Frequently Asked Questions About Our PhD in Health Policy


Q: Do I need to identify and connect with a mentor before or during my application?

No, advisors will be assigned to accepted students shortly before the start of their first quarter.

Q: Can I apply to the Stanford Health Policy Program on SOPHAS?

No, applicants must apply through Stanford's graduate admissions portal – – and pay the corresponding application fee.

Q: What degrees are required before applying to the program?

To be eligible for admission to graduate programs at Stanford, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Applicants must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association.

  • Applicants from institutions outside the U.S. must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See the Office of Graduate Admissions for the minimum level of study required of international applicants.

Q: Is a master’s degree required before applying to the program?

No, we welcome applicants both with and without master’s degrees.

Q:  Are the GREs required for the Fall 2023 application cycle?

Yes, GREs are required for the Fall 2023 application cycle.  Please note that this may change in future years.

Q:  Do I need to take the TOEFL Exam?

TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English, however exemptions are granted to applicants in certain situations. Please see:

Q: Can I submit my IELTS scores instead of TOEFL scores?

Stanford does not accept IELTS scores. Please see:

Q: What are the minimum TOEFL scores for your program?

TOEFL minimum requirements are provided by Stanford University on the Graduate Admissions webpage:

Q: Is there a minimum GPA required to apply to your program?

There is no minimum GPA to be considered for admission to our program. 

Q: Can my letters of recommendation arrive after the deadline?

No, the deadline is provided to you as a final deadline.  All letters must be received, and all applications must be filed through Stanford Graduate Admissions by 11:59 pm on the deadline. 

Q: Can I submit my World Education Services (WES) transcripts?

Yes, the World Education Services (WES) is the preferred method for receiving official documents from international institutions by admitted applicants. Visit to request a credential evaluation. Note that Stanford’s assessment of U.S. bachelor’s degree equivalency may differ from what is listed on your WES evaluation. You can find more information on the different transcript delivery options on the Stanford Graduate Admissions website.

Q: How long should my statement of purpose be and what should it include?

Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length, single-spaced. Make sure to set your computer to Western European or another English-language setting.  We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if submitted in other fonts. Please make sure to include which track you are applying for and please include policy area(s) of interest.

Q: Can my recommenders mail in their letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should not be mailed, emailed, or faxed. All recommendations must be submitted using the online application system. As part of the online application, you will be required to submit the names and contact information, including email addresses, of your recommenders. Recommenders will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed.

Q: Is it possible to get an application fee waiver?

Applicants who need assistance with the application fee are encouraged to apply for a fee waiver through the School of Medicine. Applications for fee waivers WILL NOT affect applicants’ chances for admission. 

The fee waiver program gives preference to low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applicants who are part of a group that the NIH considers to need a special recruitment and retention plan to diversify the biomedical sciences workforce are invited to apply, as well as any additional applicants for whom the application fee would be a substantial burden. Applying to more than one fee waiver option will not increase your opportunity of receiving a fee waiver. For a complete list of fee waiver options and eligibility requirements, please visit the Graduate Diversity website:

Please note that fee waiver requests are required to be submitted 15 business days prior to the program application deadline so please plan accordingly.

Q: What is included in the offer of admission?

The offer of admission includes stipend, health insurance and graduate tuition.  The stipend and benefits for each academic year are set in early March of the year before.

Q: If I am not a citizen or permanent resident of the US, am I still eligible for admission and funding?

Individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the US may apply to the program. However, due to funding restrictions we are limited in our ability to admit applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents and who do not have funding through the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program or substantial funding from another non-Stanford source.

 Students who are non-citizens or non-permanent residents are strongly encouraged to apply for such funding.

For information about the Knight-Hennessy Program, please see: note the Knight-Hennessy Program has earlier deadlines than the PhD program)

We strongly encourage applicants to apply for scholarships/fellowships in their home country that can be used overseas. Some other useful websites that include information on external fellowships are:

Fulbright Foreign Student Program       
The Fogarty International Center at the NIH       
International Center at the Institute of International Education (IIE)

Stanford Financial Aid: Outside Funding

Applying for scholarships/fellowships generally takes some time to arrange, so plan ahead.

Q: Where can I find information about tuition and costs of living at Stanford?

For information about tuition, please see: and change statement.

For information on costs of living estimates, please see:

Q: Where can I get more information about the required and elective courses?

For brief summaries, and scheduling information about courses at Stanford, please see:  

Q: If I apply to the PhD program and am not admitted, will I automatically be considered for the MS in Health Policy Program?

No, the PhD and MS programs are separate and focus on different skills and methods, therefore the application process is separate as well.  Please see this page for further information about the MS Program in Health Policy at Stanford.

Q: If I am accepted into, and complete, the MS in Health Policy will I be admitted and fast-tracked into the PhD Program? 

No, though there is some overlap between the MS and PhD programs, they are separate programs and focus on different skills and methods. Please see the Stanford Health Policy Master's Program page for further information about the MS Program in Health Policy at Stanford. MS students are welcome to apply to the PhD program during the regular application cycle and will be considered along with the other PhD applicants.

Q: Can I do the PhD part-time?

No, the program is a full-time program.

Q: Can I do the PhD Program remotely?

No, the program is a full-time, in-person program.


Q: I was unable to get a GRE test date early enough to guarantee that my scores will be submitted by the application deadline. Can they be submitted after that date?

We understand that sometimes scheduling conflicts can result in later-than-desirable GRE test dates. As long as the GRE exam is taken before the application deadline, scores will be accepted up to 3 weeks after the deadline date.

Q: I requested that my official GRE scores be sent, but I don't see them when I log into my application, should I be concerned?

Official scores from ETS can only match up to submitted applications in the system.  Additionally, the matching process only happens once a week so matching can take up to 2 weeks after an applicant has submitted her/his application.  We encourage applicants to self-report GRE scores in the application so that scores are still available to application reviewers during the score matching process.

Q: What are the minimum GRE scores for your program?

There are no minimum GRE General Test scores to be considered for admission to our program.  Further information about the GRE is provided by Stanford University on the Graduate Admissions webpage:

Q: I have questions about the program’s application process, whom should I contact?

For questions related to the application process, please email the HRP education program student services officer at  

Q: I have questions about the program’s structure, focus, research opportunities, etc. Whom should I contact?

Please contact Dr. Corinna Haberland -