Admission to the University
Applicants to Ponce Health Sciences University are selected on the basis of scholastic achievement, fitness and aptitude for the study and other personal qualifications. The Admissions Committees also gives consideration to the use of language, special aptitudes, mechanical skills, stamina, perseverance and motivation. Students are admitted on the basis of individual qualifications, regardless of handicap, sex, race, religion, age, national origin, marital status, neither sexual nor political orientation.
PHSU Admissions Office and the Admissions Committees act in accordance with “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” which includes changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which became effective on January 1, 2009. Once the candidate is accepted, if he/she needs special accommodations, he/she is responsible to contact the Academic Affairs Office for further information. It is the student’s responsibility to make his/her condition known to PHSU Administrators and to seek out assistance.
Applicants with disabilities will be evaluated on a case by case basis in accordance with the medical technical standard guidelines as suggested by the Association of American Medical Colleges. All students must possess the physical and emotional capabilities required to independently undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty.
Application Fees and requirements:
- $85 for Graduate Programs
- $25 for Bachelor in Science of Nursing
Requirements, credits, duration, attendance costs, and outcomes vary by program.
Please refer to ACADEMICS for more details about the programs.
Apply to our programs before the following dates:
Doctor in Medicine (MD)
PhD in Biomedical Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
Doctor of Public Health with Specialty in Epidemiology (DrPH)
Master of Science in School Psychology (MSSP)
-with Specialties in Neuropsychology
(Ponce and San Juan)
-with Specialties in Neurosciences of Learning
(only in Ponce)
Master of Public Health (MPH) Tracks: General, Environmental Health, Epidemiology
Professional Certificate in Family and Couples Therapy
Master of Science in Nursing in Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN/FNP)
Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN)
*Note: Programs vary by campus. For more information about our academic offer visit https://www.psm.edu/academics/
Learn more about our branch campus at St. Louis, MO at: https://stlouis.psm.edu/
This policy establishes guidelines for the immunization requirements by program, based on the CDC and the Puerto Rico Department of Health guidelines. This policy applies to all PHSU students.
Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) adheres to the CDC norms on adult and health care worker’s immunization and to the Puerto Rico Law of Immunizations, Law # 25, approved on September 25, 1983.
Immunization requirements may vary according to the student program and based on the recommendations of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the State Health Department of Puerto Rico. Students 21 years and older are exempt from presenting the PVAC-3 form, instead these will present evidence of Hep B immunization. Medical Education and Nursing students must present the PVAC-3, titters, or other immunization evidence regardless of the age.
International and Mainland students must present the evidence of immunization expedited in their country of origin to the PR Department of Health to obtain the PVAC-3 form.
PHSU requires a Health Certificate authorized by the Health Department of Puerto Rico to all new students as part of the admissions requirements.
Only for Medicine and Nursing Programs- Actively enrolled students in the Doctor in Medicine and the Nursing programs must present an annual Health Certificate during the Fall Enrollment.
The following immunizations are required for underage students and healthcare programs:
|Vaccines||Recommendations in brief|
If you don’t have documented evidence of a complete hepB vaccine series, or if you don’t have a blood test that shows you are immune to hepatitis B (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination) then you should
Get a 3-dose series of Recombivax HB or Engerix-B (dose #1 now, #2 in 1 month, #3 approximately 5 months after #2) or a 2-dose series of Heplisav-B, with the doses separated by at least 4 weeks.
Get an anti-HBs serologic test 1-2 months after the final dose.
See Prevention of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States: Recommendations of the ACIP.
|Flu (Influenza)||Get 1 dose of influenza vaccine annually.|
|MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella)||If you were born in 1957 or later and have not had the MMR vaccine, or if you don’t have a blood test that shows you are immune to measles or mumps (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination), get 2 doses of MMR (1 dose now and the 2nd dose at least 28 days later).|
If you were born in 1957 or later and have not had the MMR vaccine, or if you don’t have a blood test that shows you are immune to rubella, only 1 dose of MMR is recommended. However, you may end up receiving 2 doses, because the rubella component is in the combination vaccine with measles and mumps. For HCWs born before 1957, see the MMR ACIP vaccine recommendations.
|Varicella (Chickenpox)||If you have not had chickenpox (varicella), if you haven’t had varicella vaccine, or if you don’t have a blood test that shows you are immune to varicella (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination) get 2 doses of varicella vaccine, 4 weeks apart.|
|Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)|
Get a one-time dose of Tdap as soon as possible if you have not received Tdap previously (regardless of when previous dose of Td was received).
Get either a Td or Tdap booster shot every 10 years thereafter.
