Ph.D. in Public Health admissions

The Admissions Committee seeks candidates from diverse backgrounds who have the qualifications and credentials to succeed in a rigorous, research-intensive doctoral program. Public health is a discipline oriented toward problem solving through research and action and we welcome inquiries and applications from prospective students who have a passion for improving population health through research activities with varying levels of engagement.

Currently, the School of Community Health Sciences offers two Ph.D. specializations:

  • Epidemiology
  • Social and Behavioral Health

Applicants must identify a specialization in their application.

Admission requirements

Prospective students must meet the graduate admission requirements of both University of Nevada, Reno and School of Community Health Sciences, per the following guidelines:

Prospective students must meet both University of Nevada, Reno and School of Community Health Sciences requirements for graduate status.

  1. Master of Public Health (MPH) degree or relevant master’s or doctoral degrees from accredited institutions, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale preferred. Occasionally, students can be admitted with a health-related bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 that is confirmed before beginning classes.
  2. Graduate record exam (GRE) scores, which should be above the 50th percentile (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing). GRE scores will be assessed relative to other applicants in the pool. The exam must have been taken within the last five (5) years.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s motivation, academic capability, scholarship potential, and personal goals for doctoral study.
  4. A written statement of personal career, educational and scholarship goals including identification of research interests.
  5. A current curriculum vitae (CV).
  6. An academic health-related writing sample (for example, a first-author publication or class paper).
  7. An interview with the admissions committee (if invited).
  8. For applicants from non-English speaking nations, TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo Test Scores are required.  Minimum scores: TOEFL: 550 (paper) or 79 (internet); IELTS: 6.5 (academic version); Duolingo: 105. 

Ph.D. prerequisite coursework

Prerequisite coursework includes a master's level epidemiology course (3 credit equivalent) and biostatistics course (3 credit equivalent). Additionally,  students who did not graduate from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health must complete the Basics of Public Health course that covers the 12 Foundational Public Health Knowledge learning objectives. The Basics of Public Health course is completed for no academic credit and the student pays no fees or tuition for completing the course. This course should be completed before the start of the program.

Application process

Two separate applications are necessary for admission to the Ph.D. in Public Health program:

  • SOPHAS. The first application is submitted directly to SOPHAS
  • Graduate School application. The second application is submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Before starting the application process, please note the admission requirements above.

Public Health Ph.D. application 1: SOPHAS

The following materials should be submitted directly to SOPHAS:

  1. Transcripts. One official copy of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
  2. GRE scores. Submit OFFICIAL GRE scores by using the University of Nevada, Reno SOPHAS code 7828.
  3. TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo Test Scores (required if education history is from a non-English Speaking Country).  . TOEFL scores can be submitted using the University of Nevada, Reno SOPHAS code 5688.
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Writing sample
  7. Resume or CV

Public Health Ph.D. application 2: Graduate School

A very short application to the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School is also required, but you will not need to re-submit the other materials submitted to SOPHAS. Fees for the University of Nevada, Reno application will be covered by the School of Community Health Sciences.

To start the University application, follow these directions:

  • Access the application through the Graduate School's online application portal.
  • Click create account to create a username and password and then log in and begin the short application.
  • At the end of the application, there is an "Application Fee Waiver" section with instructions. The coupon code to use is CHS2021.
  • Enter the coupon code ( CHS2021) and click "save and review."
  • After you finish reviewing click "save and pay".
  • This will take you to next page where you will select "request a waiver" and then "submit waiver request". This can take a few minutes, but please wait for it to finish. You should get a congratulations page when it is complete.

Please be aware that you will not be considered for admission until you have submitted a completed SOPHAS application and the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School application.

Questions? Want more information?

For questions or more information, contact:

Kristen Clements-Nolle
Director of Graduate Studies
Email: clements@unr.edu