Doctoral Program 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: (1) Epidemiology and (2) 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:

  1. Regular fall admission: The application deadline for the Ph.D. program is April 15. However, to receive full consideration for Graduate Assistantships, Fellowships, and Merit Graduate Student Awards, applicants are encouraged to submit their application by February 1. Only full-time students (e.g., 10 or more credits per semester) are accepted. Applications received by this deadline receive priority consideration but late applications may be considered as well.
  2. Master's Degree: Earned Master of Public Health (MPH) degree or relevant master's or doctoral degrees from accredited institutions.
  3. GPA: A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale earned in an MPH or equivalent master's or doctoral program.
  4. GRE scores: Competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores on verbal, quantitative and analytic measures. GRE scores of accepted students are typically above the 40th percentile. However, scores will be assessed relative to other applicants in the pool and considered in the context of the overall application package. The exam must have been taken within the last five (5) years. The GRE is not required for applicants who have already obtained a PhD, MD, DDS, or DrPH from institutions approved by the School of Community Health Sciences or the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School.
  5. TOEFL Scores: English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for applicants from non-English speaking nations. The minimum threshold is 550 for the TOEFL paper exam, 80 for the internet-based exam, and 6.5 for International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  6. Three letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant's motivation, academic capability, scholarship potential, and personal goals for doctoral study.
  7. Statement of Purpose: A written statement of career, educational and scholarship goals including identification of research interests and name(s) of faculty with whom you want to work.
  8. CV or Resume: A current resume or curriculum vitae (CV) that demonstrates professional and/or educational health-related experience.
  9. Writing Sample: An academic health-related writing sample (e.g., a first-authored publication or a class paper).
  10. Interview with Ph.D. faculty: In-person or technology-assisted interview will be scheduled once applicants pass initial screening.

Application Process

Two separate applications are necessary for admission to the Ph.D. in Public Health program: The first application is submitted directly to SOPHAS; 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. Other Standardized Test Scores. Submit OFFICIAL standardized test scores other than the GRE, including the TOEFL, IELTS (for international students) and MCAT or GMAT (if substituting for the GRE). TOEFL scores can be submitted using the University of Nevada, Reno SOPHAS code 7828.
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Writing sample
  7. Resume or CV

Public Health Ph.D. Application 2:

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

To start the UNR application, follow these directions:

  • Access the application through:
  • 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 CHS2020.
  • Enter the coupon code (CHS2020) 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 UNR Graduate School application.

More information about the public health doctoral program

If you have questions or would like additional information about the doctoral program, contact the Graduate Director:

Kristen Clements-Nolle, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies |