FAQ for Prospective Students

Frequently Asked Questions about admissions


Table of Contents:

General Information
Application Information
Financial Aid
International Students

General Information

Spring admission is available for master’s programs and the advanced certificate programs. It is not available for PhD programs.

The five master’s level core courses can be completed online if students prefer; they are also available in-person. Several other master’s level courses are available either in online or hybrid format. Only the MS in Population Health Informatics and the MS in Global and Migrant Health Policy programs are offered entirely online. Other programs may offer select courses online.

The Advanced Certificate in Public Health and the Advanced Certificate in Industrial Hygiene can be completed entirely online if students prefer; they are also available in-person.

The majority of doctoral level courses are offered in-person.

About CUNY SPH Online Courses

In addition to in-person courses, SPH offers hybrid, synchronous, and asynchronous online courses:

  • Hybrid: Course lectures, activities and meetings are both in-person and online. The online sessions and activities can be asynchronous or synchronous, at assigned days and times noted in CUNYFirst.
  • Synchronous online: Class meets entirely online and at least one of the online sessions is synchronous, meaning that students are required to be online on the course website at the same time. The schedule for synchronous sessions is noted in CUNYFirst.
  • Asynchronous online: All class sessions are online. The student can access the materials at any time, without any restrictions.

Technical requirements for hybrid and online courses are:

  • Broadband internet connection
  • Computer with Firefox browser (recommended) and Java installed
  • CUNYFirst and Blackboard account
  • Headset (recommended)

Yes.  MPH, MS, PhD, and Advanced Certificate students can all attend CUNY SPH part time.  They can also switch back and forth between full time and part time as their personal schedule permits.

Full time status for certificate and MPH/MS students is 12 credits. For PhD students, it is 7 credits. Only International and Veteran students are required to maintain full time status.  If a student wants to get federal aid, then they need to register for 6 credits; all other students may register for the number of credits as they see fit.


The master’s programs are designed to be completed in two years based on fall admission and full-time enrollment. Many students choose to go part time for one or more semesters; as such the average time to complete the MPH or MS is about 3 years.

The MS in Global and Migrant Health Policy, MS in Health Communication for Social Change, and the MS in Population Health Informatics can each be completed in 1.5 years based on full-time enrollment.

The PhD is designed to be completed in 4.5 years. Doctoral students can choose to attend classes part time as well.

Please visit Non-Degree Student Admission Information for more information. Please note that not every class allows non-degree students; you can only apply for a limited number of classes.

Students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields may qualify for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension of 24 months, in addition to their initial period of Post-Completion OPT (12 months).

The following CUNY SPH programs are considered STEM:

  • PhD in Environmental and Planetary Health Sciences (CIP 51.2202)
  • PhD in Epidemiology (CIP 26.1309)
  • MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (CIP 51.2202)
  • MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (CIP 51.2202)
  • MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CIP 26.1309)

CUNY SPH does not offer student housing.

Application Information

Yes. We accept all kinds of work experience, including internships, externships, and volunteer work.

Completion of a master of science, master of public health, or other equivalent advanced degree is required.

The statement of interest is one of the most important components of the application. The admissions committee is looking to see that you have a well-defined interest and plan of study.

This is your opportunity to explain to the admissions committee:

  • How your past experiences have prepared you for master’s level training and research.
  • How what you want to do in the future requires master’s level training.
  • How you will use your time in the master’s program to work towards this future.

Transcripts are required to be sent to SOPHAS from all U.S. and English-speaking Canadian institutions you have reported in the “Colleges Attended” section of your application. SOPHAS cannot process your application without receiving all of your transcripts.

Transcripts must be addressed and mailed to SOPHAS directly by the Registrar’s Office.

SOPHAS mailing address:

SOPHAS Transcript Processing Center
P.O. Box 9111
Watertown, MA 02471

For overnight delivery of transcripts ONLY:

SOPHAS Transcript Processing Center
c/o Liaison International
311 Arsenal Street, Suite #15
Watertown, MA 02472

Please see the admission requirements for the program to which you are applying under the ADMISSIONS tab.

MPH/MS applicants who have a post graduate degree from a US accredited school or a post graduate degree in clinical or allied health that WES or ECE has deemed equivalent to its US counterpart may request a standardized test waiver.

The PhD program requires GRE scores within the past 5 years.

Please see the admission requirements for the program to which you are applying under the ADMISSIONS tab.

Financial Aid

Complete information about financial aid options can be found on the Office of Financial Aid pages.

Yes, many of our students work on campus. The Office of Career Services posts a weekly listing of current employment opportunities for students. Students are also encouraged to reach out to professors to inquire about research opportunities.

Unfortunately,  financial aid is only available for the MS, MPH and PhD programs. However, you may be eligible for a payment plan. Contact bursar@sph.cuny.edu for more information.

International Students

You are not eligible for financial aid in the form of federal loans, but you may be eligible for other grants and scholarships once you are attending CUNY SPH.

You may complete our Advanced Certificate entirely online from abroad, and for that you do not need any visa. Unfortunately, the Certificate is not available for international students who wish to come to the US and take in-person classes under the F-1 status.

You cannot waive the TOEFL unless the language of instruction for your undergraduate or graduate degree was in English (you must have your transcript evaluation to prove this to Admissions) or English is the official language in your country.

Internet Based Test: 60 (Reading score + Writing score + Listening score)


For submitting TOEFL scores to SOPHAS, please use institution code 5688.

When you take TOEFL, be sure to arrange to have scores sent to SOPHAS. If you have already taken the test and did not arrange to have scores delivered at that time, contact your test provider to resend your official scores. This may incur additional costs, so we suggest that you make sure to arrange delivery of your scores when you take the test.

We cannot review your application until it is complete. The absolute latest we will accept scores is two weeks past the application deadline.

First, contact your test provider and find out if and when they sent out your scores via the correct method. If your TOEFL scores were sent correctly, then you must contact SOPHAS to ensure that they have received it. You can call SOPHAS at (617) 612-2090, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm EST, or email them at sophasinfo@liaisoncas.com with your full name, a detailed description of the issue, and your SOPHAS ID number (it can be found at the top of your SOPHAS application).​

If your education took place in a country outside of the US, and the language of instruction was not in English or English is not an official language in that country, you will need to take the TOEFL, regardless of your citizenship status.

Do not send foreign transcripts. SOPHAS and CUNY SPH do not accept any foreign transcripts, including those printed in English.

CUNY SPH will accept either WES (preferred) or ECE evaluations. Currently, SOPHAS cannot accept ECE evaluations, so for the time being, you will need to email ECE evaluations directly to admissions@sph.cuny.edu.

You should contact your transcript evaluation service as early as possible since the evaluation process may take several weeks after your foreign transcripts are received. For WES, please see www.wes.org/cas for complete instructions. For ECE, please see https://www.ece.org/Page/Individuals for instructions.