Health Policy

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The PhD Program in Health Policy (formerly known as Health Services and Policy Analysis) at UC Berkeley is distinguished by its interdisciplinary application of the social and behavioral science disciplines to real-world health issues. Students select a specialty field from among three tracks (Health Economics, Organizations & Management, and Population & Data Science) while receiving rigorous training in quantitative research methods. Students augment their training through skills and knowledge from UC Berkeley's top-ranked Economics, Political Science, and Sociology departments, as well as the Haas School of Business and the Goldman School of Public Policy. Graduates of the Health Policy program are well prepared to assume academic careers in research and teaching. The program's interdisciplinary social and behavioral sciences approach to health services and policy research is a cornerstone of the PhD program that enables students to tailor much of their coursework to their own research interests.

Visit Group Website

Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

    • courses in English as a Second Language,

    • courses conducted in a language other than English,

    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and

    • courses of a non-academic nature.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.

 

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Health Policy PhD Program

Successful applicants have a clear research focus in health policy and/or health services research. Experience working in the health sector is viewed favorably by the admissions committee, as is prior research experience.

Entering students should have a foundation of basic knowledge in microeconomics, epidemiology, and statistics. A master’s degree is preferred but not required for this program. Applicants without a master’s degree should have at least two years of related experience. Additional admission requirements include GRE scores (average scores for admitted applicants are in the 80th percentile or above) and three letters of recommendation.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Health Policy PhD Course Requirements

Available specialty fields:

  • Health Economics

  • Organizations & Management

  • Population & Data Science

Curriculum Requirements

All students must take the core courses PB HLTH 237C, PB HLTH 237D, PB HLTH 237E, and PB HLTH 237F, five specialty field courses, three quantitative research methods courses, and three additional graduate elective courses.

Required Core Courses for All Specialty Fields

PB HLTH 237CHealth Policy Research Colloquium1
PB HLTH 237DHealth Policy PhD Dissertation Seminar2
PB HLTH 237EDoctoral Seminar in Health Organizations & Management2
PB HLTH 237FDoctoral Seminar in Health Economics2

Health Economics Course Requirements

Speciality Field Core Requirement
ECON 201AEconomic Theory4
Speciality Field Electives
Students select four courses, including a two-course sequence
ECON 201BEconomic Theory4
ECON 219AFoundations of Psychology and Economics3
ECON 219BApplications of Psychology and Economics3
ECON 220A
ECON 220B
Industrial Organization
and Industrial Organization
3
ECON 230A/230BPublic Economics3
ECON 250A
ECON 250B
ECON 250C
Labor Economics
and Labor Economics
and Labor Economics
3
ECON 270B
ECON 270C
Development Economics
and Development Economics
3
DEMOG C275AEconomic Demography3
PB HLTH 226AHealth Economics A3
PUB POL 251Microeconomic Organization and Policy Analysis3
PUB POL 259How to Conduct Benefit Cost Analysis4
Quantitative Research Methods
A,RESEC 212Econometrics: Multiple Equation Estimation4
A,RESEC 213Applied Econometrics4
ECON 244Applied Econometrics3
INFO 251Applied Machine Learning4
PB HLTH C240BBiostatistical Methods: Survival Analysis and Causality4
PB HLTH C240CBiostatistical Methods: Computational Statistics with Applications in Biology and Medicine4
PB HLTH 241Intermediate Biostatistics for Public Health4
PB HLTH C242CLongitudinal Data Analysis4
PB HLTH 244Big Data: A Public Health Perspective3
PB HLTH 245Introduction to Multivariate Statistics4
PB HLTH 250BEpidemiologic Methods II4
PB HLTH 252Epidemiological Analysis4
PB HLTH 252DIntroduction to Causal Inference4
PB HLTH 252EAdvanced Topics in Causal Inference4
POL SCI 236AThe Statistics of Causal Inference in the Social Sciences4
Electives
Three additional elective courses taken for a letter grade from among Berkeley’s wide offering of graduate courses. Students should work with their advisor to select an appropriate mix of courses to ensure multidisciplinary but deep methodological and substantive expertise.

