PhD in Health Services and Policy Student Handbook

I. Introduction

This Handbook sets forth departmental policies, procedures, and requirements that pertain to PhD students in the Department of Health Management and Policy.  Graduate degrees offered by The University of Iowa are granted by the Graduate College in accordance with the requirements contained in the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.  Students should be aware that the Department of Health Management and Policy, referred to as “the Department”, has established higher minimum requirements in certain areas than the Graduate College. 

Students are urged to consult the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College as well as the Thesis Manual for details about Graduate College requirements.  In addition, the Graduate College periodically posts deadlines for adding or dropping courses, application for degrees, submission of theses, etc.  Students are responsible for being aware of and complying with these deadlines.  Students should also familiarize themselves with applicable sections of The University of Iowa General Catalog.  The latter includes the University-endorsed Student Bill of Rights, Code of Student Life, and policies related to student rights and responsibilities.

II. Mission and Objectives

Mission Statement – The Department will improve health and health services for all by preparing diverse leaders for, and advancing equity and knowledge in, health management, policy, and research. 

Vision Statement –  The Department will continue to be one of the nation’s premier health management and policy departments recognized for excellence in education, research, and service to improve public health.

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

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

III. The Advisory System

The PhD Program is overseen by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The DGS is advised by the Academic Programs Quality Improvement Committee (QIC). The PhD Program offers courses, mentoring, and opportunities for original research in  Health Economics, Health Management and Organization, and Health Policy. This handbook describes policies and procedures applicable to students admitted from 2022 onwards. Students admitted prior to 2022 will continue to be governed by the policies and procedures described in the preceding version of the handbook

Beginning in 2021, the Department of HMP provides incoming PhD students with the flexibility to create a plan of study that allows them to either specialize in one of three research interest areas or to create a plan of study that includes elective courses from multiple research interest areas.

Mentoring and advising PhD students is given considerable attention in the PhD Program.  A faculty member will be assigned as a primary Advisor to the doctoral student at the beginning of the first semester.  After the first year of study, the doctoral student may change Advisor to another faculty member aligned with their interests and plan of study. The advisor will chair the student’s Comprehensive Examination Committee and the student’s Dissertation Committee. The student should inform the DGS and Director of Student Services of any change in advisor.

By the end of the student’s first semester a second faculty member is designated as a co-advisor, the assignment being made by the DGS with approval of the Department Executive Officer (DEO). The two advisors serve as a Mentoring Committee (the DGS shall be ex-officio if not already one of the two members) that reviews the student’s program of study and guide the student’s decisions regarding coursework within the Department and electives from courses taught elsewhere within the university. At the request of the student and Mentoring Committee the DGS can add up to three members to the Mentoring Committee. Decisions regarding the student’s progress through the doctoral program must be reviewed by  the Mentorship Committee and approved by the two advisors  plus the DGS, all of whom must sign plans of study, petitions for credit transfer, and course waiver requests. In addition, the student’s Mentorship Committee will be involved in initial planning sessions and annual professional development reviews. 

As the student proceeds through the program, in agreement with their Advisor, the student will designate members of a Comprehensive Exam Committee and Dissertation Committee. These Committees will involve at least three HMP faculty. Descriptions of the Comprehensive Exam Committee and Dissertation Committee are presented in those sections.

IV. Plan of Study

Each PhD student should develop a plan of study in conjunction with their Advisors. The plan of study serves as a guide through the PhD course work and is used by the Graduate College at the time of the comprehensive exam to determine that course work for the PhD degree has been completed. The plan should include not only courses the student plans to take to satisfy the PhD course requirements, but also other courses that will count toward the requirement of 72 hours of credit beyond the bachelor’s degree. Plans of study must use the designated form and be signed by the student’s Mentorship Committee and the DGS.  A revised plan of study should be submitted for approval whenever there are changes in the previously approved plan. Copies of the plan of study are retained in the student’s file. The Director of Student Services forwards the final plan to the Graduate College along with necessary approvals six weeks prior to the comprehensive examination. 

V. Curriculum

The plan of study for the PhD Program requires that the student complete 72 semester hours of course work past the baccalaureate degree.  Transfer credits given for a master’s degree may count towards these 72 semester hours.  The PhD coursework consists of:  (1) foundation courses, (2) design and analysis courses, (3) elective courses, (4) other required courses, and (5) independent research and dissertation.  Electives may be added to reach the 72 semester hour minimum to graduate.  The PhD Program curriculum consists of the requirements listed below, which are described on the following pages.

RequirementSemester hours
Foundation Courses


Design & Analysis Courses18
Elective Courses12-19
Other Required Courses3
Dissertation (Thesis Hours)11-18
Transfer credit given for graduate courses0-30

Total semester hours required (minimum): 72
*The minimum semester hours for this degree approved by the Graduate College is 72.

Foundation Courses

HMP:5410 Health Economics I (3 s.h.)
HMP:7550 Cost Effectiveness and Decision Analysis (3 s.h.)
HMP:5450 Health Insurance and Managed Care (3 s.h.)
HMP:5005 Introduction to Healthcare Organization and Policy (3 s.h.)
HMP:7250 Organization Behavior and Theory in Health Care (3 s.h.)
HMP:5750 Medicare and Medicaid Policy (3 s.h.)
HMP:5610 Health Policy (3 s.h.)

Design & Analysis Courses

BIOS:4120 Introduction to Biostatistics (3 s.h.)
BIOS:5120 Regression Modeling and ANOVA in the Health Sciences (3 s.h.)
HMP:7940 Primary Data and Qualitative Methods (3 s.h.)
HMP:7950 Design Issues in Health Services Research (3 s.h.)
HMP:7960 Analytic Issues in Health Services Research I (3 s.h.)
HMP:7965 Analytic Issues in Health Services Research II (3 s.h.)

Suggested elective courses by research interest area

Health Economics

HMP:6555 Health Economics II (3 s.h.)
ECON:5100 Microeconomics I (3 s.h.)
ECON:5115 Fundamentals of Microeconomics (3 s.h.)
ECON:4140 Labor Economics (3 s.h.)
ECON:4180:0SCA Industrial Organization (3 s.h.)
ECON:6900 Contemporary Topics in Economics (3 s.h.)
ECON:5800 Econometrics (3 s.h.)
ECON:5180 Applied Econometrics (3 s.h.)
HMP:7930 PhD Independent Research (3 s.h.)

Health Management & Organization

MGMT:7360 Motivation and Attitudes (3 s.h.)
MGMT:7340 Group Processes (3 s.h.)
MGMT:7350 Leadership (3 s.h.)
MGMT:7330 Staffing Organizations (3 s.h.)
SOC:6610 Complex Organizations (3 s.h.)
HMP:7930 PhD Independent Research (3 s.h.)

Health Policy

HMP:5650 Health Policy Analysis (3 s.h.)
HMP:6750 Seminar in Health Policy (3 s.h.)
Students will also take at least one of the following elective course for at least 3 credits
HMP:6710 Federalism and Health Policy (3 s.h.)
POLI:5100 American Politics (4 s.h.)
POLI:7102 The Presidency (4 s.h.)
POLI:7202 Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior (4 s.h.)
SOC:6810 Social Stratification (3 s.h.)
HMP:7930 PhD Independent Research (3 s.h.)

