Frequently Asked Clinical & Population Health Research PhD Admissions Questions

Where should I send supporting materials for my application?

All materials not submitted online should be sent to: 
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 
University of Massachusetts Medical School 
Room S1-824 
55 Lake Avenue North 
Worcester, MA 01655-0116 

What is the application deadline?

Applications are due February 28 for the following Fall semester. The Admissions Committee begins reviewing completed applications in January. 

What are your minimum GRE requirements?

GRE scores are considered along with a student's academic record, letters of recommendation, relevant experience, personal statement, and the fit between our program and the student’s research goals. No single part of the application file alone determines admission. Typically, GREs exceeding the 70th percentile are preferred. 

Must I begin in the fall semester?

Yes. Due to the sequence of courses, there is no spring admission. 

Is there any way to waive the TOEFL examination?

All applicants are expected to have proficiency in reading and writing in the English language. International applicants whose native language is not English must submit their TOEFL scores. Admissions will take into account students' previous academic record (for example, if a student has a previous degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English). However, in nearly all cases, the TOEFL score requirement will not be waived. A minimum score of 250 on the computer test, 600 on the paper test or 100 on the internet-based test is required. 

Is there any circumstance in which you would waive the GRE requirement?

All applicants are required to submit official GRE test scores. However, the GRE requirement may be waived under rare circumstances. Requests for a waiver may be included in the written application and must include the following information: degree(s) held, date(s) received, institution(s) attended, GPA(s), previous GRE scores and percentiles. 

Is the GRE required if I already have a Master's degree?

If you took the GRE test within the last five years, we will accept an official notification of that score. Request for a waiver from this requirement are provided in certain circumstances.   

Is it possible to transfer credits from previous graduate work?

Maybe. Students entering our program with a relevant master’s degree may be able to transfer in up to 6 credits towards the required electives of the program. Transferable credits must be at the master's level, could not have been applied towards the fulfillment of any degree, be comparable in scope and complexity to the electives of the program and is awarded at the discretion of the CPHR Associate Dean and GSBS Dean. 

I'm planning to take the GRE soon. What is your school's code?

The UMMS code number is 3936. No department code is needed. For test information contact the Educational Testing Service, GRE at 

If I miss the deadline, will my application still be considered?

Your application and personal statement must be submitted online no later than February 15. All supporting documentation must be received within a reasonable time after submitting your application in order to be considered for admission. You should contact the if you are having difficulty meeting the application deadline or obtaining the required credentials. . 

If accepted, may I defer admission?

Students who are admitted and who choose not to enroll must reapply and compete with that year’s applicant pool. We cannot guarantee admission. 

I took the GREs several years ago. Why aren't my scores acceptable?

Scores must be less than 5 years old. If the scores are more than five years old, ETS will not release the scores, therefore you will be required to re-take the exam unless the requirement for GRE scores may be waived (see above). 

I have a question that isn't addressed in this FAQ. Who do I contact?

The CPHR program staff would be happy to address any question you may have. You can contact us by calling 508.856.4135 or by email

How many students are admitted each year?

Typically 4-6 students are admitted each year. 

How long does it take to complete the program?

Expected time to completion of degree is approximately four years. Courses, research, and evaluation milestones are completed in the first two years, with dissertation research the primary emphasis in the final phases of the program. 

How important is the Personal Statement in the application process?

Very important. It allows the admissions committee to get a sense of why you are interested in research, where your research interests lie, and how these fit with the strengths and interests of our faculty. Take time to review our research strengths and help the admissions committee see how you will fit well with the research programs at UMMS. 

How do I apply?

Applications are accepted online through ApplyYourself 

Do you require an interview as part of the admissions process?

No. Strong candidates within the continental US may receive an invitation to visit UMMS, at our expense, to interview during the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Open House. The Open House provides applicants the opportunity to learn more about the program and helps faculty to make appropriate admissions decisions. Strong candidates outside the US will be contacted for several phone interviews. 

Can I work while enrolled in the program?

The doctoral program is a full time program which requires an intense amount of work to complete in a timely fashion. Typically, students are unable to successfully juggle multiple responsibilities. Thus, it is not advised to do so. Students receiving financial support in the form of a stipend must receive written permission from the CPHR Associate Dean before engaging in work outside of the doctoral program. 

Can I pursue part-time study?

Not at this time. As designed, the CPHR program is a full-time day program. Students should be prepared to come into the office every day. 

Are applicants required to have a Masters degree?

Typically, candidates have a master's degree in public health or a master’s degree in biostatistics, epidemiology, economics, or other discipline with quantitative training. Typically, students entering the PhD program have one year of graduate level biostatistics and one year of epidemiology or other research methods training. While no minimum grade point average is required, students applying for admission must have demonstrated superior academic performance. Although we use a holistic approach to evaluating the entire student dossier, GREs exceeding the 70th percentile are preferred. Experience in research settings is preferred. Students with clinical degrees (e.g. PharmD, MD) may also be competitive for admission. Typically, such students should have demonstrated academic excellence and ability to successfully engage in quantitative research. 

When can I expect to receive a decision?

Final admission decisions will be made no later than April 1. However, if you receive a decision from another school earlier than ours, please notify us as soon as possible and we will try to expedite the notification process for you. 

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