Admission Requirements and Process

As part of this new doctoral degree program in Public Health Sciences at UC Davis, you will become a highly educated public health research professional prepared for leadership in governmental public health agencies, community-based public health organizations, and academic health centers. This research
training will enable you to create innovative, evidence-based approaches to meet critical future societal health needs, particularly those of diverse populations. Students will also receive mentoring and experience teaching to educate the next generation of academic public health professionals and leaders in their field.

Our PhD Admission Handout for reference

  1. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 gradepoint average (GPA) on graduation and a master’s degree in public health or master’s of science in public health or related field. An official transcript is required from each undergraduate or graduate institution you attended. You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application. For more details, please visit Prior UC Davis students do not need to order UC Davis transcripts. Once your application has been submitted your UC Davis transcripts will be requested for you. Please note that this does not apply to UC Davis Extension coursework. (All application materials, including transcripts and GRE scores, become the property of the University and cannot be borrowed, photocopied, returned to applicants, or sent elsewhere.)

  2. Applicants must be in a good academic standing and must disclose any past or present academic misconduct, institutional actions, felonies and misdemeanors.

  3. The following prerequisite courses are required for admission: Master's Degree in public health or a master's of science in public health or related field.

  4. Complete and submit results from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). For reporting scores, use the Institution Code: 4834 and Department Code: 0616. Note: GREs are required for all applicants and test scores must be taken within 7 years of application, except as noted. There is no minimum for test scores and no exceptions to the rules above.

  5. The UCD Office of Graduate Studies requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if your native language is not English or your instruction has not been in English. The minimum score required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis is 550 for the paper test or a score of 80 for the Internet-based test. TOEFL scores expire after two years. Scores that are older than two years will not be accepted by Graduate Studies. Although an 80 iBT score is the minimum required for admission, additional English language testing may be required of admitted students with iBT scores below 104.

  6. CV and/or résumé listing your experience and background in public health.

  7. A Statement of Purpose

  8. Personal History and Diversity Statement

  9. Three academic or professional recommendations (in English) are required. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically through the online application. Letter service letters are not accepted. There are no exceptions to the online submission rule.

Sources of Funding

The Ph.D. program does not guarantee financial support to students. Financial aid is available to US citizens or permanent US residents; students need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and should update it each year. Students can look for a reader, teaching assistantship or a graduate student research position, but these positions are offered by individual departments and are not guaranteed to the students. The Ph.D. program makes every effort to look for and to offer funded practicum projects. Students should contact the program office for funded practicum opportunities

Program Fees and Living Expenses

For current Tuition and Fees, please visit the Budget & Institutional Analysis website.  The tuition, fees and charges posted are estimates based on currently approved amounts.  The figures may not be final.  As a result of gubernatorial, legislative, Regental and/or campus action, these fees may change without notice.  Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student’s final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

UC Davis automatically enrolls all registered students in the UC Davis Student Health Insurance Plan (Davis SHIP).  If you have comparable insurance and do not wish to be enrolled in Davis SHIP you must submit a waiver application by the stated deadlines.  More information is available at:  

Financial Aid

U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens who wish to be considered for financial aid are required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The federal school code is 001313.  Dream Act students are encouraged to complete the California Dream Act Application on the California Student Aid Commission’s website.  These programs are based on demonstrated financial need.  The FAFSA and the California Dream Act Application are available on January 1 each year.  Although UC Davis has a priority filing deadline of March 1, it is strongly encouraged to submit your application as early as possible.  Applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis until funds are exhausted.  Financial aid is awarded only to admitted students.

Federal Direct unsubsidized and unsubsidized Graduate PLUS Loans are available to help meet the cost of attendance beyond any grants, fellowships and outside resources awarded.

Grants, Fellowships, and Scholarships

Each academic year, a limited number of merit and need-based grants and fellowships are awarded.

The Graduate Student Child Care Grant (GSCCG) is available to UC Davis students enrolled full-time in a graduate or professional degree program or on filing fee status (one term allowed). Students must have/claim dependent children 12 years old or younger in their care and must incur child care expenses. It is not based on financial need and all graduate students with documented child care expenses are entitled to this grant.  Questions should be directed to UC Davis Worklife & Wellness at 530.754.8791 or

Student Employment Opportunities

Current PhD students may have access to student teaching and research employment through one or more of the following positions:

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)*: A GSR is a full-time registered graduate student appointed to assist in performing research under the direction of a faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator.  Departments offer GSR positions on a limited basis and students should seek these out on their own.  Students gain valuable experience working part-time on faculty-run research projects and receive a stipend and/or tuition assistance.  To be eligible, the full-time enrolled UC Davis graduate student must be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.  GSR appointments, above 25% and not exceeding 50% time, provide full fee remission of in-state fees.  This policy is reviewed for renewal each year.

Teaching Assistant (TA)*: A TA is a full-time registered graduate student serving an apprenticeship under the supervision of a regular faculty member.  Some departments have TA positions available to a limited number of students who have substantial preparation in their area of study.  Departments offer TA positions on a limited basis and students should seek these out on their own.  TA appointments, above 25% and not exceeding 50% time, provide partial remission of in-state fees.  This policy is reviewed for renewal each year.        

The PhD program office advertises GSR and TA positions as they become available.  GSR/TA appointments will typically reduce your loan eligibility.

External Funding Resources

Students are encouraged to independently seek funding from external funding sources.

Scholarship Search Engines

There are many sources available for external funding searches.  These are a few websites to get started on your search:

UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies External Fellowships

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

U.S. Department of Labor's Scholarship Search Tool

Scholarship Search by Sallie Mae

UCLA Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support (GRAPES) Database

Grant Forward

Statement of Purpose

The online admission application asks you to describe your academic plans and research interests, your specialization within your academic field, your research experiences, your career goals, and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis.

  • Describe to us how you will be a successful PhD Student at UC Davis. Each statement you write should have a clear purpose.

  • Keep the statement within the character limit (4000 characters) provided by the Office of Graduate Studies. Your statement should be clear, concise, and relevant.

  • Do not let the Admissions Committee assume anything; be explicit in addressing the following:

    • What in your background, history, training, and experiences (personal, professional,academic) have led you to pursue graduate training and a career in public health?
    • What are your future career goals in public health (e.g., what health condition or population do you want to work with? What do you see as your contribution in public health)?

    • Why do you need an PhD degree to meet your professional goals?

    • Why UC Davis?

Personal History and Diversity Statement

This statement should reflect on experiences and/or circumstances that are not directly related to your pursuit of graduate training in public health, but have an impact of your candidacy as an applicant. The more directly related something is to your application, the more appropriate it is to put in your Statement of Purpose.

In your Personal History & Diversity Statement:

  • Address how your personal background (educational, familial, cultural, economic, social experiences, challenges, community services) contributes to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity of public health and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with an PhD degree.

  • Address any academic difficulties and/or challenges you may have had in school.

*These are merely suggestions and it should be noted that addressing all these suggestions does not guarantee admission to the PhD program. This may not be applicable or relevant to other PHD programs and you should check with each individual program on their requirements for admission.*

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