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PhD in Health Services Research and Policy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Services Research and Policy Program offers a full-time course of study, where students are required to reside in the Philadelphia area to complete the degree. The program is designed to train doctoral students to pursue original quantitative, qualitative and/or mixed methods research in the broad areas of health policy and health services research in the United States and abroad, with an emphasis on research that can be translated into policy, programs and/or practice. The core areas of study include the following: social and political determinants of health and health systems, research methods, health economics, and implementation and dissemination science. In addition, with the guidance of their faculty advisors, students will choose a cognate or related area of study outside of the Department of Health Management and Policy as a core area of study.

Students will benefit from the interdisciplinary faculty in the Department of Health Management and Policy, and they will work under a faculty advisor whose research interests fit with those of the student. Students will be expected to be engaged in research activities during their time in the Program.


The PhD in Health Services Research and Policy Program is a full-time degree program that entails a high-quality, rigorous doctoral education in health services research and policy. Students will be admitted on a selective basis. Applicants who have research experience and demonstrate a strong commitment to research are preferred.

For the next cohort, starting in Fall 2018, the application period will run from September 1, 2017 through January 15, 2018.

Review admission and application requirements

Application Deadline

  • January 15 for fall entry.


  • Master of Public Health (MPH) degree or equivalent degree is required; those with terminal degrees (e.g., MD, DDS, JD) but who do not have an MPH or equivalent will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Potential for high level of performance in the PhD program and subsequent contributions to the field of health services research/health policy

Application Requirements

  • Completed application through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended
  • Official results from the GRE taken within the last 5 years (code to submit to SOPHAS is 7890)
  • Results from the IELTS or TOEFL exam (non-native English speakers only)
  • World Education Service evaluation of all foreign transcripts (international applications only)
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s promise as a graduate student
  • Written statement of career goals, doctoral research interests and fit with a desired faculty mentor
  • Academic writing sample

Degree Requirements

Completion of the PhD in Health Services Research and Policy will require:

  • A minimum of 48 quarter credit hours beyond the master's degree as prescribed by the program's curriculum;
  • 9 credits of pre-dissertation research
  • A minimum of 9 credit hours (beyond the coursework and pre-dissertation research) for completion of the dissertation
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3;
  • Passing the doctoral comprehensive examination;
  • Passing the dissertation proposal defense;
  • Completing a research dissertation of publishable quality; and
  • Passing the final dissertation defense.

Review degree requirements and courses

Faculty and Research

Doctoral students will work with an interdisciplinary group of faculty who specialize in health services research and policy across broad areas of topics and methods.

Explore department faculty and research