Curriculum & Requirements
Students must successfully complete a Health Services Research readings and methods seminar (2 semesters), 5 specialty field courses, 3 research methods courses, and 3 core courses in other health policy specialty fields (aside from the student’s designated specialty field).
The three specialty fields of the PhD program are described briefly below.
The Health Economics specialty field draws on economics, epidemiology, and statistics to understand the causal relationship between different aspects of health and the health care sector. With an emphasis on quantifying relationships, health economics covers a broad range of study areas including health production, demand and supply of health services, health care financing, behavioral responses to institutional or policy incentives, policy evaluations, and other efficiency and equity issues surrounding health.
The Organizations and Management specialty field trains scholars of organizational behavior and political behavior in health. Theories and methods in organizational sociology, political science, and social psychology are central to the study of health organizations. Specialty field courses in macro-organizational theory, micro-organizational theory, and organizational analysis of the health sector are required. The specialty field emphasizes the management of health care and public health organizations and systems, the implementation and dissemination of policies and practices within and across organizations, and the role of policy-making institutions as platforms for the creation and modification of health policies.
The Population Health Sciences specialty field trains students for research careers in the social, behavioral, and economic determinants of health and the study of interventions, policies, and practices that impact the health of populations and vulnerable communities. The specialty field emphasizes addressing the social and behavioral determinants of health through quantitative and mixed methods research informed by theories and methods in economics, psychology, demography, and social epidemiology.
PhD students have access to all disciplines and professional schools at UC Berkeley, in addition to faculty and research programs at UC San Francisco. The PhD program is a full-time program geared for careers in academia and research. Students typically complete the degree in 4 to 5 years. The program is administratively located in the School of Public Health. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted by the Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkeley.
Graduates of the PhD program will be able to achieve and demonstrate expertise in the following major academic outcomes:
- Develop domain expertise in core works in health policy and the selected specialty field.
- Understand central social science theoretical frameworks and debates shaping health policy.
- Demonstrate substantive knowledge of the specialty field sufficient to design and teach graduate-level courses in that field.
- Demonstrated ability to conduct rigorous quantitative research.
- Plan and conduct independent research using advanced research methods.
- Mastery of academic and grant writing, conference presentation, IRB procedures, and ethics in research.
- Foster cohesion and intellectual exchange among students and faculty across the university to enhance interdisciplinary research and training.