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University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :30 Nov 
International :30 Nov 

PhD Health Policy

 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

13674 USD
13452 USD

Application fee

International 110 USD
National 90 USD
Berkeley Ph.D. Program in Health Policy
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)6.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)90
TOEFL-PBT (min)570
GRE (avg)330
GMAT (avg)715

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About this course

PhD Program in Health Policy (formerly known as Health Services and Policy Analysis) at UC Berkeley is distinguished by its interdisciplinary application of the social science disciplines to real-world health issues. Students select a major area of concentration from among three tracks—health economics, organization and management, and population health—while receiving exposure to all three specialty fields in addition to two others—politics/policy and behavioral and community sciences.

Students augment their training through skills and knowledge from UC Berkeley's top-ranked Economics, Political Science, and Sociology departments, as well as the Haas School of Business and the Goldman School of Public Policy. PhD students receive a solid grounding in health services research methods and the applications of these methods to the analysis of global and domestic health policy and management issues. Dissertation research is empirically-based and relevant to the provision, financing, and evaluation of health services.

Graduates of the PhD program will be able to achieve and demonstrate expertise in the following major academic outcomes:

  • Develop domain expertise in core works in health policy and the selected specialty field.
  • Understand central social and behavioral science theoretical frameworks and debates shaping health policy.
  • Demonstrate substantive knowledge of a specialty field sufficient to design and teach graduate level courses in that field.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct rigorous quantitative research.
  • Plan and conduct independent research using advanced research methods.
  • Mastery of academic and grant writing, conference presentation, IRB procedures, and ethics in research.
  • Foster cohesion and intellectual exchange among students and faculty across the university to enhance interdisciplinary research and training.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Basic Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  • a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  • a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
  • enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
  • Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee your admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.

Many departments and groups have additional requirements, including the GRE, TOEFL score minimums, and GPA minimums

Domestic Applicants
You must hold or expect to hold prior to the beginning of classes a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. school accredited by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies.

Required Records:

  •  Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
  • If you have attended Berkeley, upload unofficial transcript with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required if admitted.

International Applicants
Graduates of recognized academic institutions outside the United States should hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Equivalency is determined by International Evaluators in the Graduate Admissions Office.

Required Records

  • Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcripts or academic records for all university-level studies you have completed, at U.S. institutions and abroad will be required if admitted. If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral. For information about the documents required for an initial review of your application, contact the department or program to which you are applying.
  • Academic records should be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations if required (usually prepared by your university or Ministry of Education, unless the institution issues original documents in English). In general, records or transcripts must be issued by the school and include the school’s stamp or embossed seal and the signature of the authorizing official. 
  • English translations are required for all languages except Spanish; degree names and grades should be transliterated, not converted into English words or the U.S. grades of A-F. If your home institution does not issue documents in English, you may submit translations prepared by certified members of the American Translators Association.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency
All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East,  Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.

To qualify for a TOEFL exemption you must:

  • Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting* agencies.
  • Have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with a grade B or better at a regionally accredited* institution within the United States.

Regionally accredited college or university means an institution of higher education accredited by one of the following regional accreditation associations in the United States:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service. 
  • We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. For Fall 2016, tests taken before June 1, 2014 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833.
  • For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT), and 570 for the paper-based format (PBT).  
  • The IBT emphasizes integrated skills so its format and scoring are different from the PBT version of the TOEFL. Please plan to take the TOEFL as soon as possible, regardless of the test’s format, to avoid delays in the review of your application.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • As an exception, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
  • You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test.
  • For Fall 2016, tests taken before June 1, 2014 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • Most departments, schools, and groups require applicants to take a standardized test such as the GRE General Test, a GRE Subject Test, the GMAT or MCAT.
  • Consult the department to which you are applying for the department’s requirements. To send an official score to Berkeley, list the institution code assigned by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for Berkeley, 4833.
  • In addition, list the ETS code for the department to which you are applying. If more than one department code might be appropriate, check the department’s instructions on which code to use.
  • Domestic candidates from families with extremely low incomes may qualify for a waiver of GRE test fees. Fee waivers are not available directly from the Educational Testing Service or from the Graduate Division.

