PhD in Social Policy
The PhD program at the Heller School prepares students to help advance social policy through leading roles in government, academia, and the nonprofit and private sectors. The program supports a collegial and intellectually vibrant community that thrives on rigorous research, collaboration and support, and diverse ideas. Students come from many backgrounds and bring varied experiences, but all share a passionate commitment to using their knowledge to advance social justice.
The program uses a multidisciplinary approach to social policy research that hones conceptual, analytical, qualitative, and quantitative skills. Students can tailor their course of study to their research interests by specializing in one of four broad concentrations: Health and Behavioral Health; Children, Youth, and Families; Assets and Inequalities; and Global Health and Development. Graduates go on to successful careers in research, consulting, teaching, and administration.
A pioneering institution, the Heller School's nationally recognized faculty and scholarship have long influenced legislation and social and public policy. Students share Heller's belief that greater insight, gained through rigorous research, can lead to improved policies. The Heller doctoral program is designed to channel that commitment by providing students with access to theoretical frameworks in the social sciences that can help make sense of what they have observed, and methodological tools they can use to attack critical real-world questions. After two years of course work, students apply the knowledge they have gained to develop and carry out independent dissertation research that makes a contribution to policy-related scholarship.
The Heller School offers two federally-sponsored doctoral training programs housed within SIHP, to support and educate qualified doctoral students interested in research careers: alcohol-related health services research, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and health services research and quality, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).