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.

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Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on graduation. There is not a GPA requirement for graduate-level coursework. 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.)

Prerequisite Courses

Applicants must have a master’s degree in public health or masters of science in public health or related field.

GRE Exam

Complete and submit results from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). For reporting scores, use the Institution Code: 4834 and Department Code: 0616. Test scores must be taken within 5 years of application. Note: GREs are required for all applicants except those who have attended an accredited US or Canadian medical school program. There is no minimum for test scores and no exceptions to the rules above.


The UC Davis 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 coursework is required of admitted students with iBT scores below 104.

CV or Resume

Listing your experience and background in public health.


Two essays are required: Statement of Purpose and Personal History & Diversity Statement. 

Letters of Recommendation

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.


Identified GGPHS faculty member mentor. See our faculty listing for bios.

  • Start your

  • Submit your application by one of our program deadlines:
    • January 15th, General Deadline: Applicants who apply by the General Deadline (but after the Priority Deadline) will have their files formally reviewed for admission by the graduate program but will not be reviewed on a priority basis, once their file is complete. Final deadline for supplemental materials (transcripts, letter of recommendations, and GRE/TOEFL scores) is February 14.
    • June 1st, Space Available: Applicants who apply by the Space Available Deadline (but after the General Deadline) are not guaranteed to have their application reviewed by the graduate program. Their applications will be reviewed only if the graduate program determines that it has additional space available. Final deadline for supplemental materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE/TOEFL scores) is June 13.

  • Check your application portal to make sure that you’ve submitted all application requirements by the deadlines submitted above

  • Application Review:
    • The review of admission materials can take several months. If you apply by the Priority or General Admission deadlines and have a completed application by February 14th, the Admission’s Committee guarantees an admission decision of: Admit, Waitlist, or Deny. Your Admission’s portal will send you weekly reminders of any outstanding admissions documents. If you have specific questions your admission status, please contact the UC Davis Public Health Education Office at

Tips for Essays

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program. This may not be applicable or relevant to other Ph.D. programs and you should check with each individual program on their requirements for admission.

    Fees & Financial Aid

    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. 

    UC Davis Budget & Institutional Analysis Website

    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:  

    Sources of Funding

    The PhD program does not guarantee financial support to students. Financial aid is available to US citizens or permanent US residents; students need to file a FAFSA and should update it each year. Students can look for external sources of funding and/or a teaching assistantship or graduate student research position, but these positions are offered by individual departments and are not guaranteed to the students. See additional information and resources below.

    University Grants & Fellowships

      • 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. 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 below positions. UC Davis students can access the on-campus employment postings through Handshake.
        • 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. 
        • 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.   
      • The Ph.D. program office advertises GSR and TA positions as they become available. GSR/TA appointments will typically reduce your loan eligibility.

    External Funding Resources

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