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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Complete a SOPHAS application
  2. The SOPHAS application will be verified by SOPHAS (allow two to four weeks)
  3. Once verified by SOPHAS, the application will be sent to USF and entered into our Graduate University System.
  4. You will receive an email confirming your application has been received by USF and instructions on how to pay the USF Application Processing Fee of $30.
  5. Once the USF fee has been paid, and all required College of Public Health supporting documents received, the application will be forwarded to the department for review (allow two to four weeks)
  6. Monitor your e-mail for decisions and other communications.

For a full list of deadlines please refer to the information on the application deadlines page.

  1. Official GRE, MCAT or GMAT test scores
  2. TOEFL scores (International Applicants)
  3. Transcripts from all institutions attended
  4. A minimum of two letters of recommendation (some concentrations require three)
  5. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  6. A paid SOPHAS application fee
  7. Statement of Purpose
  8. Writing Sample (Ph.D. applicants only)
  9. USF supplemental form and application fee. A link will be sent to those applicants with applications verified by SOPHAS and sent into the USF system.



An applicant must have one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and satisfying at least one of the following criteria:
    • “B” average or better in all work attempted while registered as an undergraduate student working for a degree, or
    • “B” average or better in all work attempted while registered as an upper division undergraduate student working for a baccalaureate degree.
  • A bachelor’s degree with a “B” average or better from a regionally accredited institution and a previous graduate degree with a “B” average or better from a regionally accredited institution.
  • The equivalent bachelors and/or graduate degrees from a foreign institution.

Master’s and Doctoral Degree Test Requirements:

    Please visit the Admissions Test Information page for further details.

    M.P.H., M.S.P.H., M.H.A. applicants must include a statement of purpose and objectives related to their experience in the field and their interest in obtaining the degree. Ph.D. applicants must include a detailed statement of purpose of less than five pages that describes why you wish to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Public Health.

    Dr.P.H. applicants are required to submit two personal statements of purpose:

    1. Statement of Public Health Experience The Dr.P.H. is an advanced degree in public health. Successful candidates will have the core public health knowledge base, skill set, and expertise in addition to sufficient work experience to demonstrate competency in the five core areas of public health* (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and management, environmental health, and social and behavioral science). To that end, two or more years of full-time, paid, public health professional experience that demonstrates progressive responsibility and evidence of leadership potential is required. Subsequently, the Statement of Public Health Experience is a critical element of your application as it is intended to give you the opportunity to submit a narrative describing: a) your previous public health education/training; b) your experience in applying that training and the core competencies of public health; and, c) the development of your public health leadership skills. NOTE: The Statement of Public Health Experience should be no more than 750 words.
    2. Statement of Dr.P.H. Purpose and Objectives The Statement of Dr.P.H. Purpose and Objectives is a central element to your application. It is an opportunity to explain your public health career objectives and how the pursuit of the Doctorate in Public Health will enable you to meet those objectives. In your Statement of Dr.P.H. Purpose and Objectives please address the following: a) the needs and/or challenges you perceive as professionally important in the field of public health; b) your future public health career goals and objectives; c) why you are interested in advanced public health training; d) plans you have for how the Dr.P.H. training will help you reach those goals and objectives; e) reasons for applying to the University of South Florida’s Dr.P.H. program of study; and, f) any personal qualities, characteristics, and skills you believe will enable you to be successful in the field of public health. NOTE: The Statement of Dr.P.H. Purpose and Objectives should be no more than 750 words.

    All of the admissions criteria is taken into account, and the applicants are looked at from a holistic standpoint.

    We require TOEFL scores from applicants whose native language is not English or who earned baccalaureate degrees from non-English speaking institutions. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 for the paper version, 213 for the computer-based, or 79 for the Internet-based.

    Florida state statute Section 1009.21 defines the requirements for a student to be considered an "in-state" resident for tuition purposes. A person may be considered a Florida resident for the purpose of paying taxes, voting or other legal purposes after residing in the state for a designated length of time however, the state statute specifies additional requirements must be met before a student may be classified as "in-state" for tuition purposes. Living in or attending school in Florida will not in itself establish legal residence for tuition purposes.

