Prospective Student FAQs

Have questions? We’ve got your answers!

Sometimes the first steps in a new path - like choosing a graduate school - are the most difficult. The Office of Student Services at UTHealth School of Public Health hopes to help you down your educational and career path.

Here are just a few of the most common questions received by Admission Office. Remember, if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for just call - 713-500-9032 - or email the Helping prospective students is a top priority!


What degree programs are offered at the UT School of Public Health?

UTHealth School of Public Health has a variety of degree programs. We offer professional (Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health) and academic (Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy) degrees.

How large are the classes?

It depends. Core classes can have as many as 40 to 80 students while non-core classes may have as few as 10 or as many as 20 students.

What is the demographic makeup of the school?

Spring 2016 Enrollment
Full Time 156 407 563
Part Time 166 476 642
Total 322 883 1205
Ethnicity of American Students/Permanent Residents
Caucasian 320
Hispanic American 170
Asian American 153
Black American 105
Not Specified 177
Multiracial 20
American Indian 2
International Students
Male 92
Female 166
Total 258

Do you offer dual degrees?

Yes, we do. Currently, the school has programs with higher-education institutions across the state of Texas. Click here for information on our Dual Degree Programs .

Do you offer night or weekend classes?

No weekend classes are available. However, we do offer a limited number of evening classes. Online classes are also available for core courses and some others.

Do you have part-time students?

Yes. About half of our students are classified as part time.

Application questions

If I am denied admission, can I reapply?

Yes; however, you will need to wait one year in order to be reconsidered for review by the Admissions Committee. A reapplication consists of a new SOPHAS application, a revised goal statement, two fresh letters of recommendation, and application fee. All other documents (i.e. official GRE/TOEFL scores, transcripts, credential evaluation report) previously submitted will be carried forward. You do not need to resend them.

Do you have rolling admissions or consider late applications?


Do you have interviews?

No, interviews are not required for Masters Programs; however, if you wish to schedule an interview in order to meet with faculty or students, please contact the Admission Office. All Doctoral programs may choose to use interviews as part of the admissions review process.

Do you admit students in the Winter term?

We do not have a Winter term. We only admit degree seeking students for the Fall terms. Certificate/Non-degree are admitted Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. International applicants will be reviewed for the fall semester only unless the applicant is enrolled in US college or university. Doctoral applicants and International applicants will be reviewed for the fall semester only.

Can I visit the UTHealth School of Public Health?

Yes. If you would like to make an appointment for a campus tour, please contact the Office of Student Affairs, at 713-500-9032 or email Our office hours are 8am - 5pm, Monday through Friday. Open House days are also held throughout the year in March, June, and October. See the section on personal statements for additional information.

How can I best prepare for applying to the School of Public Health?

The Admissions Committee strongly suggests that an applicant spends time in crafting his/her goal statement. It must be well-written, focused and given thoughtful consideration. It must be appropriate to the program to which the applicant is applying. The goal statement or essay is used by the faculty to determine the best fit for each applicant in the program to which they apply. In addition, the Admissions Committee prefers academic letters of recommendation that can attest to your potential for success in graduate school.

What are your tuition rates?

Visit the Office of the Registrar for the most up-to-date information.

Can I get in-state residency after my first year?

Please fill out the Core Residency Questionnaire Form and mail it to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office determines the eligibility of a student whether s/he can become a Texas resident or not after the first year.

What is the application deadline? Will my application be reviewed if some of the documents arrive after the deadline?

The application deadline for the Fall semester is December 1 for students wishing to be considered for scholarships and March 1 for all others. A completed file consists of the application, application fee, (2) reference letters, statement of career goals, official transcripts from ALL institutions attended, official GRE scores, official TOEFL scores (if foreign applicant), and official degree certificates. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early since applications are processed in the order they are completed. Domestic and foreign applicants who earned their degrees abroad must submit a recent credential evaluation certified by World Education Services ( Applications that are not complete by the deadline will not be processed. Neither the UTHealth School of Public Health Office of Admissions nor the UTHealth Office of the Registrar assumes responsibility for mail that is delayed or lost.

How can I determine whether or not my documents have been received? How can I determine the status of my application if it has been reviewed by the Admissions Committee?

For students that applied through SOPHAS, please review the status of the application via SOPHAS.

The UTHealth School of Public Health Office of Student Affairs cannot provide information regarding the admission decision made by the Admissions Committee by telephone. Decision letters will be mailed within days following the Admissions Committee meeting.

