How to Apply for a Master’s Degree Program

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Master of Science (MS)

Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)

Master of Health Informatics (MHI)


Each degree program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health has different application requirements and deadlines. This page summarizes the application requirements for the master’s degree programs only. To learn more about our other offerings, including details about applications and requirements, please visit Applications and Requirements.

Important Dates

 

Priority Application Deadline

Final Application Deadline
Residential MPH Dec 1 June 15*
Residential MS Dec 1 Varies by Department  (Learn more)
Online MPH and MS Feb 15 June 15


*The final application deadline for residential international MPH/MHSA applicants is January 15. 

Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)

Submissions

All MPH and MHSA applications, including those for residential and online programs, must be submitted to the online centralized application service SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Services). SOPHAS allows students to apply to multiple accredited institutions using one application.

Visit SOPHAS

SOPHAS is responsible for verifying all academic transcripts and degrees, reviewing recommendations for completeness and authenticity, and disseminating completed application files to all programs designated by applicants. Please note that during peak times, it can take up to four weeks after submission for your application to reach verified status.

Applicants will know that their application has been sent to Michigan Public Health when the application status is verified in their SOPHAS portal. Shortly thereafter, applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of application. At that time, you can create a friend account in Wolverine Access. Within this system, you can monitor your application status. Once your application is complete, most applicants will receive an admission decision via email within 6-8 weeks.

Application Requirements

MPH and MHSA applications must include all of the following in order to be considered:

  1. Online SOPHAS Application 
  2. Official Transcripts
  3. SOPHAS Statement of Purpose and Objectives*
  4. Reflective Essay
  5. Quantitative Experiences Statement
  6. Resume or CV (Recommended)
  7. Letters of Recommendation
  8. See Language Proficiency Requirements for international applicants

    *You should submit a SOPHAS Statement of Purpose and Objectives for each program you are applying to.

Official Transcripts 

Applicants must submit official transcripts from any institutions at which they have completed post-secondary coursework directly to SOPHAS (regardless of how much time you were enrolled). You do not need to submit a second copy of your official transcript to Michigan Public Health Admissions unless it is requested.

International Transcripts

Individuals submitting transcripts from an international academic institution must first submit their transcripts to World Education Services (WES) for a ICAP credential evaluation. Because this process can take time, applicants should submit their transcripts to WES at least one month prior to the application deadline. Complete WES evaluations must be submitted directly to SOPHAS.

Applicants who are residing in the US at the time of application but completed their academic training in a non-US institution must also adhere to this requirement. 

Study Abroad Credit

If the coursework completed abroad was one year or less and is listed (with or without a letter grade) on your domestic undergraduate transcript, a course-by-course foreign transcript  evaluation is not required. 

Required Essays

SOPHAS Statement of Purpose and Objectives:

This statement should be a concise, well-written essay about your educational background and reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in public health, specifically the area of study you wish to follow. This essay should be approximately 1,500 words in length. You should give information about:

  1. Your background as it pertains to your academic and professional goals.
  2. The motivating influences that stimulated interest in your specific discipline.
  3. Your future career goals and objectives.
  4. Indicate how an advanced degree will help to achieve your educational and career objectives.

Reflective Essay

This essay should be approximately 500 words in length (3,000 character limit). It should provide a brief description of how your personal or academic background and experiences will bring a unique perspective to the program and contribute to a diverse and inclusive U-M SPH community. Please also discuss and explain any unusual patterns or anomalies in your academic or professional record (for example, gaps in work or education, or a poor semester performance).  This essay will be pasted into the Additional Questions section of our programs.

Quantitative Experiences Statement

Please summarize the strength of your quantitative and analytical skills by (a) referencing your grades in key math and science-related coursework and (b) discussing specific details of any research or work experiences that involved quantitative and analytical tasks. The information provided will contribute to our holistic review process.

Resume or CV (Recommended):

Applicants may upload a resume or CV directly to SOPHAS via their online application. No cover letter is required.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required as part of the application process. You should select a recommender who can discuss your ability to academically succeed and contribute to the public health profession. 

Depending on your background and specific situation, consider the following references:

  • Faculty in your major of study
  • An employer or supervisor
  • Academic advisor
  • Professional mentor from a relevant volunteer or professional experience.
    • A friend or relative is not an appropriate selection for a graduate school recommendation. Faculty reviewers like to see letters on official letterhead along with a full signature including the writer’s company or professional affiliation, job title, and contact information. 

Processing Reminders

Be sure to make your evaluators aware that they will be required to submit evaluations directly to SOPHAS. You will be responsible for inputting their contact information and SOPHAS will initiate contact to obtain their recommendations. More information about recommendations can be found in the SOPHAS Applicant Help Center

Standardized Tests

Standardized test scores are not required for applicants applying to any master’s- or doctoral-level program for the academic year starting fall 2021. If you have taken a standardized test such as the GRE or MCAT and want to submit your scores, please note that they will not be used as an official metric during application review. Scores may be used by some programs after the admissions decision is made to inform future use of standardized test scores in the admissions process. Reach out to admissions staff at sph.inquiries@umich.edu if you have questions.

