Doctor of Public Health in Leadership

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Program admission

Program Admission

What are the admission requirements?

To qualify for the DrPH program, students must hold a master’s degree from an accredited school of public health or a master’s degree in a related field. They must also have three or more years of full-time, paid, professional experience in public health in a leadership position (or in mid to senior level management positions that demonstrate evidence of leadership potential).

Is the GRE or other academic aptitude test required for admission?

The GRE is not required.  Applicants who have taken the GRE or other aptitude test within the past five years may elect to submit their scores. This may be especially helpful for applicants whose academic records do not reflect their current academic potential and accomplishments.

What is expected in the personal statement?

Applicants should make a clear and compelling but succinct case as to their motivations for pursuing the DrPH degree and their readiness to begin and complete the program. Points covered should include reasons for applying, how the DrPH degree would be used, how it fits in the trajectory of professional and leadership development, along with life adjustments and financial preparations the applicant will make to successfully complete the program.

When are the admission deadlines?

The deadline for both domestic and international applicants is February 1.

How important is the applicant’s management experience in the admission decision?

As a leadership development program, mid or senior level management experience is an important criterion for admission. Students meeting the minimum leadership exposure may be required to take up to five hours of practicum to gain a foothold at the leadership level.  Applicants should ensure that their resume and personal statement document their management experience.

How are applications evaluated?

Applications are evaluated systematically by members of the DrPH Oversight Committee, a cross-disciplinary group of faculty members from the UIC School of Public Health. Five broad criteria are applied in the application review process:

  1. Management experience of increasing responsibility, which demonstrates leadership or the strong potential for leadership in public health practice.
  2. A broad understanding of public health gained through acquiring the MPH degree (or equivalent) and exposure to public health practice and issues through continuing education, professional experience or volunteer work.
  3. Ability to successfully perform academic work at a doctoral level, as indicated by a graduate academic record of high grades and challenging courses (e.g. analysis and methods courses), along with GRE or equivalent test scores for applicants who are returning to school after a long hiatus, or whose prior academic records do not accurately reflect their current abilities.
  4. Communication and writing skills, as demonstrated by a clear, focused and well-organized personal statement, along with TOEFL scores for applicants whose first language is not English.
  5. Motivation to complete the program in a timely manner and continue on to professional work as a public health leader, as demonstrated by an academic and personal development history showing commitment to public health, persistence and initiative.  Personal statement and letters of recommendation are most important here.

The application has five elements:  resume/vita, academic transcript, personal statement, letters of recommendation and test scores (optional).  While each element is not of equal relevance for each criterion, all elements are important, and the elements of a strong application mutually reinforce each other.  Students are urged to critically apply the criteria prior to submitting an application.

We recognize that not all applicants will be able to meet the criteria to the same degree. So, individual professional development and career trajectory are taken into account.

Applicants are reviewed on both an absolute and relative basis. While all criteria must be met at a minimum level, each applicant is also evaluated relative to others who have applied that year. Thus, it is possible that an applicant will meet minimum standards but will not be admitted, due to a comparatively low ranking. It is also possible that an applicant rejected one year will be accepted in a later year on the basis of an improved application or higher relative standing.

When are students admitted to the DrPH program?

Students are admitted once a year for matriculation in the fall term.

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