Public Health Sciences - PhD at Waterloo

Program information

Department/School School of Public Health Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Health
Admit term(s)

Fall (September - December)

Application and document submission deadline(s)

February 1 (for admission in September)

Delivery mode On-campus
Program type Doctoral, Research
Length of program 48 months (full-time)
Registration option(s) Full-time, Part-time
Study option(s) Thesis
Research field(s) - Graduate research fields are used to better define a student’s research concentration

Aging and Health

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Global Health

Health and Environment

Health Evaluation

Health Informatics

Work and Health

Watch the How to apply to Waterloo graduate studies video

Considerations for international students before submitting an application:

While the Faculty of Health at the University of Waterloo values international students in our graduate programs, we can only accept a small proportion of these students. 

Guaranteed funding packages may not be able to cover all tuition and living expenses incurred during a graduate program and students are encouraged to understand more about the cost of completing their graduate program before applying.

Your requested supervisor may also be required to fund your studies for your application to be successful.

What does it take to get in?

Minimum admission requirements

  • Students applying to the program should have completed a Master's degree (or its equivalent) with content related to ongoing faculty research in areas such as health, public health, health systems, gerontology, health informatics, global health, occupational health, and evaluation.
  • A minimum 75% average in Master's level coursework.
  • Completion of a Master's degree and evidence of prior research achievements (e.g., Master's thesis, first author peer-reviewed publication, adjudicated research report).
  • Students may be allowed to transfer into the PhD program directly from the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS) Master's programs. Such students must have completed all Master's coursework requirements, have demonstrated a superior academic record, and have evidence of prior research achievements (e.g., adjudicated research report, significant documented contribution as a co-author to a peer-reviewed publication, first author peer-reviewed publication).
  • Students are sometimes accepted for direct admission to the PhD in the SPHS program if they have an Honours Bachelor of Science degree or the equivalent and have exceptional academic and research performance, including evidence of prior research achievements (e.g., adjudicated research report, significant documented contribution as a co-author to a peer-reviewed publication, first author peer-reviewed publication). Directly admitted students will be required to complete 9 (required and elective) graduate courses, graduate milestones and a doctoral thesis.


  • Review the finding a supervisor resources
  • Before applying to the program, students are strongly advised to establish contact with potential supervisors

Application material

  • Resume/Curriculum vitae
  • Supplementary information form (SIF)
    • Indicating reasons for pursuing graduate studies (e.g., discuss how a graduate degree maps onto your career plans) and outlining research interests.
    • Review the writing your personal statement resources  for helpful tips and tricks on completing this form
  • Transcript(s)
  • Writing sample
    • Students must submit a copy of previous academic work, such as copies of preprints, reprints, or master's thesis, or other evidence of written scholarly work.
  • References
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if applicable.
    • TOEFL 100 (writing 26, speaking 26), IELTS 7.5 (writing 7.0, speaking 7.0)

    • The School of Public Health Sciences does not consider international applications whose English language proficiency scores fall below the minimum requirements

How much will it cost?

What can you expect at Waterloo?

This program page is effective September 2023; it will be updated annually.  Any changes to the program page following this date will be indicated with a notation. 

We strive to provide you with the necessary information on each of our program pages.  Was there something you found helpful?  Was there anything missing?  Share your thoughts.