Graduate Education FAQs

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Prospective Students

Begin with the Graduate Education web site. It can provide you with the best initial overview of the Programs offered, as well as information on Program requirements, Deadlines, and Faculty.

From the USU Graduate Education Departments section of the website, you can link directly to specific sites for more comprehensive information.

For Program specific questions, please contact the Department of interest directly.

For questions concerning the application process, you may contact the Graduate Education Office (GEO) by e-mail.

The USU School of Medicine and the USU Graduate School of Nursing have separate admissions processes and admission offices at USU.

The USU School of Medicine (SOM) is located at Uniformed Services University, Admissions Office, Room A1041, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4712. Contact the admissions office at their toll free number 1-800-772-1743 or via email at graduateprogram@usuhs.edu or admissions@usuhs.edu.

The USU Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) is located at Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Building E, Room 1045, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4712.  Contact the GSN admissions office via telephone at 301-295-9004 or via email at gsn-registrar@usuhs.edu.

Many Programs do not have a minimum score; they are interested in the "whole student," and will compare your other strengths against any testing weakness, and vice versa. Consider contacting the Program or Departments directly to inquire about specific GRE score minimums.  Each Program is re-evaluating scoring criteria based on the revised GRE scales.  The Graduate Education Office will not accept scores from two years or older.

Occasionally a Program will waive the requirement for GRE scores. A waiver may be granted if an individual already has a PhD, MD or DO. If you would like to request a waiver, please indicate on your online application. Be sure to submit as much of your supplemental materials as possible (including transcripts) before requesting a waiver. Email graduateprogram@usuhs.edu to ensure your request is submitted to the director of the Program in which you are interested. The outcome of your waiver request will be emailed to you.

Please note that GRE waivers are NOT granted for applicants to the Medical and Clinical Psychology Programs.

Admissions statistics for the various Programs within the SOM Graduate Programs vary from year to year. General information on the University as a whole can be obtained from the USU Fingertip Fact Sheet. For more Program-specific admissions information, please contact the Graduate Education Office (GEO) by phone: 800-772-1747 or e-mail: graduateprogram@usuhs.edu.

Military applicants are able to request a Letter of Competitiveness. Email graduateprogram@usuhs.edu and attach a scanned copy of your credentials. Completion of the online application is not required when requesting a Letter of Competitiveness. For a Program Director to properly evaluate your request, please send transcripts for all academic institutions attended and current GRE scores (Except for Clinical and Medical Psychology).

Only on special occasions are tours offered. USU is located on a military base and only authorized personnel are allowed access. Applicants can arrange to visit the campus on an individual basis. Contact your Program of interest. Selected applicants are invited to participate in the USU Open House for prospective Students held each year in late Winter. Tours are offered during the Open House.

Yes. In fact, the USU SOM Graduate Programs now requires that applications be submitted online.  The online application page includes detailed information on the application process. Please read the instructions carefully before applying.

Yes, Letters of recommendation and official transcripts may be submitted online via email to geoapplicants@usuhs.edu.

GRE exam scores must be mailed to our office via ETS.

Financial Aid

Currently, tuition and fees are waived for students. Civilian students do not incur any service obligation to the United States government after the completion of their graduate studies. Students may be required to purchase some text books.

USU provides an attractive package of financial support to students, which will be administered as a part-time Federal salary for your position as a ​Research ​Associate. The financial support of this package will be approximately $35,800 per year. As an Administratively Determined (AD) Federal employee, your salary is subject to standard taxes and withholdings. Your net income will be ~$23,000 annually, following all standard and elected withholdings and deductions (e.g., Federal/state taxes and health insurance).

As an AD employee, you will receive standard Federal benefits including contributions towards health insurance, retirement, and transit​ costs​. Additionally, you have the option to decline certain benefits, which will increase your net income. Students are supported as Federal employees for the first 3 three years of their enrollment. After this period, students transition to employment as Research Associates by the Henry M. Jackson (HMJ) Foundation. These positions are supported by grants awarded to mentors or by fellowships awarded to students. 

