Admissions: Community-Oriented Public Health Practice MPH


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  5. Admissions: Community-Oriented Public Health Practice MPH

The Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Master of Public Health (COPHP MPH) program is one of several MPH degree programs offered by the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop). Our COPHP MPH degree prepares students for fulfilling careers as leaders in the field of community health through a problem-based learning approach.

Limited Space Available for Autumn 2024

IMPORTANT: If you submit an application after January 15, 2024, you must email uwcophp@uw.edu to ensure your application is reviewed in a timely manner.

Autumn 2025 Application Timeline

Application Opens: September 1, 2024
Application Deadline: January 15, 2025
Applicants Notified: Mid-February 2025

Application Steps

All applicants must apply through both SOPHAS and the UW Graduate School to be considered for entry. We recommend beginning the application process early to ensure all requirements are completed on time.

Step One: Research the Program

Understand the Program and Problem-Based Learning

Learn as much as you can about our focus, format, and program expectations to consider if the program is right for you.

Applicants must understand the COPHP MPH problem-based learning approach and highly interactive classes. All applicants are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the program’s unique structure and curriculum in their application.

Program Experience

Meet Eligibility Criteria

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent from an institution outside of the U.S.
  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the last graded 60 semester credits or 90 graded quarter credits
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose first language is not English

Two years of full-time work or substantial volunteer experience in public health is strongly recommended. The COPHP MPH recognizes unpaid work, including volunteering and internships, as valuable opportunities to inform your understanding and experience in public health. Additionally, the program appreciates that lived experience can be a contributing element to your understanding of public health systems and readiness for graduate school.


Current Bachelor Student Criteria

The COPHP MPH program team considers applications from students who are still enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • A nontraditional path to college or graduate school, with full-time work experience in public health
  • Exceptional academic performance with significant public health experience during undergraduate training

International and/or Undocumented Applicants

We welcome international and/or undocumented applicants. Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency.

You are considered an international applicant if you are not a U.S. citizen, immigrant (documented or undocumented), or permanent resident. International applicants include students who hold U.S. visas, such as F-1, J-1 Exchange Visitors, H-1, dependent visas, or any other nonimmigrant classifications.

International students must have a visa status that allows for academic study at the University of Washington. If you are admitted to the COPHP program and plan to attend on an F-1 or J-1 visa, you must study full time — at least 10 credits per quarter — to maintain your visa status.

Please note that international students should be prepared to cover all educational costs, as most financial aid programs will not be available.

Understand Concurrent Degree Options

Concurrent degree options are available for COPHP MPH students with the following UW degrees ONLY:

  • Master of Social Work (MSW) from UW School of Social Work
  • Master of Urban Planning (MUP) from UW College of Built Environments

Other Concurrent Degrees: If you are interested in pursuing a different concurrent degree, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us (uwcophp@uw.edu) to discuss course plans, fee structures, and degree timelines.

As of the 2023 admissions cycle, COPHP is no longer extending invitations to clinical-track MSW students due to new UW Graduate School policies and competing course planning that prevents completion of both degrees in three years.

Learn More

Attend an Information Session

We highly recommend that prospective applicants attend one of our monthly information sessions on Zoom to learn about the program’s problem-based learning format, curriculum, admissions, career outlook, and more.

Information Sessions

Contact Us or Submit an Interest Form

If you still have questions about the COPHP, fill out an interest form or email us (uwcophp@uw.edu).

Step Two: Prepare to Apply

Draft written materials, obtain unofficial transcripts, designate people to write letters of recommendation, and apply early for fee waivers.

General Application Materials

Transcripts – Unofficial and Official

Application: SOPHAS and UW Graduate School

Unofficial transcripts are needed for the UW Graduate School, and official transcripts are needed for SOPHAS. You may omit transcripts that are redundant or irrelevant to this degree, such as minor transcripts for coursework that is irrelevant to the program.

Obtain unofficial transcripts from each college or university where you earned a degree or completed relevant coursework. Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies. UW will request official transcripts when an offer of admission is made (international applicants) or accepted (domestic applicants).

For SOPHAS applications, you will need to order official transcripts from each collegiate level institution attended. Details can be found on the SOPHAS website.

SOPHAS: Transcripts

List of Coursework (Transcript Entry)

Application: SOPHAS

The SOPHAS application requires applicants both to order official transcripts AND manually enter all coursework exactly as it is listed on official college level transcripts. This process takes a significant amount of time, and we recommend entering this information as early as possible.

