PhD Admissions

We embrace diversity and welcome motivated applicants with backgrounds in diverse fields. Our doctoral program attracts brilliant local, national, and international students with undergraduate training and/or work experience in the biological, behavioral, and quantitative sciences.

Admissions Requirements

  • US bachelor’s or graduate degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Applicants with bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields who have acquired substantial knowledge of genetics through coursework or work experience may also be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.
  • Introductory courses in genetics and calculus (required), as well as biochemistry and behavioral/social sciences (recommended)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. For Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Admissions, applicants are not required to submit General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as a part of the application.  Students who choose to submit GRE or other standardized test scores (i.e. MCAT) can do so with the application for admission.

International Applicants

In addition to the above criteria, the following additional requirements must be met:

  • Either of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 80 on the internet-based test or 550 on the written test; International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least Band 6.5 and having taken the academic writing and reading modules; or a minimum Duolingo English Test score of 105, if applicable. TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo must be taken within two years of application.
  • World Education Services (WES) Credential Evaluation of previous international degree program(s)

More information for international applicants is available here

Application Process

  • Applications are twice per year, for Fall and Spring matriculation, although new students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Fall semester which matches the intended sequence of course offerings. There is no formal interview process, although the Admissions Committee may request to hold phone or video interviews with promising applicants to gather more information.  Applicants wishing to visit the Department in-person are encouraged to do so after receiving an offer of admission.
  • The Department offers financial support to cover tuition and stipend for a limited number of highly qualified applicants to begin their doctoral studies. To be considered for financial support, applications must be received by December for matriculation the following Fall semester.
  • Internal applicants, e.g., current MS or MPH students, may apply to the doctoral program after two semesters in good academic standing. Internal applicants shall submit directly to the Office of Student Affairs a dossier containing (1) a cover letter/statement of purpose indicating the applicant's motivation for pursuing a doctorate in Human Genetics and justification for promotion to the doctoral program, and (2) at least two letters of recommendation from mentors/professors who can comment on the applicant’s recent academic and research performance. Internal applicants are strongly encouraged to have identified a willing research mentor prior to applying for promotion to the doctoral program.

Personal Statement

The personal statement provides an opportunity for the applicant to shape the narrative of his or her application. It should address the following questions:

  • How have your experiences informed your decision to pursue a degree in Human Genetics?
  • What qualifications and experiences have prepared you to succeed in your graduate work?
  • Why you have chosen Pitt Public Health?
  • What do you seek to gain from your graduate studies and how does this align with future career goals?

How to Apply

Applications for admission to the doctoral program are processed through the Office of Student Affairs at the Graduate School of Public Health. New applications are accepted through the SOPHAS system, the centralized application service for graduate schools of public health. Please note, SOPHAS routes applications to the Graduate School of Public Health only after all required materials are received. Applicants who have submitted applications may track their status online.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines for all programs


Admissions questions
Noel C. Harrie
Student services coordinator

Pitt Public Health
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Pitt Public Health
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SOPHAS Application
Student Handbook
Frequently Asked Questions