Department of Health Policy and Management

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD Residential)

Our Mission

The mission of the PhD Program in Health Policy and Management is to provide students with the skills to conduct innovative high impact health services and health policy research that can be used to foster the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality health care; increase efficiency and improve patient safety. Housed in the top rated Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, we offer a curriculum that provides students with rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative research methods, the academic foundation, and research experience to become independent and creative health services and health policy researchers.

PhD Student Spotlight

PhD Alumni Spotlight

Our Training Program

During the first two years in the PhD Program in Health Policy and Management, students take courses in health services research, research design, quantitative and qualitative methods, and health policy.

Program Information and Course Options

Information for Applicants

There are many reasons to attend UNC, including our student-centered culture; emphasis on professional development; outstanding and engaged faculty; our commitment to inclusive excellence; and our culture of collaboration. It is also a great place to live. Finally, our students get top jobs in academic settings, research organizations and government agencies after graduation.

Why should I choose UNC?

  • Student-centered culture: HPM works hard to create a student-centered culture. There are many opportunities for informal interactions between students and faculty. Students also have a voice into decisions about the PhD program through the PhD Advisory Committee. This committee has four student members, one from each cohort and alumni representatives. This ensures that students have a cohort representative who can provide input into all aspects of the PhD program.
  • Emphasis on professional development: UNC’s PhD program in HPM provides students with rigorous training in research and analytical methods, as well as content knowledge in health services and health policy. We also emphasize professional development skills that are essential to our graduates’ long-term success, including: evidence-based research practices; conducting research in interdisciplinary teams; writing for diverse audiences; and teaching.
  • Faculty: Our faculty are recognized locally and nationally for their research and teaching. When students are admitted, they will have a commitment from a faculty member with overlapping interests who is excited to serve as the advisor and dissertation chair. This will help insure that the student has a faculty member who advocates for and supports them, even before they arrive at UNC. See our list of faculty advisors.
  • Culture of collaboration: We have strong collegial relationships with research centers, institutes, and think tanks throughout the area. At UNC, these include:
  • Departments within the Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • UNC Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing
  • Centers/Institutes across UNC, including:
We also have strong relationships with organizations external to UNC, including: Non-academic organizations, including:
  • Great place to live: The Research Triangle area is one of the most desirable places in the country to live. Chapel Hill has been named one of the best small towns and cities in the US and one of the best cities for college basketball fans. Durham, adjacent to Chapel Hill, was rated as one of the top 41 places in the world to visit. Chapel Hill is also within easy driving distance of the beach or mountains. With two major colleges (UNC and Duke), there are many inexpensive things to do. For example:
What are the options for minors?

All students must select a minor area that may be either disciplinary or interdisciplinary. They must take at least 15 credit hours in their minor area. Our minors are:

Do you offer an MSPH to PhD track?

UNC offers an MSPH-to-PhD track within the PhD Program. The MSPH-to PhD option complements our existing PhD program by allowing students who may lack experience in health policy or health services research and want a Master’s degree before embarking on a PhD dissertation. This program adds an additional year of coursework on to the PhD curriculum, but students receive both an MSPH and a PhD upon completion of the program. See a sample coursework schedule here.

How are students funded?

Doctoral students receive funding from a variety of sources. HPM provides PhD students financial support (including stipend, tuition, and health insurance) for the first two years of study through department research and teaching assistantships, and Graduate School awards. After their first two years, our students have been extremely successful in obtaining funding through:

Where are HPM alumni employed?
How can I apply to UNC?

Applications for Fall 2022 will open in October 2021. Please see our Application Deadlines page for specific deadline dates. Application fees may be waived for qualifying applications. Please see the graduate school Application Fee Waiver page for more information.