Unit Requirements

Ph.D. students are required to complete a total of 60 units composed of courses, doctoral seminars, and independent studies. All students, with the exception of students in the Health Economics specialty field, should aim to complete coursework by the end of the second year.  Example course schedule sequencing for each of the specialty fields is available here.  Students must receive a grade of “B-” or higher to satisfy all course requirements, including core, specialty field, and research methods courses.

Course descriptions for most of the courses can be found at the campus online catalog at Please check the online schedule at each semester for course availability.

Core Classes

Students must take PH 237A,B Theories and Methods in Health Policy & Health Services Research (2 semesters), 5 specialty field courses, 3 research methods courses, and 3 interdisciplinary courses.

Specialty Field

The Berkeley Ph.D. Program in Health Policy has three specialty fields: Health Economics, Organizations and Management, and Population Health Sciences. Students are required to complete five specialty field courses and pass a specialty field exam.

Interdisciplinary Requirement

Students are required to take 3 courses from fields outside of their selected specialty field.  The three courses can include any of the three specialty fields of the PhD program, in addition to the politics and policy courses listed below.  Students without without prior microeconomics training are required to take a masters-level microeconomic course to satisfy one of the three interdisciplinary course requirements.
The following Politics / Policy courses can count as satisfying the interdisciplinary requirement for all specialty fields:

PP 290           Special Topics in Public Policy (varies)
PS 200           Major Themes in Comparative Analysis
PS 201A         Comparative Analysis of Industrial Democracies
PS 203           Urban and Subnational Politics in Developing Countries
PS 206           Comparative Party Systems
PS 220A         Theories of International Relations
PS 247G       The Comparative Politics of the Welfare State
PS 259           Selected Topics in Public Law
PS 261           Political Behavior
PS 262           Voting Behavior and Public Opinion
PS 263           Mass Politics in Modern Democracies
PS 271           American Government and Political Field Seminar
PS 273           Urban Politics
PS 274           American Political Development
PS 279           Selected Topics in American Government
Law 220F       Food Law and Policy
Law 248         Health Law
Law 263         International Human Rights Law: Theory and Practice
SOC 280C     Political Sociology

Methods Requirement

Students must submit a paper demonstrating their competency in methods prior to the scheduling of their oral qualifying examinations.

Ph.D. Dissertation Seminar

After passing the specialty field exam, students are required to attend the Dissertation Seminar PH 237D and present their research analyses in the seminar or an equivalent seminar, during each semester until graduation.

Health Services Research Colloquium

The HSR colloquium (PH 237C) is designed for PhD students in Health Policy.  The seminar meets alternate Tuesdays from 12:40-2:00 pm in 714- C University Hall.  Students are required to enroll in the colloquium for two units (S/U) in each of their first four semesters of the program, and upper year students are also expected to attend.  In addition, students are strongly encouraged to regularly attend research colloquiums in their specialty field departments.  Students can enroll for additional semesters or units, as needed, to fulfill minimum required units for GSR/GSI appointments.