Ph.D. Courses and Requirements

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  6. Ph.D. Courses and Requirements

The UW Health Services Ph.D. program balances comprehensive instruction in the determinants and disparities of population health with knowledge of the health care system and health policy.

Degree Requirements

All Health Services Ph.D. students are required to complete three exams and earn a minimum of 100 credits.

Sample Schedules

Core Courses

The core courses consist of general health services knowledge, theory, and methods. These courses emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of health services research. All entering students receive grounding in the theory and methods as applied to health services research from the disciplines of health services, biostatistics, economics, other social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, and policy analysis. Advanced students entering with equivalent training in these areas are allowed to opt out of a specific course by passing an exam or presenting documentation of the level of completed coursework.

Theory Courses

All Ph.D. students must take one of the following theory courses:

Areas of Emphasis

Ph.D. students will need to choose an area of emphasis, typically done after their first year. Each area of emphasis has its own additional course requirements.

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Health Services Research Seminar Doc Sem

Ph.D. students are required to attend at least eight quarters of research seminar known as Doc Sem, unless they complete the program in under three years.

Program Seminars

HSERV 592: Health Services Research Seminar (2 credits)
Minimum of 5 quarters

This seminar is a combination of presentations by students on their work in-progress and by UW faculty on the methods they are using and problems they face in conducting health services research.

This seminar also builds professional skills by teaching successful strategies for:

  • Writing grants and papers for publication and successfully navigating the peer review process
  • Disseminating results at national and state conferences, and to lay audiences
  • Translating research into practice and policy
  • Career development and job searches

Additional Seminars

HSERV 592: Health Services Department Seminar (1 credit)
This seminar presents sessions on current issues in research and practice.

Selected Research Seminars: A number of other research seminars, both at the UW and affiliated institutions, may be used to satisfy up to three of the eight required quarters.


Preliminary and general examinations are required to earn a doctorate in the Health Services Ph.D. program with the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) within the School of Public Health.

The preliminary examination is written and takes place after completion of first-year courses.

The general examination includes both written and oral parts.

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All Ph.D. students are required to write a dissertation that significantly advances the state of knowledge in the field.

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Sample Course Schedules

Sample schedules are only presented to provide a general sense to Ph.D. applicants. The Ph.D. Handbook (on Canvas) is always the most up-to-date resource for curriculum requirements for current students. Canvas is the learning management system used by UW to connect instructors and current students.

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View examples of curriculum schedules, one for incoming students with a background in statistics and epidemiology and another for students with no prior background in statistics and epidemiology. Most students follow the course schedule for those with no statistics and epidemiology background.

Sample Schedule: No Statistics and Epidemiology Background

Year Two

Winter Quarter 2

Spring Quarter 2

Year Three

Winter Quarter 3