    Initial Classification

    The initial classification is made by the office admitting you to the University as either an undergraduate, graduate or non-degree seeking student. The classification is based on the information you provided on the application submitted. Failure to provide all relevant information, including copies of required documents, may lead to an initial classification as an "out-of-state" resident. 

    It is your responsibility to check your residency classification when you are admitted to the University of South Florida. 

    If you feel your initial classification is in error, you have until the last day of that term to contact the appropriate admissions office and request re-evaluation. Once you have completed your first term, you may only request reclassification for future terms. 

    Graduate Students: Office of Graduate Admissions 1-813-974-8800


    Continuing students can request a change of residency classification from out-of-state to in-state. If you feel you have become eligible for in-state status, you must submit a Request for Reclassification and additional documentation to the Office of the Registrar. The burden of proof is on you to clearly and convincingly demonstrate you meet the criteria for reclassification.

    Obtaining in-state status can be challenging and requires significant effort on your part to submit supporting documentation. You should allow adequate time to provide this documentation prior to the start of the term for which reclassification is sought; failure to do so may delay a final evaluation of your request or result in a denial.

    Appeal Procedures

    A student may appeal the decision of the Residency Counselor to the University Residency Appeals Committee through the University Registrar, who acts in the capacity of the University Residency Appeals Officer and will communicate the decision. The appeal process includes an opportunity to submit a written appeal for review. The individual is notified of the decision in writing and the reasons the appeal was denied in writing. The decision of the University Registrar is the final decision of the University of South Florida. Any subsequent appeals are made in the Second District Court of Appeals.

    Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting acceptable scores on one of the English proficiency tests listed below. These scores must have been earned within two (2) years of the desired term of entry. Applications submitted with English proficiency scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied.

    Minimum English Proficiency Scores for Admission

    • Has scored a 79 or higher on the internet‐based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • Has scored 6.5 on International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    • Has scored a 53 or higher on the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE‐A)
    TOEFL scores should be sent directly to SOPHAS (electronically). If you took the IELTS exam, you will need to submit an unofficial copy of your score report to the SOPHAS. If you prefer to send your IELTS scores directly to the College of Public Health, please have the results mailed from the testing center directly to Kamala Dontamsetti, Assistant Director of COPH Graduate Admissions, University of South Florida; College of Public Health, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. MDC 56, Tampa FL 33612. The English proficiency examination requirement may be waived for admission if the applicant meets one of the following conditions:
    • The applicant's native language is English, or
    • Has scored the equivalent of 153 or higher on the GRE Verbal Test, or
    • Has earned a college bachelor's or graduate degree at a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher learning.

    For a list of English speaking countries exempt from the English proficiency examination requirement, please see the International Admissions website: http://www.usf.edu/admissions/international/graduate/requirements-deadlines/english-proficiency.aspx

    Additionally, SOPHAS requires all foreign transcripts to have a course by course evaluation from World Education Services (WES, http://www.wes.org/). An exception to the WES evaluation requirement may be made on a case by case basis by Graduate Admissions at the College of Public Health, if WES is unable to evaluate an applicant’s transcripts, and such proof is submitted. 


    Students with undergraduate majors in the health science field tend to be most successful. Additionally, sociology, psychology, and social work are also appropriate for particular concentrations. Business degrees are helpful if the student is interested in Health Administration.

    Some concentrations may require prerequisite coursework. It is suggested that if the student does not have the health science background that they may wish to take some Intro courses to familiarize themselves with Public Health.


    Tuition, Costs, and Fees

    The current Resident Tuition Rates per Credit Hour for graduate students is $431.43 and the current Non-Resident Rates per Credit Hour is $877.17, both at the Tampa Campus. Tuition rates are estimated and are subject to change.

