Letters of Recommendation
Applicants will need to submit letters of recommendation from three (3) individuals familiar with your academic and/or professional work. Letters of recommendation should be submitted online from professional, not commercial, email accounts (e.g. yahoo, hotmail, etc.).
Guidelines & Tips
Academic and research abilities: Reference letters should address your academic and research abilities, including your capacity to work independently, as well as your ability to comprehend, digest, and assimilate new knowledge.
Employment or character reference letters: These are less valuable to the admissions committee unless the employer can address your academic and research abilities.
Returning to school: If you have been out of school for an extended period, recommenders should include a supervisor or someone with whom you have conducted research - an individual who can touch upon your intellectual abilities and research skills - especially if in the practice of public health.
Undergraduate dossier service letters: These tend to be vague and general, and often fail to address the potential match between public health and the applicant.
Inappropriate sources: Reference letters from a peer-colleague, friend, or relative are never appropriate.
Standardized Test Scores: GRE
The Admissions Office requires applicant’s GRE scores, which should be forwarded directly from the Educational Testing Service. SOPHAS applicants use Mailman Public Health Institutional Code 2159, HAMPCAS applicants use Mailman Public Health Institutional Code 0047.
GRE waivers are seldom granted. However, MCAT, LSAT, or GMAT scores are accepted in lieu of the GRE. You should prepare for the exam. GRE preparation courses, study guides, and Internet materials can help you with the process or methodology of the exam. There are no strict cutoff scores. The average GRE scores of last year’s admitted class were:
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Standardized tests that evaluate the above areas are preferred. When applicants submit tests that do not measure quantitative ability, however, the Admissions Committee looks to the undergraduate and/or prior graduate transcript(s) for a strong indication of the quantitative ability needed to succeed in your coursework.
Standardized Test Scores for International Students
International students must submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum required TOEFL ibt score is 100 (or 600 paper based). The minimum required IELTS band score is 7.5.
TOEFL score reports should be forwarded directly to SOPHAS from the Educational Testing Service using code 5688. IELTS score reports should be sent directly to the School at the below address. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your official test score be sent to the address below. An institutional code is not required. Read more frequently asked questions from International Students.
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th Street, Room 1014
New York, NY 10032
ph-admit [at] columbia.edu
Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose
Please submit a personal statement/statement of purpose of no more than 500 words for the department/degree of choice. Professional degree essays require a clear understanding of the public health field and how you hope to work within the field. Be sure to proofread your personal statement carefully for spelling and grammar.
In your statement, be sure to address the following: what interests you in the field of public health, what interests you in a specific degree program and department at the Mailman School and what interests you in a particular certificate (if applicable). Please also describe how you hope to use your public health training to help you achieve your career goals.
CV or Resume
Please send an up-to-date CV/resume that includes:
Experiences - especially those related to public health
Professional skills and accomplishments
Please send official transcripts from each of the colleges and universities you list on your application to SOPHAS.
The Mailman School has no strict GPA cutoff, though most of our applicants have earned a 3.3 GPA or better.
Applicants with low undergraduate GPAs may wish to address any reasons for their average as an addendum to the application.
Request your transcripts early, as it may take many weeks for your college or university to issue and mail these documents.
SOPHAS is no longer accepting foreign transcripts, only WES evaluations.
Doctoral applicants should include a writing sample of scientific writing, preferably sole author or first authored approximately 2,000-3,000 words (no more than 10-15 pages double spaced). A published article is acceptable only if the student stipulates the nature of their contribution.