Pregnant HCWs need to get a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy.
|Meningococcal||Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to Neisseria meningitidis should get meningococcal conjugate vaccine and serogroup B meningococcal vaccine.|
*Table directly extracted from the CDC Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare Workers.*
*To learn more about these diseases and the benefits and potential risks associated with the vaccines, read the Vaccine Information Statements (VIS).*
Medical Students in the third and fourth year should have the Influenza vaccine before entering the clinical clerkships. Nursing and Psychology students should have the Influenza vaccine before entering to clinical sites.
Exemptions for Vaccination
The Puerto Rico Department of Health (Article 5 of Law 25 of September 25, 1983, as amended, better known as the Immunization Law for Preschool Children and Students) allows exemptions to the immunization requirements due to religious or health reasons, including catastrophic diseases and pregnancy. In these cases, the student must complete an Immunization Exemption Form that must be certified by a physician and/or attorney, depending on the reasons for exemptions.
No exemptions will be allowed in the Medical and Nursing Programs, these students must comply with the CDC regulations for health professionals.
Students applying for admissions must adhere to the immunization policy. Not complying with the immunization requirements may be cause for revoking an acceptance to a PHSU program.
All students who are not in compliance with the immunization’s requirements may be barred from participation in clinical activities at the discretion of each program Dean. Students with missing vaccination documents have the following options:
- Present titers of antibodies for the required vaccines. A student with negative titers is recommended to undergo immunizations.
- Students who decide not to undergo immunization due to religion, pregnancy or health reasons must present a notarized document certifying the above reasons for declining immunization. Students enrolling in healthcare programs must submit to the immunizations requirements and will not be able to continue in the program unless they present the required evidence. PHSU will not be responsible for the denial of access to clinical centers, internships, practices, and other activities regulated by third parties, especially if compliance with immunization requirements is part of the policies of said institution. The student is responsible for complying with all PHSU institutional policies and all the policies of the clinical and practicum sites.
Students in non-compliance will be submitted to the sanctions describe in this policy and may be submitted to additional sanctions as described in the Student Policy Manual.
Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) students dismissed from a program for academic reasons will not be readmitted to that program. No student will be allowed readmission to any program after dismissal for disciplinary reasons.
A readmission is defined as a candidate who previously attended PHSU withdrew and requested admission to the same or another program after one year of inactivity. Candidates with a withdrawal status returning to the same program inactive for less than a year will be considered re-entries.
PHSU will consider for readmission students who voluntarily withdrew from the program for medical or personal reasons and were in good standing or Satisfactory Academic Progress at the time of the withdrawal. Administrative withdrawals may be considered for readmission on a case-by-case evaluation basis, as long as the administrative withdrawal does not respond to a dismissal.
The application for readmission will be submitted to the Admissions Office, readmission applicants must meet all requirements at the time of application for readmission.
Those students who were inactive less than a year will submit the re-entry application in the Registrar’s Office and must meet all the requirements at the time of application. Readmissions and re-entry applications will be evaluated by a Readmissions Ad Hoc Committee composed by the Academic Department Dean or its delegate, the Student Affairs Executive Director or its delegate and representation from the student
After evaluation of readmissions by the Committee, the candidates who comply with basic requirements will be:
- Admitted and one of the following:
- Required to re-enter the first-year class
- Required to repeat incomplete (I) courses
- Allowed full credit of work successfully completed
- Transfer some credits to a different program
A student readmitted to any program must abide by the curricular requirements and the rules and regulations in effect at the time of readmission.
Re-entry applicants who comply with basic will be evaluated by the Committee and receive one of the following determinations:
- Denied re-entry
- Authorized re-entry and one of the following:
- Require completing (I) courses
- Allowed full credit of work successfully completed
- Other considerations
The Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) is a higher education institution that offers graduate courses. PHSU has established the following institutional policy to guide the transfer of credits for the courses that students have taken in other academic institutions.
The maximum number of total credits that may be recognized shall not be more than 30 percent of the total number of credits in the curriculum, in order to complete the graduation requirements, except for the Medical Education Program.
A formal/written request for the transfer of credits must be filled at the Admission’s Office in the Deanship of Students Affairs. Requests for transfer of credits must be made no later than the second week of classes of the first trimester/semester for entering students at PHSU.
It is the responsibility of the student to facilitate the official catalog and transcript from the institution on which the courses were taken. Only original transcripts are accepted and must be sent directly from the University of Origin to the Registrar’s Office of PHSU. Only graduate courses from institutions accredited by the Puerto Rico Council of Education (PR-CE) or by a regionally accrediting agency (MSCHE or equivalent) are eligible for transfer of credits.
