The PhD Program in Health Policy seeks to train students for research and teaching careers in health policy. The interdisciplinary and interfaculty nature of the program results from the philosophy that most graduates will carry out much of their research as part of inter- or multidisciplinary research teams rather than as isolated scholars. For this reason, the program trains students to leave with specialized skills in one discipline, but also with the ability to understand the conceptual frameworks and jargon contributed by researchers from other disciplines. Even the minority who will work independently will need to understand the perspectives of readers outside their chosen disciplines, in order to communicate effectively. To implement this philosophy, students must meet the requirements of both their chosen concentration and fulfill coursework in other concentrations.

The general trajectory of doctoral students in the program is coursework for the first two years, with a general exam in health policy and a concentration exam at the end of the second year, followed by development of a dissertation prospectus and approximately three years of dissertation research and writing.