Other Required Courses

CPH:6100 Essentials of Public Health (2 s.h.)
CPH:7270 Principles of Scholarly Integrity: Public Health (1 s.h.)


HMP:7990 PhD Dissertation 11-18 s.h.

Changes to Plan of Study: Transfer, Waiver, and Substitution

Students may be admitted to the PhD Program with a master’s degree. Upon approval by the Graduate College, Advisors, and the Director of the PhD Program, up to 30 semester hours of transfer credit may be given for it. In addition, students may petition to waive courses they have already taken at the graduate level. Petitions for waiver are approved by the Advisors,  and the DGS. Previously taken courses identified in the waiver request may not be counted as transfer credit, and previously taken courses used as transfer credit may not be used to support a waiver request – that is, a course may only be used for one purpose.


Transfer = prior graduate coursework transfers to University of Iowa and replaces equivalent required graduate credit. If approved, students need not take any additional credit in its place. Students must take at least 39 semester hours at the University of Iowa.

Waiver = prior undergraduate or graduate coursework accounts for sufficient knowledge in a degree requirement or elective so that the student need not take the course. Students must still take equivalent credit hours in a different course to achieve the appropriate amount of credit required for the PhD Program (72 s.h.).

Substitution = graduate level coursework taken at the University of Iowa petitioned to replace an equivalent departmental required course for the degree. If approved, students need not take any additional credit in its place.

Any changes to a plan of study must be made in consultation with and the Mentorship committee, and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Transfer Credits

Students may request that up to 30 semester hours be transferred from another institution. Criteria for approval of transfer courses are:

  • Content is relevant to the degree program
  • Content is comparable in quality to that offered by the College/Department (if the content of the transferred course(s) is not known to Collegiate faculty, the burden of proof of comparability is on the student –i.e., to provide a full course syllabus, a copy of a final exam, or other similar evidence as requested)
  • Course was taken when the student held graduate student status
  • Student received a grade equivalent to a “C-” or better, or a “B-“or better in core curriculum requirements. Coursework graded “Pass” may be accepted if approved by advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies and the DEO.
  • Courses may not be more than 10 years old at the time of graduation from the PhD program unless approved by the graduate college.
  • To inquire about transferring credits, contact the Director of Student Services for HMP.
  • Transfer credits from other colleges and universities are evaluated by the Graduate Admissions Office upon admission to the University. The department reviews and approves transfer credit hours from other institutions after they are certified for eligibility by the Office of Graduate Admissions. The general policy on the minimum number of hours needed to earn the PhD degree is that at least 39 hours of course work must be completed at the University of Iowa in the Graduate College after the student has been admitted.
  • Waiver of required coursework: Students may request that a required course be waived. A waiver means that the student is not required to enroll in the course, but the student also does not receive hours counted towards graduation for the course. Waivers will be based on course content and grade earned and acceptance is at the discretion of the advisor, mentor committee, Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate College. To inquire about waiving credits, contact the Director of Student Services.

Thesis Registration

Students enroll in HMP:7990 while they are working on their dissertation thesis.  Students may apply between 11 and 18 semester hours towards the PhD degree.  Students may enroll in HMP:7990 prior to their comprehensive exam, or once they have completed their comprehensive exam.

Required Examinations

PhD students are required to successfully complete four examinations to graduate – the Preliminary Examination, Comprehensive Examination, Dissertation Proposal Hearing, and Doctoral Dissertation Examination as described below.

Adding master’s degree’s en passant

PhD students who wish to add Master’s degree programs (such as the MS in Health Services and Policy Research) en passant to their PhD are required to formally apply to the Master’s program, meet all admission requirements, be accepted, and complete all requirements and coursework for both programs, including final research requirements or capstones. Research work done for the PhD cannot be used to meet Master’s program research requirements.

Additional Requirements and Expectations

In addition to the coursework included in the plan of study, PhD students are required to complete a full or a partial teaching assistantship to gain teaching experience. Students may fulfill this requirement by having a paid or unpaid TA within or outside HMP.  If there is no opportunity for or interest in a full TA, students should, at a minimum, work with an HMP faculty member of their choice on a partial TA for the course taught by that faculty member in which they are responsible for grading at least one assignment for the whole class (under supervision of the faculty) and giving two independent lectures in that course.  The faculty member supervising the student’s TA will send a note to the HMP Director of Student Services to confirm that the student has fulfilled this requirement.  Students are also required to attend and present in the departmental Friday research seminar series (a minimum of 80% attendance throughout enrollment in the program and presenting at least two times either on own research or a journal club).  The Director of HMP Student Services will maintain a checklist for each student to document the completion of these additional requirements. It is also expected that PhD students will avail themselves of the many additional educational opportunities in the Department, College, and University.  In particular, PhD students are expected to attend major Department functions including the annual Executive Healthcare Symposium and presentations by speakers invited to campus by the Department.

VI. Time Limits for Required Examinations

 The following time limits apply to all PhD students.  Time limits may be extended if extenuating circumstances arise.  Time Limits and change from full-time to part-time status is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Advisors, , and the DGS.  For students entering without a master’s degree, an additional year may be granted for completing the comprehensive exam to allow for extra coursework.

 Full-Time Students entering with a Master’s DegreeFull-Time Students entering without a Master’s DegreePart-Time Students and late-entry students
Preliminary ExamsBy June 1 of the 1st yearBy June 1 of the 1st yearBy June 1 of the 2nd year
Comprehensive ExamsBy September 30 of the 4th yearBy September 30 of the 5th yearBy September 30 of the 5th year
Dissertation Proposal Hearing1 year after completing Comprehensive Exam1 year after completing Comprehensive Exam1 year after completing Comprehensive Exam
Dissertation5 years after completing Comprehensive Exam5 years after completing Comprehensive Exam5 years after completing Comprehensive Exam

VII. Preliminary Examination

The goal of the preliminary examination is to evaluate the student’s (a) mastery over core material covered in the first year of courses, and (b) ability to successfully conceptualize problems, apply research designs, and statistical concepts.  The preliminary exam will also examine the student’s writing ability early on in the program.  As such, the preliminary examination helps to identify gaps that can be addressed early on in the program, or serious weaknesses that may indicate that the student is not likely to be able to successfully complete the program.

The test focuses on the U.S. health care system, statistics/research methods, and core issues in health services research and policy.  It is administered following the completion of the first two semesters of course work.  If the student fails the examination, only one opportunity for retaking it will be offered.  If the retake exam is not passed, the student will not be allowed to continue in the PhD Program. 

Expectations for PhD Students

By the completion of the first year of doctoral study, the PhD students should have a working understanding of the topics listed below.  A “working understanding” means that students should (1) be able to recognize and use the appropriate language pertaining to this topic, (2) be aware of and understand the major concepts in this field, and (3) be able to use and/or apply this information.

