Master of Science Degree
in Health Services Research

Overview

The Masters Degree in Health Services Research provides students with the skills to conduct and interpret research in health policy and clinical decision-making.

The MS program is typically completed in two years.  All candidates must satisfactorily complete 45 units of graduate course work with a 3.0 (B) or better, as well as a master’s thesis that represents original health services research. In addition to satisfying the core course requirements, students must take additional courses in one of three concentration areas.

How to Apply

Applications and supporting documents must be submitted through Stanford’s Graduate Admissions website and time-stamped by March 26, 2013.

Applications are evaluated based on the applicant's commitment to and aptitude for a career in health services research as described in a statement of purpose, relevant work and research experience, and letters of recommendation. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement may be waived for applicants with an MD or similar degree. Applicants from non-English speaking countries should provide evidence of competence in English on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Core Requirements

The core course requirements cover four knowledge areas:  1) empirical methods, 2) clinical decision-making, 3) health policy, and 4) applied research.  (Other health policy courses may be substituted subject to approval by the faculty advisor and program director.) Students must complete the following courses with a 3.0 (B) or better:

Empirical Methods
HRP 261: Intermediate Biostatistics: Analysis of Discrete Data (BIOMEDIN 233, STATS 261)
HRP 262: Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression, Prediction, Survival Analysis (STATS 262)

Clinical Decision-Making
HRP 392: Analysis of Costs, Risks, and Benefits of Health Care (BIOMEDIN 432)

Health Policy (Choose one)
HRP 256: Economics of Health and Medical Care (BIOMEDIN 156/BIOMEDIN 256/ECON 126) or
HRP 391: Health Care Regulation, Finance & Policy (PUBLPOL 231)

Applied Research
HRP 283:  Health Services Research Core Seminar (at least 3 units)

Concentrations

In addition to completing the core courses listed above, students must satisfy a concentration requirement in one of the three content areas of empirical methods, clinical decision-making or health policy.  The requirement for each concentration is as follows:

Empirical Methods
HRP 252: Outcomes Analysis (BIOMEDIN 251)

Clinical Decision-Making
 HRP 263: Advanced Decision Science Methods and Modeling in Health (MED 263)

Health Policy
HRP 256: Economics of Health and Medical Care (BIOMEDIN 156/BIOMEDIN 256/ECON 126)

Select 2 additional courses from the list below:
HRP 391: Health Care Regulation, Finance & Policy (PUBLPOL 231)
ECON 127:  Economics of Health Improvement in Developing Countries (MED 262)
HRP 241: Measuring Global Health (HUMBIO 129M/MED 2311)

Substitutions
ECON 102A and ECON 102B can be substituted for HRP 261 and HRP 262.
For students with limited statistics backgrounds, a substitution option is HRP 258: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Clinical Research.

Sample MS Degree Program in Health Services Research

Course
Units
Total
First Quarter: Autumn
HRP 256 Economics of Health and Medical Care 5  
HRP 283 Research In Progress Seminar 1  
HRP 392 Cost-Benefit Analysis in Health Care 4  
  Total for Autumn Quarter   10
Second Quarter: Winter
HRP 261 Intermediate Biostatistics: Analysis of Discrete Data 3  
HRP 283 Research in Progress Seminar 1  
MS&E 292* Modeling Health Policy 3  
HRP 299 Directed Reading 1  
  Total for Winter Quarter   8
Third Quarter: Spring
HRP 262 Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression, Prediction, Survival Analysis 3  
HRP 283 Research in Progress Seminar 1  
HRP 252* Outcomes Analysis 3  
HRP 391 Political Economy of Health Care in the U.S. 4  
-- Total for Spring Quarter   11
Fourth Quarter: Autumn
HRP 256* Economics of Health Care 4  
HRP 399 Research (Master's Thesis) 4  
-- Total for Autumn Quarter   8
Fifth Quarter: Winter
HRP 399 Research (Master's Thesis) 8  
Total Units
  45
 

* Elective course
** Students without prior training in statistics are strongly encouraged to enroll in STAT 141 (autumn, 4-5 units) prior to enrolling HRP 261 and 262.

Advisors, Mentors and Thesis

Each student will have a thesis committee comprised of at least two faculty members associated the HSR MS faculty. One committee member will be a faculty advisor drawn from the core faculty. In addition to serving as a mentor for the student’s thesis, the faculty advisor will be responsible for advising the student on curriculum-related issues and ensuring that the student is progressing sufficiently toward completion of the program. Both committee members will be responsible for reading and approving the final thesis. Depending on the topic of the project, additional faculty members may serve as mentors, either as a committee member or in a less formal arrangement. Affiliated faculty often serve as mentors on specific research methods, and other medical school faculty may serve as “content experts” for projects concerned with specific diseases or medical treatments.

Each student will submit a 1-2 page thesis proposal by the end of the first year in the program. The proposal should describe the research project which will fulfill the requirement for the master’s thesis including identifying the research question and describing the data sources and empirical methods which will be used to answer the research questions. For collaborative projects, the student should identify the collaborators and describe in detail his or her role on the project. For projects using proprietary data, the student should provide evidence that the data will be available for the proposed research and describe how he or she will access the data. In the proposal, the student should identify the members of the thesis committee.

Faculty

Core Faculty Members
Mark Hlatky, MD, Professor of Health Research and Policy, Professor of Medicine (Program Director)
Laurence Baker, PhD, Professor of Health Research and Policy
Jayanta Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine
M. Kate Bundorf, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Research and Policy
Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
Mary Kane Goldstein, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine
N. Grant Miller, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine
Douglas Owens, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine

Affiliated Stanford Faculty Members
Steven Asch, MD, Professor of Medicine
Eran Bendavid, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine
Margaret Brandeau, PhD, Professor of Management Science and Engineering
Steven Goodman, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Health Research and Policy
Trevor Hastie, PhD, Professor of Statistics and Professor of Health Research and Policy
Paul Heidenreich, MD, Professor of Medicine
John Ioannidis, MD, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Health Research and Policy
Daniel Kessler, JD, PhD, Professor of Law, Professor in Management at the Graduate School of Business
Phil Lavori, PhD, Professor of Health Research and Policy
Alex Macario, MD, MS, Professor of Anesthesia
Lee M Sanders, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Kristin L. Sainani, PhD. Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Research and Policy
Robert Tibshirani, PhD, Professor of Health Research and Policy and Professor of Statistics
C. Jason Wang, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Wolfgang Winkelmayer, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine
Paul Wise MD, Professor of Pediatrics

Affiliated Faculty, Non-Stanford Institutions
Paul Barnett, PhD, VA Health Economics Resource Center
Alan S Go, MD, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California
Ciaran Phibbs, PhD, VA Health Economics Resource Center
Todd Wagner, PhD, VA Health Economics Resource Center

Funding of Graduate Studies

The department has limited funding available for MS students, which is awarded at the time of admissions by the program coordinator. In addition, prospective students are encouraged to seek funding through:

Contacts

For program information:
Toni Ali, Educational Coordinator
Department of Health Research and Policy
Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5405
Tel: (650) 723-5456
Fax: (650) 725-6951
Email: toniali@med.stanford.edu

For application forms and information:
Graduate Admissions
630 Serra Street, Suite 120
Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-6032
Tel: (650) 723-4291
Fax: (650) 723-8371
Email: gradadmissions@stanford.edu

Downloads:
Course requirements at-a-glance
Course curriculums
Masters degree booklet

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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