There are no tuition charges for graduate students at USU, nor is there any requirement in the form of government or military service. Most required textbooks are provided without charge. 

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HMJ) annually provides support for senior graduate fellowships. The three, 1-year Fellowships are competitively awarded to outstanding USU civilian graduate student doctoral candidates in the USU School of Medicine Graduate Programs.

The Emma L. Bockman Award was created through the HMJ Foundation to encourage and support scholarly endeavors of USU students. In her memory, the Emma L. Bockman Memorial Award has been established to keep her academic ideals and quest for knowledge alive. The recipient of the graduate student award is selected competitively primarily based upon the applicant's research efforts, but also academic performance and community service.

Graduate student support is also competitively available from many other sources, such as the NIH, the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation, various private foundations such as the American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, etc. Check with the USU Office of Research and/or the Graduate Education Office for various opportunities to compete for extramural funding. Since the USU SOM is federally funded, graduate students are also often eligible for federally-funded fellowships.

Application Questions

Yes, all of the USU Graduate Programs use the same online application form, which is now required.  Some Departments require supplemental application forms. Please read the application instructions carefully for this information.

When you complete your online application, you will be able to apply to up to two Programs at a time. All supplementary materials submitted (statement of purpose, transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation) will be automatically available to both Programs.

All supplemental materials, including original letters of recommendation, resumes, statement of purpose and test scores, can be mailed into the USU Graduate Education Office at the address below or emailed to geoapplicants@usuhs.edu .

Official transcripts can be sent electronically from the University to graduateprogram@usuhs.edu or by mail to the Graduate Education Office address below. If you have multiple transcripts, it is preferable to send these items together.

USUHS

Graduate Education Office

4301 Jones Bridge Rd, A1045

Bethesda, MD  20814

If you wish to mail in supplementary materials, please mail them in one large envelope to:

USUHS

4301 Jones Bridge Road

GEO/A1045

Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799

Yes. Please be sure to submit all application materials by January 1st. Once your application is complete, an email will be sent to you. If you do not receive a email within 14-21 days after submitting your application, it is your responsibility to contact and confirm that all materials have arrived in our office. Programs will not review incomplete application packets.

Once all materials arrive, we will send you a email confirming that your application has been received and processed. If you do not receive an email, it is your responsibility to contact and confirm all materials have arrived in our office. Programs will not review incomplete application packets. If you have questions regarding the status of your application, please contact us. Our e-mail address is graduateprogram@usuhs.edu. We are in the office on Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In general, your personal statement should be approximately 500 words and should state your goals and objectives for graduate study overall and at USU specifically. The personal statement allows you to highlight areas of your background or interests that may not be clear in other sections of your application. Therefore, it is very important to write a clear and concise statement that expresses your interest in the Program, your goals for graduate study, and experiences that enhance your chances of success in the Program. You may address special features of the Program that made it the right fit for you, or you may address specific topics of interest to you and your experience related to these topics. You may wish to address aspects of your personal, academic, and work-related experiences that would make effective contributions to the Program or would showcase your knowledge and interest in your chosen area of study.

Your recommendation letters should be written by an authority on your academic and/or professional experience. These individuals may be professors, advisors, supervisors, etc.

You must request that ETS (Educational Testing Services) send your GRE scores to USU Graduate Education Office. To request scores, use the USU Institution code, 5824. It is not necessary to specify any other code. We are not able to accept copies or unofficial score reports. You may contact ETS in regard to sending GRE scores. Testing service websites are www.gre.org and www.toefl.org respectively. From the time you request your scores to be sent to USU, it takes about a month for them to be received and then processed in the admissions office. Please plan ahead!  All supporting documents should be received by January 1st!

