Ph.D. Admissions FAQs

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We hope UW Health Services Ph.D. applicants are able to find answers to their questions here. Frequently asked questions are organized by topics.


Admission application deadlines and details can be found on the Health Services Ph.D. admissions page. Questions about our admissions waitlist are in the section specific to the waitlist.

How many students apply to the program and how many are accepted each year?

In a typical year, we receive 60 applications and admit six to eight new students.

Does the program accept transfer credits?

The program does not accept transfer credits. There is a possibility to waive out of certain courses in the program. However, a waiver is not guaranteed. Arrangements are coordinated after the student is enrolled in the program.

Otherwise, incoming students’ coursework is determined by their past experience with statistics and epidemiology. If a student has already taken certain courses in those topics and did well, they start with the advanced courses. Sample schedules can be found on our website.

How do applicants submit their optional GRE scores?

Can applicants defer their acceptance to next year?

No, our program does not offer admission deferrals. If applicants receive an offer of admission and are unable to attend, they will need to reapply for a future term.

Please Note: Receiving an offer of admission for one year does not guarantee admission in a later year. We therefore encourage applicants to think carefully about their timing before submitting an application and/or before deciding whether to accept or decline an offer of admission.

Can people with only a bachelor’s degree apply for the Ph.D. program?

Most students in our doctoral program have a master’s degree of some kind when they enter the program. Although we have admitted some students with only a bachelor’s degree in the past, it is relatively unusual. Successful applicants whose highest degree is a bachelor’s generally have exceptionally strong applications, including significant research experience.

Can graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students take Health Services Ph.D. courses?

Admissions Waitlist

When do waitlisted applicants learn if they are offered admission to the program?

If spaces open up for students from the waitlist, applicants will be notified around April 15.

General admissions questions can be found above.

Why are applications placed on the waitlist?

Enrollment restrictions limit our ability to accept all qualified applicants. However, applications on the waitlist were favorably reviewed, and we would like to offer those applicants admission to the program if space permits.

What percentage of wait list applicants eventually get offered admission?

This varies from cycle to cycle.

Is there a ranking system for waitlisted applicants?

No, there is not a ranking system for waitlisted applicants. While there is no ranking system, accepted applicants are determined by availability of space and mentors in the incoming class, program fit, and funding considerations.


For information on visiting us or sitting in on a class, view the Health Services Ph.D. contact page.

Program Information

More detailed information about the Health Services Ph.D. program is in the about and program experience sections of our website.

How long does it take to complete the Health Services Ph.D. degree program?

Most students graduate in about four and a half years. Students who have completed the core courses at entry may be able to graduate in three years. The time it takes a student to graduate is also dependent on the type of dissertation project the student pursues.

Can students complete this Ph.D. program part-time?

This program is full-time and in-person. We do not have part-time or remote options. It is particularly important for students to live in the greater Seattle area during the first two or three years of the program so they can complete required courses. Circumstances occasionally arise where students need to take time off or reduce their courseload to part-time. We work individually with students to help them succeed and meet their needs. After students complete the required, in-person classes, they do have some flexibility to move farther away, although this can be challenging to their progress and may slow down the dissertation phase.

Can students pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. concurrently?

Any UW medical student can seek to do a Health Services Ph.D. concurrently at UW.

The applicant would need to apply to the Health Services Ph.D. program and be competitive in all the usual ways. The Admissions Committee does not give preference for being enrolled at UW.

It is recommended that an advisor or mentor in the students’ M.D. program who supports their career goal helps them combine the two degrees concurrently. Students ultimately need approval of the M.D. program’s academic dean to pursue concurrent degrees if they are found competitive.

Students should talk about their plans with relevant Ph.D. faculty before applying.

It is not easy to pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. concurrently, so the Admissions Committee is usually only enthusiastic about admitting very strong candidates who are likely to do excellent research under the direction and support of our Ph.D. mentors.

If a student’s primary interest is global health, is a Health Services Ph.D. a good fit?

The content of our Health Services Ph.D. program focuses on the organization, financing, and delivery of health care in the U.S. Coursework includes epidemiology, biostatistics, and advanced methods in health systems research within the U.S. There is relatively little content about health care in other countries. The program strives to produce graduates who are capable of independent research in the U.S., generally in academic, research, or federal institutions.

The required courses do not contain in-depth content on health care delivery in other countries. Most, if not all, of the financial support that we have for students come with the requirement that students focus their doctoral work on topics in the United States. We have admitted some students with global health interests into the program in the past, but finding financial support has always been challenging and this has limited our ability to admit students in this area.

The UW Department of Global Health offers a Ph.D. program.

Cost and Financial Support

Please find costs and financial support information on the Health Services Ph.D. cost and aid page.

International and Undocumented Applicants

We welcome applications from international and/or undocumented applicants. Learn more about the details and requirements on the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) website.