Graduate Admissions FAQ

Areas of Concentration

We offer a range of degrees in various areas of concentration. Please visit the Explore Programs page to find more information about the different academic programs we offer.

Yes, you are required to choose an area of concentration to apply to when submitting an application.

General Admissions Questions

You can only apply to one program per admissions cycle. This includes the Online MPH program.

  • Dates and Deadlines for can be found here for the on-campus program and here for the online MPH program.
  • For the on-campus program, the priority deadline to submit an application is December 1st at 8:59pm (PST). Since it does take some time for SOPHAS applications to process, we recommend submitting it in early November. That will also be helpful to avoid any technical difficulties and to allow time for SOPHAS processing.
  • A select number of programs will accept applications until the secondary deadline of March 1st at 8:59pm (PST). After the priority deadline review period, in the event that these programs are not full, applicants will be accepted until March 1st for only select programs (see the “secondary deadline” tab for a list of programs here). Applying for the second deadline does not guarantee that your application will be reviewed.
  • Incomplete application files or late applications will not be reviewed – no exceptions.

No, you will not be penalized for submitting your application on December 1st. However, we highly recommend you to submit it earlier than the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties and to allow you to correct any errors found by SOPHAS (e.g. transcript discrepancies) before our first batch of applications are released for review.

Applications submitted by the December 1 priority deadline will have the best chance of admission, and only applications submitted by December 1 will be considered for funding opportunities. Submitting your application before December 1 will not increase your chances of admission as we do not begin reviewing applications until after December 1.

Start your application very early and make a checklist of all of the general admissions requirements as well as the requirements indicated by your area of concentration, if any. Here is the link to the different areas of concentration, a comprehensive list of our admissions requirements, and our application instructions.

  • Some of our programs do not require a SOPHAS application. You can see which programs at the top of this page.
  • For the SOPHAS application, you will have to fully complete all sections in the application, which include all of your letters of recommendation, official GRE scores, official transcripts, statement of purpose, personalhistory statement, and “additional questions” at the end of the application. You will have to pay the SOPHASapplication fee. Please see the application instructions on our website for the correct GRE delivery codes.
  • For the UC Berkeley Graduate Division application, you only need to upload unofficial transcripts and submit an official TOEFL score (if needed), submit the completed application and application fee. The Graduate Admissions application fee is required before your application can be reviewed. Please note you do NOT need to submit letters of recommendation, essays or GRE scores in the UC Berkeley application. More info here.

You must submit electronic transcripts to both SOPHAS and to UC Berkeley. Please do not send any paper transcripts to Berkeley Public Health—any unsolicited materials will be destroyed. Read more about how to submit transcripts in the “Supplemental Materials” section on our application instructions page.

GRE

The GRE is optional for most programs for the Summer/Fall 2021 Admissions cycle. Read more about our GRE requirement and exemptions under the “GRE Scores” tab on our application instructions page.

It depends on which program you are applying to. Read more about our GRE requirement and exemptions under the “GRE Scores” tab on our application instructions page.

If you are applying to a program that requires the GRE, you will have to retake the GREs. We accept GREs within 5 years of the time you wish to apply. See our application instructions for more details.

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. You can view Admissions Statistics for each program listed by selecting the specific programs you are interested in viewing at this link.

One Year / 11-Month Programs

  • We offer 4+1 MPH programs for current Berkeley undergraduate students enrolled in the public health major. More information about the 4+1 can be found at this link.
  • All 11-month programs require an advanced degree at the time of applying. If you want to know more information about the different areas that offer a 1-year program and what are their specific requirements, please refer to the program specific pages at this link (under “Typical Duration” filter, select “1-year”).

International Students

If you graduated with a bachelor degree from a university in the US, you do not need to have your transcript evaluated by WES.

Yes, we do consider international applicants for admission into our programs.

As per our website, TOEFL scores are required from all applicants from countries in which the official language is not English. If you have completed at least one year of full-time (12 units) academic coursework with grades of B or higher in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take the TOEFL. For more information about the TOEFL requirements, please visit our application instructions page and the Graduate Division page with more information.

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

Yes, international students are eligible for funding during the admissions process by their respective programs. There is no separate application required. They may also refer to the International Student Office for additional funding opportunities.

The MPH degree program is not considered an academic STEM degree since it is a professional public health degree program. Our MS, MA and PhD programs in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Environmental Health Sciences/Global Health and Environment are STEM eligible. Feel free to follow up with the Berkeley International Office. They will be better able to assist with which degrees/programs qualify for a STEM OPT extension.

