PhD in Health Policy and Management FAQ's


  • How does the Health Policy and Management PhD program differ from other PhD programs? How is it the same?

    Like other PhD programs, the PhD in HPM is a research-focused degree that provides students with in-depth training in interpreting scientific research, identifying important research questions, designing research studies and applying sophisticated, often quantitative, research methods to answer research questions. The PhD in HPM differs from other PhD programs, such as Epidemiology, in that it trains students to ask different types of research questions. For example, researchers in HPM are interested in understanding how different laws, managerial strategies, or organizational structures affect things like access to healthcare, cost of healthcare, and quality of health care. To answer these types of questions, HPM researchers are trained to apply relevant statistical and econometric methods to large datasets, often with the goal of inferring causal relationships. Similarly, HPM PhD students also obtain experience in acquiring and managing large datasets, such as those from surveys, insurance claims, or electronic health records.

  • What kind of jobs will the Health Policy and Management PhD program prepare students for?

    The HPM PhD program is best suited for students interested in academic careers in Health Policy and Management. In other words, the program prepares students to become faculty members in departments of Health Policy and Management or similar departments. Similar departments may be called “Health Services Research”, “Health Services Administration” or something else. To prepare students for academic jobs, the program provides students with training and experiences in reading, interpreting, writing, critiquing, developing, executing, and publishing peer-reviewed academic research. The program will also provide students with sufficient training and experience in teaching so they can be competitive for faculty jobs that involve teaching and research. The aforementioned training will also prepare students for research-oriented jobs in non-academic settings, such as government agencies or private research firms.

  • What kind of jobs will the HPM PhD program NOT prepare students for?

    The HPM PhD program will not prepare students to be administrative leaders in healthcare delivery organizations, such as hospitals. If you are interested in the “doing” of management rather than “thinking” about how to design research studies, collect data, and analyze data that may inform practice, consider the Master of Health Administration degree. Similarly, the HPM PhD program will not prepare students to be public health administrators, business consultants, or policymakers.

  • Do HPM PhD students have the option of enrolling full-time or part-time?

    Yes, the program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. However, full-time applicants are preferred. PhD training requires a significant time commitment to coursework, research collaborations, peer interactions, and mentorship. Therefore, only exceptional part-time students with flexible schedules will be considered. In particular, the program expects the following minimum commitment from part-time students to ensure their successful development as an HPM researcher.

    • Part-time students will enroll in at least 6 credit hours of coursework each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Many courses will be offered on weekdays between 8:00am and 5:00pm.
    • On a weekly basis, part-time students will maintain an in-person presence (8-10+) hours in the Department of Health Policy and Management. This time will be spent collaborating on research projects, attending research seminars, and in other activities that are important to students’ development as an HPM researcher.
    • Part-time students are not eligible for full funding support (i.e., tuition, stipend, and insurance).
  • Can I transfer graduate course credits to the HPM PhD program?

    The PhD in HPM is a distinct degree from other degrees, including a Master of Public Health (MPH). Therefore, it is expected that students will transfer very few or no credits. However, once accepted, students may request to have courses transferred from another accredited university or program if they received a grade of "B" or better in the courses. The HPM PhD program director and faculty will review and approve or deny requests for transfer. Requests are evaluated on a case by case basis.

  • Is the HPM PhD program offered online?

    No. A very limited number of courses may be offered online.

  • Is financial support available for students in the HPM PhD program?

    For full-time students only, the program will typically provide funding support in the form of tuition remission, a stipend to cover living expenses, and health insurance. This support typically requires a 20 hour per week work assignment.

  • How much are tuition and fees for the Health Policy and Management (HPM) PhD program?

    Tuition and fees are $500 per credit hour for in-state students and $1225 for both out-of-state and international students. 

  • I would like to meet with the HPM PhD program director. Is that possible?

    Yes, contact Mary Beth Ryan ( to schedule an appointment.

  • What is the application deadline for HPM PhD program?

    Applicants will be reviewed as they are received, and decisions may be made on a rolling basis. The application deadline to receive priority for financial support is December 31, 2016. However, applications will be accepted through May 1, 2017 (April 1, 2017 for international students).

  • How many students do you admit each year?

    The number of students admitted each year varies and typically ranges between 2 and 4.

  • When are admissions decisions made?

    Applications for the HPM PhD program will be reviewed by the program's admissions committee after the priority application deadline and then as they are received.

  • How are admissions decisions made?

    A committee of faculty from the HPM department reviews applications to assess each candidate’s:

    • Potential to excel in PhD coursework

    • Commitment to research-focused degree program

    • Interest in a research career

    • Fit with the HPM program and faculty in terms of research interests

    Follow the committee review, top candidates will be invited for an interview (in person, phone, or video-conference) to further assess their candidacy.

  • What are the minimum requirements for admission?

    Admission to the HPM PhD program requires completion of a baccalaureate degree, although it is anticipated that many applicants will have completed a post baccalaureate degree. Other minimum admission requirements include:

    • A cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all prior completed degree programs.
    • A letter grade of B or higher in all courses applied toward prerequisites.
    • Competitive scores on the GRE or other related graduate entrance exam.
    • Minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores if your first language is not English:
      • Internet-based TOEFL: minimum score of 106
      • Computer-based TOEFL: minimum score of 263
      • Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score of 620
      • IELTS (total band score): minimum score of 7
  • I have graduate degree, and I took the GRE before being admitted to that program. Do I have to take the GRE again?

    The HPM PhD program requires you to submit a GRE or other graduate entrance exam score. Moreover, some funding sources require recent GRE scores (less than 5 years old) in order for students to be eligible.

  • How do I apply for admission?

    Applicants must apply through the SOPHAS system. SOPHAS is the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service, Paper applications are not accepted.

  • In addition to applying for SOPHAS, will I also need to apply to IUPUI?

    Yes, in addition to applying to SOPHAS, all applicants will be required to complete an abbreviated application to the IUPUI Online Graduate and Professional Admissions Application system, accessible through the link provided in the SOPHAS application.

  • Where should my recommendation letters be sent?

    You will be asked to submit e-mail addresses for your recommenders as part of the SOPHAS online application. After your online application is submitted, recommendation forms and submission instructions will be sent electronically to your recommenders.

  • What supporting documents are required for admission to the HPM PhD program?

    In addition to completing the online application, the following documents should be submitted to SOPHAS:

    • Official transcripts from all U.S. colleges and universities attended. Transcripts should be submitted directly from the institution.
    • World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. Go to our International Applicants web page for more information.
    • Current resume or CV
    • GRE or other graduate exam test scores. GRE scores should be sent directly from the testing service (ETS).
    • TOEFL score for applicants whose native language is not English
    • A scholarly writing sample for which you are the sole author (e.g., published article or class paper)
  • What is the application cost?

    Please check with SOPHAS for current application costs.

  • How can I check on my application status?

    You will receive notification via email when we have received your application from SOPHAS.

  • Are GRE subject tests required?

    No, GRE subject tests are not required.

  • Can I send photocopies of my test scores?

    No, photocopies are not sufficient. Official test scores are required and must go to SOPHAS directly from the testing service. If you have scores from testing services other than ETS (GRE), contact them to find out if they submit scores to SOPHAS. If they do not, you may have them sent to IUPUI.

  • If I applied for or graduated from another graduate program at Indiana University, do I have to have my test scores sent from the testing service again?

    Yes, you must have your test scores sent to SOPHAS.

  • I have degrees and/or coursework from Indiana University. Do I need to have my IU transcripts sent to apply for a PhD program?

    Yes, you must have your transcripts sent to SOPHAS.

  • If I have a Master's degree from an American university, do I have to submit scores for the TOEFL exam?

    A bachelor's or higher degree from a country designated by IUPUI as predominantly native-English speaking is required to exempt you from taking the TOEFL exam or providing other acceptable proof of English proficiency. For more information, please visit:

  • I would like to know if my degree is the equivalent of an American university B.A. or B.S. degree. Can you tell me if I can be admitted with my current degree?

    The SOPHAS application system requires a World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. The Admissions Committee will use this document to guide them in their decisions for international students. When the committee recommends admission for an international applicant, IUPUI’s office of International Affairs will conduct their own evaluation to finalize the admission process.

  • Can I begin a PhD program in the spring semester?

    If accepted students are expected to matriculate in the fall semester. In special circumstances other arrangements may be possible.

  • I was accepted to the HPM PhD program. Now what?

    Once accepted, your main points of contact are the HPM PhD Program Director (Chris Harle, and the PhD Program Student Services Coordinator (Shawne Mathis Feel free to reach out to them with any questions.

  • Is housing provided by the university?

    The on-campus housing options include campus apartments, residence halls, and townhomes. The following websites provide information regarding housing options: and

  • How do I register for classes?

    Students register for classes online. Registration details will be sent to all admitted students over the summer.

  • Is it necessary for me to take the English Placement test?

    Applicants providing proof of a score 100 or higher on the TOEFL exam, or 7.5 on the IELTS exam are exempt from the requirement to take the EAP exam at IUPUI. Applicants with scores lower than these levels are required to take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) exam. Note that this test is for students who have students who have been accepted and enrolled. It is not an application requirement.

    For further information on the EAP, contact the


  • Is there a time limit for courses that may be applied toward a HPM PhD program?

    IU Graduate School policy states all course work for the PhD needs to be completed within the seven years prior to passing the program’s qualifying exam.

  • How long do I have to complete the PhD program?

    If admitted, your admission is valid for 10 years. Course work must be completed in seven years or less, and the dissertation must be completed within the 10-year limit.