PhD Program

The PhD in health services research and health policy is offered through Emory’s Laney Graduate School. This unique program combines a strong interdisciplinary and policy-oriented public health approach with rigorous social science training in either economics or organizational theory and extensive applied research.

Find out more about RSPHs NIDA funded “Training in Advanced Data Analytics to End Drug-Related Harms” (TADA) program!

  • Accepts an average of 3 students each year.
  • At any given time 15-18 students are pursuing their degrees.

Application Deadline

Dec 1, 2022
Apply now through Laney Graduate School (not through SOPHAS)

Additional Key Dates

Mid-Sep. 2022

Applications Are Available

March 31, 2023

Students Notified of Their Acceptance 

April 15, 2023

Deadline to Accept Admission Offer 

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (a master's degree is not required)
  • GRE scores are OPTIONAL. If submitted the scores need to be within the last five years.
  • Application + $75 application fee
  • 3 letters of recommendation 
  • Statement of purpose 
  • Transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended 
  • Resume/CV
  • Please refer to our student handbook for further information


Tip: Enhance your application by including your career interests in the field, your research interests, and any supportive materials that demonstrate your passion and qualification for our program.

International Applicants

In addition to these requirements, all departments require international students to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. All PhD candidates will need to apply through Laney Graduate School.

TOEFL scores should be at least 560 on the paper-based test or a 100 or higher on the Internet-based test. Students who earned an undergraduate degree from an institution within the United States are waived from the TOEFL requirement; those who have received a graduate degree in the U.S. or other program where English is the primary language of instruction should discuss waiving the TOEFL with the program administrator.

Advanced Standing

In special cases, advanced standing status may be granted to students who have completed a relevant master of arts or master of science degree in a related field within the last five years. 

Paying for your PhD

All PhD students, including international students, receive an annual stipend for the first 24 months of their doctoral study. In return for the stipend, each student is expected to function as either a teaching or research assistant in accordance with Laney Graduate School and Rollins School of Public Health policy. Stipend support after the first two years is developed in the context of the student’s research and dissertation interest.

To be considered for merit-based support, you must turn in your application by the deadline: December 1. Research assistantships and internships are available on a limited basis.

Degree Requirements

Program begins with a disciplinary focus and is built on a flexible structure. Students take courses in a base discipline (either economics or political science) along with a two-year doctoral seminar.


All PhD students must participate in the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunities (TATTO) program.  Students receive an orientation to effective teaching and a course on teaching techniques in the field and gain experience working with students as supervised teaching assistants and/or classroom instructors or co-instructors. More about TATTO

Comprehensive Exam

After completing all required coursework, PhD students will take a comprehensive exam. After passing the exam, students are encouraged to select a doctoral dissertation committee.

Jones Program in Ethics

Students will also need to complete the Jones Program in Ethics. This program provides students with a foundational, cross-disciplinary introduction to the question of ethics for their research, training, and careers.


All PhD students are required to complete and defend a dissertation. Students are encouraged to begin exploring potential research topics as soon as they enter the program by meeting with faculty advisors.

The doctoral dissertation must meet the requirements of both the department and Laney Graduate School. In particular, the dissertation must make a new contribution to the student’s field of study, or present a unique new interpretation on existing knowledge. 

PhD Faculty

Kathleen Adams

Edmund Becker


Sarah Blake


Puneet Chehal

Puneet Chehal image

Steve Culler

Steve Culler

Janet Cummings


Benjamin Druss


Laurie Gaydos


Ilana Graetz

David Howard


Joseph Lipscomb


Deborah McFarland


Victoria Phillips


Kenneth Thorpe


Adam Wilk

Professor Adam Wilk, Emory

Courtney Yarbrough



Questions about the curriculum, faculty and degree requirements should be addressed to Dr. David Howard, at
Questions about admissions procedures, scheduling a campus visit, and financial support should be addressed to Program Administrator, Kent Tolleson at

Questions about the MPH and MSPH programs offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management should be addressed to the HPM Associate Director for Academic Programs, Kathy Wollenzien, M.Ed, at