The application for entrance in Fall 2024 is closed. Our application for Fall 2025 entry will be available in September 2024.

Admissions Criteria

Students must meet the following qualifications to apply:

  • A bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA
  • A prior master’s degree in a field relevant to health research, such as epidemiology, public health, clinical research or a related technical field such as statistics or computer science with at least a 3.0 GPA; the following exemptions may apply:
    • Applicants with exceptional research backgrounds may be accepted without a master’s degree. These students may be required, however, to complete additional coursework.
    • Applicants with terminal clinical degrees (MD, PharmD, RN, NP) but no master’s will be evaluated based on their prior research experience and potential to be a leader in population health research, with the admissions committee recommending one of the following outcomes:
      • Denial of admission
      • Deferral of decision regarding admission to the PhD program with recommendation that the applicant pursue a master’s in the UCSF Training in Clinical Research (TICR) program, with reevaluation of the applicant at the conclusion of year 1 in the TICR program
      • Direct admission to the PhD program, based on the assessment that the applicant’s prior work manifests experience and training on par with a research master’s degree
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Applicants are not required to take the GRE and scores will not be included for review by the admissions committee.

Applicants from non-English speaking countries must also demonstrate proficiency in the English language by:

  • completing one year of study with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (B average) on a 4.0 scale at an accredited college or university in the United States, OR
  • earning a degree from a university outside of the U.S. with instruction fully in English, OR
  • obtaining the minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - administered by ETS, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the Graduate Division’s International Admission Requirements for minimum scores. Test scores are valid from these institutions for a maximum of two years from the test date.

Students who have completed degrees in countries where English is the native language are exempt from the testing requirement. 

How to Apply

The application opens annually on September 15, and the deadline falls at the beginning of December for admission the following fall. Most admissions decisions are made by the end of February. Submit the following required materials to the UCSF Graduate Division online application:

  • Transcripts. Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts from every academic institution attended, even if you did not receive a degree. You may provide a scanned copy of an official transcript if you would like. The program does not require official transcripts until admission. Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States must be sent to the World Education Services (WES) for Course-by-Course Credential Evaluation; this is required for ANY institution outside the U.S., even if English was the language of instruction. For this application, we will accept an unofficial copy of your WES course-by-course credential evaluation. You do not need to send your official WES report until you receive an offer of admission.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    Choose recommenders who know you well and have the professional standing to write a compelling letter of support for you. These letters should be from individuals who are familiar with the nature of your preparation for graduate school and who can provide insight into your potential to succeed as a scientist. Letters from research supervisors or others who are well acquainted with your significant research experiences (e.g., from a senior scientist in a research group where you worked) are typically of most value. At least one of the letters must be from an adviser familiar with your research skills. Your application may not be considered if your letters do not reach us in a timely fashion, so remember to follow up with a reminder to the individuals from whom you have requested letters. Letters must be received by the application deadline: December 1.
  • Personal History Statement 
    Discuss how your personal background influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. There is no word or character limit. Please include any educational, cultural, economic, family or social experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. UCSF is committed to a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Diversity refers to the variety of experiences and perspectives that arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical capabilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation and other characteristics. UCSF values diversity because it enhances the educational experience, the workplace and services to the public provided by this campus. 
  • Statement of Purpose 
    Please state your reason for applying to the PhD Program in Epidemiology and Translational Science. What questions are you interested in addressing in a doctoral training program? Please describe your research interests and future goals. Provide any personal or background information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating your potential for graduate study. Assuming you have already received a master’s degree, please include a summary of what you have been doing since graduation. Please do not reiterate the material in your Research Summary for this section of your application. You must restrict your summary to one page (approx. 650 words/3000 characters).
  • Research Experience and Research Summary
    Research experience is valued because it shows us that you can succeed in a research-intensive environment. Focus on articulating clear and compelling scientific goals in your essays. For each significant research experience you have had, describe the scientific context of the research question you addressed, the methods you employed and the conclusions you made from your work. List the name of your research adviser, the name and location of the university or company where you did the research and the dates of the project.
  • Publications
    Please list citations for any publications resulting from your research. This may include publications in review and other statuses other than publications; please indicate what status the publication is in on your applications. It is advisable to use New England Journal of Medicine format for citations.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Scores TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English Speakers, if required


Selected applicants will be interviewed by the admissions committee, prospective faculty mentors, and a current student or alumni of the PhD program. All interviews will be held by Zoom.