Masters of Science in Health Policy
To Our Prospective Students and Trainees:
Stanford Health Policy reaffirms its commitment to perform individualized, holistic review of each applicant to its graduate programs. We recognize that students may have faced significant challenges during the period of disruption over the past few years. We will take individual circumstances into account during application review. Importantly, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Credit/No Credit and other grading options during this unprecedented time, whether they are made by institutions or by individual students. Our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are excellent and encompass a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences that enrich the graduate educational experience.
The Application for the 2024-2025 academic year is open; the application closes Jan. 23, 2024.
Please note: Knight Hennessey applicants have an earlier deadline
The Master’s Degree in Health Policy provides students with the skills to conduct and interpret research in health policy and clinical decision-making.
The MS program is typically completed in two years. All candidates must satisfactorily complete 45 units of graduate course work with a 3.0 (B) or better, as well as a master’s thesis that represents original health services research. In addition to satisfying the core course requirements, students must take additional courses in one of four concentration areas.
Advisors, Mentors, and Thesis Committees
Academic advising by our faculty is a critical component of our graduate students' education.
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 throughout the program unless they, with their advisor's approval, develop other arrangements for advising with our core faculty.
Students should meet with advisors within the first quarter of each year to discuss students' curricular and research plans.Additionally, students will meet with their advisor(s) on a regular basis throughout each year to discuss course selection, progress through the program, development of research projects, and career plans.
Each student will propose a thesis committee, to be approved by the Program Director, comprised of at least two faculty members associated with the Master's degree program, one of whom must be a core faculty member, and the second must be either core or affiliated faculty. The chair of the thesis committee will be the student's primary faculty advisor, and a member of the core faculty. All committee members must read and approve the final thesis. Depending on the topic of the project, additional faculty members may serve as mentors either as a committee member or in a less formal arrangement. Other faculty members may be added to the thesis to serve as "content experts" for projects concerned with specific diseases or medical treatments.
Each student will submit a 1-2 page thesis proposal by the end of the first year in the program. The proposal should describe the research project which will fulfill the requirement for the master’s thesis including identifying the research question and describing the data sources and methods which will be used. For collaborative projects, the student should identify the collaborators and describe in detail his or her role on the project. For projects using secondary data, the student should provide evidence that the data will be available for the proposed research and describe how he or she will access the data. In the proposal, the student should identify the members of the thesis committee.
Funding of Graduate Studies
The department is unable to offer fellowships or scholarships. Prospective students are encouraged to seek funding through:
- Graduate aid at Stanford
- Stanford School of Medicine graduate student funding opportunities
- Knight-Hennessy Scholars (deadline Oct. 11, 2023)
- Other potential external sources are available to applicants
MS Application Process Explained
You can watch the recording of the MS Pre-application Information Session.
The Stanford University School of Medicine and the Health Policy Program are committed to fostering a diverse community in which all individuals are welcomed, respected, and supported to achieve their full potential. While race and ethnicity are commonly cited in relation to diversity, we recognize that there are many different aspects to identity, including culture socioeconomic and educational background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, life experiences, hobbies, and interests. We value diversity because we believe that interaction with people with unique backgrounds and life experiences allows us to reach a greater level of innovation in education, research and clinical care.
Stanford Health Policy is committed to doing our part to contribute to a more equitable and just society. We hope prospective students from diverse backgrounds consider joining our program to help us continue to make important contributions in health policy to address these and many other problems of our day. Additionally, as a program linked with the Stanford Biosciences Programs, we support the Biosciences Commitment to Justice and Action and, where appropriate, will connect and participate in the activities offered in the statement.
The program works with multiple groups and offices across campus to facilitate student access, support, and connectivity. These include, but are not limited to:
Stanford Biosciences: https://biosciences.stanford.edu/current-students/diversity
Stanford Diversity and Access Office: https://diversityandaccess.stanford.edu
Stanford Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education: https://vpge.stanford.edu/diversity-initiatives/overview
Stanford Office of Accessible Education: https://oae.stanford.edu
Stanford Graduate Life Office: https://glo.stanford.edu
Stanford Student Affairs: https://studentaffairs.stanford.edu