The Iowa Advantage

Distinguishing Features

Our doctoral program was established in 1950 as the first of its kind in a department of health management and policy.  Since then it has evolved into one of the top programs in health services and policy aimed at training future leaders in health services research.  We provide instruction in core content areas, focal areas, and mastering the scientific method to prepare students for careers in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Our program in health services and policy consists of a team of faculty, professionals, alumni and students who are committed to improving health care. Our doctoral students are well-prepared to make valuable contributions to the field of health care services, policy, and research.

Mission statement

The PhD Program’s mission is to prepare students to be at the cutting-edge of health services research, and to provide the basic and applied research necessary to facilitate the optimal configuration of health services and their delivery through health policies that are evidence-based and socially just.

Vision Statement

The PhD Program will be recognized as a strong and consistent source of cutting-edge health services researchers and policy analysts by our national peers, our alumni, and prospective employers.

Core Values

The PhD Program embraces the University and College of Public Health’s Core Values, including:

  • Community
  • Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Learning
  • Excellence
  • Responsibility and
  • Social Justice


Key characteristics that set our Ph.D. program apart from others include:

Discipline-Based focal areas

Doctoral students gain in-depth experience through course work and research practice in their choice of focal area: Health Economics, Health Policy, or Health Management and Organization.

A strong collaborative atmosphere

Graduate students benefit from the enthusiastic research collaboration of our faculty members with investigators across the campus, including leading scholars in Medicine, Nursing, and other disciplines.

An apprentice-style approach to the research experience

Recognizing the importance of one-on-one student-faculty contact, our program emphasizes opportunities for students to develop mentoring relationships with faculty.

Three-paper model for the dissertation

Students have the opportunity to submit three papers for their dissertation, or to complete a traditional dissertation. The three-paper model is intended to help students publish papers prior to graduation.

State leaders in health research

The University of Iowa is a leader in health research for the state. This unique position provides faculty and students with many opportunities for research, policy and service.

Student funding & financial support

Full-time Ph.D. students are typically provided financial support through graduate research assistantships, teaching assistantships and tuition stipends.