  1. Students should have a working understanding of the U.S. health care delivery system, including:
    • the major trends affecting the future organization of health services in the U.S.
    • various types of health care delivery organizations and how they interrelate to form a continuum of care
    • the responsibilities of the various types of health professionals and problems with their distribution
    • the financing of health care in the U.S., its impact on utilization, and how it has evolved

      Students should be able to analyze a health care system issue (define problems, use available data appropriately, select relevant variables, evaluate quality and completeness of data, and use the data to illuminate socio-political-economic dimensions of the problem).
  2. Students should have a working understanding of the core issues in health services, including issues of access, quality, effectiveness, and cost of health care.
  3. Students should have a working understanding of the methods appropriate to health services research, including: 
    • the major concepts/issues in: sampling, measurement (including reliability, validity, scaling), and research design (including experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational designs)
    • the major concepts/issues/methods in statistics (including sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, tests of significance, major types of parametric and nonparametric statistics, concepts of linear models and regression)

      Students should be able to describe an appropriate design and methods to address a health services question (for example, to address the issues listed in 1 and 2 above).
      Students should be able to critique a health services research manuscript.
  4. Students should be able to write coherently so that they can show focused thought, frame and express their rationale, and express their ideas clearly.
  5. Students should be able to analyze and think critically, be able to integrate and synthesize material, and be able to think conceptually.

Preliminary Exam Procedure

  1. The Preliminary Exam will be tied to the “Expectations for PhD Students” (above). These topics represent content that the PhD students will need to master before embarking on their dissertations.
  2. The Preliminary Exam will be comprised of broad questions.  Some of the questions will likely require the student to integrate across topics listed above (for example: Describe how financing of the U.S. health care system affects access to different types of providers.  Develop a research design to compare the quality of ambulatory care in fee-for-service versus managed care.  What are the measurement issues in using data acquired from integrated delivery systems for evaluating health status in a population?). 
  3. Students are responsible for having a good working knowledge of the topics listed in the “expectations for PhD Students”.  The Preliminary Exam will not necessarily be drawn from specific class material.  Classes normally taken the first year should be viewed as helpful, but reading and studying beyond the assigned class work is advisable for the student to be fluent enough in these concepts to be able to integrate and synthesize material across topics.

Preliminary Exam Administration Procedures

Preliminary Exam Grading Procedures

  1. Administration and grading of the Preliminary Exam will be done by a Department Preliminary Exam Committee which will include at a minimum one faculty from each Focus Area.  This Committee will oversee the sections of the Preliminary Exam that cover the U.S. health care system and the research design/methods that are administered to all students.  The final composition of this Committee will be determined by the Director of the PhD Program. The Director of the PhD Program may attend the Preliminary Exam Committee meetings as an ex officio observant if the Director is not a member of the examining Committee.
  2. All full-time PhD students will take the Preliminary Exam at the conclusion of their first year as students.  All part-time and late-entry PhD students will take the Preliminary Exam at the conclusion of their second year as students.  Part-time and late-entry students may take the Preliminary Exam sooner if they choose, but may not take it in parts.
  3. The Preliminary Exam will be offered between the end of spring semester classes and prior to June 1.  The exact dates will be set by the Director of the PhD Program, in consultation with the Exam Committees and students as needed.
  4. All students taking the Preliminary Exam will be tested on the same set of questions.
  5. The written Preliminary Exam will be administered closed book with no notes.
  6. Each portion of the written Preliminary Exam will not exceed 4 hours.  The two portions will be administered on successive days.  All students taking the Preliminary Exam will be tested at the same time.
  7. The Preliminary Exam questions will be developed by the Exam Committee.
  8. Students will complete the Preliminary Exam using MSWORD on a PC

Preliminary Exam Grading Procedures

  1. The written Preliminary Exams will be graded by the Exam Committee.
  2. Once the written portions of the Preliminary Exam are graded, the Exam Committee will conduct an oral exam of each student on each portion of the exam before making its final determination.
  3. The Exam Committee will make a determination whether the student has passed or failed each portion of the Preliminary Exam (U.S. health care delivery system or research design/methods).
  4. A simple majority of positive votes from the Committee (e.g. 2 out of 2, 2 out of 3, 3 out of 4, 3 out of 5) will determine whether the student passes or fails.
  5. For students who pass, the Committee may discuss any identified gaps in student performance and the need for specific requirements for the student to address these gaps.  This might include, but is not limited to, completing a reading list and submitting a paper to the committee, or taking additional courses not required in the curriculum.  The Committee will then vote on these requirements.  Using majority rule for adopting the requirements (e.g. 2 out of 2, 2 out of 3, 3 out of 4, 3 out of 5), the final determination would be based on individual faculty vote and discussion.  If adopted, the Committee would write these requirements in a memo to the student, copying the student’s academic advisor, the student’s mentorship team, the Director of the PhD Program, and director of student services.  The memo would specify the requirements, deadline to complete them, and criteria for assessing whether the requirements are successfully met or not.  Students may not be able to continue to register beyond that deadline unless requirements are successfully met.  Deadline extensions will be handled on a case-by-case basis and require approval of the Director of the PhD Program. 

Preliminary Exam Retest Procedures

  1. There will be only one opportunity to retake the Preliminary Exam, which will occur prior to the start of the Fall semester of the second year.  The exact dates will be set by the Director of the PhD Program, in consultation with the Exam Committee.
  2. For the purposes of the retake, the Preliminary Exam is divided into two portions; one portion covers the U.S. health care system, and a second portion covers research design/methods/statistics.  Only those portions of the Preliminary Exam failed need to be retested.  Students will not be retested on those portions of the Preliminary Exam previously passed.
  3. The same procedure for administering and grading the Preliminary Exam will apply to the retake.
  4. If any portion of the Preliminary Exam is failed twice, the student will be dismissed from the PhD Program.
  5. If a student chooses not to retake the preliminary exam, they will be dismissed from the PhD Program, and may choose to apply to the MS in Health Services and Policy Research program in the department. Students who wish to discuss the application can speak with the Director of Student Services.

Preliminary Exam Appeal Procedures

  1. Appeals of the Preliminary Exam results should be presented to the HMP department head. Appeal procedures will be the same as those used for academic appeals as specified in section XVI.A.6. (see page 20).

VIII. Comprehensive Examination

This section describes the rules that apply to the Comprehensive Exam for PhD students in the Department of Health Management and Policy.  It lists the rules for the Comprehensive Examination that are specified by either the Graduate College or the Department of Health Management and Policy (HMP). 

A key is used to denote which rules are Graduate College rules and which are HMP rules:

  • Rule specified in the Graduate College Handbook
  • Rule specified by HMP

A. Purpose of the Comprehensive Examination

  • The Graduate College requires doctoral students to satisfactorily complete a Comprehensive Examination. 
  • The Comprehensive Examination is intended to be an inclusive evaluation of the candidate’s mastery of the major and related fields of study, including the tools of research in which competence has been certified.
  • The Comprehensive Examination is intended to evaluate a candidate’s mastery of the subject at or near the end of the candidate’s formal preparation and prior to the completion of the dissertation.

