Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Master of Science in Global Health (MS) and a Master of Public Health (MPH)?

To learn more about the various health disciplines (public, global, planetary and one health), read the Global Health Now series What's the Difference? A Primer on Evolving Health Disciplines.

I am just finishing my bachelor's degree. Can I apply?

You are eligible to apply, but you become considerably more competitive with at least 6-12 months of work experience in a relevant global health pursuit, such as through the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, an NGO, or an international multilateral or governmental organization.

I want to apply to medical school. Should I get my master's degree first?

We encourage pre-medical students to dedicate a gap year during or after medical school to pursue the master’s program, in order to gain basic health science knowledge and potentially find a specialty area. We do not recommend obtaining a master’s degree in global health as a credential to enhance medical school acceptance, and we generally discourage taking MCAT exams and applying to medical schools during the demanding academic schedule of the one-year master’s program.

Can I apply if I am a medical student?

You are eligible to apply to the program during a gap year from medical school. The academic year of the master’s program runs September through July, which is compatible with August start dates of many clerkship rotations.

How do you evaluate my transcripts?

You may upload either official or unofficial transcripts to your online application; if you are selected to interview, you will need to order official transcripts that must arrive (in a sealed envelope) before your interview day. Instructions are in the online application.

All transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be sent first to World Education Services (WES) for a credential evaluation to verify degree equivalency.

What are your selection factors?

The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants based on their interview, academic record, letters of recommendation, personal statement, leadership potential, work experience, honors and awards, extra-curricular activities and interests, and potential contribution to the class. IGHS seeks diversity of backgrounds and interests within each class.

Are there additional requirements for international applicants?

Applicants from outside the US must be eligible to obtain an F-1 visa and demonstrate they have financial support to attend the program and live in the US. If you are offered admission, the I-20 form (required to obtain your student visa) cannot be issued until the UCSF International Students & Scholars Office has documented and verified your ability to cover the costs of study.

Are interviews required?

The interview is a required part of the application process and is by invitation only. If you decline our invitation to interview or you do not respond by the deadline specified in your invitation, your application will be canceled and you will not be considered for admission. All applicants are notified of their interview invitation status via email.

When will I hear about admission?

You will be informed of your admission status (acceptance, denial, or waitlist) approximately one month after the application deadline. Highly qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling basis.

Can I defer my admission?

If accepted, you cannot defer your admission to another year, but must reapply and pay a new application fee. We will evaluate your new application within the new candidate pool, and therefore cannot guarantee admission in the next round.

Will I be able to work part-time during the program?

Although students have blocks of free time during each quarter, the academic workload is arduous and requires considerable independent study time. We estimate that students need to spend around 42 hours per week of combined contact time and independent study to successfully complete the coursework. We advise students to work at a job no more than 10 hours per week during school.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

Contact IGHS Admissions at, 415-476-5551.