Rolling Admission Period is currently closed.
For inquiries, please email
Applications Open: October 1, 2020
Early Admissions for Fall 2021 Deadline: February 1, 2021 (Recommended)
Regular Admissions for Fall 2021 Deadline: March 28, 2021
Note: "Deadline" indicated in Cal State Apply portal reflects system closure for applications and may not reflect deadline for rolling admission.

For Fall 2021 admissions, applications will open on October 1st. Completed applications received by February 1, 2021 will be eligible for early admissions decision (notifications will be emailed by early March). Complete applications received by March 28, 2021 are eligible for regular admissions decision (notification will be emailed by mid-May). Applications received after the regular admissions deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis until the cohort is deemed full by the program.

A new cohort of MPH students begins the program annually in the fall semester only. Applicants must complete and submit application materials to Cal State Apply. In that same application portal, applicants are required to submit additional materials, specific to the MPH graduate program. For full application consideration, all required application materials, including the GRE test scores, must be submitted by the regular admission deadline, for an application to be reviewed during the regular admission application review period. Applications that are missing any required materials at the end of the business day on the regular admission deadline, will instead be considered during our rolling admissions period, on a space available basis only, or until our incoming fall cohort is filled, whichever comes first. To complete the required portions of the application process, proceed with the following steps:

Admissions Criteria

 The following criteria describes ideal candidates for the SF State MPH Program:

  • WORK EXPERIENCE: A minimum of 3,700 total hours (equivalent to two years full-time work) of post-high school health-related work experience, paid or volunteer, part-time or full-time; applications strengthened by public health/health equity positions, particularly post-baccalaureate and leadership roles, and by additional years of public health/health equity work experience beyond the minimum required.
  • ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Evidence of academic excellence, as reflected in a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in a baccalaureate degree or in the last 60 attempted semester (90 quarter) units of higher education coursework, or a previously earned post-baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university.
  • PREREQUISITE/FOUNDATIONS: A completed college course in each of these four areas 
    • Statistics or calculus*
    • Composition
    • Social Science
    • Cultural, Ethnic, or Social Diversity (CESD) 
    • Click on the following link to view detailed information about all four of the course requirements: SF State MPH Program - Prerequisite Courses  

*NOTE: The statistics/calculus course must have been completed with a grade of B- or higher, and within six years of the MPH program application year (For Fall 2020 Admission - May/June 2015). If this is not the case for an applicant, the application will still be reviewed, and if the applicant is recommended for admission, a condition of admission will be a refresher statistics course completed with a grade of B- or higher before MPH program fall semester commencement. If this admission condition is not met before the start of the first fall semester, the student will need to reapply to the MPH program for a future year; the SF State MPH program does not defer admissions. Because it takes time to find space in a suitable college statistics course, if you have not met the admission criterion of a statistics/calculus course taken with a grade of B- or higher and within six years of the intended MPH program application year, it is strongly recommended that you enroll in an inferential statistics course as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the application admission decision.

GRE General Test (Not required for Fall 2021 Admission)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is typically a component of the application submission. For Fall 2021 admission, the GRE General Test score will not be required. Please review instructions for materials to be submitted in lieu of the GRE General Test score.

  • For those submitting a GRE General Test Score:
    • Applicants that have already taken the GRE General Test are encouraged to submit their score. The Analytical Writing Section of the GRE General Test is reviewed and Graduate-level proficiency in written English is usually demonstrated by a score of 4.0 or higher.
    • Applicants scoring under a 4.0 may still be admitted with additional proof of graduate-level proficiency in written English, and should submit a college/post-college professional academic writing sample with their application. 
  • For those not submitting a GRE General Test Score:
    • A college/post-college professional academic writing sample will be required for your application submission. This writing sample should demonstrate graduate writing preparedness and ability, applying critical thinking and research synthesis.
  • Additional Considerations:
    • If applicable, TOEFL test or equivalent; consult the SF State Division of Graduate Studies website.
    • Those who have linguistic competence in English and a second language have a strengthened application.
    • To electronically submit official GRE or other standardized test scores to San Francisco State, the ETS institution code for San Francisco State is 4684.

Admission Instructions

Step 1 - Attend one of the MPH Program Information Sessions (Strongly Recommended)

  • See Information Sessions for a list of upcoming dates, times and locations, which are typically held between September and February annually. 
  • Pre-registration is required. Spaces for each information session are limited. Follow instructions on the previously mentioned website to register accordingly.
  • These faculty-led sessions provide detailed information about the program, curriculum, admission criteria, selection procedures, and the application process. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions. 
  • For directions, parking and a campus map, view the SF State Parking & Transportation webpage.

Step 2 - Submission of Application Materials

Before you begin this application, the Division of Graduate Studies recommends that you review our TIPS to Cal State Apply, as well as the Master of Public Health in Community Health Education admissions website. Review all detailed information on admissions criteria and be prepared to answer application questions on how you meet these requirements.

Apply Here: Cal State Apply

Be sure to complete the following sections on Cal State Apply for the Master of Public Health application:

  • Documents (See documents required below)
  • Experiences
  • Recommendations
  • Questions

Documents To Prepare & Upload:

  • Upload a Program Requirements Contract (*Downloadable Link Updated Here)
  • Upload a CV/Resume
  • Upload a personal statement (Prompt available on Cal State Apply)
  • Upload a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test score (And any other additional applicable test scores)
  • Upload transcripts from every college or university attended to the Documents section of this application 
    (You must upload transcripts from every college or university attended to the Documents section of this application. Transcripts should include study abroad coursework, community college coursework even if transfer credit appears on your degree transcript. Photos of documents are not accepted.  The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from you at any time during the application process in order to complete our review. Make sure you resolve any financial obligations at previously attended institutions so they will release your transcripts.  If selected for admission, you are required to submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies.)


In the “Supporting Information” section of the application, please fill out your “Experiences” to list all applicable employment that fulfill the program’s work experience criteria. Hours calculated should meet the minimum admission criteria.

Letters of Recommendation 
Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Please follow all instructions and prompts indicated in the Cal State Apply application portal to manage the submission of recommendation letters by the appropriate deadlines. Letters should be from academic and/or professional reference providers who can address your academic and professional promise. The letters do not have to be from faculty members at an academic institution, they can be from supervisors or professionals familiar with the candidate's work. However, if you have graduated within the last 5 years, at least one letter from a former professor is preferred. 

Writing Sample
Applicants are required to submit a writing sample in lieu of the GRE General Test score. Applicants with a GRE Analytical Writing score of at least 4.0 are not required to submit a writing sample.  If you scored a 4 or above and opt not to submit a writing sample, scan and upload a copy of your GRE score report in the writing sample upload section of the application.

Step 3 - Notification of Admission Decision by the University

To be admitted to the MPH Program, applicants must first be recommended for admission to the Division of Graduate Studies by the Department of Public Health (formerly Health Education), and then officially admitted to the university by the Division of Graduate Studies. Complete applications received by February 1, 2021, will be eligible for early admission decisions (notifications will be emailed by late February). Complete applications received by March 28, 2021 are eligible for regular admission decision (notification will be emailed by early May). Applications received after the regular admission deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis and notifications will be provided accordingly. Note: Indicated notification timeline may be subject to change.


To contact a representative of the program for program specific application inquiries, please email: Any technical application questions (i.e. Cal State Apply platform, sending transcripts, etc.) can be directed to the Division of Graduate Studies.