Organization and Management Course Requirements

Speciality Field Core Requirement
PB HLTH 224AOrganizational Behavior and Management in Health Care3
Speciality Field Electives
Students select four courses, with one micro and one macro course
Micro-Organizational
Social Psychology and Information Technology [3]
Research in Micro-Organizational Behavior [3]
Research Seminar in Behavioral Science [4]
Research Seminar in Management of Organizations [2-4]
Special Topics in Public Policy [1-4]
Macro-Organizational
Research Workshop on Macro Organizational Behavior [3]
Doctoral Topics in Business Administration [0.5-3]
Workshop in Institutional Analysis [2]
Advanced Study in Substantive Sociological Fields: Organizations [3]
Other Electives
Social Networks [4]
Public Management and Policy Implementation [4]
Research Topics in Public Organization [4]
Seminars: Social [2]
Sociology of Medicine [3]
Group, Organizational, and Community Dynamics [2]
Quantitative Research Methods
Students select three courses
EDUC 274AMeasurement in Education and the Social Sciences I4
EDUC 274BMeasurement in Education and the Social Sciences II4
EDUC 274CResearch Seminar in Measurement2
EDUC 274DMultidimensional Measurement4
EDUC 275BData Analysis in Educational Research II4
EDUC 275GHierarchical and Longitudinal Modeling3
INFO 251Applied Machine Learning4
PB HLTH C242CLongitudinal Data Analysis4
PB HLTH 219DSocial and Behavioral Health Research: Introduction to Survey Methods3
PB HLTH 241Intermediate Biostatistics for Public Health4
PB HLTH 244Big Data: A Public Health Perspective3
PB HLTH 245Introduction to Multivariate Statistics4
PB HLTH 250BEpidemiologic Methods II4
PB HLTH 250CAdvanced Epidemiologic Methods3
PB HLTH 252Epidemiological Analysis4
PB HLTH 252DIntroduction to Causal Inference4
PB HLTH 252EAdvanced Topics in Causal Inference4
PB HLTH C240BBiostatistical Methods: Survival Analysis and Causality4
PB HLTH C240CBiostatistical Methods: Computational Statistics with Applications in Biology and Medicine4
PHDBA 297BResearch and Theory in Business: Behavioral Science3
POL SCI 239TAn Introduction to Computational Tools and Techniques for Social Science Research4
POL SCI 239TAn Introduction to Computational Tools and Techniques for Social Science Research4
POL SCI C236AThe Statistics of Causal Inference in the Social Science4
PSYCH 206Structural Equation Modeling3
SOCIOL 273LComputational Social Science3
SOCIOL 273MComputational Social Science3
Electives
Three additional elective courses taken for a letter grade from among Berkeley’s wide offering of graduate courses. Students should work with their advisor to select an appropriate mix of courses to ensure multidisciplinary but deep methodological and substantive expertise.

Population & Data Science Course Requirements

Speciality Field Core Requirements
Students select five courses
A,RESEC 212Econometrics: Multiple Equation Estimation4
A,RESEC 213Applied Econometrics4
DEMOG 210Demographic Methods: Rates and Structures4
ECON 244Applied Econometrics3
EDUC 274AMeasurement in Education and the Social Sciences I4
EDUC 274BMeasurement in Education and the Social Sciences II4
EDUC 274CResearch Seminar in Measurement2
EDUC 274DMultidimensional Measurement4
EDUC 275BData Analysis in Educational Research II4
EDUC 275GHierarchical and Longitudinal Modeling3
INFO 201Research Design and Applications for Data and Analysis3
INFO 251Applied Machine Learning4
PB HLTH 196Special Topics in Public Health1-4
PB HLTH 219DSocial and Behavioral Health Research: Introduction to Survey Methods3
PB HLTH 226CEconomics of Population Health3
PB HLTH C240BBiostatistical Methods: Survival Analysis and Causality4
PB HLTH C240CBiostatistical Methods: Computational Statistics with Applications in Biology and Medicine4
PB HLTH 241Intermediate Biostatistics for Public Health4
PB HLTH C242CLongitudinal Data Analysis4
PB HLTH 243CInformation Systems in Public Health2
PB HLTH 244Big Data: A Public Health Perspective3
PB HLTH 245Introduction to Multivariate Statistics4
PB HLTH 250BEpidemiologic Methods II4
PB HLTH 250CAdvanced Epidemiologic Methods3
PB HLTH 252Epidemiological Analysis4
PB HLTH 252DIntroduction to Causal Inference4
PB HLTH 252EAdvanced Topics in Causal Inference4
PB HLTH 290Health Issues Seminars1-4
DEVP 229Quantitative Methods and Impact Evaluation3
PUB POL 259How to Conduct Benefit Cost Analysis4
POL SCI 239TAn Introduction to Computational Tools and Techniques for Social Science Research4
POL SCI 236AThe Statistics of Causal Inference in the Social Sciences4
PSYCH 206Structural Equation Modeling3
SOCIOL 273LComputational Social Science3
SOCIOL 273MComputational Social Science3
Electives
Six additional courses taken for a letter grade from among Berkeley’s wide offering of graduate courses. Students should work with their advisor to select an appropriate mix of courses to ensure multidisciplinary but deep methodological and substantive expertise.

Specialty Field Examination

A comprehensive written examination in the student's specialty field must be successfully completed prior to the qualifying examination.

Quantitative Research Methods Paper

An empirical research paper to demonstrate the student's ability to use doctoral-level quantitative research methods with real data must be successfully completed before the end of the third year of the program.

Qualifying Examination

An oral qualifying examination must be passed before the student can be advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation

An original research dissertation is required for the PhD degree.

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Health Policy

2220 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-0976

healthpolicy_phd@berkeley.edu

Visit Group Website

Program Director

Hector Rodriguez, PhD, MPH

2121 Berkeley Way #5302

Phone: 510-642-4578

hrod@berkeley.edu

Program Manager

Kristine Doss, MPH

2121 Berkeley Way #5302

Phone: 510-643-0976

healthpolicy_phd@berkeley.edu

Back to Top