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Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice


The Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice is one of several Master of Public Health degree programs offered by the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health. Because the COPHP degree program has a unique philosophy and approach, the admission process is slightly different than for other MPH programs at the UW.

Be sure to carefully review the steps below before you begin your application.

Application Dates and Deadlines

Applications to the autumn 2023 cohort open September 1, 2022. The deadline to submit your application is January 15, 2023.  

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent from a foreign institution
  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the last graded 60 semester credits or 90 graded quarter credits
  • At least two years of post-college work experience (strongly recommended)
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English

The COPHP program generally doesn't accept applicants who are still enrolled in a bachelor’s degree unless 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

Application Steps

To be considered for admission, applicants must complete both the UW Graduate School (MyGrad) application and the SOPHAS application. The SOPHAS and MyGrad applications can be submitted in either order, but preferably on the same day. 

Step One: Research the Program

Decide if the COPHP program is right for you. Learn as much as you can about our problem-based learning method and program expectations. In particular, please read the Academic Experience page closely.

Attend an information session. We highly recommend that prospective applicants attend a bi-monthly Zoom webinar to learn about curriculum, problem-based learning, admissions, career outlook and more.

Contact us.

Review COPHP student scholarships prior to applying to the program. Awards are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Award recipients are notified before autumn quarter begins.

Step Two: Prepare to Apply

Review the application materials listed below. Draft your written materials, designate people to write your letters of recommendation and apply for fee waivers early.

The School of Public Health’s Application FAQs page also addresses questions about SOPHAS.

Step Three: Apply Online

To be considered for admission, complete both the UW Graduate School (MyGrad) application AND the SOPHAS application. You may do this in any order, but you won't be able to submit either application until the two are linked.

UW Graduate School Application Instructions

Go to the UW Graduate School and follow the prompts for new or returning applicants. Complete the following sections:

  • Profile
  • Select your graduate program
    • Health Services (MPH - Community Oriented Public Health Practice)
  • Review requirements and deadlines
  • Report prior schools attended
  • Upload unofficial transcripts (PDF)
  • Enter SOPHAS application number
  • Verify personal data

Pay the nonrefundable fee ($85) or request a waiver. Read about the UW Grad School application fee waivers and the Department of Health Health Systems and Population Health application fee waiver to learn if you qualify. You must request a fee waiver prior to submitting your application, at least seven days before the application deadline.

Submit your application.

SOPHAS Application Instructions

You'll electronically submit or report the materials below through SOPHAS. Information and materials reported in the Personal Information, Academic History and Supporting Information sections are shared among all SOPHAS applications. Only materials submitted through the Program Materials section are unique to the Health Services MPH application.

Go to the SOPHAS website and create a login ID and password. Complete the general sections: 

  • Personal Information 
    • Profile and demographic information
  • Academic History 
    • Enter high schools and colleges attended
    • Transcripts
      • Manual entry
      • Order official transcripts
    • Standardized test scores
      • GRE (optional)
      • English language proficiency (if required)
  • Supporting Information 
    • Letters of recommendation
    • CV/Resume

Add the COPHP MPH program to your application:

  • Under Program Materials, click Add a Program
  • On the Add Programs page, locate the section titled “University of Washington School of Public Health”
  • Click the + icon (left column) that corresponds with the program titled:
    • Health Services Community-Oriented Public Health Practice
  • Click My Application (top left)

Complete the Program Materials section:

  • UW Graduate School application ID number
  • Questions required by UW School of Public Health
    • Statement of purpose
    • Personal history statement
    • Equity, diversity and anti-racism statement
  • Questions required by the MPH in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program
    • MyGrad Application ID
    • Public health problem statement
    • Program specific interest
    • Writing sample
  • Optional Questions
    • Academic performance and background
    • Consideration for concurrent/dual degrees
    • Ortega Fund & HSEED Award Application
    • Unofficial transcripts (See Transcripts information below)

To request a fee waiver, click your name in the upper right corner of the application, then select Fee Waiver Form. Visit the SOPHAS Fees and Fee Waivers page to learn if you qualify. Pay the nonrefundable fee ($145 for the first program and $55 for each additional program).

