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Designed for students who want to pursue research careers in both academic and non-academic settings, the Health Policy Ph.D., is a doctoral degree focused on the organization and financing of health services, as well as the statistical methods required to do state-of-the-art empirical work in health policy, health administration, and related disciplines.

Upon completing one year of the program, you’ll select from one of three specialized tracks: health economics, healthcare management and organizations, or population health and demography. You can also complete graduate minors in gerontology or demography, or earn your dual-title Ph.D. in Demography. Recent Health Policy Ph.D. graduates have obtained tenure-track faculty positions at major research universities, opted for private research organizations, found employment at government agencies, or are currently working for private-sector firms.


Jillian Harvey

The Health Policy Ph.D. Program at Penn State has prepared me with numerous opportunities to develop my skills as a health services researcher. The coursework and research experience has been outstanding, and I am confident this program has prepared me for the next phase in my career.

Jill Harvey, Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina

Ph.D. Program Details

Individual attention and support

  • We typically admit three to six students per year. Keeping our program small ensures students have easy access to faculty and allows us to fund virtually all students for three or more years.
  • We also regularly provide financial support to students presenting their research at conferences.


Areas of research


How to Apply

Related Programs

Penn State’s graduate programs attract students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and from more than 100 countries all over the world.
Alaina Burns
Student Spotlight
Alaina Burns named student marshal for spring 2024 commencement

Alaina Burns served as student marshal for the Department of Health Policy and Administration during spring 2024 commencement. Burns served as donor and alumni relations chair for Apollo Benefitting THON, and as treasurer of the College of Health and Human Development Ambassadors. She was also a College of Health and Human Development peer assistant. Congrats, Alaina!