Our PhD in Health Policy and Management prepares high-level health services researchers for careers in academic settings or in public and private organizations where advanced research, leadership and analytic skills are required.

Health services research is a multidisciplinary field that examines the uses, costs, quality, accessibility, delivery, organization, financing and health outcomes of healthcare systems in the U.S. and elsewhere. Health Services researchers investigate, compare and interpret the complexities of healthcare systems, including how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and individual and group behaviors affect access, cost and quality of care. The program is offered on a full-time basis only with course work at the KU Medical Center campus.

The application process is done online. Detailed instructions on how to apply and the application deadlines are posted on the Health Policy and Management website.

Admission requirements:

  • A master's degree in health services administration or a related field (e.g. public health, public administration, business, social sciences, biological sciences, nursing) from a regionally accredited institution and documented by submission of official transcript indicating the degree has been conferred before entering the program. Official transcripts from all other institutions attended post-baccalaureate are also required.
  • A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for all post-baccalaureate course work.
    Students with degrees from outside the U.S. may be subject to transcript evaluation to determine that the degree is equivalent to a U.S. degree and meets the minimum cumulative GPA requirements.
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English, whether domestic or international, must demonstrate they meet the Minimum English Proficiency Requirement and additionally for this specific program, a minimum score of 50 on the TSE or SPEAK tests, a minimum iBT speaking score of 24, or a minimum IELTS speaking score of 8.
  • A background check is required during the admission process; it may affect the student's eligibility to enter the program.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score not more than approximately 5 years old sent from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to University of Kansas Medical Center - ETS institutional 6895.
  • Successful completion of a graduate level statistics course. The need for additional foundational coursework (health delivery systems, health economics, health behavior/organizations, health policy) will be evaluated on an individualized basis during the admissions process.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess your academic background and potential for success in a doctoral program.
  • A personal statement regarding your career objectives and purpose.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A copy of the applicant's master’s thesis, graduate-level research paper or other example of the applicant’s scholarly research writing.

Applicants will be assessed based on these requirements. Students not meeting the above requirements may be eligible for provisional admission. After an applicant has been admitted, a program may defer an applicant's admission for one year after which time the applicant must submit a new application.

Admission requirements are subject to change. In most cases, students should refer to the catalog content of the year they entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».

The doctoral program is a post-master’s, competency-based program in health services research consisting of 3 stages.  Relevant prior graduate work is taken into consideration in setting up individual programs of study leading to the Ph.D. The program, including dissertation, is designed to be completed in a minimum of 4-5 academic years (see Degree Plan tab.)  Students are expected to maintain continuous, full-time enrollment.

Stage 1 consists of basic courses in health policy, health systems, culture, occupations, health care management, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. A notable feature of this stage is that students begin to participate in the research process immediately upon beginning the program through a series of 1-credit-hour immersion courses, taken within the first 2 semesters along with other basic courses.

Stage 2 involves specialization in a specific substantive area of either policy or management-related research or a combination, as well as advanced statistical analysis and research methods. Students also complete a teaching seminar and practicum.

Stage 3 consists of the doctoral dissertation demonstrating the development, execution, and results of original research. Students work primarily with their dissertation advisor and doctoral committee at this stage in order to prepare and defend their dissertation proposal and to carry out and complete their dissertation research project. There are two options for the written dissertation, the traditional book format or a three publishable articles format. The written dissertation is formatted and published according to university guidelines.

Degree requirements:

