PhD in Health Services


The PhD Program in Health Services trains health services researchers and health policy analysts for careers in academic institutions, health delivery systems, public health departments, government agencies, and the private sector. The program prepares students to conduct high-quality independent, collaborative research and policy analysis by offering multidisciplinary, applied research opportunities on a wide variety of topics under the close mentorship of faculty. Students obtain advanced knowledge of the determinants of population health and of the health care system and they are exposed to several competing theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing both population health and the provision of health care. They develop research skills to identify and critically analyze the social, behavioral and health system effects on health and how organization, delivery, financing, and management of health services affect system performance.

Likely Careers

Health services researchers in academic institutions, health delivery systems, public health departments, government agencies, and the private sector, including insurance, pharmacy and biotechnology industries.


Applicants who have a bachelor, master, or professional degree in a field related to health services are given preference over applicants who do not have such experience. 

Application Deadline:   December 15


Upon satisfactory completion of the PhD in Health Services, graduates will be able to:

  • Meet the learning objectives of the MS program in Health Services
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the determinants, trends and major issues confronting U.S. health care/policy and its effect on individual and population health and health inequalities;
  • Critically appraise journal articles, evaluate the evidence, synthesize findings, draw inferences and apply alternative theoretical and conceptual models from a range of relevant disciplines to health services (HS);
  • Use knowledge of the structures, process/quality, performance, policy, and environmental context to formulate solutions for health and health care problems;
  • Explain how to collect primary health and health care data obtained by survey, abstracts of medical records (including electronic medical records), and qualitative or mixed methods;
  • Assemble secondary data from existing public and private sources and apply various statistical techniques to answer HS questions;
  • Develop in-depth substantive/disciplinary knowledge and method skills in an area of emphasis and apply to health services problems demonstrating application of AoE to dissertation work;
  • Ensure the ethical and responsible conduct of research in the design, implementation and dissemination of HS research;
  • Critically appraise grants, understand the grant writing and review process, write research proposals, and Final Dissertation Proposal approved by faculty as part of the general examination;
  • Work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams;
  • Conduct an independent HS research study of publishable quality, characterized by conceptual and methodological rigor, as well as practical value;
  • Effectively communicate issues, research findings, and implications of HS through multiple modalities to appropriate professional, scientific, policy, and lay audiences;
  • Collaborate with policy makers, organizations, and communities to plan, conduct and translate research into health policy and practice; and
  • Participate and assist in teaching or clinical practice while in the program.