Letters of Recommendation

The application deadline is December 1 and we strongly recommend encouraging your letter writers to submit them by this date. If they are unable to submit it by December 1, we will still review your application as long as they are received by December 18.

Typically, we recommend you have at least one from an academic and two from your professional experience.

However, please thoroughly look at the requirements and qualifications of the area of concentration you plan to apply to for more guidance. Overall, it will be in your best interest to have 3 letter writers who will best be able to attest to your academic and professional ability in a public health career.

You are welcome to submit more than three letters of recommendation, but we recommend submitting only three if you are able to.

We recommend you ask letter writers who you think will be able to write you the strongest letter. 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.

Required Work Experience

The amount of work experience required for admissions varies by area of concentration. With the exception of the Health Policy and Management program that requires at least 2 years of work experience, other programs vary in length and type of employment required. You can view Qualifications for each program on our admissions requirements page.

Statement of Purpose

Your Statement of Purpose should explain what has brought you to pursue graduate training in Public Health. It should also explain your eventual career goals and why you need a degree in your specific program. It may also explain why you are pursuing this degree now, and why at Berkeley. Please be sure to check your program’s page, as some programs have specific prompts they like you to follow.

Read more about the difference between these two essays in the “Supplemental Materials” section on our application instructions page.

Fees and Financial Aid

Each academic year, a limited number of merit and need-based fellowships and scholarships are awarded to students by the Graduate Division and School of Public Health. To be considered for merit and/or need-based awards, students should indicate their interest in financial support on the SOPHAS application, and complete the FAFSA. It is also common for students to seek out Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) and Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions to help fund their education. For more information on financial aid opportunities, please visit the ​fees and financial aid page​ on our website
You may view our fee schedule ​here​. Please note that the fees are listed per semester. The total cost will depend on your program’s length and your residency status. You may view our programs ​here​ to determine the length of your degree track.

Students are selected for fellowship opportunities during the admissions process by their respective programs. There is no separate application required; just be sure to indicate in your application that you want to be considered for funding support. Students that are interested in Federal Student Loans must submit a FAFSA application and follow up with the Financial Aid Office directly.

If you would like to request a fee waiver, you must reach out to SOPHAS and the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. Please see the following links for more information:

GSR/GSI Position

Unfortunately, there is not one single resource that lists all of the Graduate Student Researcher positions available. Some departments will list GSR openings on their websites. More commonly, students must ask faculty they would like to work with if they have a GSR position available. Getting to know faculty and their research is strongly recommended for obtaining any of these types of positions.
It is recommended that incoming students do not undertake Graduate Research or Instructor positions in their first semester, but if you would still like to search for positions, you should identify faculty who you’d like to work with and inquire with them about availability. It is also recommended that you contact our GRADS peer advisors (sphgrads@berkeley.edu) and one of them will be able to give you advice about pursuing GSI/GSR positions and when the best time to take on these kinds of positions.
GSI hirings are often in the hands of the faculty who are offering the positions. Candidates must have prior coursework experience in the specific course that the GSI hiring is for. You’ll need to get in touch with the faculty of the department you want to work in to find GSI positions. GSI hiring is conducted the academic semester prior to the one that you are applying for.

Strengths of UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley School of Public Health is unique to other programs with our emphasis in public health practice, diversity, social justice, leadership, innovation, academic rigor, and our student-to-faculty ratio. We are also not tied to a medical school. The location of where you attend graduate school is extremely relevant to the job opportunities that you would like to have when you graduate. Our school has developed hundreds of professional partnerships and relations to the health organizations, agencies and companies in the Bay Area, around the U.S. and the globe and would be a great place for you to build your community

Career Potential

Depending on the area of concentration you plan to specialize in, you have a broad range of options that vary from working as a policy analyst for the federal government, a researcher at the CDC, to a community health worker at community clinics. ​Here is a link​ to our alumni employment data for your reference.
For more information about career opportunities in public health, please contact Caitlin Green, Director of Career Services: ​cgreen@berkeley.edu​.
Our ​Center for Public Health Practice and Leadership (CPHPL)​ has a variety of resources specifically for the purpose of helping students identify and apply for worthwhile Public Health internships. There is a professional workshop series each semester that assists with this as well. The CPHPL also assists in securing living stipends from various arenas if the internship site cannot pay a living stipend

Class Sizes and Options

In your first semester, almost all of your courses are lecture style. Once you get to your 2nd semester, class sizes are reduced to 15-40 students in a class and you have more opportunity to interact with faculty in a more intimate setting rather than a lecture hall.
Yes, some of our courses are offered online. On-campus students may have the option of taking some of their courses online. We also have an Online MPH program which you can read more about ​here​.
Evening and weekend courses are currently unavailable