Health Services Research and Policy

Major: Health Services Research and Policy
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 90.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 44.0503
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 11-9111

About the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Research and Policy equips students with the skills to identify and answer important questions regarding health services, systems, and policies in the United States and to disseminate and translate findings into actions that improve health. Students will benefit from engagement with the Department of Health Management and Policy’s interdisciplinary faculty, the Dornsife School of Public Health’s emphasis on urban health and social justice, and the School’s location in Philadelphia—the 6th largest city in the United States where dynamic networks of academic, government, non-profit, and community-based organizations share a commitment to addressing health problems.

The program prepares researchers and scholars for careers in universities and other organizations, such as governmental agencies and private health-related industries (insurers, pharmaceuticals, philanthropic foundations, etc.), where health services research is conducted. Graduates will serve to improve the US health care system and individual and population health outcomes through research and advocacy.

The program’s four core areas of study are based on principles articulated in the Institute of Medicine report on Health Services Research: Training and Workforce Issues:

  • Social and Political Determinants of Health and Health Systems: The multi-level factors that affect the health of individuals and populations and that undergird US health systems.
  • Research Methods: The methods for investigating health services research and policy questions that involve collecting, analyzing, and interpreting health and health services data.
  • Health Economics: The supply and demand of health care resources and the impact of allocation and scarcity of these resources on populations.
  • Implementation Science: Approaches to designing and implementing health services interventions at multiple levels using community engagement strategies.
  • Research Specialization: Four Drexel University courses outside of program requirements selected at the student’s discretion, with advisor approval, that focus on topics applicable to the student’s research interests. 

Students will take a comprehensive exam that requires them to synthesize coursework and demonstrate mastery of public health competencies. Students will then develop and defend a dissertation proposal and complete a dissertation of publishable quality and final defense.

Major Competencies

  • Weigh the social, political, behavioral, and economic contexts of health and health services
  • Develop and use theoretical frameworks to formulate testable research questions in health services research
  • Apply quantitative and mixed methods to answer health services research questions
  • Translate and disseminate research findings to inform health services practice and policy
  • Ensure the ethical and responsible conduct of health services and policy research

Additional Information

For more information about this program, please contact:

DSPH Academic Advising Team
Office of Education

Additional information can be found on the Dornsife School of Public Health website, including admissions criteria and how to apply.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses *
BST 555Introduction to Statistical Computing3.0
or BST 559 Intermediate SAS
EPI 560Intermediate Epidemiology3.0
HMP 802Health and Human Rights3.0
HMP 810Health Services Research3.0
HMP 811Legal Aspects of Public Health3.0
HMP 814Research and Practice Workshop ((taken twice at 1.5 credits each))3.0
HMP 815Cost Benefit Analysis for Health Services3.0
HMP 817Public Health Workforce: Pedagogy and Development3.0
HMP 820Methods in Implementation Science3.0
HMP 852Health Economics I3.0
HMP 853Health Economics II3.0
PBHL 501Introduction to Public Health *0.0
RCRG 600An Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research0.0
Research Methods Selective (Select three)9.0
Survival Data Analysis
Applied Multivariate Analysis
Intermediate Biostatistics I
Qualitative Research in Community Health
Introduction to GIS for Public Health
Implementation and Translation Selective (Select one)3.0
Measuring Health
Health Systems Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis for Population Health
Electives **27.0
Pre-Dissertation Research9.0
Pre-Dissertation Research
Dissertation (9.0 credit minimum)9.0
PhD Dissertation Guidance
Total Credits90.0

Students without an MPH from a CEPH-accredited school of public health are required to take HMP 500 and HMP 501 before the end of their first year of coursework.


Foundational Public Health Learning Objectives: PBHL 501 is only required for students who do not have a degree from a CEPH accredited school.


15.0 credits from a student's master's degree may count towards the electives requirement. For the remaining credits, students will work in consultation with their faculty mentor to select electives that focus on the student's research and professional development needs. These electives are courses at the 500-999 level for the following: BST, CHP, COM, ECON, EOH, EPI, HMP, PBHL, PSY.

At least 2 electives must be at the 800-level.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
HMP 8023.0BST 555 or 5593.0EPI 5603.0VACATION
HMP 8103.0HMP 8113.0HMP 8141.5 
HMP 8523.0HMP 8533.0HMP 8153.0 
PBHL 501*0.0RCRG 6000.0Elective**3.0 
Elective**3.0Elective**3.0Research Methods Selective3.0 
 Research Methods Selective3.0  
 12 15 13.5 0
Second Year
HMP 8173.0HMP 9973.0HMP 8141.5VACATION
HMP 8203.0Electives9.0HMP 9976.0 
Elective**3.0 Implementation and Translation Science Selective3.0 
Research Methods Selective3.0 Elective**3.0 
 12 12 13.5 0
Third Year
HMP 9993.0-9.0HMP 9993.0-9.0HMP 9993.0-9.0 
 6-12 3-9 3-9 
Total Credits 90-108

PBHL 501 is only required for students who do not have a degree from a CEPH accredited school.


Electives that are satisfied through 15.0 credits from a student's master's degree

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