Can I apply to more than one program per term?

No. An applicant is only allowed to apply to one program per application term. If more than one application is submitted, the Office of the Registrar will contact the applicant regarding program of choice.

How many applicants do you admit?

The number of applicants admitted varies from term to term.

What is the cost of tuition for residents and non-residents?

Visit the Office of the Registrar for the most up-to-date information.

Admissions criteria

What are you looking for in a prospective student?

The school looks for someone who has strong interest in Public Health practice and research. Please click on the current UTHealth SPH Catalog and go to page 31 regarding factors considered by the Admissions Committee for admission.

Is it necessary to have work experience or what kind of work experience should I have?

Prior work experience is not necessary but helpful.

Can I get in without work experience?


How do you handle multiple GRE scores?

The Admissions Committee looks at all official scores that are uploaded through SOPHAS through the application.

When should I submit my GRE scores?

As soon as you have successfully taken the examination.

Is there a minimum GPA?

UTSPH prefers an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Do you need any specific classes in statistics or biology in order to qualify for admission?

There are no specific courses needed in order to qualify for admission; however, each division has its own requirements. To determine the requirements of each division, check the current UTHealth SPH Catalog and see page 46 if you are interested in Biostatistics, page 64 for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, page 82 for Epidemiology, page 106 for Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, page 135 for Management, Policy and Community Health.

When can I expect a decision from the Admissions Committee?

Provided your application and materials were submitted on time, they will be reviewed within 90 days of the application deadline. The decision of the Committee will be email and mailed to you as well as updated in MyUTH and SOPHAS.

What is the readmission policy?

All readmission applicants must apply by October 1 for the Spring and July 1 for the Fall. For more information, please see Readmission process.

Is there a minimum score required for GRE?

For GRE exams scored on the former scale (prior to August 2011), a minimum combined score of 1000 for the Masters programs and 1200 for Doctoral programs on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the General Test is preferred.  For GRE exams taken after August 2011, a minimum combined score of 298 for Masters programs and 308 for Doctoral programs on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the General Test is preferred.  For the Analytical Writing section, a score of at least 4.0 on a scale of 6.0 is preferred. Our institution code for ETS is 4479.

I am a physician. Do I have to take the GRE? How can I get it waived?

If you either earned a doctoral degree (i.e. MD, JD, DVM, PhD, etc) from an accredited U.S. institution, are currently certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), or have passed all three steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), and if you are currently practicing medicine in the USA (e.g. active in a medical residency program or in other clinical medicine practice in the U.S.), you may be eligible to have your GRE requirement waived. You must get permission from Dr. Mary Ann Smith, associate dean for Student Affairs. An email request to will suffice. If GRE waiver request is granted, the Office of Student Affairs will inform the Admissions Committee representative for that program/regional campus that the requirement has been waived. Otherwise, this item will be considered missing from your application.

Do you accept photocopies of test scores?

No. Once you have taken the GRE or TOEFL exam, have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send the official scores directly to SOPHAS.

What is the GRE/TOEFL institution code to be used?

Our institution GRE code is 4479. TOEFL scores - SOPHAS code 5688. No department code is needed.

Who needs to submit the TOEFL? What is the minimum score?

All international applicants whose official language of their native country is not English, must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This requirement applies even if you attended a US undergraduate or graduate institution, or had postsecondary education conducted in English. A minimum acceptable score of 600 on paper-based TOEFL, 250 on computer-based TOEFL, or 100 on internet-based TOEFL is required for admission to our school. Test scores are valid for 2 years from the test date.

Exception to this requirement:

  1. If you are a Permanent Resident or Citizen of the United States
  2. The applicant is a citizen of a country where the sole native language is English

I’m an international applicant and my school will not send an official transcript. Will you accept an attested copy?

No. The copy must be official, i.e., it must be received directly from your school or arrive in an envelope that has been sealed and stamped by an official at your school. In the meantime, you should write a letter to your school requesting that an official transcript, official marksheets, and an official diploma be sent to UTHealth Office of the Registrar. Make a copy of the letter and send the original by certified or registered U.S. mail to your school. Send the copy of the letter and the certified or registered mail receipt to the Registrar’s Office (RO). Also send to the RO copies of the documents that you were given by the school. If all these items are received by the application deadline, your application will be considered complete for review.

What is the difference between the MPH program and MS program?