B. Committee

  • The Comprehensive Examination will be evaluated by a convened meeting of the Committee of at least four (4) members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • The student’s academic Advisor will co-participate with the student in identifying the examining Committee and will be expected to chair this Committee.
  • A member of the Department primary faculty must chair the Committee. 
  • At least three of the faculty members must be members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty.
  • The Committee will include at least three HMP tenure-track primary faculty, The Department may request permission from the Dean of the Graduate College to replace one of the four members of the Graduate Faculty by a recognized scholar of professorial rank from another academic institution.
  • The Director of the PhD Program may attend the examining Committee meetings as an ex officio observant if the Director is not a member of the examining Committee.

Any additional rules not addressed here will follow the Graduate College guidelines.

C. Exam Content and Procedure

  • The Comprehensive Examination will consist of a written examination(s) and an oral examination.
  • The Comprehensive Exam Committee will be responsible for evaluating the student’s mastery of major concepts in HMP, major concepts presented in the student’s plan of study , and general research skills in an exam that meets departmental standards.
  • The student will be responsible for providing a written statement of their research focus which will be considered by the Comprehensive Exam Committee as they prepare questions.
  • The chair of the Comprehensive Exam Committee will be responsible for drafting exam questions and obtaining agreement from Committee members for the exam content.
  • The written Comprehensive Examination will consist of two components:
    • A closed-book exam not to exceed 4 hours which should test: (1) the student’s depth of knowledge/understanding of the major issues/themes/content in health management/health policy/health services research; (2) the student’s ability to integrate specific content from their plan of study with HMP content; and (3) the student’s knowledge of and ability to apply theories and conceptual models relevant to their research interests.              
    • A take-home exam not to exceed 48 hours which should test: (1) the student’s depth of knowledge/understanding of the major issues/themes/content in health management/health policy/health services research; and (2) the student’s ability to integrate statistics/methods with HMP content.  The take-home portion should focus on the student’s particular research area of interest and will require the student to design a study with appropriate conceptual framework, research design, methods, and statistical analyses.
  • An oral examination will be administered to directly address the student’s options and decisions made on the written examination(s).  It will be conducted by all members of the Committee and will not exceed 2 hours.

D. Evaluation

  • The examining Committee will consider both the written examination(s) and oral examination results to determine the comprehensive grade.
  • The Committee will make a determination of satisfactory, reservations, or unsatisfactory.
  • A vote of “reservations” should only be used when a faculty member feels that the deficiencies displayed by the student were modest, and can be readily rectified.  In the event of a report with two or more votes of “reservations”, the actions required of the student, by the Committee, that are necessary to correct the deficiencies must be recorded and submitted to the Graduate College with the examination report form.  Copies of the written statement of necessary actions should be kept by: the appropriate departmental executive, the chair of the examination Committee, and the student.  The statement must specify the time allowed for completion of the aforementioned actions.  The language describing the actions must be specific.  For instance, if additional course work is required, a list of suitable courses must be presented.  If the candidate needs to rewrite his or her research prospectus, the deficient areas must be identified, etc.  If the candidate satisfies the required actions in the specified period of time, the appropriate departmental executive will send a written report to the Graduate College indicating the date for which the examining Committee considers the actions to have been satisfied.  Upon approval of the Dean of the Graduate College, the Comprehensive Exam will be recorded as “satisfactory” as of that date.  If the actions are not satisfied on time, or if the actions are not of sufficient quality, the appropriate departmental executive will send a written report to the Graduate College indicating that fact.  Upon approval of the Dean of the Graduate College, the Comprehensive Exam will be recorded as an “unsatisfactory” as of that date.  The candidate will not be admitted to the final oral examination of the dissertation until a grade of “satisfactory” has been recorded for the Comprehensive Exam.
  • If there are two “unsatisfactory” votes, then the Committee report must indicate that the Comprehensive Exam grade is “unsatisfactory.”
  • In the case of a report of “unsatisfactory” on a comprehensive examination, the Committee may grant the candidate permission to present himself or herself for reexamination not sooner than four (4) months after the first examination.  The examination may be repeated only once, at the option of the Department.

E. Scheduling

  • Admission to the Comprehensive Examination is granted upon the recommendation of the major department, the filing of the Plan of Study, and the approval of the Dean of the Graduate College.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to file his/her Plan of Study and other required documents with the HMP Director of Student Services at least six weeks prior to the Comprehensive Exam.
  • A student must be registered in the Graduate College at the time of the Comprehensive Examination.
  • The student should have completed all or almost all of the HMP core courses, statistics/methods courses, and focus area courses prior to taking the Comprehensive Exam.  The Comprehensive Exam Committee may permit the student to take the Comprehensive Exam before all courses are completed (especially if courses have not been offered annually) with the permission of the Director of the PhD Program.
  • The Comprehensive Examination is administered only on campus.
  • The Comprehensive Examination will be scheduled at the convenience and discretion of the student and examining Committee.  The time period for the completion of the written examination(s) and the oral examination should be scheduled well in advance.
  • The Comprehensive Exam Committee must be given at least five (5) days to review the written exam materials prior to the oral exam.
  • The oral examination must occur within two (2) weeks of beginning the written exam(s).
  • The Committee evaluation must be reported to the Graduate College Office within fourteen (14) days after the completion of the examination.
  • The Comprehensive Examination must be passed not later than the session prior to the session of graduation.

F. Post-Comps Registration

  • The Graduate College adds a note to the student’s transcript indicating the semester that the student passed the Comprehensive Examination.
  • The Graduate College requires all students who pass the Comprehensive Examination to be continuously registered after doing so.  Check the Graduate College rules for requirements.
  • Students who successfully pass the Comprehensive Examination may adopt the designation “PhD Candidate”.  This designation indicates that a PhD student has passed the Comprehensive Examination, thus it must not be used before doing so.
  • The Graduate College requires students to complete their dissertation within five (5) years of passing the Comprehensive Examination, or the Comps Exam will need to be re-taken.

IX. Doctoral Dissertation

PhD candidates are required to demonstrate advanced research skills by preparing and defending a dissertation (thesis) that contributes substantially to theory or practice in the field of health services research, management, or policy.

A. Dissertation Committee

  • The Dissertation Proposal and Final Examination will be evaluated by a convened meeting of the Committee of at least four (4) members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • The student’s academic Advisor will co-participate with the student in identifying the examining Committee and will be expected to chair this Committee.
  • A member of the Department primary faculty must chair the Committee. 
  • The Committee will include at least three HMP tenure-track primary faculty, at least two (2) of whom must be aligned with the student’s area of study.
  • At least three of the faculty members must be members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty.
  • The Department may request permission from the Dean of the Graduate College to replace one of the four members of the Graduate Faculty by a recognized scholar of professorial rank from another academic institution.
  • The DGS may attend the examining Committee meetings as an ex officio observant if the Director is not a member of the examining Committee.

Any additional rules not addressed here will follow the Graduate College guidelines.

B. Dissertation Planning

Students are encouraged to meet with their Advisor and other HMP faculty involved in mentoring as they develop dissertation ideas.  This is particularly the case for students planning to pursue a 3-paper model of dissertation (described below) because plans often begin early in the PhD Program.  Before students develop any papers they should prepare a description of the rationale, hypothesis, variables, and analysis plan and get input from their Advisor and faculty mentors they plan to include in the Dissertation Committee.

