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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

School of Public Health

Doctor of Public Health – Admissions Requirements


Application Deadlines:

Fall Semester - April 1st 


The time allotted for completion of the Doctor of Public Health degree, regardless of concurrent degree involvement is nine (9) years unless there are compelling extenuating circumstances.

Admission Requirements


  • Graduate Degree. Prior Master's degree in any discipline from a college or university institutionally accredited and recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) such as: the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Higher Learning Commission, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. If you have any questions about whether a transfer course will be accepted, you should check with the Office of Admissions prior to enrolling in the course.
    • Such Master's degrees may include MPH, MSW, MBA, MHS, or another relevant Master's degree.
    • The applicant may also be required to take additional coursework to meet the requirements of the core MPH curriculum in the chosen area of study. Please note that coursework completed to meet this requirement may not be used to satisfy doctoral coursework requirements unless such courses are at the doctoral level. Such decisions are made on an individual basis by each department.
    • If additional course work is required, then the applicant may be given a conditional acceptance to the doctoral program until the conditional requirements are satisfied.
    • Transcripts. Official transcripts from all previous postsecondary CHEA regionally accredited colleges or universities.
    • Grade Point Average (GPA). A graduate (e.g. MPH, MS, MA, etc...) academic record with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale) in the major course of study is preferred.
    • Appropriate completion of the doctoral application.
    • Personal Statement. An essay of 1000 words or less denoting the applicant's interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in a specific area. The applicant should examine the research and practice interests of the doctoral faculty in his/her respective areas of interest to ensure that an appropriate faculty collaboration is possible. Please see the SPH Faculty Webpage to learn more about the respective faculty.
    • Letters of Recommendation. Three (3) letters of recommendation preferably from either faculty in the primary field of study and/or from a recent employer
    • Entrance Examinations. A graduate entrance examination is required.The graduate entrance examination must have been taken within five (5) years of the application submission date. Graduate entrance examinations that will be accepted include the following :
      • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
      • Medical College Admissions test (MCAT).
      • Dental Admission Test (DAT).
      • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
      • Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
      • Optometry Admission Test (OAT).
      • United States Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE) Step 1 or 2.
      • National Board of Veterinary Medical Exam (NBVME).


Applicants with a previously earned Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from a CEPH accredited program/school with a GPA of a 3.0 or above, are exempt from submitting a standardized exam score.

  • On-site Interview. Each doctoral applicant must have an on-site interview with a designated faculty member in the department to which the applicant is applying. The interview will be arranged by the specific department when the applicant's application is complete. The detailed written report and recommendation of the interviewer will be submitted with the application for consideration by the Admissions Committee,
  • Licensure. Proof of current licensure must be submitted for all licensed health professionals
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language.The (TOEFL) is required for ALL applicants for whom English is a Second Language and who have not completed at least one year of full-time study in a regionally accredited college or university in the United States (at least 24 semester credits, including two courses in English composition). A minimum score for the paper exam of 536 (undergraduate programs) and 564 (graduate programs); a minimum score for the computer exam of 208 (undergraduate programs) and 223 (graduate programs; and a minimum score for the Internet-based exam of 65-78 (undergraduate programs) and 79-95 (graduate programs) is required on the TOEFL.
    • TOEFL Box 6151,
      Princeton, New Jersey 08541
      phone: (609) 771-7100
      » Please note: Your application is not considered complete without the required standardized test score(s).
  • Application Fee. A non-refundable application fee.
  • For those applying to Biostatistics, Epidemiology, or Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, a Bachelor of Science degree is preferred with at least one (1) undergraduate math and one (1) undergraduate biology course. For applicants to Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, an undergraduate chemistry course is also preferred.

Application Deadlines

Applicants intending to enter in the Fall semester must have their application completed and submitted by April 1st. Note that applicants may be admitted after this date, but only on space-available basis.

Transfer Credits

A maximum number fifteen (15) credits from another CEPH and CHEA regionally accredited college and/or university can be transferred into the doctoral program. Courses used towards the completion of a granted degree will not be considered. However, some DrPH coursework may be waived if relevant doctoral level courses have been taken at another institution. Courses taken outside of SUNY Downstate’s School of Public Health while actively matriculated in the program will not be considered.

For transfer of credits or a waiver, the accepted student must provide: 1) a detailed course syllabus and 2) an official transcript verifying at least a B grade (3.0 on a 4.0 system) in that particular course(s).

If the student fails to provide appropriate proof of course content equivalency and an official transcript in a timely fashion, the option for credit transfer may be denied.

Notification of Status

Notification of action on the application is mailed after the complete admission materials are received and reviewed by the SPH Committee on Admission. The application review cycle begins in January of each year. A student accepted for admission into one of the graduate programs is required to secure his or her place in the class by submitting a deposit that will be applied to the first semester's tuition.

Matriculation Policy

Accepted students are required to submit all required documents, including final transcripts for all college and universities attended, to the Office of Admissions prior to the start of classes. Note that required health documents must be submitted directly to the Student Health Office.

Mandatory Criminal Background Check

Please note that all students who attend SUNY Downstate Medical Center will be required to complete a background check prior to enrollment, at your expense. Background Checks will be conducted post-admission and are not used by the Admissions Committee to determine admissibility. Once you are accepted, you should complete the criminal background check by following the instructions here.

International Student Applications and Foreign Medical Graduates

Applicants who have completed all or part of their education abroad, are required to have a course-by-course educational credential evaluation completed by an approved agency accredited by The National Association Of Credential Evaluation Services ( This evaluation must include a breakdown of each course by name, US equivalent semester hours, and the corresponding letter grade. These requests should be done and completed well in advance of the semester deadlines.

International students should not consider assistance from the college in their financial planning. On-campus employment is not recommended because of the demanding nature of the academic program. Many international students have visa restrictions on working. All international applicants must document their ability to finance their education as part of the admissions process.

International Medical Graduates who wish to be considered health care professionals are required to either have a valid and current state license in the United States or have passed Steps I and II of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) before they can be considered for entry into the program.


If accepted, individuals may request a deferral for up to one year for personal or professional reasons. Requests must be made in writing and submitted to the Office of Admissions and to the Chair of the specific department. No extensions beyond the one-year are permitted.


Some "re-applicants" are admitted each year with improved credentials. Re-applicants should contact the Program Office to schedule a pre-application advisement appointment to discuss how to improve their credentials in a reapplication. Re-applicants must submit a new application form, application fee, transcripts, and at least one new letter of recommendation.

Application Processing

All applicants are instructed to submit the application for admission and all official supporting credentials via the ApplyYorself application system. When an application is complete that application is forwarded to the School of Public Health for review by the Committee on Admissions.

Important Information

Admission to SUNY Downstate Medical Center is based on the qualifications of the applicant. SUNY Downstate Medical Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion, marital status or status as a disabled veteran in the Vietnam era.  Responses on this application to questions of race, sex, and date of birth are voluntary and are used for statistical purposes only.


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