Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply to the PhD program without GRE scores?

All applicants must have current GRE scores in order to apply. This requirement cannot be waived, regardless of your past academic background. If you submit your application before taking the GRE and before the application deadline, you must take the GRE and make sure your test scores arrive by the application deadline so that your application can be considered complete. We advise you to take the computer-delivered GRE test to ensure the timely arrival of your test scores (usually 10-15 days after your test date).

What are the minimum required test scores needed to apply?

GRE: GRE test scores are valid for five years. The PhD program does not have a minimum GRE score requirement. Your GRE scores will be reviewed in conjunction with your entire application.

TOEFL/IELTS: TOEFL and IELTS cannot be more than two years old to be accepted for UCSF applications. You must have the following minimum scores:

Test Type Minimum Score
Paper based TOEFL 550
Computer based TOEFL 213
Internet based TOEFL iBT 80
IELTS 7

If I am a non-native English speaker, is there any way to get the TOEFL/IELTS score requirement waived?

The TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived if you have completed more than one year of full-time academic coursework in residence at an accredited U.S. university and have maintained a GPA greater than 3.0. In this case, you may submit an official transcript from the university in lieu of TOEFL scores.

What should I expect to include in my statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose should remain within a 3-page limit and address the following:

  • Specify your reasons for applying to the UCSF Global Health doctoral program:
    • What are your career goals?
    • Why did you choose to apply for a PhD in Global Health Sciences?
    • How will the program help you achieve your future career goals?
  • Describe how you plan to pursue your research aims during the doctoral program.
  • Describe your experience working with underserved populations and/or your work in international settings, and how your past experience has prepared you for a doctoral program of research.

Do I need to identify a faculty advisor at UCSF who can support my research interests in order to apply?

You will be asked to submit the names of UCSF faculty you have contacted prior to completing the application. You will be required to describe your research aims in the application. It is essential that you are aware of the type of global health research conducted at UCSF when drafting your application. If your research interests do not match the expertise of faculty at UCSF, the program will be unable to support your area of proposed research.

How do I find research projects at UCSF that fall within my area of research interest?

Search for ongoing and existing research projects at UCSF using the following databases:

Can I get an application fee waiver?

You may qualify to have the application fee waived if you participate in specific programs or can demonstrate financial need. To request the waiver, select the "application fee waiver" option in the payment area of the online application. Please see fee waiver information to determine your eligibility for this exemption.

When will I hear about admission?

Most applicants will be informed of their acceptance/denial/waitlist status within four months of the application deadline.

Can I change my area of research interest after enrolling in the program?

Any change will require prior approval from your current faculty research advisor, new faculty research advisor, and PhD program director. Changing your program of research may lengthen the duration of the program.

Can I take classes at other Bay Area universities while I am at UCSF?

The UCSF Office of the Registrar runs several programs that allow graduate students to take courses on another campus while remaining registered on the home campus. This provides the opportunity for contact with fields of study not available on the home campus. You pay fees only to the home campus, and grades for courses taken at the host campus are reported to the Office of the Registrar for inclusion on your UCSF transcript. For more information, see: Intercampus Exchange, SF Consortium, Stanford Exchange.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact IGHS Admissions at education@globalhealth.ucsf.edu, 415-476-5551.