C. Dissertation Prospectus

The student will prepare a dissertation prospectus in consultation with the dissertation chairperson(s).  The research plan component of the prospectus should be modeled following the format of a major research grant application (R01 or equivalent) used by one of the following US funding agencies: NIH, AHRQ, or PCORI.  The student is encouraged to select the grant format of the funding agency that would be considered most appropriate for the proposal’s topic in consultation with the chairperson(s) who should approve the student’s choice before proceeding.  The student should follow closely the research plan structure and page limits for the selected format.  For example, if an NIH R01 format is selected, the research plan would have the following sections: Specific Aims (1 single-spaced page), and the Research Strategy (limited to 12 pages), with the following three sections: Significance, Innovation, and Approach.  The proposal should have separate sections for each of the designated scoring criteria used by the funding agency. The student should also complete the sections related to human subject protection.

A cover sheet before the research plan should list the title, student’s name, department, date approved, and include signature lines for committee members.

After the prospectus has been distributed to Committee members, an oral examination will be conducted by the Committee to evaluate the proposed research and develop plans for the timely completion of the dissertation project.  Review of the prospectus by the Committee will result in: (a) approval of the proposed research as outlined in the prospectus; (b) approval subject to recommended modifications and subsequent approval by the Committee chairperson; (c) a recommendation that the student prepare a supplement to the prospectus for approval by the Committee members; or (d) recommendation that another prospectus be prepared and considered at a subsequent oral examination.

The student should discuss the expected date of graduation with the Director of HMP Student Services after successful defense of the student’s dissertation prospectus.  A copy of the dissertation prospectus, with the cover page signed by all Committee members, should be retained in the student’s file and an electronic copy should be provided to the department (to the Director of HMP Student Services or the Director of the PhD Program).

D. Dissertation Procedures

The dissertation must embody the results of original investigation, conducted by the student.  The dissertation should constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge of the field.  The dissertation must be based on research conducted while the student is registered in the HMP PhD Program (this does not exclude use of existing data).  The material in the dissertation must be the student’s original work, although it may be part of a collaborative project that involves others.  The student may complete a traditional dissertation, or follow the 3-paper option.  Students are responsible for meeting all Graduate College rules and regulations pertaining to the dissertation.  Specific rules pertaining to the 3-paper option follow. 

At the discretion of a student’s Dissertation Committee, the student may fulfill the PhD dissertation requirement by writing three papers.  Each must be deemed by the student’s Dissertation Committee to be of publishable quality and in submittable format for a specific suitable scholarly journal, subject to the following conditions: 

  1. The dissertation must form a coherent body of research in a particular scholarly area.  Thus, the three papers must represent a single coherent research topic, not a series of unconnected topics.
  2. The three papers must be distinct.  They may either address three separate research questions, or if they address one research question, they must differ in some significant fashion, such as in theoretical perspective, approach, methodology, sample, and/or dataset. 
  3. At the discretion of the Dissertation Committee, up to two of the three papers may have been previously written, submitted, and/or published by the student if: 1) the student is first author on the paper; 2) all co-authors attest that the student did most of the work and most of the writing of the paper; 3) the work was completed while the student was enrolled in the PhD Program; and 4) the Dissertation Committee agrees that the papers are consistent with the criteria for a three-paper dissertation.  The Committee is under no obligation to accept previously published, accepted, or submitted papers as meeting the requirement of the dissertation.
  4. The format of the dissertation must adhere to the requirements of the Graduate College.  Thus, the dissertation will typically include at least five chapters.  The first chapter is an introduction, the next three core chapters are the three papers, and the fifth chapter is a conclusion.  The introductory chapter should present the general themes of the research, set out the purpose and scope of the papers, provide justification for the particular research focus and methodologies employed, and show how the papers are integrated to represent a coherent body of research.  It is expected that the introductory chapter will include a comprehensive literature review that is appropriate for the three papers.  Although the literature review or other content provided in the first chapter might be publishable, the first chapter cannot count as one of the three papers.  However, at the discretion of the Dissertation Committee, a systematic analytical review of literature on a specific issue, such as a meta-analysis, may constitute one of the three core chapters, as long as it does not overlap too closely with material included in the introductory chapter.
  5. A theoretical or conceptual framework must be included for the empirical analyses presented in the dissertation.  This could be provided through discussion of a general conceptual framework for the topic of the dissertation in the introductory chapter, or each paper could contain a section providing the conceptual basis for the analysis presented in that paper.  Alternatively, at the discretion of the Dissertation Committee one of the three papers may provide a detailed presentation of a conceptual model for the dissertation research, if the Dissertation Committee determines that it is of publishable quality given the standards of suitable scholarly journals.  At the Dissertation Committee’s discretion, at least two of the three papers should be empirical.
  6. The thesis should end with a concluding chapter that summarizes and integrates the major findings.  This concluding chapter should synthesize the knowledge that has been gained by the three research efforts, discuss the limitations of the body of research, and enumerate future research opportunities.
  7. Given that one objective of the 3-paper format for dissertations is to increase the opportunity for students to publish papers from their dissertation work, the core chapters should, to the extent possible, conform to page-length constraints required by the specific scholarly journal(s) identified by the student and approved by the Dissertation Committee as appropriate for publication.  Therefore, the core chapters may be expanded or supplemented by appendices, as necessary. 
  8. The Graduate College requires that the dissertation follow their formatting rules.  Thus, pagination must be continuous, there must be a common table of contents, and one integrated bibliography must serve for the whole document.  Students must follow all Graduate College rules for dissertations and it is the student’s responsibility to do so.
  9. The dissertation proposal requirements (NIH-type research proposal following the SF 424 format) set forth by the Department will still apply.  If the student is proposing three new research efforts, then the proposal should be written to reflect three phased subprojects.  If the student is proposing to include already published or submitted papers, then those should be described in the Preliminary studies section (and must be included as appendices) and the newly proposed project(s) should integrate with that previous work.
  10. At the time of the dissertation proposal, the student and Dissertation Committee should discuss the expectations for each chapter and paper.  Agreement should be documented in a signed memo that spells out any substantive points or issues that differ from the proposal document.  The memo and approved dissertation proposal must be submitted to the Director of HMP Student Services.  If questions concerning Dissertation Committee discretion arise, the Committee should consult with the Director of the PhD Program.
  11. Eventual authorship on papers to be submitted should be negotiated between the student, his/her Advisor, and the Dissertation Committee.  Dissertation Committee members may be named as co-authors on submitted papers if they have made a substantial contribution to the paper consistent with academic standards and journal submission requirements.  Journal requirements vary, but at a minimum, all authors must have contributed substantially to conception and design or analysis and interpretation of the data, contributed to drafting or revision of content, and approved the final version.  There must be no presumption that serving on a Dissertation Committee constitutes grounds for co-authorship of a student’s paper, even if the Committee member provides significant feedback on a paper.     

E. Final Oral Exam

The PhD candidate must arrange the time and date of the PhD final examination and request the Director of HMP Student Services chairperson(s) to submit the Request for (PhD) Final Examination to the Graduate College.  This request should be submitted three weeks prior to the examination date.  It is the responsibility of the student to notify all Committee members in writing as to the date, hour and place of the final examination.  The final examination is open to the public and the Department Student Affairs Administrator will publicize the event, consistent with Graduate College requirements.