To submit standardized test scores, follow the instructions below.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): All programs accept general official GRE scores taken within the last five years. Test scores should be submitted electronically to institution code 1954 and/or 1839; there is no need to enter a department code. 

Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT): MCAT scores may be submitted electronically from AAMC to SOPHAS. No code is used.

SOPHAS Fees and Michigan Public Health Supplemental Fee

The SOPHAS application fee for an applicant’s first program designation is $140 for the 2020-2021 cycle. Additional program designations are $50. Each cycle, SOPHAS has a limited number of fee waivers that are provided to qualified applicants on a first come-first served basis. 

In addition to the SOPHAS application fee, there is a non-refundable Michigan Public Health school processing fee of $75 for all applicants. Payment information is found in the school instructions on SOPHAS. If you have trouble paying the fee, make sure that your pop-up blocker is turned off, copy and paste the link into your browser, and clear all cookies.

Specialized Fee Waiver Groups

Prospective students who verify their participation with one of the following groups are eligible for a fee waiver of the additional Michigan Public Health fee of $75. Each fee waiver is subject to approval. Please submit documentation verifying participation when contacting sph-inquiries@umich.edu. *Applicants interested in being considered for a SOPHAS fee waiver should connect with them directly.

  • Active duty or veteran service member
  • McNair Scholars
  • Project 1000
  • Leadership Alliance
  • SOPHAS need-based fee waiver recipient
  • AmeriCorps
  • Peace Corps
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Drew Scholars
  • Bonner Scholars
  • University of Michigan Blavin Scholars
  • Michigan Public Health Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) alumni
  • Michigan Public Health Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) alumni
  • University of Michigan Certificate in the Foundations of Public Health (CFPH) alumni or on track to complete certificate before admitting term begins
  • University of Michigan MHIRT program alumni

In addition to participation in the above organizations, Michigan Public Health may also grant a waiver for students who are experiencing financial distress. Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Student Affairs. Please contact sph-inquiries@umich.edu with information that supports your request.

Master of Science

Deadlines by Degree

The applications for the Master of Science programs are administered by the Rackham Graduate School

Application Requirements

Applicants applying to Master of Science programs will be asked to submit the following:

Official Transcripts 

  • From a U.S. Institution:
    • Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account. ​​​​​​​​​​
    • If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require an official transcript(s). Recommended applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcript(s) are required for submission. All students are asked to include an electronic transcript during the online application.
  • From a Non-U.S. Institution:
    • Review Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for transcript/academic record requirements by country or region. Submitting transcript/academic records is a two-step process:
      1. ​​​​​Upload an electronic version of your official transcript/academic record for each institution attended through your ApplyWeb application account.
      2. At the time of application, you must also submit an official transcript/academic record for each institution attended. See Rackham’s detailed instructions on how to submit transcripts/academic records to the Rackham Graduate School.

Letters of Recommendation
We require three letters of recommendation from either academic (e.g., a professor) or professional (e.g., a supervisor) sources. We do not accept personal references. All letters must be signed and on letterhead.

Academic Statement of Purpose
This essay should be a concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background as well as your career goals. In addition, the content should communicate how this graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. The length of the should be 1-3 pages.

Personal Statement
How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? The personal statement has a 500 word limit and should be different from your Academic Statement of Purpose.

Quantitative Experiences Statement
Please summarize the strength of your quantitative and analytical skills by (a) referencing your grades in key math and science-related coursework and (b) discussing specific details of any research or work experiences that involved quantitative and analytical tasks. The information provided will contribute to our holistic review process.

Curriculum Vitae or Resume  (Recommended):
 A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume describes your education, work experience, research publications, teaching experience, professional activities, volunteer activity, community engagement, as well as honors and awards.

Standardized Test Scores
Standardized test scores are not required for applicants applying to any master’s- or doctoral-level program for the academic year starting fall 2021. If you have taken a standardized test such as the GRE or MCAT and want to submit your scores, please note that they will not be used as an official metric during application review. Scores may be used by some programs after the admissions decision is made to inform future use of standardized test scores in the admissions process.

Application requirements for Master of Science degree programs at the School of Public Health differ by department and program:

The Rackham Graduate School provides a concise overview of the general application process and required steps for application preparation and submission.

Applications for the Master of Health Informatics

Applications for admission to the Master of Health Informatics (MHI) program are submitted through CollegeNet, not through SOPHAS. Please see the MHI website for more information on the application process.

Please contact hi.inquiries@umich.edu with any questions.

How We Make Our Admission Decisions

Michigan Public Health practices a holistic review process when making graduate student admission decisions. Reviewers give careful consideration to all materials submitted by a student. We look at grades and key coursework, essays, experience, and letters of recommendation. 

Holistic review ensures that no single factor leads to either accepting the student or excluding the student from admission.

The following items are considered during holistic review:

  • Essays 
  • Grades and Key Coursework
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Experiences (Examples- Research, Volunteering, Professional Work etc.)
  • Evidence of academic training for rigorous graduate public health curriculum