You will receive, via email stating your application is complete and has been processed.  You can check the status of your supplemental materials by sending an email to graduateprogram@usuhs.edu.  Please allow 14-21 days to process your application.

YES! You do need to request official transcripts from every institution you have attended beyond secondary school, even if you did not receive a degree. Examples of such institutions include junior and community colleges, study abroad institutions, and online degree Programs. How do I know if the documents I have submitted are official?

Documents, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts, are official if they arrive at the USU Graduate Education Office in a sealed envelope with either the recommender or the registrar's signature across the seal of the envelope.

GRE scores are only considered official if they arrive directly from ETS. Score reports received from the applicant are not considered official.
 
If you have questions about the documents you have submitted you can send an email to graduateprogram@usuhs.edu.

Once the USU Graduate Education Office has received your application, we match any documents that might have arrived before the application and include them in your file. As your materials are received (via email and mail), they are updated in our computer system. Once your application is complete in the USU Graduate Education Office (GEO), the application is sent to each Program/Department for review. Once the Department Program Admissions Committee has reviewed your file, they will send a recommendation to the Graduate Education Office. An official decision letter will be mailed to every applicant by the Associate Dean for Graduate Education.

Please contact your individual Departments for information on interviews.

Yes. Once you have applied online, you can check the status of your application by emailing graduateprogram@usuhs.edu. It is your responsibility as an applicant to ensure that all your application materials arrive in our office.

 

Application review dates vary greatly by department/Program. The majority of the USU Graduate Education decisions are sent out in the mid-March to late May time frame. For a more exact report time, though, you should contact your Program directly.

Commissioning

Yes, we do. When students receive an invitation for an interview, a request is sent to the Department of Defense Medical Review Board (DoDMERB) to initiate the physical clearance requirement. To begin the process, you must call the Commissioning Coordinator and provide your social security number.

DoDMERB then provides you with information for setting up an examination with a physician who practices in your local area. The physician is not interested in the number of push-ups and sit-ups you can do (see “Are there any fitness requirements?”). Rather, your physical will focus on your general state of health and will try to determine if you have any medically disqualifying conditions (check the other FAQs for more information on medically disqualifying conditions). All of these exams are set up through Concorde, Inc. and may be tracked on the DoDMETS website.

When you receive your invitation to interview, you will want to set up your medical examination as soon as possible—the qualification process may take some time to complete, especially if you have had health problems in the past. There comes a point in the admissions cycle where only those students who have fully completed the medical clearance process are able to be offered spots in the class.

DoDMERB has a list of FAQs that may also answer your questions

The Department of Defense screens for certain conditions that might be incompatible with military medical practice. You may not be medically cleared for unconditional acceptance to the School of Medicine if you are not able to do the things required to practice medicine:

  • at home and abroad in both resource rich and resource poor areas
  • during medical school residency and throughout your active duty service obligation
  • without accommodations that would needlessly risk yourself or your unit

Likewise, if you have a condition that might be expected to recur or worsen to the point that it precludes you from full military medical practice, you may not be medically cleared.

Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03 provides medical standards for induction into the military services and lists many potentially disqualifying conditions. Although all of the conditions listed in DoDI 6130.03 are disqualifying, many are able to be waived. That is, you might be disqualified on the basis of a pre-existing condition, but the disqualification may be waived either by DoDMERB or by a separate waiver process conducted by the military services and the Department of Defense, Health Affairs. DoDI 6130.03 is not an exhaustive document; unlisted conditions may also be deemed disqualifying at the time of physical examination and review.

As an example, DoDI 6130.03 lists refractive errors in excess of -8.00 or +8.00 as disqualifying. However, the military services feel that as long as the vision corrects to 20/20, an individual with such a condition would have no difficulty serving in the military. Although DoDMERB would likely disqualify the individual, the waiver process conducted by the military services and Health Affairs would likely waive the requirement, allowing the student to be unconditionally accepted into the class.

