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Health, Behavior and Society

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the criteria for admission?

The DrPH degree is designed for the student who already has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree or an equivalent master’s. A minimum of two years of full-time work experience in health or human services is also required.

All applicants to the DrPH program are expected to submit the completed application with the following documentation: transcripts from all previously attended graduate and undergraduate institution(s); curriculum vitae or resume; scores from the GRE exam; three letters of recommendation (at least one should be an academic recommendation from an instructor or advisor); and a personal statement. For applicants whose native language is not English, the computer-based TOEFL exam is required.

Applications are considered by an admissions committee that reviews the entire application package and considers the overall balance of each applicant’s qualifications and the fit between the applicant’s career goals and the academic program. Successful candidates should possess strong analytic, theoretical and methodological skills, as well as relevant social and behavioral science and public health experience. Applications for the DrPH program must be submitted and completed by December 1 to be considered for the following fall.

How can I apply and what is the application fee?

Applicants should apply online. The fee for the online application is $45. Questions regarding the status of your application may be directed to the Bloomberg School's Admissions Office at 410-955-3543 or

Are the GREs required?

The Department of Health, Behavior and Society requires that all applicants to its doctoral programs submit the scores from the GRE exam.

My GRE scores are more than five years old. Will you accept them?

The policy of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) is to maintain GRE scores for a five-year period only. After the five years, the scores are purged from the ETS computer system. Therefore, if your scores are older than five years, you must discuss with us whether you should retake the test.

Is there a minimum GRE score or GPA to qualify for admission?

There is no minimum score. We look very closely at test scores because we have found that strong GRE scores are a good predictor of successful completion of the doctoral coursework and thesis research. However, this is only one of several criteria that determine acceptance into the doctoral program. We also look closely at transcripts to ensure that applicants’ skills meet the demands of the program. If applicants feel the test scores do not accurately reflect their potential, they may want to provide additional evidence of readiness in key areas prior to applying—a refresher course in mathematics or statistics, for example.

What is available by way of financial aid or departmental scholarship?

The Department is committed to seeking opportunities that will allow it to provide financial support to its full-time students. Most departmental scholarship decisions are made during the admissions process and communicated to students in their letters of acceptance. For most School-level awards, eligible accepted applicants will be nominated by the Department to the Bloomberg School for consideration, and notification of School-level awards will be issued by the School as decisions are made. Continuing students work closely with the Bloomberg School’s Office of Graduate Education and Research, as well with the Department, to identify funding opportunities at appropriate times during the training process, such as the individual NRSA awards from the NIH.

The Department invites predoctoral and postdoctoral students who are interested to apply for training and support in the cancer control track of the Cancer Epidemiology Prevention and Control Training Program, an NCI-sponsored predoctoral and postdoctoral training program shared with the Department of Epidemiology. Contact Dr. Katherine Smith,

Students interested in financial aid should contact the Bloomberg School's Office of Student Financial Services at 410-955-3004 or

What is the difference between the PhD and DrPH degrees?

Problems emerge from scientific inquiry and research literatureProblems emerge from the public arena, including policy debates and the news media
Emphasis on the scholarship of the discovery of new scientific knowledge and on hypothesis-driven researchEmphasis on the scholarship of application of scientific knowledge in order to solve real-world public health problems; may also use hypothesis driven methods
Contributions to theory in a disciplineContribution to public health practice that is most often multi-disciplinary and integrative
Strong analytical skills used in basic science researchStrong analytical skills used to assess and evaluate public health problems and programs
Leadership in a substantive or methodological areaLeadership in public health practice settings
Future careers in academic and research institutionsFuture careers in public health agencies and programs; may include academia
Communicates findings to scientific literatureCommunicates findings to the public and policymakers

Can I complete the doctoral program on a part-time basis or via the Web?

The DrPH program may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Some courses may be taken online; however, most courses are offered during the day on the East Baltimore campus. Here is a sample schedule for part-time DrPH students.

Can I transfer in credits from a previous master's or doctoral degree?

The Bloomberg School does not offer credit for courses taken at other institutions. However, if you have completed coursework at another institution that is of similar content as a course required for the degree program, you would be able to request a waiver of the required course, with substitution of elective or more advanced coursework as appropriate. Students should begin the waiver process by discussing the issue with their academic advisor.

Can I schedule a visit?

The Admissions Office schedules open houses for prospective students in the fall. Campus tours can also be arranged through the Admissions Office. If you are unable to attend the open house and would like to arrange a visit to the Department of Health, Behavior and Society, contact Barbara Diehl, the Academic Program Administrator, at 410-502-4415, If you can give us at least one-week's notice of your preferred visit date, we will best be able to schedule time with faculty for you. Faculty web pages at the Bloomberg School’s main website offer publications and research interests of faculty, and are a good mechanism to identify faculty with whom you would like to meet.