The University of Maryland School of Public Health offers a Doctorate of Health Services Research (PhD) degree with emphasis on health services research. The goal of this program is to provide interdisciplinary training in research, practice, and policy analysis relevant to the planning, administration, management, and evaluation of health and public health programs. The degree program will prepare students to advance research, policy, and practice to order to improve access, cost, and quality of health services, with a particular emphasis on federal, state, and local health policy.

(Recent changes to program requirements reflected below and are pending approval by Senate PCC Committee.)

Find out more about the admissions process and deadlines.

View our Department of Health Policy and Management (previously Health Services Administration) Flyer.

Explore Program Services Research


The Department of Health Policy and Management requires a Master's Degree in Health Administration, Health Services, Public Health, Policy, Economics, Business Administration or a related field in order to enter the PhD program in Health Services Research. If the student's completed master's degree does not include public health content in the five public health core areas, students are expected to master competencies in those areas before graduation.

The PhD in Health Services Research requires a minimum of 50 credits organized in four modules. After module 1 (required core health services research courses), students select a cognate area or track. Potential tracks are: health economics, health policy, health equity/sociology of health, and an interdisciplinary track (developed with advisor’s approval). Together with their advisor, students select 5 elective courses in the track of which 2 must be methods courses relevant to the cognate area. After completing the track coursework, students must pass a qualifying exam. All students must take an ethics course, a proposal development course and must pass an oral proposal defense to be admitted to candidacy. After candidacy, students take a graduate seminar, and dissertation credits which culminate in a doctoral dissertation and an oral dissertation defense.


The program requires students to:

  • Acquire a strong foundation of knowledge in the organizational, policy, economic and social factors which influence health services delivery
  • Acquire foundational and advanced research skills which result in the ability to develop an  independent research project
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete an independent research project 
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills appropriate for the dissemination of knowledge in health services to both academic and professional/practitioner audiences


All PhD students will complete the following four modules:

Module Description Courses/credits
Module 1 Health Services Research Core 6 courses (18 credits)
Module 2 Track courses At least 5 elective courses in track, of which 2 must be methods courses (15 credits)
Module 3 Dissertation courses 3 courses (5 credits)
Module 4 Dissertation credits At least 12 credits

Module Description and Course Details

  Courses Credits
Module 1: Health Services Research core courses HLSA 711 Health Care Economics and Analysis 3
HLSA 787 Minority Health and Health Equity 3
HLSA 723 Policy Analysis and Advocacy 3
HLSA 790 Advanced Methods in Health Services Research 3
HLSA 725 Econometrics in Public Health 3
HLSA 714 Economic Evaluation of Health and Medical Care 3
HSR core credits 18
Module 2: Elective courses in track8 Elective PhD level courses in track 3
Elective PhD level courses in track 3
Elective PhD level courses in track 3
Elective PhD level methods course in track 3
Elective PhD level methods course in track 3
Total track credits 15
Module 3: Dissertation courses HLSA 765 Oral and Written

Communications/ Proposal Development
HLSA 709  Current Topics in Health Services or elective seminar 1
Ethics 1
Total dissertation course credits 5
Module 4: Dissertation credits HLSA 899  Doctoral Dissertation Research Min 12
  PhD Total Credits 50

* The elective courses in the cognate area (track) are selected by the student and approved by the advisor.


Doctoral students advance to candidacy by completing a written qualifying exam and an oral defense of their dissertation proposal. In addition to the coursework, the written qualifying exam and the oral defense, students must successfully complete a doctoral dissertation and an oral dissertation defense.