As another example, chondromalacia, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (commonly called runner’s knee), is potentially disqualifying. DoDMERB may or may not disqualify an individual with runner’s knee based on the information they receive on that individual. If an individual is disqualified, the military services and Health Affairs would review the physical examination record and any other materials submitted on the student’s behalf. If the condition has not occurred for some time, or if it does not interfere with physical activity, it is likely to be waived.

If you would like to know if you would receive a waiver for your potentially disqualifying position, you should email the Commissioning Coordinator.

Please note that the Public Health Service is currently not granting any waivers.

  • If you do not have any potentially disqualifying conditions, DoDMERB should update your status on the site and send you a letter through the postal mail stating you are medically qualified. This can take up to 4 weeks.
  • If you have any potentially disqualifying conditions, DoDMERB will send a letter in the postal mail requesting remedial information. You should receive a letter within 4 weeks of completing your physical.
  • Times may vary depending on the number of cases DoDMERB has to review.

If you have been asked to provide remedial information, you have a condition that may be disqualifying. The DoDMERB reviewing officials are not sure and are interested in trying to provide you an endorsement of qualification, contingent on more information. Please complete any additional consultations, laboratory draws, and radiologic examination requests as soon as possible so that the results may be forwarded to DoDMERB. If you are asked to provide additional records from your medical chart, please make sure these are sent as soon as possible.

If you have been disqualified by DoDMERB, you are encouraged to apply for a waiver of your disqualifying medical condition. Although not everyone receives a waiver, many do. You will not know unless you ask!

Please keep in mind that each request for a waiver is considered on a case-by-case basis. All relevant information is considered when making a waiver decision.

To request a waiver, email the Commissioning Coordinator with your request. Your request may be very simple, like this:

I, [Name], am an applicant for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, and have been disqualified by DoDMERB. My preference for service is [Service Branch]. I would like to request a waiver of my medical condition.

When you request a waiver, it is to your advantage to submit any additional materials that put your physical condition in the best possible light. This might include notes from your primary care or specialty physician that provides background on the condition, the last time you were symptomatic with it, whether or not you currently require treatment or medication for it, or whether it impacts your daily activities.

Once you have requested a waiver, a physician or a series of physicians will look at your information and determine whether the condition would preclude active service with the military, both in medical school and afterwards, at home and abroad, now and in the future. If your condition is not felt to preclude successful practice as a military physician, you may be granted a waiver. If, on the other hand, your condition is not felt to be compatible with military service, your request for a waiver may be denied. Current or prior service in the military does not guarantee that your waiver will be approved.

If your request for a waiver has been denied, you may appeal the decision made by the waiver granting authority. If you do, be sure to send new or additional medical records. Appeals made without new information are uniformly denied

Once you send in additional information, your chart will be prepared for appeal. A physician or series of physicians will review the information provided and then render a decision.

The appeals decision is final.

Yes. To be unconditionally accepted, all students must meet the height and weight requirements for the Army, regardless of which service they will enter. The height and weight requirements differ for men and women.

  • For men, height below 60 inches or over 80 inches does not meet the standard.
  • For women, height below 58 inches or over 80 inches does not meet the standard.

If you do not meet the weight requirement at the time of your physical examination, you will need to complete body composition testing to show that you do not exceed the maximum body fat percentage.

Possibly. Each service has its own policy regarding tattoos. You can find the tattoo policy for each service below. If you are uncertain after reviewing the policies, please contact the Commissioning Coordinator.

"Tattoos/Body Art/Brands are not permitted on the head, face, neck, scalp or exposed skin. Those prejudicial to good order, discipline, and morale or of a nature to bring discredit upon the Corps are prohibited. Waivers may be requested from OSG for prior service and existing tattoos."

Officer training for each service takes place during the summer prior to the start of medical school and lasts 5-6 weeks. Specific dates vary from year to year.

