MS in Health Policy

grad students

Masters of Science in Health Policy

The Masters Degree in Health Policy provides students with the skills to conduct and interpret research in health policy and clinical decision-making.

To Our Prospective Students and Trainees:

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent police killings of Black individuals have once again shone a light on the deep-rooted social and racial injustices in our society. Stanford Health Policy is committed to doing our part to contribute to a more equitable and just society. We recognize that both the unequal health impacts of the pandemic and the trauma of racism and racial violence constitute significant public health problems, and 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. 

To this end, 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 caused by the pandemic, racial violence, and police brutality. 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 requirements for the Academic Year 2021-22 will be finalized later this summer and the application will open in September 2020.

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 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 three concentration areas.


Advisors, Mentors, and Thesis

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.  The chair of the thesis committee will be the student's faculty advisor, and a member of the CORE FACULTY. In addition to serving as a mentor for the student’s thesis, the faculty advisor will be responsible for advising the student on curriculum-related issues and ensuring that the student is progressing sufficiently toward completion of the program.  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 has limited funding available for MS students, which is awarded at the time of admissions by the program coordinator. In addition, prospective students are encouraged to seek funding through: