skip to main content

About the PhD Program

About the program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Research is designed to prepare students to conduct high-quality research addressing important health services issues through intensive education in research methods.

Students will be provided opportunities for advanced training in health policy, organization theory, and health economics along with applied knowledge in specific substantive areas of health policy or management.

Students in the PhD program will receive financial support in the form of an assistantship and/or tuition stipend. For more information, contact the PhD program directly.

Dates and Deadlines

The PhD in Health Services Research program only opens admission every two years (on odd years, i.e., 2023, 2025, 2027).

Important dates
Entering Semester Application Deadline Mandatory Orientation Day First Class Day
Fall 2023

Jan. 15, 2023


New Students


International Students 


August 2023

(date TBA)

Cost of Attendance

For a better understanding of your total cost of attendance (COA), please visit our cost and tuition rates webpage ( This webpage will provide you with an opportunity to review estimated COA information for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as other resources such as the tuition calculator and billing and fee explanations.


Prior to admission to the PhD program, students are expected to have successfully completed courses for their PhD work in the following areas: rural health, basic statistics, epidemiology, and health policy and administration. Students entering the program without appropriate foundation courses in these areas will do so with the understanding that courses in these areas must be taken prior to their comprehensive examinations. The departmental doctoral committee will be responsible for noting deficiencies upon admission.

Required Coursework Summary

Important dates
PhD Core Courses 20 credit hours
Prescribed Statistics and Methods Courses 15 credit hours
Prescribed Cognate Courses 9 credit hours
Free Electives 9 credit hours
Capstone (Papers/Dissertations) 9 credit hours
Total 62 credit hours

Required Coursework Details

PhD Core Courses

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
PHPM 601 Foundations of Public Health 3
PHPM 619 Organizational Theory 3
PHPM 637 Political Foundations for Public Health 3
PHPM 661 Introduction to Health Economics 3
PHPM 668 Applied Health Services Research I 1
PHPM 669 Applied Health Services Research II 1
PHPM 671 Introduction into Health Services Research 3
SOPH 676 Professional Development Seminar in Public Health Teaching 1
PHPM 689 Seminar 1
PHPM 689 Seminar 1

Prescribed Statistics and Methods Courses

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
PHPM 672 Data Science for Health Services Research 3
PHPM 674 Secondary Analysis of Health Data 3
PHPM 678 Qualitative Research in Public Health 3
SOCI 631 Seminar in Sociological Research: Quantitative Methods 3
PHPM 676 Analytical Issues in Health Services Research 3

Cognate Areas

Each student must select one of two cognate areas: (1) health economics or (2) health politics and policy; These cognate areas provide students with a core of knowledge relating to a specific conceptual approach for health services research. Students typically designate their cognate area at or before matriculation but must designate a cognate area no later than the end of their first semester.

Health Economics

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
PSAA 621 Economic Analysis 3
PHPM 663 Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Health Policy 3
PHPM 654 Health Insurance and Managed Care 3

Health Politics and Policy

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
PHPM 640 Health Policy Politics 3
PHPM 641 Advanced Health Policy 3
PHPM 643 Health Policy Analysis 3

Other program requirements

The program also includes nine credit hours of free electives and concludes with nine (or more) credit hours for doctoral capstone (dissertation).

Application Requirements

PhD applicants must submit all of the required documents by the posted deadline to be reviewed for admission. International applicants should review the International Applicant information for additional requirements.

SOPHAS Application and Application Fee

  • All applicants must submit an official SOPHAS application through
  • Visit the SOPHAS FAQs for instructions and for helpful tips.

Three Letters of Recommendation

  • The School of Public Health prefers at least one academic reference from a higher education institution and one professional reference. The remaining letter may be either academic or professional.
  • Letters must be must be electronically submitted directly to SOPHAS
  • NOTE: The School of Public Health cannot accept hard-copy letters for the SOPHAS application.

Statement of Purpose

Review the instructions section in your SOPHAS application for more details. In addition to describing why you want to pursue the chosen degree plan/concentration with the School of Public Health, SOPHAS recommends the following topics:

  • Reasons for interest in public health
  • Reasons for interest in academic department or concentration.
  • Reasons for interest in the school or program.
  • Career goals.
  • Your proposed research topics.

A current Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Official Transcripts

  • Official transcripts from each U.S. and English-speaking Canadian college-level institution attended
  • Transcripts must be must be electronically submitted directly to SOPHAS
  • NOTE: The School of Public Health cannot accept official transcripts for the SOPHAS application.

Official Test Scores - Waived

  • Standardized test scores (GRE) are NOT required for applicants seeking admission to the DrPH programs for Fall 2023. This requirement is waived

Writing Sample

Doctoral applicants must submit a writing sample that demonstrates their analytical and writing skills. Preference is given to samples in which the applicant is the sole and/or primary author. 

  • Examples include journal articles, research papers, thesis/dissertation, and/or capstone projects.