FAQs

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Admissions

What does the admissions committee look for?

The committee looks for well-rounded applicants - those with an excellent academic record, strong GRE scores, a focused and developed statement of purpose, and strong letters of recommendation. For MPH and DrPH applicants, experience (professional, volunteer, intern) in the field is strongly considered. For MS and PhD applications, research experience is strongly considered.

What is your GRE score cutoff?

We do not have a GRE score cutoff.

May I waive the GRE exam?

No. MCAT and DAT scores may be accepted in lieu of GRE scores for applicants holding a MD or DD, or are currently enrolled in medical or dental school. LSAT scores are accepted only for applicants to the concurrent MPH-JD program.

What are the average GRE scores for admitted applications?

Please see the "Admission Requirements" page for the historical average.

My GRE scores are below the average. Will I still be considered?

Yes, however to remain competitive with the rest of the applicants your application must be strong overall. 

I am an international student. Do I need to take TOEFL or IELTS?

If you

  • Hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction
    and/or
  • Completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution

You are exempted from both the TOEFL/IELTS requirement and the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE). 

Please see UCLA's English Language Requirement for more information.

Is work and/or research experience required?

No, but it is stongly considered in the evaluation of applicants. 

Are there any prerequisite courses needed to apply?

No.

I am a current undergraduate student. What classes should I take?

If available, courses in public health and/or community health sciences are highly suggested. Courses in statistics are also highly suggested.

I have a non-public health degree. May I still apply to the program?

Yes.

I am an MPH applicant and would like to apply to one of the dual degree programs. How do I apply?

Applicants to a dual degree program must submit all application materials for each program, however only one UCLA Graduate Application is required. The applicant will need to select the dual degree on both the UCLA Graduate Application and the SOPHAS Application. Applications are evaluated by both departments and each department will reach their admissions decision independently. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other. If an applicant is admitted to one program but not the other, they may accept the offer of admission to the single degree program.

For the types of dual degrees offered, please see the Master of Public Health page.

May I apply to more than one department? For example, may I apply to the MPH program in Community Health Sciences and the MPH program in Health Policy and Management?

No. Applicants are only allowed to apply to one degree program at UCLA.

May I apply directly to the doctoral program with an undergraduate degree?

No. You must have a graduate degree or in the process of completing one.

When is the application deadline?

December 1, every year.

Do you accept late applications?

No. The applications, UCLA Graduate Application and SOPHAS Application, must be submitted on time and complete in order to be considered. Please be sure to reference the Fielding School of Public Health Application Checklist as you complete your application.

When are admissions decisions released?

Mid-February to Mid-March. Decisions will be sent via email.

May I defer my admission to another year?

No, UCLA does not allow deferred admissions. The applicant must submit a new application. Readmission is not guaranteed.

About the Program

How long is the program? Can it be completed earlier?

The Masters programs' (MPH and MS) normative time-to-degree is two years. The Doctoral programs' (PhD and DrPH) normative time-to-degree is six years. All programs may be completed earlier, however it is the student's reponsibility to plan their schedule and complete all degree requirements within their desired time-to-degree.

Do you offer a nutrition degree program, or a program to become a Registered Dietitian?

No, however we do have a partnership with the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Office, offering a combined MPH-Dietitic Internship (MPH-DI) program. Applicants to the combined program must have successfully completed dietetic coursework approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). For more information and eligiblity requirements, please see the program information on the Veterans Affairs site.

What is the Masters Comprehensive Exam?

The Masters Comprehensive Exam tests students' competence in the basic knowledge and skills provided in the masters degree curriculum, enabling students to demonstrate that they meet the department's competencies for the degree. All MPH students are required to take the Comprehensive Exam. MS students may elect to take the Comprehensive Exam as one of the two options in completing the degree.

(MPH applicants) I already work in a public health organization. Do I still need to complete the field studies requirement?

Yes. You are allowed to propose that specific organization as your placement for field studies to the Field Studies Supervisor, who will then make the final determination if the organization and scope of work are appropriate for the field studies requirement.

I have completed X courses at X University. Can I transfer those courses to the program?

For Masters students, a maximum of 8 units may be transferred to count towards the degree. Students must have earned a B- or better, and the syllabus must be submitted for review. Courses requested to be transferred must not have been used towards an earned degree.

Doctoral students may not transfer any courses towards the degree.

Classes

What is the typical course load?

12 units per quarter, which is typically 3 courses if each course taken is 4 units each.

I have never been on the quarter system before/I have been out of school for a number of years. How many units should I take per quarter?

12 units.

How big are classes?

The core curriculum courses are as large as your cohort:

  • Masters: CHS 210, 211A, 211B are typically 50-60 students.
  • Doctoral: CHS 270A and 270B are typically 6-9 students.
The required Schoolwide 100-level courses (for Masters students) range from 40-60 students. All other courses may range from 10-25 students.

When are classes?

Classes are held on weekdays. Classes are scheduled in the morning, afternoon, and late afternoon. The actual schedule is dependent on the courses a student enrolls. In general, students should expect to be on-campus taking courses at least 4 days a week, from the morning to late afternoon.

I am interested in [specific research topic], what classes are available?

Please see our course descriptions on the UCLA General Catalog.

I am interested in taking courses in another department. Am I allowed to take their courses?

Yes, although if you wish to apply those courses towards the degree, please see the Masters or Doctoral Handbook for information on the types of courses which are allowed.

Funding

What type of funding is available and how do I apply for funding?

Please see "Fees & Financial Support".

How do I look for fellowships and/or secure on-campus employment?

Please see "Fees & Financial Support".

How many students are able to secure employment?

On average, 50% of our students are able to find employment on-campus.

What is the professional fee? What does it give me?

MPH and DrPH students are assessed the Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition, also known as the professional fee. The MPH and DrPH are degrees that, similar to the MD or JD, is a required qualification for most positions in public health. This requirement is most often found in government positions such as the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. Along with internship and career services, the premium (professional fee) associated with a professional degree is due to the exclusive qualification that comes from having that degree, which meets specific eligibility requirements for the jobs that our graduates pursue.

Professional Development

What career services are available?

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has a dedicted Career Services Office, offering individual career counseling, professional development workshops, networking events, and career fairs. For more information, please see the "Career Development" page on the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health website.

All UCLA students may also use services offered by the UCLA Career Center. The Career Center offers workshops, fairs, guides, and career counseling.

What type of work do your graduates do?

Please see "Where Students Work After Graduation".

How long does it take for graduates to find employment?

For Masters graduates, the average is 3 months after graduation. The majority of Doctoral graduates begin academic appointments (postdoctoral fellowships or professorships) immediately after filing their dissertation, as they begin the search and interview process during their final year in the program.

What is the average starting salary of graduates?

The average starting salary of Masters graduates is $60,000. The average starting salary of Doctoral graduates entering postdoctoral appointments is $52,000. The average starting salary of Doctoral graduates appointed as professors is $68,000.