Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the M.S. in health services and policy research, students will be able to:

  • evaluate the organization, financing, and delivery of U.S. health services;
  • evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity;
  • analyze the behavior of health care market stakeholders using the principles of health economics;
  • select the appropriate study design and statistical models for health services research questions and outcomes;
  • use statistical computing programs to analyze quantitative data; and
  • conduct a study using health services research methods.

The Master of Science program in health services and policy research requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 to earn the degree.

Students are provided with content knowledge and methodological skills pertaining to the practice of health services research. Evaluating the organization, delivery, and outcomes of health services and the impacts of health policies on health services use and health outcomes is intrinsically interdisciplinary. As such, students will acquire both theoretical knowledge of U.S. health policy, health economics, and the organization and delivery of health services as well as a range of analytic skills that will allow them to design and execute health services research studies. 

The M.S. includes coursework in health services research design, statistical methods, health policy, health economics, and the organization and delivery of health care services. Additionally, students will be required to complete a final research project. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors on research projects and participate in cocurricular learning opportunities that focus on health services research, such as seminars, journal clubs, and conferences. The M.S. will be a pathway to the Ph.D. in health services and policy. 

The M.S. with a major in health services and policy research requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

All of these (21 s.h.):
HMP:5005Introduction to Healthcare Organization and Policy3
or HMP:4000 Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System
HMP:5410Health Economics I3
HMP:5610Health Policy3
HMP:7950Design Issues in Health Service Research3
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
BIOS:5120Regression Modeling and ANOVA in the Health Sciences3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2
CPH:7270Principles of Scholarly Integrity: Public Health (taken in the fall and spring semesters for 0 s.h. and 1 s.h.)1


Students choose 6 s.h. of elective coursework. The following are possible elective choices.

HMP:5650Health Policy Analysis3
HMP:6610Legal Aspects of Healthcare3
HMP:6710Federalism and Health Policy3
HMP:6750Seminar in Health Policy3
HMP:7550Cost Effectiveness and Decision Analysis3
HMP:7940Primary Data and Mixed Methods3
HMP:7950Design Issues in Health Service Research3
HMP:7960Analytic Issues in Health Services Research I3
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3


Students complete 3 s.h. of thesis work in the following course.


Applicants must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). All applicants also must submit the supplemental University of Iowa application fee. For detailed application information, visit HMP Degree Programs on the Department of Health Management and Policy website.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Students begin the program in fall semester. Campus visits are encouraged.

A variety of financial assistance is available, including scholarships and awards, student loans, and graduate research assistantships. Every effort is made to provide financial support to students who demonstrate need and maintain satisfactory academic standards. Some awards are offered in recognition of outstanding academic performance and experience, regardless of need.

Graduate research assistantships generally are awarded on the basis of student merit and the department's need. Assistantships afford valuable experience in health policy research and management projects. Graduate research assistants work 10 hours per week and must apply for reappointment each year. Assistantships provide a stipend, some tuition assistance, and entitle students to the resident tuition rate.

Opportunities also exist for part-time employment both on and off campus. For information and financial aid application forms, contact the University's Office of Student Financial Aid.

The M.S. in health services and policy research prepares graduates for research careers in a variety of applied settings including academia, think tanks, government agencies, private sector organizations and other settings where health services research skills are sought.

The program is designed to provide clinicians with the skills needed to work as health services researchers in a wide variety of settings. Given the program's strong emphasis on research design, evaluation, and quantitative methods, it is a pathway for students who desire to prepare themselves to be competitive applicants for doctoral studies in health services research, health policy, health economics, and other closely related fields at the University of Iowa or other leading institutions.

The program also is designed in a way that allows students in the department's Ph.D. in health services and policy program to earn the M.S. degree as they complete coursework and exam requirements for the Ph.D. program en passant.