Master's-to-Doctoral Program

Students are trained to pursue careers as public health researchers in health behavior. Training focuses initially on acquiring core competencies in public health and health behavior, resulting in the MSPH degree. Students then complete all the requirements for the PhD in Health Behavior.

Program Details

Minimum Credit Hours

Application Cycle

 Consultation with the Director of Graduate Admissions will be required in order to be considered for admission in any semester other than Fall.

Application Deadline
December 13, 2022

Expected Duration
6 Years

Learning Environment

Admissions Information

Who Should Apply
Persons planning a career as public health researchers in the discipline of health behavior.

Prior Degree Required
Bachelor’s degree.

Required Prerequisites

Undergraduate G.P.A.
PhD: Incoming students had a mean undergraduate GPA of 3.6

Letters of Recommendation Required
3 (academic and/or professional)

Not required.

Visit Opportunities
Learn about opportunities to connect with faculty, staff, and current students virtually and in person.

How To Apply

SOPHAS Application Process

SOPHAS Application Process
SOPHAS Application Deadline: December 1, 2022
Fee: $135.00+
(The Graduate School Application is a common application system for UNC-Chapel Hill Programs.)

I. Complete SOPHAS Online Application
Application Steps:

1. Application to UNC is a two-step process. Please apply separately to (1) SOPHAS and (2) UNC-Chapel Hill (via the Graduate School application). See SOPHAS website for complete checklist of SOPHAS steps as not all are listed here.
Once your application is submitted, it will be verified by SOPHAS. You will receive an email from UNC soon thereafter prompting you to complete the Graduate School application. Components of the SOPHAS application will be exported to the Graduate School application system, but you will still be asked to answer residency and honor code questions, and upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s). UNC will have access to your SOPHAS application at the time you submit. However your application will not be reviewed until you’ve completed both SOPHAS and Graduate School applications.

  • Applicants will need to enter all coursework information into SOPHAS and submit an official transcript to SOPHAS.
  • If you are admitted and choose to enroll at UNC Gillings, you will be asked for an official transcript showing degree awarded. International applicants need to have a WES-evaluated transcript for upload via SOPHAS, but a WES-evaluated transcript is not an acceptable substitute for an official transcript according to UNC.
  • 2. Upload your personal statement.
  • Please upload a double spaced statement of purpose of up to 1500 words. Some applicants find it useful to draft the statement in a word processing program. The essay should address the following:
  • Explain how your academic and personal background contribute to your understanding of the science of health behavior to promote public health.
  • Describe your research experience in health behavior or other fields related to public health. Indicate your role in conducting research and any research products such as papers and conference presentations. Describe any other experience in public health, health behavioral science or related fields you believe is relevant.
  • Tell us about research interests you would like to pursue during your doctoral studies.
  • Outline your long-term career goals and how receiving training in our doctoral program could advance them.
  • Indicate up to 3 faculty you would be interested in working with and why. Our faculty and their research interests are listed here:
  • Optional: As you are comfortable, describe how you will contribute to the diversity of the student body.
  • Enter names of recommenders. SOPHAS will then send them an email with instructions for submitting a letter on your behalf.
      • 3 (academic and/or professional)
      • Report test scores to SOPHAS.

        GRE scores are neither required nor typically recommended for applicants to the Master’s-to-Doctoral Program.

        International applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS standardized test scores. You will need to make two requests for TOEFL/IELTS scores to be sent to SOPHAS and UNC. Code 5688 routes to SOPHAS only, and code 5816 routes to UNC. TOEFL/IELTS scores must be no more than two years old.

      • Mail official transcripts (from each institution you have attended) directly to SOPHAS. Do not mail these to UNC. If admitted, you will be asked by UNC for an official transcript.
      • Check SOPHAS portal to track progress.

        Applicants should check the SOPHAS portal to ensure that all required documents have been received by SOPHAS.

      • Do NOT apply to UNC Gillings via the Graduate School application until you’ve received an email with instructions.
      • Note: Time-to-decision varies from program to program at UNC Gillings. UNC will not render a decision unless you have completed both a SOPHAS and a UNC Gillings Graduate School application.
UNC Gillings Application Process
Gillings Application Process
Application Deadline: December 13, 2022
Fee: $95
  • 1. All UNC Gillings applications for graduate-level programs fall under the purview of the UNC Graduate School. Accordingly, you will apply to UNC Gillings via the Graduate School Application, and UNC Gillings programs will make admissions recommendations to the UNC Graduate School for final approval.
    Once a recommendation is finalized, you will receive notice via email from the UNC Graduate School. Throughout the process, most of your questions can be answered by your program contact.
  • Once your SOPHAS application has been received by UNC, you will receive an email with instructions for completing the Graduate School application.

    Although the Graduate School application will import some information from SOPHAS, you will be asked to answer residency and honor code questions, upload a copy of your transcript(s) and pay the application fee. Please only enter required information, and do not change the program/degree information. We estimate that this application should take you less than 30 minutes to complete.

    2. Faculty Interest(s)/mentor(s)
    Not required. Skip this part of the application.

    3. Applicant information,  including North Carolina residency information.

    4. Educational history

  • Please upload a copy of your most recent transcript(s), including your current term grades, if applicable. (If grades are not yet available, send them to the UNC Gillings program contact as soon as they become available.) Be sure the transcript reflects the name of the institution and any degrees you received.
  • Community standards

    You will be asked about honor code, crime, academic sanction, military discharge, etc.

  • Because you already applied via SOPHAS, you do NOT need to enter recommender information, upload a resume or add a personal statement.II. Costs and Funding (Separate From The Admissions Process)1. Check out our Costs and Funding page.2. Note priority deadline to be eligible for UNC Graduate School scholarships and fellowships. Departments will decide which applicants to nominate. No additional application required.

    3. Apply for FEDERAL financial aid by March 1 (please verify this date via FAFSA) via FAFSA. If you’ve been admitted and completed the FAFSA form by their deadline, the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid will create a financial aid package for you.

    4. Department funding:

        • Our department contacts incoming students regarding funding opportunities.
        • We consider all applicants for funding.

  • During and After The Program

    For more information on our curriculum and graduate school/career outcomes, please see our Student Handbook.



    Gillings Admissions

    Sheneetra Wilson, MS
    Academic Coordinator
    Contact Sheneetra Wilson