Letters of Recommendation

  • At least three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants should check with their prospective department for questions regarding letters of recommendation. Be sure to inform your recommenders of the departments’ deadline.
  • Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship.
  • Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. To waive access to your letters, complete the waiver section of the Letter of Recommendation.
  • The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommended.

Application Fee
You must submit an application fee when you apply. The application fee is not re­fundable. If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $90; for all others, the fee is $110.

Fee Waiver: U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for a waiver of the application fee.

Fee Exemption: some programs do not require the application fee payment.

Summer Sessions
To apply for admission to the Summer Sessions, Registration and fee payment may be completed online. Course work completed in a Summer Session immediately preceding the initial fall enrollment may apply toward a graduate program.

Course Work Only Status

  • If you want to undertake graduate study without working for a higher degree, you may apply for course-work-only status. 
  • You must, however, meet the same admission requirements as degree candidates, have a definite scholarly or professional purpose in applying, and be admitted to a regularly established major field of study.
  • There is no limited or unclassified status available to graduate students.
  • Course work only students do not qualify for fellowship consideration or for academic appointment as a Graduate Student Instructor and can be accommodated only if a department is willing to include them in its enrollment target.
  • Not all departments accept course work only students.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Each student takes the Specialty Field written (comprehensive) exam in the area he/she has chosen at the end of the second year. The specialty field examination should emphasize the students’ understanding of the major concepts, theories, and findings in their specialty field, and be able to apply this knowledge to the health care field.

The criteria used to evaluate the student’s performance include:

  • A sound understanding of the core knowledge of the field
  • Demonstrated ability to apply the specialty field to the health care field
  • Demonstrate the potential to teach graduate-level classes in health economics, organizations and management, or politics and policy

Students should plan to take the Dissertation Seminar after they pass the specialty field exam in order to receive the necessary guidance and support prior to this stage of development. 

There are published Graduate Division Guidelines that students who are advanced to candidacy should refer to prior to preparing their dissertation drafts. Students are responsible for following all Graduate Division rules and requirements. In order to file within a specific semester, the deadline is the last working day of the term. There are only two official filing periods; spring and winter, however students can generally file their dissertations year around.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Applying Early

Although we do not have a rolling admissions cycle, applying early is always a good idea. The earlier you apply, the earlier you and we can spot problems such as missing transcripts, test scores, etc. As the application deadline approaches we receive numerous email inquiries.  This results in you having more difficulty contacting us as well as checking your application status.  Your patience during this time is appreciated.  We received over 600 applications for 2015 with the bulk of them arriving in December.

Also, it’s a good idea to take the GRE and, if applicable, the TOEFL as early as possible. ETS can take several weeks to get the scores to us.

Online Application Advice

  • Check all email addresses twice before you submit the application, including your own. Any mistyped addresses make it difficult to contact you and/or your recommenders.
  • Do not transpose your name when entering this information. Transposed information will slow processing.

Regarding Your Application Package

It is always best submit only information requested.  Non requested materials will not be included with your application for review. Please do not send the following:

  • Transcripts
  • Financial documents of any kind
  • Notebooks or diaries
  • Publications
  • Your Statement of Purpose (we will have received this online)
  • Your Personal History Statement (we will have received this online)
  • DVDs, CDs other information storage devices

Once You Apply
Please keep in mind the following advice: We ask that you be patient and you should receive update emails as materials are received to your application.

Application review begins around December 16, 2015. If your application is incomplete at that time, review may be delayed.  It is your responsibility to have your materials submitted by the deadline.

Applications for admission are available beginning in October of the year prior to the year in which you would enter UC Berkeley. The application filing period is November 1-30. All applications must be submitted by November 30.

UC Berkeley does not offer any early admissions or any early decisions.

Important Dates

  • Application available : August 1
  • Filing period : November 1-30 (**Deadline extended for Transfers)
  • SAT test deadline : December 31
  • Application deadline : November 30
  • Berkeley notifies applicants of receipt of application : Early January
  • Freshman decisions posted : End of March*
  • Transfer decisions posted : End of April*
  • