Health Research and Policy

Degree Overview

Health Research & Policy Degree Programs

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. These students will be well prepared for positions in academic institutions, government institutions, and private sector organizations with a demand for high-level analysis of health policy issues.

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 either a health economics or decision sciences track. The PhD program is typically completed in 4 years.

Masters (MS) in Health Policy. The Department of Health Research and Policy at the Stanford University School of Medicine also offers a Masters in Health Services Research Program. Most students in this program are investigators with an MD (or comparable advanced degree), often in the fellowship stages of their training or already junior faculty members. The program provides students with the skills to conduct and interpret research in health policy and clinical decision-making. MS students must satisfy a concentration requirement in one of the three content areas of empirical methods, clinical decision-making or health policy. The MS program is typically completed in two years.

Masters (MS) in Epidemiology and Clinical Research provides students with the skills to become clinical investigators, including epidemiologic methods, statistical analysis, and other areas essential to patient-oriented clinical research. There are two tracks: the Clinical Research Track for physicians and medical students interested in clinical and translational research, and the Traditional Track for students with other backgrounds. It also includes students from doctoral programs in the social, behavioral, or biological sciences interested in a concurrent master degree, who wish to apply epidemiologic techniques to their areas of research interest. The MS program is typically completed in two years.

Biostatistics PhD Training for Personalized Medicine is for scholars who want to help define the statistical foundation for personalized medicine, by developing the tools and methodologies for collecting, organizing and interpreting the vast amounts of health data being generated in all corners of our society. This training program, which is jointly administered by the Department of Statistics and Department of Health Research and Policy, emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborations and each scholar has the opportunity to work as an applied biostatistician on a clinical research team.

Dual Degree Programs

Often taught by HRP faculty, the medical school also offers these Masters Programs:

Biomedical Informatics is an interdisciplinary graduate and postdoctoral training program, part of the Biosciences Program at Stanford University's School of Medicine. It combines ideas from computer science and quantitative disciplines (statistics, decision science) to solving challenging problems in biology and medicine. Applicants enter our program with many different backgrounds, so the program is designed to be flexible. This center runs a PhD program; an Academic (Research) MS for postdoctoral trainees; an Honors Cooperative Program (Professional Masters) MS; a part-time distance education program; and a coterminal MS for Stanford undergraduates.

Masters of Medicine (MOM) provides Stanford University PhD candidates serious exposure to clinical medicine with a view to fostering translational research. Students who pursue the MS in Medicine while engaged in their doctoral programs will be highly knowledgeable about human biology and disease, and thus more able to translate scientific discoveries into useful medical advances.

Masters of Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling is a program that trains students to understand the molecular, clinical and psychological implications of differences in the human genome, and to translate these intricacies to health care professionals, laboratory researchers and patients/families. Graduates of this program will be eligible for board certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. In addition to these degrees available directly through the School of Medicine, Stanford MD students may also pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at UC Berkeley through our MD/MPH dual degree program.

Masters of Public Health (dual MD/MPH; MPH from UC Berkeley). Students enrolled in the Scholarly Concentration in Community Health can apply for the collaborative MD-MPH Program with the University of California, Berkeley, designed to train medical students to be effective physician scholars and public health leaders. The program allows students to integrate their year of training at Berkeley with the community-based work begun at Stanford, and to complete original research that fulfills requirements for both degrees.


Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) Fellowship. Designing better, more affordable care models The Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) Fellowship provides post-doctoral students an opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and experience developing innovative health care delivery models that improve patient health and lower annual per capita health spending. We seek fellows from multiple disciplines and specialties who have secured at least one year of pre-arranged research fellowship funding.

Medical Informatics Fellowship. This postdoctoral fellowship enables trainees to combine formal training in Medical Informatics with research in areas of relevance to the VA health care system, such as decision support systems technologies. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have completed an M.D. and residency training or have completed a Ph.D. in computer sciences, medical informatics, decision sciences, economics, or related fields. Applicants with strong quantitative and computer science backgrounds will be given priority.

Dr. George Rosenkranz Prize for Health Care Research in Developing Countries
is intended for young Stanford researchers research associates, postdoctoral students, early-career faculty — whose work focuses on improving health care access in the developing world.

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