    The Reduced Rate Program allows out-of-state students, enrolled in our fully online concentrations in the College of Public Health, to take advantage of a reduced tuition rate. Through the Reduced Rate Program, students pay a rate of $525.00 per credit hour plus a $30 per credit hour online fee (Executive MPH is $600 per credit hour).

    The following online degree and certificate programs are eligible for the reduced rate:

    Degree Programs:

    • Public Health Practice
    • Global Disaster Management
    • Infection Control
    • Epidemiology
    • Health, Safety, & Environment
    Certificate Programs:
    • Social Marketing in Public Health (CFH)
    • Toxicology and Risk Assessment (EOH)
    • Applied Biostatistics (EPB)
    • Concepts & Tools of Epidemiology (EPB)
    • Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (EPB)
    • Maternal & Child Health Epidemiology (EPB)
    • Disaster Management (GLH)
    • Humanitarian Assistance (GLH)
    • Infection Control (GLH)
    • Public Health Policy & Programs (HPM)
    • Public Health Generalist (C-W)

    All students enrolled in a USF College of Public Health online course will be charged an Off-campus fee of $30 per credit hour. For more about the off-campus fee, please visit: http://www.usf.edu/business-finance/controller/student-services/tuition-info.aspx

    Some financial aid is available, and is handled through the USF Office of Financial Aid. More information, as well as step by step instructions, can be found at the following link: http://usfweb2.usf.edu/finaid/grad.aspx

    This Scholarships and Aid link provides you with a list of scholarships and aid available to COPH degree seeking students only.



    International field experience is a practicum that is open to all College of Public Health students, and is mandatory for students in the Global Health Practice concentration. It is considered an important part of the academic curriculum, serving as a structured and significant educational experience. The International Field Experience takes place in an agency, institution, or community in a developing country, and under the supervision of the Host Country Supervisor and the guidance of the student’s Academic Advisor.

    For more information regarding this program, you may contact:

    Jesse Casanova, MS
    International Field Experience Administrator
    (813) 974-4247

    The College of Public Health offers a variety of Master’s concentrations and certificate programs in an online format to suit the needs of the off-campus student. The following concentrations are available in an online format:

    Online M.P.H. - Master of Public Health

    • Public Health Practice
    • Public Health Administration
    • Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief
    • Epidemiology
    • Infection Control
    • Health, Safety & Environment

    Dr.P.H. – Doctor of Public Health

    • Fall and spring courses are offered fully online, but students are required to come to campus for one week during each summer term.

    Online Graduate Certificates

    • Public Health Generalist
    • Concepts and Tools of Epidemiology
    • Disaster Management
    • Humanitarian Assistance
    • Infection Control
    • Public Health Policy and Programs
    • Social Marketing
    • Applied Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
    • Toxicology and Risk Assessment

    The University of South Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097; Telephone number 404-679-4500, or at http://www.sacscoc.org/) to award degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, specialist and doctoral levels, including the Doctor of Medicine.

    The College of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), http://ceph.org/. CEPH (800 Eye Street, NW, Suite 202, Washington, D.C. 20001-3710) is an independent agency that is recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools of public health. The College received notice dated October 20, 2011 that it has been reaccredited for seven years, through December 31, 2018; this is the maximum possible number of years attainable in a reaccreditation cycle.

    The MSPH in Industrial Hygiene is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org/ 

    The MHA (Master of Health Administration) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), https://www.cahme.org/index.html

    Graduate Certificate Programs allow a student to take a concentration in a specific topical area without being admitted to a degree program. Certificates range from 12 to 18 credits to complete, depending on the one selected. By comparison, the M.P.H. requires a minimum of 42 credits. 

    Open to students who have completed a Bachelor degree, Graduate Certificate Programs are designed to meet your continuing professional education needs. Credits taken can apply, if appropriate, to a Masters or Ph.D. degree in Public Health or related disciplines should the student later be admitted to seek a degree. Graduate Certificate program acceptance requires admittance by the Graduate School.

    Graduate and Teaching assistantships are available on a limited basis, and are administered through each department separately. For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact your department directly.