  • Degree requirements are normally completed within 4-5 years of admission to the program although a maximum of 8 years is allowed.
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least a 3.0 for all KU graduate coursework.
  • Successful completion of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement prior to the semester the Oral Comprehensive Examination is scheduled.
    • Successful completion of the required sequence of health services research methods courses HP&M 870, HP&M 871, HP&M 873, HP&M 875, HP&M 886, and HP&M 910 meets the Research Skills requirement.
    • Successful completion of the research ethics modules within HP&M 870, HP&M 871, HP&M 886, and HP&M 910 meets the Responsible Scholarship requirement.
    • Successful completion of the KUMC Human Subjects Projection training module during the first semester of enrollment and maintenance of certification throughout tenure in the PhD Program.
  • Successful completion of preliminary examinations in quantitative analysis, general health policy and management research, and a specialization area.
  • Successful completion of the Residence Requirement by enrollment in full-time status a minimum of two semesters prior to the semester the Oral Comprehensive Examination is scheduled.
  • Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Examination.  Students are recognized as formal doctoral candidates after they have passed the comprehensive examination.
  • Successful completion of the Post-Comprehensive Enrollment requirement.
  • Enrollment in a minimum of one (1) credit of HP&M 999 the semester the student will defend dissertation and graduate.
  • Successful completion of the Final Oral Examination (dissertation defense.)
  • Successful Dissertation Submission and Publication (according to Office of Graduate Studies policy.)
  • Successful completion of the following Health Policy and Management core courses:
    HP&M 868Field Immersion in Health Systems Issues and Trends1
    HP&M 870Research Inquiry I: Defining and Supporting the Research Problem1
    HP&M 871Research Inquiry II: Research Design and Analysis1
    HP&M 873Statistical Applications Using Large Data Bases3
    HP&M 875Modeling in Health Services Research3
    HP&M 885Instructional Methods in Health Services Education1
    HP&M 886Applied Health Services Research3
    HP&M 887Practicum in Health Services Education2
    HP&M 901Doctoral Seminar in Health Policy3
    HP&M 903Doctoral Seminar in Health Management3
    HP&M 904Doctoral Seminar in Health Care Occupations and Culture3
    HP&M 905Doctoral Seminar in Social Determinants of Health3
    HP&M 906Doctoral Seminar in Comparative Health Systems3
    HP&M 910Health Services Research Methods3
    HP&M 999Dissertation1-12
  • Successful completion of an additional three (3) credit hour quantitative course.  Specific course must be approved by the student's advisor.
  • Successful completion of a three (3) credit hour course in qualitative methods. Approved options for this requirement will be provided. 
  • Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium.
  • Students must be enrolled in the fall and spring semesters following the completion of required coursework.

Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. Any courses taken as an equivalent must be approved by the Graduate Director and the Office of Graduate Studies. In most cases, use the catalog of the year student entered the program. Other years’ catalogs».

Typical Plan of Study

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
HP&M 8681HP&M 8711Optional Summer enrollment 
HP&M 8701HP&M 8733 
HP&M 9013HP&M 9043 
HP&M 9033Qualitative methods course3 
HP&M 9103Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium  
Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium   
 11 10 0
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
HP&M 8753HP&M 8863Optional Summer enrollment 
HP&M 8851HP&M 9063 
HP&M 8872Quantitative methods course3 
HP&M 9053Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium  
Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium   
 9 9 0
Year 3
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
HP&M 991 (Or other course in consultation with Advisor)1-3HP&M 991 (or other course in consultation with advisor)1-3HP&M 9993
Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium Attendance at the HP&M Health Services Research Colloquium  
 Oral Comprehensive Exam may be scheduled during this semester if approved by committee.  
 1-3 1-3 3
Year 4
FallHours  
HP&M 9996  
Final Oral Exam (Dissertation Defense) scheduled this semester if approved by committee to defend and graduate.   
 6  
Total Hours: 50-54

Because the PhD in Health Policy and Management degree signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the practice of health services research, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills necessary to function in a broad range of academic and research situations. The Technical Standards include those physical, cognitive and behavioral standards that are required for the satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum and the development of professional attributes required by all students at graduation. Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students with or without accommodations admitted to the PhD program.

1. Observation:  A student must be able to observe class demonstrations and field experiences relevant to the field of health services research. A student must be able to read and comprehend text, numbers, tables and graphs, both in print and displayed electronically. Observation necessitates the function use of the senses of vision and hearing.

2. Communication:  A student must be able to communicate effectively in oral, written and electronic form with other students, faculty, staff, researchers, health providers, preceptors and the public. Effective communication includes: the ability to understand assigned readings, lectures, and technical and professional materials; the ability to analyze information; the ability to present results of such analyses verbally and in writing; the ability to independently prepare papers and presentations; and the ability to follow verbal and written instructions.

3. Motor:  A student must have sufficient motor function to attend classes, prepare assignments, use electronic media, deliver lectures and make public presentations. Class requirements may also include field work in a variety of health services organizations.

4. Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities:  A student must possess the ability to understand and work with measurements and calculations, and to engage in reasoning, analysis, synthesis and critical thinking. A student must be able to exercise sufficient judgment to recognize and correct performance deviations, and be able to draw on all the above mentioned abilities to be an effective problem solver, researcher and teacher.

5. Behavioral and social attributes:  A student must have the emotional health required for the full use of his or her intellectual ability. A student must be able to exercise sound judgment, and to act ethically and with integrity. A student must be self-motivated, reliable and responsible to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner with no supervision. Students must be able to give attention to detail and have the flexibility to function in a research setting, including adapting to changes in time, place and structure of academic and research settings.  The student must have the ability to work with diverse groups.