PHD HSR Application

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PhD in Health Policy Application

Applications due by December 1, 2020

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.

How to Apply

Applications and supporting documents (see below) must be submitted through Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions by December 1, 2020. Please note applications will open through OGA in late September.

(Please note that 12/1/2020 is the FINAL DEADLINE.  All applications AND all reference letters should be received electronically in the application no later than 11:59 pm on 12/1/2020 so please plan accordingly.)

Applications are evaluated based on the applicant's commitment to and aptitude for a career in health policy research as demonstrated via transcripts, and described in a statement of purpose, relevant work and research experience, and letters of recommendation. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is NOT required (submitting scores is optional) for the 2020-2021 application cycle. Please note that this may change in future years.

Applicants from non-English speaking countries should provide evidence of competence in English on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

(For further information on Stanford University GRE and TOEFL requirements and exemptions, please see:

We welcome applicants with diverse backgrounds.

Required Supporting Documents (to be submitted to Stanford’s central application form):

  • Statement of Purpose that includes the specialization track (Decision Sciences or Health Economics) and policy area(s) of interest 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official TOEFL scores (if necessary) (Stanford Graduate Admissions TOEFL policy)
  • Unofficial transcripts for all college/university degrees and courses
  • CV with relevant work and research experience

***Note: While not required, it is strongly encouraged that applicants have, or plan to have at the time of matriculation, mathematical skill at the level at the level of multivariate calculus, and one course each in linear algebra, analysis, probability, and statistics***

Applicant interviews, if offered, will be held in early to mid February.

Additional notes:


Please make sure that you upload an unofficial transcript for every school attended into your application. 

If admitted, you must provide official transcripts (direct from the institution) to Stanford Graduate Admissions/University Registrar for review and verification. Instructions will be provided to admitted students. Any offer of admission is contingent upon authentication of official transcripts submitted directly to Graduate Admissions.

GRE Scores:

GRE Scores are NOT required for the 2020-2021 application cycle (please note that this may change in future years.)

If you decide to submit your GRE scores, please make sure that you route your optional GRE scores (and TOEFL scores if applicable) directly to Stanford from ETS.  Our university code is 4704. Department code is not required. Please do add your self-report scores to the application but GRE and TOEFL scores are not considered official until received electronically from ETS.

It is in your best interest to start your application as early as possible.  This will allow for timely notification to your reference letter writers.

Additional information regarding Stanford policies and procedures for graduate applications can be found on the Stanford Graduate Admissions website

Additional information for international applicants can be found at the following link:

Application Status Inquiries:

Applicants are able to view their status on their Apply Web status page by logging back into their application. The department administrative staff will do their best to keep the application checklists updated.

The selection of PhD students admitted to the Health Policy Program is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past experiences accomplishments.

MSTP inquiries:

Students interested in pursuing both a PhD in Health Policy and MD in the School of Medicine may apply through the Stanford MSTP (MD-PhD) application process. To apply for a PhD in Health Policy, please indicate MD-PhD in your Stanford supplementary application, and in the research essays that you would like to be considered for this program (separate PhD application not required).  Applications for this field will be specifically reviewed by faculty within Stanford Health Policy in addition to MSTP faculty. For questions and notification regarding the application process, please contact the MSTP office.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Applications:

Knight-Hennessy Scholars develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation.  This year, the program will award up to 75 high-achieving students with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford.

To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by October 14, 2020, and separately to the PhD Health Policy program by December 1, 2020.