PhD in Health Policy

How to Apply

Applications and supporting documents (see below) must be submitted through Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions by December 1, 2020.  (Applications available through Stanford Graduate Admissions in late September 2020.)

(Please note that 12/1/20 is the FINAL DEADLINEAll applications AND all reference letters should be received electronically in the application no later than 11:59 pm on 12/1/20 so please plan accordingly.)

Applications are evaluated based on the applicant's commitment to and aptitude for a career in health policy research as demonstrated via transcripts, and described in a statement of purpose, relevant work and research experience, and letters of recommendation. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required (optional for applicants applying in the 20-21 application cycle).  Applicants from non-English speaking countries should provide evidence of competence in English on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

(For further information on Stanford University GRE and TOEFL requirements and exemptions, please see:

We welcome applicants with diverse backgrounds.

Required Supporting Documents (to be submitted to Stanford’s central application form):

  • Statement of Purpose that includes the specialization track (Decision Sciences or Health Economics) and policy area(s) of interest 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE General Test scores (optional for applications submitted in the 20-21 application cycle)
  • Official TOEFL scores (if necessary) (Stanford Graduate Admissions TOEFL policy)
  • Unofficial transcripts for all college/university degrees and courses
  • CV with relevant work and research experience
  •     ***Note: While not required, it is strongly encouraged that applicants have, or plan to have at the time of matriculation, mathematical skill at the level at the level of multivariate calculus, and one course each in linear algebra, analysis, probability, and statistics***

    Applicant interviews, if offered, will be held in early to mid February.


Additional notes:


All applicants are required to upload UNOFFICIAL transcripts into the graduate application.

Stanford also requires an official copy of OFFICIAL transcripts for all schools attended for a year or more for accepted students. International applicants are encouraged to use the CHESICC or Educational Perspectives option within the Stanford application for official transcripts.

Applicants who attended U.S. institutions should NOT send any official transcripts at time of application.  Official transcripts will be requested/required by the department during interview season.  

At the time of application, official transcripts are optional for those who attended institutions outside of the U.S.  Official transcripts will be requested/required by the department during interview season.

If the department requests your official transcripts, please use the following address:

Misty Mazzara
259 Campus Drive
HRP Redwood Building T152F, MC 5405
Stanford, CA 94305-5405

If your educational institution offers a secure electronic certified transcript service, please use for transcript delivery (only one transcript required for each school if electronic).


Please also make sure that you route your GRE scores (and TOEFL scores if applicable) directly to Stanford from ETS.  Our university code is 4704. Department code is not required.  Please do add your self-report scores to the application but GRE and TOEFL scores are not considered official until received electronically from ETS.

It is in your best interest to start your application as early as possible.  This will allow for timely notification to your reference letter writers.

Additional information regarding Stanford policies and procedures for graduate applications can be found on the Stanford Graduate Admissions website

Additional information for international applicants can be found at the following link:

Application Status Inquiries:

Applicants are able to view their status on their Apply Web status page by logging back into their application. The department administrative staff will do their best to keep the application checklists updated.

The selection of PhD students admitted to the Department of Health Research & Policy is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination), the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.

MSTP inquiries:

Students interested in programs within the School of Medicine Department of Health Research and Policy (HRP) may apply through the Stanford MSTP (MD-PhD) application process. To apply for PhDs in Health Policy or Epidemiology and Clinical Research, please indicate MD-PhD in your Stanford supplementary application, and in the research essays that you would like to be considered for one of these two programs (separate PhD application not required).  Applications for these fields will be specifically reviewed by faculty within the Department of Health Research and Policy in addition to MSTP faculty. For questions and notification regarding the application process, please contact the MSTP office.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Applications:

Knight-Hennessy Scholars develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation.  This year, the program will award up to 75 high-achieving students with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford.  To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by October 14, 2020, and separately to the PhD Health Policy program by December 1, 2020.