Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) School of Public Health

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Apply: PhD in Community Health

PhD in Community Health

Apply to join the PhD in Community Health

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Program Description

Application Deadlines

All application materials, including official transcripts from all schools attended and official GRE scores, must be received in SOPHAS before the posted deadline in order to be reviewed. Applications completed after February 1st will not be considered.

  • December 1 – Early application deadline
  • February 1 – Final application deadline

The PhD in Community Health Admissions Committee considers each applicant holistically, on the basis of all components in the application. We encourage all interested applicants to apply. Successful applicants typically demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Conferred master’s in public health or a related field is strongly recommended
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Demonstrated experience in research that provides foundational knowledge for advanced study at the doctoral level

Recognizing the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for student learning, faculty teaching, and academic performance assessment, the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health (SPH) asserts the following principles: 

As part of our ongoing practice of performing individualized and holistic reviews of each applicant, OHSU-PSU SPH admissions committees will take into account the significant disruptions and challenges associated with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when reviewing applicants’ academic transcripts and other application materials. 

As admissions committees review applications in future admissions cycles, we will respect decisions made by individual students and/or by their academic institutions with regard to the enrollment in or adoption of grading options of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Pass/No Record, Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail, Pass/Not Passed, and others during the pandemic disruptions. We strive to form future graduate student cohorts composed of intellectually strong, diverse, and resilient individuals who will make the most of their graduate education opportunities at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

Admissions Requirements

  • Conferred Masters Degree from an accredited or governmentally-recognized university
  • One college-level Statistics course

Application Requirements

  • Statement of Purpose (approximately 1,000 words) 

We are interested in how your background and experiences have prepared you to be successful in the field of public health and at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. In your Statement of Purpose, please address the following:

    • How prior and/or current education and professional/volunteer experiences have provided you the perspectives and skills required to be successful in graduate public health study;
    • Future professional public health goals and how you intend to contribute to the field; and
    • Why you feel the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health is a good fit for your career preparation.
  • Additional Statements (approximately 250 words each)
    • Public health professionals must be equipped to support actions at all levels to address injustices caused by racism and oppression and to ensure equitable opportunities for all. As an SPH, we are invested in and committed to supporting our students in acquiring the skills and experience needed to achieve these public health goals. Please share with us how your own individual and social identities (sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, socioeconomic position, religion, and/or ability, among others) have informed the lens through which you view the field of public health, and your ultimate role as a public health professional.
    • Please describe your experiences with, and confidence in, each of the broad skillsets listed, below. Please also comment on how your prior experiences (e.g., academic, professional, cultural, and/or lived) may have contributed to your levels of confidence in these areas. If you have had an opportunity for growth in any of these areas, please discuss the steps you took to do so.
      1. Written communication 
      2. Quantitative skills 
      3. Analytic /critical reasoning
    • What has the recent experience of COVID-19 taught you about public health in the US and/or around the globe? You are invited to describe your individual experiences during the pandemic to provide context to inform the application review process.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • You should ask your references to address your potential for academic success and professional contributions to the field of public health, as well as to comment on your written, analytic, and quantitative abilities. [Please note that these skills need not all be covered in the same letter and instead may be addressed across letters.]
    • You should choose references who know you through professional employment, volunteer work, or past academic experiences, and who are able to describe your skills, accomplishments, professionalism, and personality. A current professor, direct supervisor, and/or leader in an organization in which you are working or volunteering, for example, is well positioned to speak to your prospects as a graduate student and as a public health professional. Recommendations from family members or friends outside of a professional/volunteer context are not encouraged.
    • Applicants who have graduated from a university or college degree program within the past three years should submit at least one academic reference from an instructor or professor in that program.
  • Official transcript from all higher education institutions attended. (OHSU and PSU transcripts are also required for current and prior students).
  • All applicants with foreign degrees are required to obtain a WES ICAP course-by-course credential evaluation.
  • International applicants whose degrees are not from a governmentally-recognized university in Great Britain, English-Speaking Canada, Australia, Ireland, or New Zealand must provide official scores on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System-Academic (IELTS) exam. The scores must be less than two years old at time of matriculation (unless continuous US residency has been maintained since the exam date). 
    • TOEFL: Minimum overall internet score of 80 (minimum subscores of 18 in reading and writing) and have ETS send scores to SOPHAS using code 5688
    • IELTS: Minimum overall score of 6.5 and upload a copy of your Test Report Form from IELTS in your application.

Background Checks

  • Applicants who accepted an offer to study at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health are required to complete a background check. New students will be prompted to complete the background check information after the new student’s name and email address are provided to the vendor by Admissions.
  • The cost is paid for by the applicant (from $35 and up) and the process can take several days to several weeks to complete. Only the “Approved” or “Not Approved” results are communicated with Admissions; background check details are confidential and remain with the vendor performing this review.