Unless otherwise stated, the officer training course is mandatory.

  • Army: Prior Army officers are not required to attend the Army Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC). The Army will recognize all BOLCs as meeting requirements as long as there has not been more than a two year break in service (this may change so check with the Commissioning Coordinator). All civilian, enlisted, ROTC, and West Point graduates are required to attend BOLC, located at Fort Sam Houston in TX.
  • Navy: All civilian and enlisted incoming students commissioning into the Navy are required to attend the Navy Officer Development School (ODS), located in Newport, RI. Naval Academy, NROTC graduates, and prior officers are to report directly to USUHS in August as they are not required to attend the summer training.
  • Air Force: All civilian and enlisted incoming students commissioning into the Air Force must attend the Commissioned Officer Training (COT), located at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama. Air Force Academy, AFROTC graduates, and prior officers are to report directly to USUHS in August as they are not required to attend the summer orientations.
  • Public Health Service: Prior PHS officers are not required to attend the Officer Basic Course (OBC) if they have already completed it, provided there has not been greater than a two year break in service. All other incoming students, including prior service officers and enlisted from other services, ROTC and academy graduates, and all incoming civilians must attend OBC, located in Rockville, MD.

After you have been unconditionally accepted, the military department sponsoring your commission will contact you to arrange for your assignment to the School as a Medical Officer Candidate, including issuance of orders. This process takes a few weeks. Once you have completed all required paperwork and your scroll has been approved (see "What is the scroll?"), you should receive orders within 2 weeks of the start of officer training. Delays in processing could result in receiving your orders within days of the start of officer training.

The scroll is the process by which incoming USUHS students are commissioned to the rank of Second Lieutenant (2LT- Army or Air Force) or Ensign (ENS- Navy). The scroll is submitted to each service branch no later than February and can take 60-90 days for approval by the Secretary of Defense. Delays in processing can extend the date of approval.

Information regarding the Commissioning and Physical Requirements can be found at USU Commissioning.

Admitted Student Questions

The cost of text books varies by Program. Please contact each individual Program/Department for specifics.

Currently, tuition and fees are waived for students. Civilian students do not incur any service obligation to the United States government after the completion of their graduate studies. Students may be required to purchase text books.

Please see Financial Aid section above.

Your official letter of admission from the USU Graduate Education Office should include instructions about accepting the offer. Typically the process will involve emailing graduateprogram@usuhs.edu with your acceptance.

We strongly suggest that you visit the Current Students page to learn more about being a student at USU. Please feel free to review the Graduate Student Handbook.  In addition, please visit your Program's specific website.

The Washington DC metro area is a challenging place to find suitable and affordable housing, so start your search early by consulting various online rental websites:

If you have been officially accepted into one the USU degree Programs and would like a deferral, please contact the Graduate Education Office (graduateprogram@usuhs.edu) and your Program/Department for a decision on your deferral request. Please note that not all Programs/Departments allow deferrals. We recommend you talk over your decision to defer admission with the Program/Department prior to making a final decision. If the Program/Department approves your deferral, you will receive confirmation from the USU Graduate Education Office.

Transfer Student Questions

Transfer students must follow the same application process as all other applicants. To apply online, follow this link. Our online application page includes detailed information on the application process.

For some degree Programs it is possible to transfer credits. However, the Program/Department and the USU Graduate Education Office will make the final determination as to which credits are acceptable for transfer credit. Please contact your Program Director for specific questions about transfer credits.

Reactivation Questions

You will need complete and submit a new online application. However, old files are kept for one year after you last applied, so it will be possible for us to add the transcripts you previously submitted to your new application file. Just remember to indicate within the online application that you have previously applied and email our office at graduateprogram@usuhs.edu if you would like any materials from your previous application to be added to your new application.

If it has been more than one year since you last applied, you will need to follow the guidelines for the normal application process.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

At this time you cannot take classes without being officially enrolled in a degree Program.