Health Research and Policy

PhD in Health Policy

Stanford Health Policy, through the Department of Health Research and Policy at the Stanford University School of Medicine, offers a PhD program which promises to educate students who will be scholarly leaders in the field of health policy, and will be highly knowledgeable about the theoretical and empirical approaches that can be applied in the development of improvements in health policy and the health care system. The curriculum offers courses across a wide range of health policy areas including health economics, health insurance and government program operation, health financing, international health policy and economic development, cost-effectiveness analysis and the evaluation of new technologies, relevant statistical and methodological approaches, and health policy issues related to public health concerns like obesity and chronic disease. In addition to taking a set of core courses, students are expected to complete coursework in one of two tracks:

  1. Health Economics - including the economic behavior of individuals, providers, insurers, and governments and how their actions affect health and medical care,
  2. Decision Sciences - with quantitative techniques to assess the effectiveness and value of medical treatments and for decision making about medical care at the individual and/or collective level.

Leadership and Faculty

Director of Graduate Studies: Laurence Baker, PhD

Executive Committee:

Core Faculty Members:


With primary affiliations at Stanford University:

With primary affiliations other than Stanford University:


All matriculating students will be assigned a faculty advisor from the group of core faculty to help them design their academic program. Students will remain with this advisor until the time that they have developed other arrangements for advising.

Students are expected to identify a group of normally 3 thesis advisors before or, at the latest, shortly after the time that they advance to candidacy for the degree. This group will consist of one primary and two secondary advisors, who may or may not be the same as the initially assigned faculty advisor. The primary advisor must be from the group of core faculty, unless specific approval of the executive committee is obtained. Such approval would not be routinely granted. However, in rare cases, it may be optimal for a student’s progress to implement a co-primary mentor arrangement, in which a core faculty member from health policy and another faculty member from outside the core faculty jointly serve as primary mentors. This arrangement might occur in rare circumstances with students seeking to integrate areas of science into their policy training that are outside the expertise of the core faculty.

Secondary advisors will normally be expected to come from the core faculty, but could include faculty from outside the core group upon approval of the executive committee. Students will be encouraged to seek advisors with complementary expertise as needed, and the Director of Graduate Studies and executive committee will monitor advising arrangements to ensure that students receive adequate supervision.

Degree Requirements

1st year: 2nd year: 3 & 4 year: PhD Candidacy PhD Dissertation:


Though circumstances may be different from one student to another, we anticipate being able to provide and/or help students obtain financial support for the 4 years of the program.

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