PhD in Health Services Research

Application Requirements Quick Reference List


Fall 2016:

December 1, 2015



1) Bachelor’s degree in a related field (i.e., social/behavioral sciences, epidemiology, management, biological sciences, or health professions) or substantial coursework in these fields.

2) Specific previous coursework required:

  • Minimum of one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics, each with a grade of B or better
  • EP713, Introduction to Epidemiology or equivalent and BS704, Introduction to Biostatistics or equivalent with a grade of B or better

3) For the Health Economics field, applicants should have knowledge in multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probabilities and statistics, and differential equations, as well as intermediate-level microeconomics.

A graduate degree (or graduate work in process) in a relevant field is strongly encouraged, though the PhD program will consider exceptional candidates with a bachelor’s degree.


At least 1–2 years of research experience is strongly encouraged.

Standardized Test Scores

GRE. Official valid test scores must have been taken within the last 5 years. Applicants may not waive this requirement.

Reporting Codes


Institution Code: 3101*
Department Code: Any

In addition, international applicants must submit an English language proficiency exam. Applicants may submit the TOEFL or IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS exams are considered valid for two (2) years from the date the exam was administered.

Academic Transcripts or WES ICAP Evaluation
Applicants must have official transcripts for all registered coursework submitted from each institution directly to SOPHAS using their Official Transcript Request Form. This documentation must be sent from the registrar or designated school records official directly to SOPHAS. Official transcripts will not be accepted from the applicant. Photocopies of official transcripts or unofficial records will not be accepted. International transcripts, including study abroad transcripts, may have additional requirements. International applicants should submit a WES ICAP evaluation.

If you are currently in a degree program, you are required to submit a current official transcript showing all completed coursework and all work in progress. If you are accepted for admission, a final official transcript after degree conferral must be submitted directly to Boston University prior to matriculation.

SPH reserves the right to reevaluate your application for admission upon receipt of the final official transcript.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
SPH requires three letters of recommendation as documentation of academic skills and interest for the application to be considered complete. The committee will be especially interested in references from former undergraduate or recent graduate program professors and former supervisors of health- or research-related employment. SOPHAS provides an electronic submission process for all letters of recommendation.
Statement of Purpose and Objectives
Applicants must provide evidence of their preparedness, interest, and elementary understanding of the health services research field in the form of a concise personal statement. This statement should include the following elements:

  • Reason for studying health services research
  • Desired area of study within the department
  • Anticipated value of health services research training at Boston University to the candidate’s personal career plans
  • Relevance of prior education and experience to pursuing this degree

CV or Résumé
A current curriculum vitae or résumé is required. This document should be uploaded directly to your SOPHAS application.
Supplemental Application

Upon receipt of your application from SOPHAS, you will be provided with a link to complete our brief supplemental application.


Dr. Vicky Parker
Program Director