FAQ’s

How is the program different from other MPH programs?

In general, other MPH programs offer breadth in different areas from ours; for example, hospital administration, health education, etc. Our program places more emphasis on dual degree programs, particularly with law and medicine, drawing upon UVA’s strength in Public Health Law, Public Health Ethics and Bioethics. Our particular blend of focus areas is reflected in the structure of the concentrations.

When is your application deadline?

Our application deadline is March 1 for the following fall. Only applications which have ALL supporting documentation in place by March 1 will be evaluated for admission. Incomplete applications will not be read. Applications received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list and evaluated on a space-available basis.

Do you require an admission interview?

No, however, pre-admission interviews are encouraged for those who wish to tour the Grounds and meet one-on-one with faculty members before deciding whether to accept admission. In addition, we occasionally call students in for interviews when we feel we need more information to evaluate their applications. We are happy to speak to applicants or prospective students at any point in the application or admission process.

I would like to apply for the program, but my GPA is lower than average.  Is there anything I can do to improve my chances?

If your overall GPA is lower than 3.0, we recommend that before applying for admission you take a college-level math (preferably college algebra) or statistics course, or a computer programming course. If you can show us that you can excel in this type of coursework, we will take this into account when evaluating your application.  Please bear in mind that our program is very quantitatively demanding as well as time-intensive; students who have struggled with math skills or time management priorities in the past tend to flounder in our program.  Furthermore, as our applicant pool grows, competition for admission is growing more intense.

What are the prerequisites for entering the program?  Are they different for international students?

We require all applicants to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. We welcome students from a wide variety of backgrounds; students most commonly come to us with degrees in biological science, medicine, nursing, other health science, social science, computer science, mathematics/statistics, or law.

Students wishing to apply to the program must complete the on-line application form and submit all supporting documentation: a statement of purpose (rationale for pursuing graduate study in this field), transcripts of all college and university coursework completed, a minimum of two letters of recommendation, and GRE/MCAT/GMAT/LSAT/PCAT scores as applicable.

International students without green cards must meet these same criteria and additionally must demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency by satisfactory performance on the TOEFL. An official TOEFL score report should be submitted with the application. All international students enrolling at UVA must have valid, appropriate visas and guarantees of financial support while in the US. Contact the UVA International Studies Office for specifics.

Do I have to be an MD to qualify for admission to the program?

No. While we do count many MDs among our enrollees, anyone who holds at least a bachelor’s degree can apply for admission to the program, and we are very proud of our students’ great diversity of backgrounds. We have designed the program to be of use to nurses, administrators, drug and device evaluators, recent undergraduates, as well as clinical fellows and other MDs.

Are there part-time options available?

Part-time options are available based on each student’s individual situation, preferences, and needs; it is also an option for physicians and employees of the Health System at the University.  A part-time path through the program works most efficiently if you can take two or more courses per semester.  We do require that you graduate within five years after you are first admitted.  However, you may request an extension if that is not possible.

When will I find out whether I’ve been admitted?The deadline is March 1, however we do review on a rolling basis, so it is best to apply early.  One can expect to receive notification by April 1, and we ask for a decision from you by April 15.

International students’ applications are subject to additional review by the International Studies Office, which can incur delays, especially if visa status is in question or a student’s financial documents are incomplete.

Can I be admitted during the spring semester?

No.  Spring semester admission is awkward because most PHS courses offered in the spring have one or more fall courses as prerequisites, so you would not be able to complete the program in one year.

May I take a course or two before applying to see if the program is right for me?

All of our PHS courses are Instructor Permission, which means that only MPH and MS-CR degree seeking students are allowed.  If you would like to take a course prior to applying you will need to submit a request with your reasoning for taking the course to our PHS Education Office at phsdegrees@virginia.edu.  If you are granted permission, you can register for classes through the Community Scholar Program in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies. Registration starts around August 1 for fall courses, and December 1 for spring courses.

May I take a course in the PHS department as an UVA undergraduate?

Yes, we have 5000-level sections in some of the PHS courses to allow a limited number of upper-division UVA undergraduate students to take our courses with instructor permission. PHS degree candidates and graduate students will always have priority in our classes. Please contact the course instructor to inquire about availability.

Does UVA offer tuition assistance for employees?

Yes, please contact the University of Virginia Human Resources Benefits Office to find out requirements. Permission of instructor is required.

Standardized Tests Frequently Asked Questions…

Can I substitute another graduate exam for the GRE?

If you have not yet taken a graduate school qualification test, we recommend that you take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If you have taken another qualifying test within the past five years (e.g., the MCAT, LSAT, PCAT, or GMAT), you may submit these scores in place of the GRE.

What kind of GRE / GMAT scores are you looking for?

Many students ask this question. Percentile ranking is becoming more important to us than individual scores. We are working toward an 85th-percentile standard, but this depends heavily on the overall performance of our applicants, and therefore is not absolute. Recent incoming classes have averaged between the 70th – 75th percentiles in their quantitative and analytical GRE scores.

I already have an advanced degree and have not taken the GRE/MCAT in years. Do I need to retake it?

Applicants who hold a MD, PhD, or other doctoral-level degree conferred by an accredited U.S. institution may choose not to submit test scores. However, graduates of foreign doctoral programs must take the GRE or other qualifying test.

Which of the GRE scores do you pay most attention to?

We look most closely at the quantitative and analytical scores. A low verbal score will not affect your admission chances as much as a low quantitative score.

Do you require the GRE Subject Test?

No.

What MCAT scores are you looking for?

We prefer individual section scores of 10 or better, particularly in the physical and biological science areas.

What LSAT scores are you looking for?

We prefer scores that are in the 70th percentile or higher.

Which institution and department codes should I use to forward my test scores?

  • MS-Clinical Research Applicants

The TOEFL, while an ETS test, uses a different department code. Use department code #25 when submitting TOEFL scores. The institution code is the same as other ETS tests: 5820.

  • MPH Applicants

SOPHAS has a UVA MPH specific code for TOEFL and GRE’s.

 

Is there a minimum TOEFL score requirement?

Yes. we require that international students score at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL or 250 on the computer-based TOEFL. We strongly support this minimum standard. Our program requires students to write, speak, and read extensively in English, and it is imperative that incoming students be able to understand graduate-level lectures and texts as well as express themselves effectively in speech and writing.

In our experience , international students who score significantly lower than these minimum levels struggle seriously with academic-level work, jeopardizing their chances for success in the program.  If you do not believe your TOEFL scores are an accurate representation of your English proficiency, we recommend that you retake the test rather than submitting low scores that could affect your chances for admission.

I am a permanent resident of the U.S. (green card holder). Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

No.

 

If you have a question that you would like to see added to our FAQ, please contact Tracey Brookman, Academic Program Administrator at phsdegrees@virginia.edu