Bypass Info

GRE Scores (optional)

Application: SOPHAS

The GRE is no longer required! However, if applicants think their GRE scores are a better representation of academic preparedness for the program than their transcripts, they may include their GRE scores.

If applicants choose to submit GRE scores, they must self-report them in the online application with SOPHAS AND have scores sent directly to SOPHAS from the Educational Testing Service using the institutional code below. Scores from the testing services must arrive by the application deadline to be considered.

UW Institution Code with SOPHAS: 4943

SOPHAS: GRE

Proof of English Language Proficiency (select students)

Application: SOPHAS and UW Graduate School

Applicants whose first language is not English might need to share proof of English language proficiency. Only scores less than two years old at the time of the application deadline will be accepted.

Test scores must be sent directly to the UW by the Educational Testing Service using the UW institution code.

UW Institution Code: 4854

Letters of Recommendation

Application: SOPHAS

Number Needed: 3

Identify three people who will write letters of recommendation, such as academic advisors, professors, supervisors, or mentors. Recommenders should be familiar with your academic goals and potential for achieving those goals. These letters should address the general topic of your suitability for the program and should mention how recommenders know you and for how long.

Requests for the letters will be sent out via SOPHAS. You will need to provide names, emails, due date, and 500-word personal message to the recommenders. The recommenders will receive an email that directs them to a secure website where they will submit their letters.

You will be able to return to the online application to check whether letters have been submitted. You are expected to be in contact with each recommender to make sure that the letters are submitted by the application deadline (noted at the top of this page).

Please note: These letters are used for all programs you apply to through the online SOPHAS application. If the programs you are applying to include the UW Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Master of Public Health (COPHP MPH) program, one recommender must be an academic reference who can specifically speak to your readiness for graduate school.

Update Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Application: SOPHAS

Make sure your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) are up to date and inclusive of any public health experience you might have, such as conference presentations, publications, mentoring, volunteering, and other unpaid experience.

Application Fees and Waivers

SOPHAS Fee: $145 for the first program, $55 for each additional program

  • Visit the SOPHAS website for their full fee waiver policy
  • SOPHAS has previously run out of waivers on our application deadline and several otherwise qualified applicants couldn’t access them. So, request these early!

UW Graduate School Fee: $90

  • Determine your eligibility for the UW Grad School application fee waiver first. Only request a waiver from HSPop if you do not qualify for the Grad School fee waiver.
  • Request a waiver prior to submitting your application, and at least seven days before the application deadline. The fee cannot be reimbursed! 
  1. UW Grad School | Fee Waivers 
  2. Dept. of HSPop | Fee Waivers 

Request a waiver prior to submitting your application, and at least seven days before the application deadline. The fee cannot be reimbursed! 

If you requested an application fee waiver, DO NOT submit your application until you receive approval or denial for the fee w

Learn More

Application IDs

Application: SOPHAS and UW Graduate School

To be considered for admission, you must complete both the UW Graduate School application and the SOPHAS application.

Both application portals provide the following:

  • Unique application ID numbers for every program you apply to
  • Prompts to link the two applications:
    • Add SOPHAS application ID to UW Graduate School application
    • Add UW Graduate School application ID to SOPHAS application

You may do this in either order, although you will not be able to complete either application until the two are linked.


Essay Prompts Required by the UW School of Public Health

These essays will be viewed by all UW MPH programs that you apply to.

Personal History Statement

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 500 words max

The Personal History Statement is meant to give you the opportunity to offer a narrative of your lived experiences, and obstacles you may have overcome and how these have guided you towards an interest in public health. This statement should not be the same as your Statement of Purpose.

Your Personal History Statement can include information about who you are as a person; your family or cultural background; your socioeconomic conditions; and your experiences growing up, including successes, challenges, and moments of learning and growth.

Please do not feel compelled to provide personal information you would rather not share.

Write an Equity, Diversity, and Anti-Racism Statement

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 350 words max

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are core values of the School of Public Health. We seek to create a community of students inclusive of and in service to underrepresented populations.

The School is committed to anti-racism and strives to adopt anti-racist principles both in the classroom and in our work. How would you contribute to these efforts while in the program and in the future as a working professional?

Please review the UW School of Public Health EDI Statement for more information.


Essay Prompts Unique to the COPHP MPH Program

Statement of Purpose

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 2500 characters max

Your Statement of Purpose is intended to give you the opportunity to describe your education, prior work/volunteer experience, and/or professional career goals.

