MS in Health Policy Goals and Objectives

The MS in Health Policy curriculum is focused on three areas. First, our training develops an individual’s ability to identify policies (e.g., legislative bills, regulations, court decisions across all levels and branches of government, and then deconstruct these policies into component parts (e.g., program eligibility requirements, financial mechanisms), identify valid differences across policies (e.g., different age definitions for eligibility or financial incentives), and consider how the policies work together or in conflict to shape health care outcomes. The ability to define and distinguish among public health policies offers an immediate application in conducting policy analysis and research.

A second area of training focuses on an individual’s ability to formulate public health policies. Students will learn how to deconstruct a particular policy, apply different theoretical models of policy formation (deductively and inductively), and be able to develop effective strategies to formulate viable public health policy alternatives. This focus also has an immediate impact for policy makers, the organizations that work directly with them, and research design.

A third focus of the MS in Health Policy is to develop an individual’s ability to conduct quantitative research that helps to estimate the impact of public health policy on health care outcomes at the organizational, provider and individual level. In estimating these impacts, students account for variations across policy and implementation systems, and advance on more basic research that considers policy as simple binary constructs or one-time historical events. This focus offers an immediate impact for those organizations who wish to understand how different policies impact health outcomes.

Upon completion of the MS in Health Policy, graduates should be able to identify and analyze health policies across all levels and branches of government, formulate health policy agendas and implementation strategies, evaluate policy formation and outcomes using qualitative and quantitative methods, and incorporate public health competencies into the practice of health policy research.