 The candidate is responsible for distributing a final copy of the dissertation to all members of his/her Dissertation Committee at least two weeks prior to the final examination.  A copy should be made available to interested faculty and students.

The final examination will consist of an oral defense of the dissertation research.  This will involve a critical inquiry into the purposes, methods and results of the investigation as well as areas of knowledge relevant to the dissertation.  Each Committee member will grade the examination as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.  The candidate will have failed the examination if two or more Committee members evaluate the performance as Unsatisfactory.  Failure of the final examination twice will result in dismissal from the PhD Program.

In typing a final draft of the dissertation, the candidate should follow guidelines contained in the Thesis Manual published by the Graduate College. 

Copies of the completed and approved dissertation should be distributed as follows:  (a) two copies to the Graduate College; (b) one copy to each member of the Dissertation Committee; and (c) one copy to the Director of the PhD Program for retention in the Department Library.

X. Core Competencies

The core competencies for the PhD in Health Services and Policy are taken from those recommended by a panel designated by AcademyHealth (Forrest et al 2009).  The core competencies, expected by completion of the dissertation, are:

  1. Demonstrate breadth of health services research theoretical and conceptual knowledge by applying alternative models from a range of relevant disciplines
  2. Apply in-depth disciplinary knowledge and skills relevant to health services research.
  3. Apply knowledge of the structures, performance, quality, policy, and environmental context of health and health care to formulate solutions for health policy problems.
  4. Pose innovative and important health service research questions, informed by systematic reviews of the literature, stakeholder needs, and relevant theoretical and conceptual models.
  5. Select appropriate interventional, observational, or qualitative study designs to address specific health services research questions.
  6. Know how to collect primary health and health care data obtained by survey, qualitative, or mixed methods.
  7. Know how to assemble secondary data from existing public and private sources.
  8. Use conceptual models and operational measures to specify study constructs for a health services research question and develop variables that reliably and validly measure these constructs.
  9. Implement research protocols with standardized procedures that ensure reproducibility of the science.
  10. Ensure the ethical and responsible conduct of research in the design, implementation, and dissemination of health services research.
  11. Work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams.
  12. Use appropriate analytical methods to clarify associations between variables and to delineate causal inferences.
  13. Effectively communicate the findings and implications of HSR through multiple modalities to technical and lay audiences.
  14. Understand the importance of collaborating with stakeholders, such as policymakers, organizations, and communities to plan, conduct, and translate health services research into policy and practice.
  15. Hands-on teaching experience.

As described below, assessment of each student’s progress toward meeting these competencies will be made at the Annual Professional Development Review.  The curriculum and other learning experiences have been designed to meet all of these competencies.  It is the responsibility of the student, with the assistance of their Advisor and Mentorship Team, to meet all competencies by the time of graduation.

XI. Annual Professional Development Reviews

            The Department conducts annual professional development reviews for all PhD students. 

  • Purpose

The purpose of the annual professional development review for PhD students in the Department of Health Management and Policy is to help students, their Advisors, and Mentorship Committee effectively guide student’s professional development and progress in the PhD Program toward goals that will enable students to be successful in the program and after graduation.

These annual professional development reviews are in addition to, not a substitute for, regular meetings with the student’s Mentorship Committee throughout the year. Meetings throughout the year should be used to help students consider their options for research, topic for independent research papers and dissertation, focus areas of research, and preparation for Preliminary and Comprehensive Exams. 

The HMP PhD Program includes a series of established milestones – the Preliminary Exam, the Comprehensive Exam, the Dissertation Proposal, and the Dissertation Final Exam.  These milestones correspond to the formal requirements toward earning a PhD.  There may be a difference between fulfilling the requirements for earning a degree and preparation to meet career goals.  For example, to be competitive for positions at research universities, policy institutes, and certain other professional environments, students must have significant involvement in multiple research projects that result in publications.  The annual professional development review will provide a forum to discuss progress towards the established milestones plus other professional development goals.

  • Structure of Annual Professional Development Review

The annual professional development review consists of three components: (1) the student’s CV, plan of study, and description of their research focus; (2) a meeting of the student with their Mentorship Committee, and the DGS; and (3) a written Faculty Assessment of Professional Development Issues if there are issues that need addressing or unusual circumstances that should be documented.

  • Student’s Written Documentation for the Annual Review

Each student will be responsible for submitting a current version of their CV, plan of study, self-assessment of progress toward competencies, and a description of their research focus.  Student’s CVs should include degrees, honors, employment and research experiences, teaching experience, publications and manuscripts in development, presentations, and service activities.  Students should use a standard format for their CV; use of the College of Public Health format is not encouraged.  The student’s description of their research focus will likely mature over time; it should be fully developed by the time of the student’s Comprehensive Exam.

  • Annual Professional Development Review Meeting

Annual professional development review meetings will be conducted during winter break, if possible.  At the meeting, the faculty will review the student’s CV, plan of study, competency progress self-statement, and description of their research focus and formulate recommendations for guiding the student towards their goals. When appropriate, plans for the Comprehensive Exam or Dissertation Proposal will be reviewed to make sure that the student is adhering to the established PhD requirement timetable. The faculty will provide the student with their assessment of the student’s progress toward meeting the competencies. In cases where the overall assessment identifies problems or issues to be addressed, these will be discussed at this meeting and described in the Faculty Assessment of Professional Development Issues

XII. Graduation

At the beginning of the semester in which the doctoral candidate expects to receive the PhD degree, he/she will review his/her academic record and progress on the dissertation with his/her Advisor.  If all work on the dissertation is likely to be completed by the end of the semester, the doctoral candidate will complete the application for graduation and the Director of Student Services will forward the degree application to the Registrar.  The doctoral candidate also needs to submit a list of the members on their Dissertation Committee and the title of their dissertation to the Director of Student Services at least four weeks prior to their defense.

XIII. The Grading System

To receive a PhD degree, a student must be in “good standing” and registered in the University during the semester in which the degree is to be awarded.  To be in good standing, the PhD student must show promise of scholarly distinction by maintaining a grade point average greater than 3.25 while enrolled in the Department.  PhD students must also meet the general requirements established by the Graduate College.

A.         Grades 

            Courses in the Department are letter-graded.  Grades carrying advanced degree credit are A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-
and S-Satisfactory.

B.         Incompletes 

             Students who receive an incomplete (I) must remove that grade in accordance with the deadlines posted by the
Graduate College or the grade is automatically converted to an F.

C.         Grades of Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory (S and U)

              HMP PhD students will be graded on an S-U basis for all credit hours granted for HMP:7910 Seminar in Contemporary
Health Issues, HMP:7920 PhD Guided Research, HMP:7930 PhD Independent Research, HMP:7970 Seminar in
Instruction and Professional Development, and HMP:7990 PhD Dissertation.

D.         Audits

             A student may audit a course with permission of his/her faculty Advisor and the course instructor.  No academic credit
is given for an audited course, but a grade of either Audit Successful or Audit Unsuccessful is recorded on the student’s
transcript.  It is the prerogative of the course instructor to set requirement for the audit. PhD students who receive ”
grades of Audit Unsuccessful may be required to complete remedial coursework. 