Submit your application.

Application Materials: Definitions and Requirements

Application Fee Waivers

Visit the following pages to learn about qualifications and instructions:

UW Graduate School Fee Waivers: You're required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $85 for each application to the University of Washington School of Public Health. You'll submit payment online via the admissions application.

If you're eligible for a fee waiver, you must must request the waiver prior to submitting your application, at least seven days before the application deadline. If granted, someone from the program will pay the fee for you. DON'T pay the nonrefundable fee until you hear back from the program.

You need to determine your eligibility for a Graduate School fee waiver before applying for a Department of Health Systems and Population Health fee waiver

SOPHAS Fee Waivers: SOPHAS charges $140 for the first program you apply to and $50 for each additional program. Beginning at the start of the cycle, a limited number of fee waivers are provided to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Transcript Requirements

UW MyGrad Application: Unofficial Transcripts

Download unofficial transcripts or scan printed copies from each college or university you have attended. Then, upload these unofficial transcripts to MyGrad.

You may omit transcripts that are redundant or irrelevant to this degree, such as minor transcripts for coursework that is irrelevant to this program.

The UW will only request official transcripts when an offer of admission is made (international applicants) or accepted (domestic applicants).

SOPHAS Application: Official Transcripts and Manual Entry

The SOPHAS application requires that you:

  1. Order official transcripts from each collegiate level institution attended (Section: Academic History, Colleges Attended)
  2. Manually enter all coursework exactly as it is listed on your official college level transcripts (Section: Academic History, Transcript Entry). This process takes a significant amount of time, and you should plan to enter this information as early as possible.

Alternative to manual entry: We understand the accessibility issues posed by this requirement. Therefore, if this is the only program you're applying to, you may add only one course to the transcript entry section, and then upload unofficial transcripts later in the application (Section: Program Materials, Documents).

This alternative option is unique to the Health Services MPH, MPH in COPHP and Online MPH programs from the Department of Health Systems and Population Health. It doesn't include other programs from the School of Public Health or other universities. The documents you upload under Program Materials are only viewed by the specific program you uploaded them to.

Someone from SOPHAS might reach out to let you know that your manual transcript entry is incomplete. DON'T bypass SOPHAS’ transcript entry section if you plan to apply to any other programs.

Letters of Recommendation

You must list three recommendation requests from academic advisors, professors, supervisors, mentors and anyone else familiar with your academic abilities and potential for a career in public health practice. Please make sure at least one reference comes from a person who can comment on your performance in a learning environment or someone who can speak to your academic preparedness for graduate school specifically.

These letters should address the general topic of your suitability for the training provided by the program and should mention how long recommenders have known you and in what context.

Each request requires:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Due date
  • Personal message to the recommender (limit: 500 words)

After you submit the requests, each person listed will receive an email that directs them to a secure website where they will submit their letters.

You can submit your application to the program before all your letters of recommendation have been entered. You'll be able to return to the online application to monitor if your letters have been submitted. You should be in contact with each recommender to make sure their letters are submitted by the application deadline (January 17, 2023).

Standardized Tests/GRE (Optional)

The GRE is no longer required. However, if you feel that your GRE scores better represent your academic preparedness for the program than your undergraduate transcripts, you may include the scores.

Questions Required by the UW School of Public Health

Statement of Purpose 

Your Statement of Purpose (750 words max) 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 and your career goals
  • Your reasons for pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and why you're interested in attending the University of Washington School of Public Health
  • The skills you hope to gain by obtaining an MPH

Personal History Statement

The Personal History Statement (500 words max) gives you the opportunity to provide a narrative about your lived experiences, obstacles you may have overcome and how these have guided you toward 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; socioeconomic conditions; and experiences growing up, including successes, challenges and moments of learning and growth. This question isn't intended to ask you to share personal information you aren't comfortable providing.

Equity, Justice and Anti-Racism Statement

Limit: 350 words

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are core values of the UW School of Public Health. We are committed to a future that is free of health inequities and promotes the highest level of wellness for the communities we serve. We strive to cultivate a public health workforce that embodies humility, respect and leadership.