The MPH, a more broad-based degree, is a public health practice/issue/problem-oriented degree. It requires the demonstration of breadth of knowledge in public health and the documentation of practical experience in public health. It requires a minimum of 45 semester credit hours which includes a practicum and a culminating experience. The MS, a more depth-based degree, is academic or research-oriented. It requires successful completion of a minimum of 12 courses comprising at least 36 semester credit hours including thesis.

Once I have been accepted, can I change programs?

It is possible to change your area of specialization/major provided you remain in the same degree program to which you were admitted. To request a change you need to complete the Change of Major/Division Request form and submit it to the Office of Student Affairs at E-201. A goal statement should accompany this form. The Division Director of the proposed major will make the final decision on this approval. It is suggested that a program change be made after one full semester of coursework has been done. It is important to first consult with your academic advisor about your plan to switch programs before submitting the request form.

Can I defer my admissions to a later semester?

Yes; however, deferment is not automatic. It would only be granted if justifiable reason is presented. You may email your deferral request to Student Affairs at If your request is granted, a letter confirming the deferral will be mailed to you shortly.

How long does it take to complete the MPH program? Can I finish the program in one year?

Although it is possible to complete the MPH in one academic year, this is extremely ambitious. Typically, full-time students take 18-24 months to complete the degree.

Can I transfer any credits earned while enrolled in another program toward the MPH at UTHealth?

Yes, It is possible possible to transfer up to 9 semester graduate credit hours with a grade of B or better. Transfer hours must be approved by the academic advisor, and cannot have counted for other degree.

SOPHAS requires three letters of recommendation, but UTSPH only requires two. What should I do?

You can list any name as the third recommendation if you have just two letters to submit. This will satisfy the requirements for both SOPHAS as well as UTSPH.

Financial aid

What kind of funding is available for students?

There are a wide range of financial assistance programs to help students at all our campuses. We have SPH scholarships, public health traineeships and several other current scholarships. We also offer a one-time student assistance for travel or dissertation/thesis expenses with the approval of the division director through our Student Assistance Fund. There are very limited funds for international students. However, with the help of our Financial Aid Office and International Financial Aid Office international students can find alternative loans to fund their education. Please note that there is no guarantee that a student will receive a scholarship, traineeship or graduate assistantship.

What kind of funding is available for non-degree and certificate students?

The school does not offer funding for non-degree and certificate students. However, these types of students can find alternative loans with different lenders. The UTHealth Financial Aid Office does not certify any loans for non-degree and certificate students. Any loans would be at the discretion of the lender and student.

How can I get financial aid? Are there assistantships available?

You can reach the Office of Financial Aid at 713-500-3860 or Student Financial Services . Visit our Career Services website to see Graduate open Student Assistant positions. This will list all of the vacant positions currently available to students. You may also want to check the bulletin boards in the lobbies of each of the floors of the school for available jobs or contact your advisor about potential Graduate Assistant (GA) positions.

Is funding available for international students?

We have limited resources for funding international students. The Admissions Committee may award qualified international students Outstanding New Student scholarships or Divisional New Student scholarships at the time of admission. These awards are limited in number and are made on a competitive basis. Students cannot apply for these awards directly. Many of our international students are able to obtain Graduate Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships after they matriculate into our program. There is no guarantee of funding, however, for international students.

After graduation

What can I do with a public health degree?

Public Health is so vast that it has many fields from which to choose. Career opportunities can be found in the public and private sector. For additional information, please visit

Do you have your own Career Services office?

Yes. You can find it online here. In Houston, it is located in the Office of Student Affairs, on the second floor of the SPH building.

I have some questions about job prospects in public health. Can I meet with someone in Career Services?

Yes. You may contact Janelle Rios, Ph.D., director of the Office of Public Health Practice and Career Services, at 713-500-9477 or email 

What career opportunities are available in Public Health?

We invite you to visit our Career Services site.

International students

How can I get an I-20 or IAP-66 form?

Once accepted to the program, the Office of International Affairs will contact you. You can also reach them at 713-500-3176 or email them at

What is a credit hour?

A credit hour represents one hour of classroom study per week over the period of time that the course is taught. Every course you successfully complete will grant you a set number of credit hours for that course. An MPH student requires a minimum number of 45 credit hours and a Ph.D. student requires a minimum of 48 credit hours to graduate. Your tuition bill is also charged based on the number of credit hours of study you enroll in.