An ad hoc transfer of credits committee with representation from the Student Affairs and the Academic Affairs and a faculty member and the director of the program the student is enrolled evaluates the requests and make final decisions based on institutional and programmatic transfer of credit policies and procedures.
Doctor in Medicine Program
For the Medical Education Program, PHSU accepts transfer students from LCME accredited medical schools or from any medical school recognized in the International Medical Education Directory. The following requirements for transfer also apply for the Medical Education Program:
- Transfer students may only be accepted in the second pre-clinical (basic science) year or the first clinical
- Transfer students’ prior coursework and achievements must be comparable to the ones of the medical students in the class they will join.
- Transfer students to the first clinical year are required to take and pass the USMLE Step 1 prior to
- The total years for completion of the MD degree include those years accepted for admission to
Biomedical Sciences Program
Students who apply for admission to the Biomedical Sciences Program may transfer up to 21 credits related to the field of basic sciences. To be considered for transfer, the credits must have been obtained from a fully accredited higher education institution from Puerto Rico or USA.
The following additional requirements must be met to consider the requests for transferring credits of graduate courses to PHSU Biomedical Sciences Program:
- The requested courses were approved with at least a B
- The student can demonstrate through formal written and/or oral examination that they possess the scientific knowledge, skills and values expected from the
The following courses are frequently equivalent within Basic Sciences field and may be transferred from outside graduate programs:
- Histology/Cell Biology
Additional requests for transfer of credits of other graduate science courses may be considered on individual basis.
Master of Science in Medical Sciences Transfer Credits Policy
Some students of the Master’s in Science in Medical Science (MSMS) complete all graduation requirements but are unable to fulfill the minimum 3.0 GPA required for graduation. This is the result of a high credit load of several of the MSMS courses and a “C” in a major course may result in non- compliance with the required GPA. These students have to repeat courses to obtain higher grades so that the GPA increases to required levels. However, some of them are accepted to continue post graduate higher education training, such as medical education and are unable to repeat courses in our institution.
The purpose of this policy is to establish a mechanism so that these students complete their MSMS degree while enrolled at another post graduate higher education program.
MSMS students that comply with all graduation requirements, except the minimum 3.0 GPA and are accepted in a medical education program or another doctoral program the next academic year after initiation of the MSMS program, may be eligible to get credit towards the MSMS degree from courses taken at another higher education institution.
The procedure to achieve this is the following:
- The student must submit the MSMS Transfer of Credits Request Form to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the first year of medical education or doctoral
- The student must be enrolled in an LCME accredited medical school, a foreign medical school that has been appropriately accredited according to ECFMG 1 standards, or a doctoral program in an institution of higher education with regional accreditation (such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education).
- After the student completes the course/s for which transfer credit is requested, the student must request that an official transcript be sent to Ponce Health Science University Registrar’s
- The Associate Dean for Medical Education and the Assistant Dean for MSMS Program will evaluate the courses and grades in the transcript. A special analysis needs to be done for those students in medical schools where they have an “integrated” or “system based”
- Only courses with A’s and B’s may be cross transferred to substitute former courses with a C. If the GPA increases at or above 3.0 of, the student will be certified as eligible for the MSMS
- The Student Promotion Committee will evaluate the results and confirm to the Registrar if the student is a candidate for
- Students admitted to the MSMS prior to the creation of this policy are eligible and will be notified about this
- The PHSU Registrar may establish an administrative fee for the time and efforts this
- The policy is effective May 5, 2016, and will be in effect for two years, after which it will be revised by the Executive and Policy
Clinical Psychology Programs
Students who apply for admission to the PHSU doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology may transfer up to 24 graduate credits from institutions accredited by the PR-CE or MS-CHE or a regionally equivalent agency. The 24 transfer credits must be approved in programs related to the field of Clinical Psychology. Students with prior graduate work in a field outside mental health may transfer at least 18 credits depending on the nature of the program attended and the equivalency of the courses approved.
The following requirements will guide the evaluation process of those graduate courses submitted for approval:
- Graduate courses need to be relevant to the field of Clinical/Professional Psychology
- The requested courses were passed with at least a B
- The students can demonstrate in an objective manner or through formal written and/or oral examination that they possess the knowledge and skills expected from the courses.
http://www.ecfmg.org/about/initiatives-accreditation-requirement.html ECFMG® has announced that, effective in 2023, physicians applying for ECFMG Certification will be required to graduate from a medical school that has been appropriately accredited. To satisfy this requirement, the physician’s medical school must be accredited through a formal process that uses criteria comparable to those established for U.S. medical schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or that uses other globally accepted criteria.
