Application FAQ_PhD

Application Frequently Asked Questions

  • We do not require GRE scores. You may choose to include it if it helps demonstrate a skill that isn’t captured elsewhere in your application, but it is optional and will not be used when evaluating candidates.

  • Applicants are encouraged to identify 1-3 faculty members as potential mentors in their statement of purpose. However, contacting individual faculty members is not required prior to the application deadline. If you have reviewed the work of your potential mentors and have questions regarding their research or mentor fit, feel free to reach out directly. These communications should:

    • Be thoughtful and tailored to the specific faculty member. 
    • Be limited to your targeted list of potential mentors (no more than 3). 
    • Not be regarding general program or admission questions. Please direct these to the program manager or program director.
  • The graduate school automatically applies a fee waiver for candidates meeting their qualifications. If you don’t qualify for an automatic waiver you can request a fee waiver from the program if applying would present an undue financial hardship. In such cases, we ask for a justification (1-2 paragraphs) for the waiver request.

    Note that waivers can only be applied to an open application. You must start your application before requesting a waiver.

  • Yes, if you have received a degree from an institution where the primary instruction was in English. For documentation we’ll need a transcript in English, a certificate of English instruction, or a link to the school’s webpage where it states that instruction is in English. 

    Note that waivers can only be applied to an open application. You must start your application before requesting a waiver.

  • We look for scores of at least: TOEFL – 90; IELTS – 7.0; Duolingo - 110

  • Three key aspects of a successful application are:

    1) Strong statement of purpose. What makes a strong statement? We are looking for a vision for what you hope to accomplish in the program, how your prior training and work experiences (and life experiences!) have motivated your interest in pursuing a PhD, and who on our faculty you would like to work with during your time in the program.

    2) Excellent letters of recommendation. We ask for 3 letters of recommendation. You should seek out people who can talk about your interests and skills and your promise as a PhD student and future scholar. The WORST letters are the ones we don’t receive or receive very late! Make sure that your letter writers have plenty of time to submit – ask them early and schedule some time to tell them about why you are excited about this career move! 

    3) Identify potential mentors.  All applicants should review our primary faculty list and name the mentors that they think match their interests the best. You will be asked to list 3 potential mentors in the application and we also hope to see this in your statement of purpose. Ultimately, we want to make the best match for you and the mentor so don’t underestimate this important step!

  • No, you should seek out people who can talk about your interests and skills and your promise as a PhD student and future scholar.

  • No, we don’t have any formatting requirements or word limits for the statement of purpose. Most statements are between 2-3 pages in length. We are looking for a vision for what you hope to accomplish in the program, how your prior training and work experiences (and life experiences!) have motivated your interest in pursuing a PhD, and who on our faculty you would like to work with during your time in the program.

  • No, you can submit your application with unofficial transcripts and self-reported test scores, if applicable. You will need to provide an official version before registering for courses.

  • Unfortunately, we are not able to meet the volume of these requests. If you’ve read about the program and meet the admission requirements, please apply.

  • Our program is fully funded. All accepted students receive full support – including tuition, insurance, and fees – in addition to an annual stipend (2021 rate $33,500). There is not a separate application process for funding. Funding is granted to all accepted students.

  • Yes, we do not require a masters degree. We do look for applicants with a demonstrated interest in the health policy field, but that can be obtained through advanced degrees or post-graduate work experience.

  • We evaluate applications as a whole. While we look to your previous academic performance as an indication of how you’ll do in your courses, you can address any weaknesses in your statement of purpose.

  • No, we do not expect applicants to have thesis proposals at the time of their application. It’s great to have a research area of interest identified, but we expect your interests to be refined in the program.

  • There’s no need to include this in your application. Once accepted you will meet with your mentor to create your course scheduling plan and can determine the appropriate methods sequence at that time.

  • We typically receive 60-80 applications and accept 3-5 students each year.

  • Only submitted applications will be reviewed. Your application will be reviewed with the items available at the time of our selection committee meeting. If you have any outstanding items (e.g., transcripts or recommendation letters), you should follow-up and provide these to the program as soon as possible.

  • Submitted applications are reviewed with whatever materials are available at the time of the selection committee’s evaluation (~1 week after the deadline). We highly recommend you follow up with your references and get all materials in as close to the deadline as possible.

  • At this point, we are only accepting students that the program can fully support. We are not able to accept more than 3-5 students per year.