Before Applying


The Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) simplifies the process of applying to public health schools and programs. By using SOPHAS, you are able to complete one application via our online website and send one set of documents to our centralized service. SOPHAS will verify your coursework for accuracy, calculate your GPA, and send your application to as many public health schools and programs as you wish to designate who utilize our service. For a list of participating programs, please see the Participating Programs list.


The application cycle is the time span in which SOPHAS is open and you are able to create and access your SOPHAS account. Applicants may not create an account prior to the start date of the cycle. The current cycle runs from August 17, 2017 – August 3, 2018. Once the application cycle closes, you will NOT be able to create or access your SOPHAS account. Please be sure you are eligible to apply and are creating an account for the correct cycle before creating a new account.


YOU MAY ONLY CREATE ONE ACCOUNT PER APPLICATION CYCLE. Creating more than one account will lead to delays and difficulty in handling the receipt of your transcripts and letters of reference. Any applicant who creates multiple accounts will have their duplicate accounts terminated, including any documents associated with those accounts.


Each public health school and program has different prerequisites for entry. Please contact the schools or programs to which you are applying to determine their entry requirements. In addition, each public health school and program has its own start date; to determine exactly when a school’s program will begin and to ensure you are filling out the correct application, please contact the school or program directly.


The following steps are highly recommended BEFORE applying:

1. Read through all of SOPHAS’ policies, instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions at our site,

2. Contact your schools or programs to determine what types of references they require and line up references and their contact information.

3. Request official copies of transcripts to be sent to you to aid you in filling out the coursework portion of the SOPHAS application (these can NOT be the same ones later sent to SOPHAS).

4. Compose your personal essay(s) in a word processor. Please note SOPHAS has a character limit of 18,000 characters, including spaces, line breaks, etc. Please note that we have found that Notepad’s character count to be more reflective of SOPHAS’ than the system employed by Microsoft Word.

5. Determine public health schools and programs’ requirements regarding standardized tests, supplemental applications, foreign evaluations, etc.


SOPHAS supports the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. The application uses Cookies, JavaScript and Pop-up windows, so please be sure all are enabled within your browser. (The default setting is “on” so it is unlikely that you will need to make any changes.)

Browser vendors recommend users stay up to date on the latest version of the browsers and we recommend the same for the optimal application experience. If you experience an issue, please contact our Customer Support team for assistance.


To ensure that you receive email notifications from SOPHAS, you may need to designate us as a “Trusted Source” through your email provider. This is usually accomplished by adding our “From Addresses” to your address book, contact list, or Safe List.

List of E-Mail Addresses to “Safe-List”:
How To Safe-List E-Mail Addresses:

Click the following links to view instructions from the most common email providers on how to avoid having valid emails sent to your Junk or Spam folders:

For more information on how to white-list email addresses for providers not mentioned above, visit:


Below we have outlined a suggested timeline you should keep in mind when completing your application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible; this suggested timeline represents the latest we recommend completing each step. Please note processing times vary throughout the cycle and each public health school or programs’ deadline requirements differ, therefore this timeline may not apply to every applicant’s situation.

At Least 3 Months Prior to Deadline

Applicant has researched public health school and programs’ deadlines, reference requirements, prerequisites, and other regulations and is ready to begin the application. The applicant has informed their references of the process and they have agreed to participate.

At Least 10-12 Weeks Prior to Deadline

The application has been created and the “Colleges and Universities Attended” and “References” sections have been completed.  Applicant has requested that transcripts be sent to SOPHAS directly from their schools and have confirmed with their references that they have received the online reference request via e-mail. Additional copies of transcripts have been requested to be sent to the applicant directly to aid them in filling out the “coursework” section.

At Least 6-8 Weeks Prior to Deadline

Applicant is filling out application, including coursework and personal essay(s). Applicant is monitoring application for receipt of transcripts and letters of reference.

At Least 4 Weeks Prior to Deadline

SOPHAS application has been submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least two letters of reference have posted to the SOPHAS application. The application has received a complete date and is in line for verification. Applicant is monitoring application status regularly and following up on any incomplete or undelivered statuses until application is “verified.”


Q: How early should I start the application process?

A: APPLY EARLY! To ensure your application is mailed on time, ALL MATERIALS should arrive at SOPHAS to complete your application at least four weeks prior to your earliest deadline. Once your application is considered COMPLETE, it can take up to FOUR WEEKS for it to be processed.

Q: What do I do if I have applied before?

A: If you have previously applied through SOPHAS and you are reapplying to any of the public health schools or programs, please see the “Reapplying to SOPHAS” section of our instructions for detailed information.