Degree Requirements

Curriculum Description

The program curriculum spans four major domains:

  • Health economics
  • Health policy
  • Research methods
  • Statistics

A total of 12 course units are required for completion of the degree. The 12 credits are comprised as follows:

  • Seven Core classes
  • Two Thesis credits
  • Three Electives
    • Some or all electives may be prescribed for students on certain fellowships. Please clarify these requirements with individual fellowships.

Degree Plan

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.


Three credit units of electives are required to supplement the MSHP core curriculum per students' individual research agendas and interests.

Electives courses can be taken from around the University, including the Perelman School of Medicine, Wharton School, Annenberg School for Communications, School of Nursing, School of Social Policy and Practice, and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as others.  At least one of the three electives must be selected from the electives courses run or cosponsored by the MSHP and all courses must be upper-level (5xx and above).

MSHP Thesis

Each MSHP student is expected to design a research project, write a formal research protocol that is approved by a Thesis Committee, obtain IRB approval or exemption, perform the study per protocol, and prepare a comprehensive scholarly scientific paper reporting the results. It is anticipated that the thesis will be relevant to the fields of health policy and health services research. Students receive two credit units for completing the master’s thesis. Typically, the student works with the thesis committee chair (usually the primary mentor) during the first year to develop a thesis proposal that will be reviewed and approved by the entire Thesis Committee.  The proposal should be completed and approved by October 1 of the second year, optimally sooner. The research is often started in the summer term between the first and second year.

Students are expected 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.