XIV. Residence Requirement

The Graduate College has the following residence requirement for PhD students:  “The PhD is granted primarily on the basis of achievement rather than on the accumulation of semester hours of credit; however, the candidate is expected to have completed at least three years of residence in a graduate college. At least part of this residence must be spent in full-time involvement in one’s discipline, at this University, beyond the first 24 semester hours of graduate work; this requirement can be met either by: (1) enrollment as a full-time student (9 semester hours minimum) in each of two semesters, or (2) enrollment for a minimum of 6 semester hours in each of three semesters during which the student holds at least a one-quarter-time assistantship certified by the department as contributing to the student’s doctoral program. (For purposes of record and assessment of fees, student registration should reflect accurately the amount and kind of work undertaken in the Graduate College. All doctoral programs, including acceptable transfer credit, will contain a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate work.)”

XV. Student Conduct

If an enrolled student commits an act of misconduct and is subsequently subject to disciplinary action by the University, the HMP Department reserves the right to establish its own disciplinary action which can include, but is not limited to, probation and/or dismissal from the Program.  “Academic misconduct is identified as: including the acquisition of honors, awards, certification or professional endorsements, degrees, academic credits, or grades by means of cheating, plagiarism, or falsification, including forgery, with respect to any examination, paper, project, application, recommendation, transcript, or test, or registration document or by any other dishonest means whatsoever, or aiding or abetting another student to do so.” From the University of Iowa Operations Manual, Part IV.  STUDENTS, CHAPTER 1: GENERAL REGULATIONS APPLYING TO STUDENTS (Amended 9/93; 10/94; 7/95; 9/98)

A. Plagiarism. 

            Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another’s ideas expressed in either the author’s original words or in a manner similar to the original form.  When using ideas, direct quotes, or paraphrases, the source must be footnoted or referenced.  This principle applies even if the writer discovers that an idea, initially thought to be his or her own, has already been published by someone else.  It is the student’s responsibility to seek clarification of any situation in which he/she is uncertain whether plagiarism is/has been involved.  Students who are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism should consult with their Advisors or other faculty members.

“The Online Oxford English Dictionary defines “plagiarize” as follows, “to take and use as one’s own (the thoughts, writings, or inventions of another person); to copy (literary work or ideas) improperly or without acknowledgement; (occas.) to pass off as one’s own the thoughts or work of (another).” In practice, the exact definition of “plagiarize” or “plagiarism” is dependent upon the unique attributes of the creative work of a particular discipline. Thus, it is understood that different academic disciplines and cultures may have different interpretations as to the actual actions which constitute plagiarism. With this in mind, the Graduate College will operate in the following manner when a program or department discovers an act or acts of plagiarism on the part of a graduate student.”

In the Graduate College, the questions [of academic dishonesty] are handled at the departmental level. If the departmental decision is appealed, the dean may appoint an appeals Committee of faculty and students from a slate of nominees prepared by the Graduate Council and the Graduate Student Senate to recommend an appropriate course of action.”

The appeal process must be initiated by the student. If the student wishes to appeal the department’s or program’s action, that appeal must be lodged with the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Graduate College within 30 days of program or departmental dismissal.

From the University of Iowa Graduate College Manual of Rules and Regulations: IV Academic standing, Probation, and Dismissal.

In the event that academic misconduct or plagiarism is suspected, the following procedures will be followed:

  1. The Instructor will meet as soon as feasible with the student to clarify the situation.
  2. If the meeting results in no sanction or only a relatively minor sanction, and the student accepts the sanction, the process will be considered completed.  No additional reporting will be required, nor will there be any information related to the situation entered into the student’s permanent record.
  3. If after meeting with the student the situation is either not resolved to the satisfaction of both the Instructor and the student, or if the resulting sanction is not of a relatively minor nature, the Instructor will bring the matter to the attention of the  DGS. The DGS will appoint a review Committee consisting of three primary faculty members from the Department, excluding the Instructor. If the Instructor is the  DGS, the Department Head will appoint another faculty member to select the Committee. One Committee member will be designated as Chair.
  4. The Instructor will provide the Committee with a written description of the suspected plagiarism or academic misconduct.  Information serving to identify the Student will be removed from this material.  The Committee Chair will work with the Instructor to obtain all necessary background information for the Committee to review.  The Committee will then review the documentation to determine if sufficient evidence exists to meet with the student.  Once appointed the Committee will proceed with all deliberate speed to render their recommendation. 
  5. If necessary, a meeting will be convened to allow the student opportunity to discuss the alleged plagiarism or academic misconduct.  The Committee will preside over the meeting with the Instructor, student and DGS in attendance.  The DGS will serve as a process Advisor to ensure that the Committee’s deliberative process follows Departmental and Graduate College guidelines.
  6. The Committee will make a determination of whether academic misconduct has occurred, and determine the resulting sanction.  Sanctions may range from no action, to re-doing the assignment, to significantly lowering of the grade, to failure of the assignment, to failure of the course.  The Committee may also recommend to the full Departmental faculty that the student be dismissed from the degree program.  Consideration of such a dismissal recommendation will be held within 14 calendar days of the transmittal of the Committee’s formal recommendation.
  7. The student may contest the Committee’s sanction within 14 calendar days of written notification of that action by appealing, in writing, to the Department Head.
  8. For students from degree programs enrolled outside the Department, the Committee’s review of the facts, findings and sanctions will be directly communicated to the DEO of the department in which the student is currently enrolled by the Instructor. 
  9. A copy of the final determination document will be maintained by the Department. 

XVI. Concerns about Faculty Actions

Students who have a concern about any faculty action, including but not limited to grading, should first address the issue with the instructor, and then the departmental DEO.  Another resource for students is the Office of the University Ombudsperson. If a complaint cannot be resolved at the departmental and/or collegiate level, students may file an informal then formal complaint utilizing the procedure specified by the Graduate College Academic Grievance Procedures:

“ Generally, graduate students should bring complaints to the Graduate College only after attempts have been made to resolve them in a collegial manner at the department/program level using established department/program procedures. However, if for any reason a graduate student feels uncomfortable pursuing a complaint through their department/program, the complaint may be brought directly to the Graduate College” (

XVII. Academic Achievement

Students are encouraged to review the Graduate College website for Graduate College Publications, particularly the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, which governs most aspects of doctoral study:

A.         Dismissal and Probation

            1.         A student on probation may have financial aid terminated
2.         A doctoral student will be placed on probation or may be dismissed from the PhD Program by the Departmental faculty, under the following conditions:
a. If, after completing six or more semester hours of graduate work, the student has a cumulative grade point
average of less than 3.25; or,
b. If, the student receives a grade of “U” or below a “C-“ in a course.

            3.         Placement on Probation.

            A student will be notified in writing by the Department Head if he/she is placed on probation.  The letter will specify the reasons for probation, the
specific steps the student must take to be restored to good standing in the PhD Program, the time allowed to perform the remedial steps, and a warning
that the student faces the possibility of dismissal from the PhD Program.  A copy of this letter will be placed in the student’s file and sent to the student’s

            4.         Special Counseling. 

            A student on probation is expected to arrange counseling sessions with his/her Advisor to discuss progress in meeting standards and requirements as
outlined in his/her letter of probation.

