The Penn State College of Medicine Crescent is seen at 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA. The building is framed by grass below and a bright blue sky with white clouds above. Flagpoles with the American and Pennsylvania flags are visible toward the right.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program

How Do I Apply to the DrPH Program?

Penn State College of Medicine’s DrPH Program has a two-part application process:

  • All students must submit an application through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).
  • Students chosen for admission must then complete a secondary application through The Graduate School at Penn State. Details on that are provided with the offer of admission.

What are the Application Requirements?

Before beginning your application, please review the Graduate School’s admissions requirements. If offered admission into the DrPH program, you must submit a supplemental Penn State Graduate School application in order to become a Penn State student. The application fee for this process is waived, and separate instructions will be provided with the letter offering admission to the program. In addition to the Doctor of Public Health Admissions Committee Review, the Penn State Graduate School will conduct a final verification of all domestic and international degrees received. Please call the Penn State Graduate School at 814-865-1795 if you are uncertain whether your degree meets Penn State requirements.

SOPHAS applications must include the following items to be eligible for consideration. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Completed online application
  • Statement of purpose - See details below
  • Resume or CV - Prior public health experience (work, volunteer, internship, service learning) recommended but not required
  • Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended - See SOPHAS transcript details here; if offered admission, official transcripts will be requested
  • Three letters of recommendation - One letter must be from academic advisor or instructor; letters from family members or friends will not be accepted
  • GRE scores - GRE must have been taken within past five years; select institution code 7516, for “Pennsylvania State U Public Health Program SOPHAS”; recommended minimum GRE score is 300 combined (quantitative + verbal)
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores - International applicants only

Key Dates

  • SOPHAS application deadline is January 15 for domestic and international applicants.

Prerequisites

Applicants must have a graduate (e.g., master's) or advanced professional (e.g., MD) degree. Applicants without a Master of Public Health (MPH) or related degree may be required to take core courses to ensure a firm foundation in the MPH competency domains. Students will be advised of any additional required core courses upon receipt of the DrPH program acceptance letter.

Master of Public Health (MPH) Core Courses include:

  • PHS 504 Behavioral Health Intervention Strategies (3 credits)
  • PHS 520 Principles of Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • PHS 542 Environmental Health (3 credits)
  • PHS 550 Principles of Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PHS 571 Introduction to Health Services Organization & Delivery (3 credits)

Some courses may be waived based on master's-level coursework. Students must petition the head of the graduate program to obtain a waiver in advance.

Students currently enrolled in a master’s program are eligible to apply. Enrollment into the DrPH is contingent upon master’s degree completion.

Statement of Purpose

One of the requirements of the SOPHAS application is a Statement of Purpose.

Your Statement of Purpose should indicates your reason(s) for pursuing a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree and should include the following:

  • Motivation for pursuing a DrPH degree. Why are you interested in pursuing a DrPH? How do you see yourself using your DrPH education and training in the workplace? What are your long-term career goals? Describe a public health issue (or issues) that you are most passionate to solve.
  • Research. Please describe your research interest(s) and how your research can contribute to public health and the department research portfolio. Have you contacted any PHS faculty to learn about their research? Please describe linkages between specific faculty, their current/future research and your research interest(s). View the PHS faculty directory.
  • Leadership. Describe your leadership experience to date and what type of leader you would like to become. What additional experiences will you seek during the DrPH program? How do you want to enhance your leadership skills? Please include specific examples.
  • Character. Please include personal qualities, characteristics, skills, and experiences you believe will enable you to be successful in the DrPH program. Please include specific examples.

Responses must be limited to 1000 words.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the DrPH Program, please contact us at 717-531-1502 or drphprogram@phs.psu.edu.