The following courses are frequently equivalent within mental health disciplines and may be transferred from other graduate programs:
- Research Methods
- Test Construction
- Cognitive Assessment and Practicum*
- Group Therapy
- Motivation and Emotion
- Child Psychopathology
- Child Psychotherapy
- Professional Ethics in Psychology
- History of Psychology
- Family Therapy*
- Clinical Psychopharmacology
- Human Sexuality
- Psychology of Addictions
- Geriatric Psychology
- Mental Health Administration
- Forensic Psychology
- Psychoeducational Assessment*
The following courses are not considered for transfer to PHSU Clinical Psychology Programs: PSY 522 Psychology of Personality
PSY 515 Human Growth and Development
PSY 523 Cognitive Psychology
PSY 541 Fundamentals of Clinical Psychopathology
PSY 511 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
PSY 512 Neuroanatomy Laboratory
PSY 645. Mood and Anxiety Disorders
PSY 658 Projective Assessment of Personality
PSY 667 Short-Term Psychotherapy
PSY 662 Cognitive and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
PSY 747 Personality and Psychotic Disorders
PSY 818 Clinical Health Psychology
In addition to those courses, the 1100 hours of required clinical practice in the PsyD or PhD programs cannot be transferred for other practice taken at other institutions. *Requires demonstration of competence.
Public Health Program
Students who apply for admissions may transfer up to 15 graduate credits to PHSU Public Health Program. The graduate courses must be relevant to the field of public health and related to the program’s core or elective courses. The Capstone Experience (CE) and Practicum courses taken at other institution cannot be transferred to PHSU Public Health Program.
To consider for transfer credits, the graduate courses must be taken at institutions accredited by the PR Council of Education or a US regional accreditor. Students applying for transfer of credits must submit the application to the Office of Admissions during the beginning of the admissions process. Interested students are required to provide the institutional catalog and course syllabi. The PHSU Office of Admissions will refer the cases to the Public Health Program. The Program will establish, and Evaluation Committee composed of two Public Health faculty to assess the graduate courses that students submitted for transfer. This Evaluation Committee will have the responsibility to evaluate:
- The comparability of the course content
- The course length: number of credits or contact hours (can be more but not significantly less)
- Grading system (the requested courses for transfer must be approved with at least B or Pass grade).
The Evaluation Committee will respond no later than the second week of classes of the first trimester/semester for entering students at PHSU.
Bachellor of Sciences in Nursing
Refers to the validation of credits from another higher education institution. A transfer student must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in validated higher education courses. Just courses of C grades or above are considered from transfer. Transfer students with less than 2.5 may be granted conditional admission. Transfer student has the option to apply for admission with the 2.5 GPA from high school by signing a letter rejecting the validation process of his/her college course work. The maximum number of total credits that may be transferred may not exceed 32 percent of the total number of credits in the nursing curriculum. A transfer student must meet all the admission requirements, including official evidence of the college transcript.
Any student considered for transfer admission must be in good academic standing in the other institution and must present a recommendation letter from the dean/director of student affairs of the institution of origin. Dismissed student from disciplinary reasons is not eligible for admission to PHSU. An Ad-Hoc Validation of Credits Committee will be appointed as necessary to evaluate transfer petitions.
Master of Sciences In Nursing
Students who apply for admission to the MSN/FNP Program may transfer up to 18 graduate credits related to the field of nursing. Only graduate courses from accredited institution are eligible for transfer of credits to the Program. Requests for transfer of credits must be made two weeks before admission to the program. A formal written request for the transfer of credits must be filled in the Admissions Office. Only courses with at least B grades are eligible for transfer.
Transfer of credits for clinical practicum courses requires demonstration of competence. Students must demonstrate that they possess the knowledge, skills and values expected from the clinical course. The clinical course credit is awarded if the student passes the required challenge exam (s) and complex clinical simulation experiences with the prerequisite scores(s) and /or skills check-off. Students are given one opportunity to challenge a clinical course and successfully pass skills check-off. If the student is unsuccessful on the challenge experience, the student must take the clinical course.
It is the responsibility of the student to facilitate the official catalog and transcript(s) from the institution (s) on which courses were taken. Only original transcripts are accepted and must be sent directly from the institution of origin to the PHSU Admissions Office.
An Ad-Hoc transfer of credits committee, with representation from the offices of students and academic affairs, a nursing faculty member, and the Associate Dean of Nursing, evaluates the request and makes final decisions based on institutional and programmatic transfer of credits policies and procedures.