            5.         Removal from Probation.

            A student placed on probation will be removed from probation upon successful completion of the contingencies as specified in his/her letter of
probation.  The performance of each student on probation who does not qualify for removal from probation after one semester shall be reviewed by
HMP primary faculty, excluding the Department Head, after the end of each session during which the student has registered until she/he has met the
requirements for removal from probation.  By simple majority vote, the HMP primary faculty, excluding the Department Head, will then select one of the
following courses of action:

                                    a.         Remove the student from probation;

                                    b.         Continue the student on probation;

                                    c.         Dismiss the student.

                                    The student will be notified in writing of any action taken by the faculty.

6.         Appeal. 

            A student has the right to a review by the Department Head of a faculty decision that results in the student being placed on probation or dismissed.  The
faculty decision shall be deemed final unless it is appealed within 14 calendar days of written notification.  This period may be extended at the discretion
of the Department Head. Upon receiving the student’s written request to the Department Head, a time and place for an appeal hearing will be set.  The
student will be notified in writing of the time and place of the hearing.  At this hearing, the student and his/her representative may appear in person and
submit a written and/or oral statement and supporting materials.  The Department Head may uphold, modify, or reverse the faculty decision based on
the evidence submitted at the hearing.  The Department Head’s decision shall be in writing and shall state the decision and basis for that decision.  A
copy of the decision will be placed in the student’s file and the original will be mailed to the the student.  The Department Head’s decision shall be the
final action by the PhD Program when an appeal is sought.

                        a.         Attendance at Appeal Meetings.
Meetings of the HMP faculty relating to dismissal will be closed.  An appeal hearing will be closed to all
but the student and his/her representative, the Department Head, and other persons the Department
Head deems necessary.

                        b.         Extradepartmental Review. 
According to the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College

“Questions involving judgment of performance will not be reviewed beyond the departmental level.  If, however, the student feels there has been unfairness or some procedural irregularity concerning dismissal, the student may pursue a grievance according to the Academic Grievance Procedure (AGP) established by the Graduate College.  The AGP is available in the Graduate College.  The student should consult with the Graduate College prior to initiating an academic grievance.”

XVIII. Graduate Assistantships

The Department strives to provide graduate assistantships (GAs) for all full-time PhD students.  GAs are the primary sources of financial aid available through the Department. GAs usually take the form of graduate research assistantships (GRAs) but also include teaching assistantships (TAs).  GA positions that are funded for ¼ time require the student to work an average of 10 hours per week over the term of the appointment; those funded for ½ time require the student to work an average of 20 hours per week over the term of the appointment.  Students who work at least 38 instructional days will qualify for resident status for that semester’s tuition and the adjacent following Summer Session.  The University provides health and dental insurance benefits at a reduced rate specified in the COGS contract.  Tuition support is also provided to GAs who are funded ¼ time or more. There are additional terms and conditions of employment and financial aid governed by the union representing GAs and the University of Iowa, available at:  Students should also contact the Student Financial Aid Office in Calvin Hall for information on other sources of financial aid available through the University.

Continued financial support from GAs after the student’s first semester is dependent upon maintenance of “good standing” within the Department.  Students who are on academic probation are not eligible for any GA or hourly position where the funds flow through a Department of Health Management and Policy account.  Thus, a minimum 3.25 cumulative G.P.A. is required to hold a GA.  A student has the right to appeal to the Department Head the termination of their GA because of failure to meet G.P.A. requirements.

A. Graduate Research Assistantships

GRA’s provide opportunities for PhD students to gain research experience and are a key component of the PhD Program.  To the extent possible, incoming PhD students will be assigned GRA’s that match their research interests.  More advanced PhD students will usually obtain GRA’s from faculty with research interests similar to their own.  Sources of funding support for GRA positions are available to PhD students primarily through hourly positions paid by faculty research grants.  GRAs are generally awarded each semester on the basis of student merit and skills, faculty research grant need, and financial resources. 

B. Teaching Assistantships

TA’s provide opportunities for PhD students to gain teaching experience.  TAs are usually only available to more advanced PhD students who have taken the specific course involved.  TAs are awarded on the basis of student merit and skills, department teaching needs, and financial resources. 

The terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to wages and benefits, in this position are governed by a collective bargaining agreement between the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and UE Local 896/COGS, the union representing graduate teaching and research assistants at the University of Iowa.  Copies of this collective bargaining agreement are available from the Union and may be viewed either from the University web site: or from the Union web site:  

XVIV.    Department Resources Available to Students

            There are a number of Department, College of Public Health, and University Resources available to PhD students.  These are described below along with any rules set for their use.

A.         Mail

 Each PhD student is provided with a mailbox in room N235 CPHB.  These boxes are for Department notices, messages, course papers, and related materials.  Students are responsible for regularly checking their mailboxes for Department communications.  Students should not use the Department address for personal mail.

B.         PhD Student Offices

PhD students are offered office space in CPHB.  The offices will be assigned by the Director of the PhD Program and Department Administrator.  Assignment will usually take student seniority into consideration.  However, it is Department policy to optimally utilize all of the space in the HMP office suite.  Thus, in order to accommodate multiple needs, students may need to share office space, especially if their use of office space is infrequent, and may have to change offices as new needs arise.  Keys will be issues by CPH facilities in N171 CPHB.  

Student must abide by CPH rules regarding CPHB space, including restrictions on adhering property to wall surfaces and furniture.  Please be aware that the CPH Facilities Department is very strict about furniture placement and protecting the condition of CPHB space.  Students must respect others workspaces, and ask before using the computers in HMP offices as students and staff may be remoting into those computers.  Computers are not to be used for playing games or other non-Department-related activities.  Office equipment, including printers and copying machines, and services of the Department staff are available to students only for approved Department business.  A fax machine is located in N235 CPHB and is available for program-related faxes.  No equipment should be removed from any HMP space.  Any equipment malfunction should be reported immediately to the Department office staff.  Students shall not engage in behaviors that may cause destruction or misuse of property.  Students who cause damage to University equipment will be assessed damage costs.

C.         Telephones

The telephones located in CPHB PhD student offices are available for student use.  They should be used for Department related business only.  A calling card needs to be used when making long distance calls from campus telephones.

D.         The College of Public Health Building Computer Lab

Computer labs in the CPHB student commons are available to all CPH students.  Students are issued a white proxy card to access these rooms.  These computers are connected to the CPH server and have a variety of programs necessary for class projects.

E.         The College of Public Health IT Department

The College has its own Information Technology office and they should be contacted for troubles with your office computers.  Their website has their hours and contact information.  Students are restricted from downloading any software to their computer, and any software that is required must go through the Department for purchase.  Please view their website for additional information.

F.         Smoking

In accordance with University policy, all University buildings are designated as smoke-free environments.

University of Iowa Nondiscriminatory Statement

   The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment or in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or associated preference.  The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities.  For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX, Section 504, and the ADA in the Office of Affirmative Action, telephone (319) 335-0705 (voice) or (319) 335-0697 (text), 202 Jessup Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1316.