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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Policy and Management

PhD FAQs

What is the PhD in Health Policy and Management?

The PhD in Health Policy and Management is a full-time, residential, advanced academic degree focusing on independent research in the field of public health policy, health administration and systems management, and other related fields. Students of the PhD split their time between attending classes and earning hands-on training through research assistantships before engaging in an independent research project that culminates in a dissertation. Students are expected to live within a reasonable distance of Baltimore to attend classes and fulfill their research responsibilities.

The PhD has four distinct concentrations that allow our students to specify their specific area of interest:

  • Bioethics and Health Policy
  • Health Economics and Health Policy
  • Health Services Research and Health Policy
  • Health and Public Policy

These concentrations have distinct research foci, curriculum, and admissions committees. Applicants must select at least one of these concentrations when applying for the PhD.

What is the difference between the PhD and DrPH degrees?

The PhD is a research-focused academic degree intended for students who want to move into academia, teaching, or research. The DrPH is a professional degree designed for currently working professionals in fields related to public health. DrPH students are already in the field, acting as leaders in their organizations or on track to become senior leadership, and are looking for a terminal degree that allows for a flexible schedule so that they can continue working.

If you would like to learn more about the Schoolwide DrPH program, you can go to its website here.

I already have an MPH. Can I start my dissertation right away?

No. Students cannot start their dissertation work until they have defended their dissertation proposal. This is usually done as part of the school-wide preliminary oral exams held during the second year of the program.

Do I need to have a master's degree to apply?

No. Applicants do not need to have a master's in order to apply and some are admitted with only a bachelor's degree. However, due to the limited number of spots each year and the high volume of applications we receive each year, we find that a larger number of successful applicants have a master's degree than not.

Do I need to have a peer-reviewed paper published in order to apply?

No. Applicants do not need to be published to apply or be accepted into the program.

Am I admitted to work with a specific advisor?

Yes. Applicants are paired with faculty members whose research interests closely relate to yours. These faculty members act as advisors and mentors. Once the student has passed their school-wide oral exam and have defended their dissertation proposal, this faculty member can continue to act as a thesis advisor, but if the thesis topic and research methods require an advisor with different specialties, students can receive a co-advisor who specializes in that topic.

Should I contact faculty before I apply?

Applicants are not required to contact faculty members prior to application or to identify a potential advisor. We do encourage applicants to research our faculty, their research interests, and to mention them in your application as faculty with whom you would like to work. You are welcome to contact specific faculty members to learn more about their current projects. Please keep in mind, though, that our faculty members are busy and have different policies in regards to when, who, and how they respond to prospective applicants.

Can I work full-time while doing the program?

The PhD program is full-time and the combination of classes being held throughout the day and the responsibilities associated with PhD training are prohibitive to full-time employment during the academic year. During school breaks students may work full-time.