 SOPHAS
    • For IELTS scores, the code is: SOPHAS
  • To send scores to UC Berkeley:
    • For TOEFL scores: the code is 4833.

Note: UC Berkeley will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. For fall 2020, tests taken before June 1, 2018 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley.

  • IELTS scores may be submitted by asking the testing center to send electronic scores to UC Berkeley. No institution code is required.

Note: Please see the test score section or instructions on how to submit official test scores. For fall 2020, tests taken before June 1, 2018 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley.

International Transcripts

International students should upload copies of official foreign transcripts and degrees with the UC Berkeley application only.

Official World Education Services (WES) Evaluations of international transcripts are required to be sent to SOPHAS. SOPHAS will not accept any foreign transcripts or translated foreign transcripts; only an evaluation for U.S. equivalency via WES will be accepted.

We require a course-by-course evaluation and it should be sent directly to your SOPHAS application, not to Berkeley Public Health.

Please do not send any materials to Berkeley Public Health—any unsolicited materials will be destroyed.

If you are admitted and choose to attend UC Berkeley, be prepared to send an official set of transcripts to UC Berkeley. Although SOPHAS accepts WES evaluations, UC Berkeley does not accept WES evaluations for matriculation purposes.

For admissions information about other degree types, go to the Undergraduate Admissions section or the Online Program Admissions section.

Concurrent Degree Applicants:

Go to the Concurrent Degree Program section for more application information.

Applications are submitted for individual programs. Explore our Program Finder to help determine the best degree program for you before beginning the application process.

Contact Berkeley Public Health’s Admissions Office:
Tel: (510) 643-0881