Application Guide

Applicants seeking admission to a master’s or doctoral degree program should contact the schools of interest for information on specific prerequisites and admission requirements. Schools may require Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Some schools may also accept the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Application Information

Centralized Application Service: SOPHAS - Schools of Public Health Application Service: Not all programs will use SOPHAS, please check with individual schools.

Cost: $135 for the first school to which you apply. Any additional school will cost $50 per designation.

When to apply: Application availability and deadlines will vary between schools. Students are encouraged to check with the individual schools they plan on applying to. A general timeline is also listed on the SOPHAS FAQs page.

Courses and Transcripts: The courses you have taken will need to be self-reported and you will also need to have official transcripts sent to the application service.

Most centralized applications will have a form to print off that will need to be attached to your transcript. You will be asked to enter information, grades and credits for every course that you have enrolled in at any U.S., U.S. Territorial, or Canadian post-secondary institution. Transcripts should be sent from the registrar’s office of all US and/or Canadian Schools attended.

You may order a transcript from the MSU registrar’s office from the registrar’s web site, There is no charge for sending transcripts. If you are taking courses during the spring semester, it is advised you wait until your spring semester grades are posted to your record as professional schools will want to see those grades.

Entrance Exam

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Length: 3 hours and 45 minutes

Sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Explore individual section information by visiting our GRE page.

Cost: The registration fee is $205 which includes the exam and scores sent to four schools. Sending scores to additional schools costs $27 each.

Scores: Scores range from 260-340 Verbal and Quantitative Composite, and 0-6 Analytical Writing.

GRE Prep Resources: MSU Pre-Health advisors do not endorse any specific test prep resource, but we encourage you to explore each of the different options to determine which will best fit your needs. 


Personal Statement

The personal statement is a very limited in length essay that is used as a device to get a better understanding of the applicant. It is a very important element that should be prepared well in advance to the application and should be edited thoroughly by many different people, such as but not limited to, the writing center, friends and family.

Length: 1,500 character limit for SOPHAS participating schools.

Prompt: Your personal essay is intended to give you the opportunity to submit a narrative to each school to which you are applying describing your past education, experience, and current professional career objectives. Your statement of purpose should describe your:

  • Reasons for interest in public health
  • Reasons for interest in academic dept or concentration
  • Reasons for interest in SPH
  • Career goals
  • If you are applying to a doctoral program, your proposed research topic.

What to include:

  • Why you selected this field of health care
  • What motivates you to learn more about health care
  • Pertinent information about you not included elsewhere in the application
  • Special hardships or experiences that have influenced your educational pursuits
  • Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record not explained in the application.



This section gives applicants an opportunity to expand on their experiences. All of your work in leadership, clinical experiences, community service, research, publications, awards and honors are detailed in a single section.

SOPHAS requests that applicants enter their experiences among the following categories:

  • Employment: Any work experience, including but not limited to relevant public health practice.
  • Research: Any research projects in which you played a significant role.
  • Volunteer: A description of your efforts as a volunteer in your community.


Recommendation Letters

SOPHAS requires a minimum of 3 letters and accepts up to 5.

While you must pay careful attention to the guidelines of each school that requests your letters, we suggest you identify the following people to request letters of evaluation from:

  • Two science faculty who taught you in a class
  • One non-science faculty
  • One individual working in the profession you wish to pursue
  • One or two additional individuals who know you well from a work, volunteer or research experience


After submitting an application for admission, students may receive an offer to interview. Not all public health programs require an interview as part of the application process, but for the ones that do, they have indicated an interest in selecting you. Remember, you are not only preparing to answer their questions, you are preparing to ask your own. While they determine whether you are the right fit for the program, you need to determine if the program is the right fit for you.

Schools use personal interviews with applicants to assess qualities such as maturity, interpersonal skills, and ability to articulate strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to discuss why you wish to pursue a career in physician assistant and the experiences that have motivated you.