Skip to main content
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Policy and Management


What is the PhD in Health Policy and Management?

The PhD in Health Policy and Management is a full-time, residential, advanced academic degree program 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

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 or third 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.

Do I need to choose a specific advisor before I apply?

No. Faculty advisors are assigned through the admissions process rather than through applicants reaching out to potential advisors.  Students who are given an offer of admission are paired with faculty members whose research interests are aligned.  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.

How can I learn more about the program before I apply?

We encourage applicants to research our faculty and their research interests, and to mention specific faculty members in your application with whom you would like to work. Additionally, we encourage you to attend one of our virtual information sessions that take place in the summer and fall before applications are due.  While applicants sometimes contact specific faculty members to learn more about their current projects, please keep in mind that our faculty members are busy and have different policies in regards to when, who, and how they respond to prospective students.

How are students funded in the program? 

All admitted students are offered a full funding package for four years that includes tuition, a cost of living stipend, and medical, vision and dental benefits. These positions are funded through a combination of training grants and departmental funds. The funding process occurs through the admissions process.  Individual faculty do not make funding decisions.

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.

What does the program look for in a personal statement?

The personal statement is your chance to tell the story of what motivates your current interest in a health policy PhD, what you hope to accomplish during your time in the program, why you are interested in the Department of Health Policy and Management and your chosen concentration, and your longer-term career aspirations. The admissions committee is seeking to evaluate your preparation to enter a program focused on health policy research and to assess your fit with the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. For that reason, we recommend that you identify faculty and specific topics that you would be interested in working on in our program (listing faculty and topics is sufficient---you do not need to speak to the faculty before applying). While we value personalized essays that reveal how you approach challenges, clarity of purpose and specificity are more important to the committee than clever storytelling.