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PhD Program in Health Services

Application Process

Successful applications usually show:

  • High academic standing - a graduate GPA of 3.7 or higher, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • A bachelor, master, or professional degree in a field related to health services and public health.
  • Research experience and publications.
  • Strong service orientation.
  • Unique/diverse background and experiences.

We consider all applicants who apply, however, those who meet the above qualifications are more competitive.

Application Steps


The Autumn 2023 application cycle has closed.

Step One: Research the Program

Attend an information session. It's recommended that prospective applicants attend one of our monthly Zoom webinars. An advisor will give a presentation on the program curriculum, admissions, career outlook, etc., followed by Q&A. Find upcoming Information sessions and events here.

Contact or visit us. For questions about the program and the application process, or to set up a visit, please contact the Marketing and Student Recruitment Specialist:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are also available here.

Complete a prospective student interview with faculty. An in-person or telephone interview with one or more faculty in the program is highly recommended. We encourage applicants to contact faculty directly, prior to submitting an application. One way you may determine faculty who share your training interests is by viewing the faculty bios on the web. In looking at these, you may see where your best fit is and learn more about current research activities and opportunities for student involvement.

You will list all faculty contacts in the appropriate section of the PhD application.

Step Two: Prepare to Apply

Get unofficial transcripts from each college or university you've attended. Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies. Prior schools and minor transcripts for coursework that has no relevance to the degree can be omitted.

Official transcripts will only be requested when an offer of admission is made (international applicants) or accepted (domestic applicants).

Update your resume or curriculum vitae.

Write your Statement of Purpose. In a statement of 2-3 single-spaced pages, describe your professional background, career goals, and the educational objectives you expect to meet through the program. Be sure to include a description of your work experience in health care or related fields. The admissions committee places particular importance on well-specified and realistic career objectives.

Write your Personal Statement. The University of Washington is committed to excellence through diversity, and our Program's curriculum promotes an understanding of the means by which social inequities and racism, generated by power and privilege, undermine health. We welcome students who have varied cultural experiences, and who will contribute to the intellectual and social enrichment of our doctoral program. In a 1-2 page (single-spaced) statement, please describe your personal history, family background, and influences on your intellectual development that reflect your commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This statement may include social, cultural, economic, and educational opportunities, or disadvantages that you have overcome, and the ways in which these experiences have affected you.

Complete the Supplemental Self-Identification Form (optional). The Health Services PhD program welcomes applicants across differences of ideas, history, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, gender identification, national origin, race and ethnicity. In order to track the effectiveness of our recruiting efforts and ensure that we consider the needs of all our students, please consider responding to the questions in the optional PhD Supplemental Self-Identification Form.

If you choose to complete the form, download it, enter your responses and save it. You can then upload the completed form in the appropriate section of the online application.

Identify people who will write letters of recommendation for you. Three recommendations are required to apply. Recommenders should be familiar with your academic goals and your potential for achieving those goals. You will need their email addresses for the Graduate School application, which will then send specific instructions to each recommender.

You will be able to return to the online application to check whether your letters have been submitted. Applicants are expected to be in contact with each recommender to make sure that the letters are submitted by the application deadline (December 15, 2021).

Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), if desired. As of May 2021, the GRE is no longer required for the PhD Program in Health Services. Submission of GRE scores is optional for students who feel that their scores are a better representation of their current academic preparedness for the program than their transcripts.

If you choose to submit GRE scores, they must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service using institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. Scores cannot be more than five years old at the time of the application deadline. You will also be asked to self-report your GRE scores.

Step Three: Apply Online

Start your online application to the UW Graduate School.

Select "Health Services (PhD)" as the program name.

Designate the people who have agreed to write your letters of recommendation. Each of these people will be sent an email directing them to a secure website where they will submit their letters.

Upload all required documents.

For the section on Areas of Interest, there is a 20 word limit. Please respond with a comma-separated list, for example, "social determinants of health, health policy, Latinx health, immigrant and refugee health, payment reform."

Pay the nonrefundable application fee and submit your application.

After you've submitted your application, you can check on its status by logging into the application page.

International Applicants

If you are required to provide test scores as proof of English language proficiency, you will need to enter your test scores in the online application. The UW requirements for TOEFL and other English language proficiency tests are available here.

A list of FAQs for international applicants is available here.

Undocumented Applicants

Application guidance and resources for undocumented applicants are here. There are additional resources on the Leadership Without Borders page.


A list of answers to frequently asked questions are here.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions, or book an advising appointment.