Your statement needs to include:

  • Why you are interested in public health
  • Experience you bring with you to the program
  • Your reasons for pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, and why you are interested in attending the University of Washington School of Public Health
  • How the unique approach of the COPHP program complements your field of focus, career path and/or learning styles
  • Your career goals

Public Health Problem Statement

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 2500 characters max

Describe one public health problem you are passionate about and describe how you would like to contribute to its solution as a graduate of the COPHP graduate program.

Please treat this as a formal opportunity to demonstrate your ability to research, write persuasively and concisely, at a level required for graduate coursework.

Academic Performance and Background (optional)

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 1000 characters max

Is there anything in your transcript (GPA below 3.0 or failed courses) or resume for which you would like to provide additional context? If you had a non-traditional path to college or graduate school, please speak to your preparation for COPHP.

Concurrent Degree (optional)

Application: SOPHAS

Limit: 100 characters max

Will you be pursuing the COPHP Master of Public Health degree concurrently with a Master of Urban Planning or Master of Social Work? If yes, please indicate: the degree (MUP or MSW) and your current status with respect to that program (enrolled or applied).

Please note, this question is only for those pursuing MSW and MUP degrees, not certificates.

COPHP only accepts concurrent degrees with MUP and MSW. Those interested in pursuing concurrent degrees are strongly encouraged to reach out to the program to discuss course plans, fee structures, and degree timelines.

As of the 2023 admissions cycle, COPHP is no longer extending invitations to clinical-track MSW students due to new UW Graduate School policies and competing course planning that prevents completion of both degrees in three years.

Learn More

HSEED Award (optional)

Application: SOPHAS

The UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) is committed to increasing the number of health professionals from diverse communities in the field of public health. The Health Systems Excellence, Equity, and Distinction (HSEED) Award provides up to $5,000 tuition support to outstanding students from each of our academic programs.

Award recipients are notified before autumn quarter begins.

Please review this website to determine your eligibility for the HSEED award and select if you would like to be considered.

HSEED Eligibility Criteria

Sigolène Ortega Fund for Social Justice in Public Health Award (optional)

Application: SOPHAS

The Sigolène Ortega Fund for Social Justice in Public Health offers a minimum of $500 to an incoming student (or two) to cover the costs of the application, tuition deposit, relocation costs and/or rent.

Award recipients will be notified prior to start of program.

Please review the eligibility criteria and select if you would like to be considered for the Sigoléne Ortega Fund for Social Justice in Public Health Award.

Criteria for Selecting Awardee(s)
  • An admitted COPHP applicant who enrolls in 10 credits each quarter they are offered funding
  • A student whose admission helps to diversify the COPHP student body to better reflect the communities served by a social justice-oriented public health workforce
  • Leadership potential to serve underserved communities in the field of public health

Step Three: Apply Online

You will need to complete applications through both SOPHAS and the UW Graduate School. Please use the same name and email address on both application portals.

We recommend starting with SOPHAS, but you can begin on either portal. As you proceed through the SOPHAS application, you will also be instructed to complete the UW Graduate School online application. This is a dual process and you will not be able to submit either application until the two are linked.

Review the UW School of Public Health Application FAQs for more details about this requirement.

SOPHAS Application

SOPHAS Overview: Information and materials reported in the following sections are shared among all SOPHAS applications — Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Evaluations.

Unlike other quadrants, the Program Materials section is unique to each program you apply to.

Start Here

SOPHAS Application Sections and Materials

UW Application

Create an account with or sign into the UW Graduate School application system and follow the prompts for new or returning applicants.

Start Here

UW Graduate School Application Sections and Materials

SOPHAS Manual Transcript Entry Bypass

PLEASE NOTE: The SOPHAS application requires you to both order official transcripts AND manually enter all coursework exactly as it is listed on official college level transcripts. This process takes a significant amount of time, and you should plan to enter this information as early as possible.

We understand the accessibility issues posed by the requirement to manually enter all course work in addition to providing official transcripts. Because of this, we have provided a bypass option for select situations.

You can only use the bypass option if you are applying to the following programs:

  • Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) MPH
  • Health Systems and Population Health MPH
  • Online MPH

DO NOT use the bypass option if applying to other programs in the department, UW School of Public Health, or other universities.

Bypass for Manual Transcript Entry

You are eligible to bypass the manual entry, IF you are applying to any of the programs listed above in the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) AND no other programs.

How to Bypass: You can manually add only one course to the transcript entry section and upload unofficial transcripts later in the application (in the Documents section under the Program Materials section).

When using the bypass option, someone from SOPHAS might contact you about your manual transcript entry being incomplete.