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MSPH/PhD Health Behavior Health Promotion Admissions Criteria


  • Bachelor's degree required for MSPH/PhD applicants
  • Master's degree in the area of health behavior health promotion or similar field required for PhD applicants
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher (3.6 is considered competitive)
  • GRE scores are waived for Fall 2024 admissions
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of purpose and objectives
  • Research statement
  • Writing sample
  • Mission and values statement
  • Resilience statement (optional)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international applicants

More Information

Academic Background

Applicants to the MSPH must have a prior bachelor’s degree. Applicants to the PhD must have a prior master’s degree in the area of health behavior health promotion or a similar field.

A competitive applicant will have an outstanding academic background, as well as strong research interests and aptitude in health behavior and health promotion.

A minimum grade point average of 3.2 or above is required for the MSPH/PhD program. A GPA of 3.6 or higher is considered competitive.  The GPA is calculated based on the last 60 undergraduate units, or if the applicant has 12 or more graduate units, the GPA will be based on graduate units.

Applicants should send official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended to SOPHAS (PO Box 9111; Watertown, MA 02471).

GRE Scores are waived for Fall 2024 admissions

Combined verbal and quantitative score of 310 is considered competitive. The analytical writing portion of the GRE is required when submitting scores. GRE scores may be reported directly to the University of Arizona College of Public Health/SOPHAS, which is code #4253. For more information about the GRE, visit the GRE website.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must provide a minimum of three letters of recommendation from academic advisors, professors, supervisors, mentors or anyone else familiar with their academic and/or professional ability. Letters of recommendation are submitted to SOPHAS electronically.

Resume or CV

Applicants are asked to submit a resume or CV outlining their academic and professional experience and achievements.

Statement of Purpose and Objectives

The personal statement (maximum of 1500 words) should include:

  • Why you are interested in the MSPH/PhD program
  • Specific areas of interest in health behavior health promotion
  • Reason for selection of this program
  • Academic, professional, and research background, including experience/expertise with health behavior health promotion topics
  • Future goals and objectives

Please note that some schools of public health use software to detect plagiarism in statements of purpose. It is important to ensure that an applicant’s statement is written in his/her own words and, when appropriate, that quotations and citations/references are used for a direct quote.

Research Statement

PhD applicants must provide a statement of research/practice interest (maximum of 500 words / 2500 characters). Please describe the specific content area in which you propose to focus your doctoral work; why this area is of interest to you; and identify faculty members at the College of Public Health whose research interests align with yours and with whom you would like to work.  You do not need to include hypotheses, measures, or data analysis methods, etc. It is expected that doctoral program applicants will share similar interests with at least one of the faculty members of the Health Behavior Health Promotion Section.

Writing Sample

The writing sample may be a paper, article, or report written for work or school that demonstrates the applicant's writing and research abilities. Applicants may submit their writing sample electronically via SOPHAS.

Faculty Advisor

One of the most important pieces of an application to a doctoral program at the College of Public Health is finding a faculty advisor whose research interests and areas of expertise align with your interests.  Through the admissions process, the College of Public Health seeks to ensure that we have sufficient faculty with relevant research experience to effectively mentor you through your doctoral program and your dissertation.

Please research the faculty in the Health Promotion Sciences Department and outline which faculty members you hope to work with in your Research Statement (see above).  Given that faculty commitments change from year to year, we strongly recommend that you list at least two faculty with whom you would like to work.  Although you are welcome to contact specific faculty to discuss our program and your goals, it is not necessary for you to communicate with faculty before or during the application process.

Mission and Values Statement

In 250 words or less (1,250 characters), please describe how you would embrace and support the Mission and the Values of the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

  • Our Mission:  The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is dedicated to promoting the health of individuals and communities in the southwest and globally with an emphasis on achieving health equity through excellence in education, research, and service.
  • Our Values:  The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health acts with respect and integrity to continuously advance health and well-being for all through knowledge, collaboration, empowerment, advocacy and sustainability. Our core values are: Fairness, Trust, Equity, Social Justice, Excellence, Innovation, Commitment, Collegiality, Diversity, Open Communication, Participation, Consensus, and Enhancement.

Resilience Statement (Optional)

If you have not addressed this elsewhere in your application, please describe any obstacles you have had to overcome or failures you have experienced; how you showed resilience; and what you learned from the experience. 250 words or less (1250 characters).

TOEFL/IELTS Scores for International Applicants

All international applicants are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. A TOEFL iBT score of 90 or higher is required. Please see more information, including when the TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived, for international applicants.

Other Factors

Other factors considered in the determination of a candidate's potential for success in the MSPH/PhD Program are:

  • Long range goals and commitment to health behavior health promotion research
  • Experience in health-related research strengthens all applications
  • Experience and/or commitment to underserved areas and populations strengthens all applications

Further Information

For more information about the PhD program, please visit the PhD Health Behavior Health Promotion page. If you have additional questions, please contact our Director of Admissions at or (520) 626-3201.

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