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Health Policy and Health Services Research (PhD) Admissions

Applicants for the Health Policy and Health Services Research PhD program must have a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. Nearly all admitted applicants have a master’s degree, and preference is given to those with backgrounds in the health sciences or public health. For applicants who do not have an MPH, prerequisite course requirements include the completion of graduate courses covering theories of biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health behaviors and health policy, and political and economic aspects of health (the five core courses of the MPH curriculum).

Program admissions are highly competitive; only a small number of well-prepared students are admitted each year. We recommend that students contact faculty in the Department of Health Services Administration and Policy to discuss their areas of interest and opportunities for mentored research before applying to the Health Policy and Health Services Research PhD program. 

Application Components

  1. Applications: Students will apply using the SOPHAS Centralized Application Service. The documents required below will all be submitted through the SOPHAS system.
  2. Official transcripts: Submit transcripts from all of the undergraduate and graduate institutions you’ve attended. Please mail all of your official transcripts to:
    • SOPHAS Transcript Processing Center
    • PO Box 9111
    • Watertown, MA 02471
  3. Recommendations: Submit three letters of recommendation from evaluators who can speak to your capacity for doctoral-level research and study.
  4. Goals statement: In no more than 750 words
    • describe why you’re interested in the PhD in Health Policy and Health Services Research in particular
    • articulate your academic and research achievements and interests.
    • detail how your interest in health policy relates to your career goals and to the work of faculty members associated with the PhD program. Alignment of your interests with the work of the faculty members in the department plays a significant role in admissions decisions, so emphasize linkages wherever you can. Learn more about faculty research interests.
  5. Writing Sample: The writing sample should be no more than 10 pages unless it is a published work. The department prefers scholarly articles, technical reports or academic professional papers.
  6. GRE score: Your score should be at the 50th percentile or higher. Official GRE scores should be sent to SOPHAS using code 0151. This requirement can be waived for doctoral candidates with a terminal degree from an accredited U.S. institution.
  7. Current résumé or CV is required.

Additional requirements for international students

  • TOEFL: For applicants whose native language is not English, the TOEFL is required with a minimum score of 79 on the iBT. These scores should be sent officially to SOPHAS using the SOPHAS-specific TOEFL code of: 5688.
  • A WES Evaluation (www.wes.org) is required for applicants who completed their degree outside of the United States. This can be requested and submitted through SOPHAS.

Application Deadline

Fall term: Jan. 5