Curriculum Description

The program curriculum spans four major domain areas: 

  • health economics
  • health policy
  • research methods
  • statistics

Additional training areas include: leadership, bioethics, career mapping, study design and analysis, grant writing and submission, communication, survey design and clinical experience.

Course Schedule

The course schedule allows full time students to finish in two years while providing sufficient flexibility for part-time students to have a logical series of courses over a three or four year period. 

*Some fellowship programs require specific electives.  Please inquire with your specific fellowship program for more details.


Three credit units of electives are available to supplement the core curriculum to provide instruction in quantitative and qualitative methods.

Electives can be taken from the program or in schools across the University. Example of existing courses include advanced health policy from the MSHP; advanced epidemiology or biostatistics from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics; advanced health care economics and health care statistics from the Wharton School; survey design, measurement and analysis from the Annenberg School; social policy and social environment from the School of Social Policy and Practice; and social forces and demography from the School of Arts and Sciences.

MSHP Thesis

MSHP students are required to develop and implement a research project, conduct appropriate data analyses, and summarize the results in a publishable manuscript. The thesis provides hands-on experience in formulating one or more research or policy questions; searching the medical literature; translating research question(s) into an appropriate research design; assessing study feasibility; writing a detailed study protocol; designing data collection instruments or database management systems, as appropriate; conducting field work, where appropriate; performing data analyses; and preparing a manuscript for publication.

The key criterion for an acceptable thesis is that it be of publishable quality and magnitude. The student’s primary mentor, thesis committee chair and advisors provide substantial guidance concerning appropriate question(s) for the thesis proposal. Students are encouraged to think big by outlining a set of steps towards the answer to an important health policy or public health issue and then to develop one of the initial steps into a thesis proposal and project. Suitable thesis projects include both projects requiring primary data collection and those involving analysis of existing data sources.