We further seek to create a community that is inclusive of underrepresented populations and in service to underserved communities. The school is committed to becoming anti-racist and adopting anti-racism principles in the classroom and in our work. Completion of this MPH application attests that you are informed of these commitments and expectations of students who attend the UW School of Public Health (You can review additional details provided on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion page.)

In your statement (350 words max), describe how you might contribute to these efforts and/or learn and grow in the areas of EDI and anti-racism during your time at the UW and in your public health work after graduation.

Questions Required by the COPHP Program

Application ID

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

Both application portals will provide:

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

You may do this in any order, but you won't be able to complete either application until the two are linked.

Public Health Problem Statement

Describe one public health problem you are passionate about and how you would like to contribute to its solution as a COPHP graduate. Please treat this as a formal opportunity to demonstrate your ability to research and write persuasively and concisely at a level required for graduate coursework (385–500 words max).

Program Specific Interest

Limit: 2,000 characters (208–400 words)

COPHP is a unique program among MPH programs. Describe how the COPHP program complements your field of focus, career path and/or learning styles (208–400 words max).

Writing Sample

Submit a writing sample (10 pages max) for which you are the sole or primary author. The writing sample should highlight your writing, research and critical-thinking skills. For example, this could be a research paper from undergrad, a policy brief or an op-ed.

Academic Performance and Background (Optional)

Is there anything in your transcript (e.g., GPA below 3.0 or failed courses) or on your resume that you'd like to provide additional context? If you had a nontraditional path to college or graduate school, please speak to your preparation for COPHP (154–200 words max).

Concurrent Degree (Optional)

Limit: 100 characters (15–20 words)

Will you be pursuing the COPHP Master of Public Health degree concurrently with a Master of Urban Planning (MUP) or Master of Social Work (MSW)? If yes, indicate the degree (MUP or MSW) and your current status with respect to that program (enrolled or applied). This question is only for those pursuing MSW and MUP degrees, not certificates (15–20 words max).

Note: COPHP only accepts concurrent degrees with MUP and MSW. If you're interested in pursuing concurrent degrees, we strongly encourage you to reach out to to discuss course plans, fee structures and degree timelines. 

The Ortega Fund & HSEED Award Application (Optional)

The Sigolene Ortega Fund for Social Justice in Public Health

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

HSEED Award 

The Health Services Excellence, Equity and Distinction (HSEED) Award offers $5,000 package to one incoming student with funds distributed over a nine-month period.  Eligibility criteria:  


  • Must have complete applications submitted within both SOPHAS and MyGrad before the application deadline
  • Submit response to essay prompt 

Essay prompt (2,250 characters max):

  • Describe your academic and career goals in the field of public health. How will this financial resource support your goals?
  • Identify how your work impacts (or could impact) the health of a population or community. What leadership qualities help support your work? 
  • What diverse perspectives will you bring to the program, whether by past experiences or academic achievements?

Award recipients will be notified before autumn quarter begins.

International Applicants

You're considered an international applicant if you are not a U.S. citizen, immigrant 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.

Please note that international students should be prepared to cover their educational costs.

The following resources provide more information:

The COPHP program welcomes applicants from developing countries who are interested in learning the problem-based learning (PBL) approach in order to teach using PBL in their home countries. However, there isn't funding specifically available for international students; applicants should seek sponsorship from a university or government ministry in their native country.

Whether international or domestic, some applicants with interests that lean more toward global health than health care in the U.S. may wish to consider other MPH programs within the UW School of Public Health, such as Epidemiology or Global Health.

Visa Status

International students must have a visa status that allows for academic study at the University of Washington. If you’re 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. For more information, review the citizenship and visa status section of the Graduate School application process page, and contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services at if you have any questions.

The following resources provide more information:

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. The UW Graduate School’s Memo 8 describes several ways you can do this. 

Undocumented Applicants

The COPHP program welcomes applications from undocumented individuals. The Graduate Student Equity & Excellence  (formerly Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program) offers application guidance and resources. The Leadership Without Borders Center provides resources for undocumented students at the University of Washington, including information on financial aid and scholarships. 

Deferral Policy

Applicants may defer an offer of admission one time, for one academic year. Deferral requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and must be submitted in writing via email to