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 a professional school (e.g., medical, nursing, dental, or pharmacy school). Should I get my master's degree first?

We encourage pre-clinical students to dedicate a gap year during or after professional school to pursue the master’s program, in order to gain basic health science knowledge and potentially find a specialty area. Please be aware that taking MCAT exams, applying to professional schools, and participating in interviews can interfere with the demanding academic schedule of the one-year master’s program. Attendance in all classes is critical. If you are applying to school, please try to limit conflicts with class time and be responsible about your participation in the program.

Can I apply if I am a medical/nursing/dental/pharmacy student?

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

Does the program offer online courses or a part-time option?

The MS in Global Health is a full-time program with coursework offered entirely in person at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Although some accommodations have been made for hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program currently does not offer online courses or a part-time option. All courses must be taken sequentially in the intensive, 11-month program.

What are your selection factors?

The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants based on their 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; see the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education statement.

How do you evaluate my transcripts?

When you are applying to the program, you may upload unofficial transcripts to your online application, where you will find instructions. If you have coursework outside of the United States, you may upload an unofficial copy of your World Education Services (WES) credential evaluation; however, this is optional for your application and you do not need to send your official WES report until you are admitted (see below).

If you are admitted to the program, you must submit official degree conferral transcripts from each institution where you have earned a degree. The transcripts must be sent directly from the institution or a third-party credential service. A degree conferral transcript is an official copy of your transcript that includes 1) the degree you earned (BS, MS, etc.), 2) the major in which your degree was earned (e.g., Biological Sciences, Art History), 3) the date the degree was awarded, and 4) final grades for all terms attended. If your transcript does not include these four pieces of information, it is not considered a degree conferral transcript. If you are currently enrolled in courses, you will need to contact your institution's Office of the Registrar to determine when your degree conferral will be posted to your transcript after you complete your degree requirements, typically 6-8 weeks after the end of the term.

If you are admitted to the program, you may send official transcripts electronically to [email protected], provided the transcripts 1) originate from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution and 2) the institution is located in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program prefers to not receive paper transcripts; however, if your institution is not currently sending transcripts electronically or is not a U.S. institution, please email [email protected] to arrange delivery of your official transcript.

If you are admitted and are sending transcripts from any institution outside the United States, you must have an accompanying official course-by-course credential evaluation from World Education Services (WES), even if the transcripts are in English. The WES evaluation must indicate that you earned a degree.

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 and Scholars Office has documented and verified your ability to cover the costs of study.

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 [email protected].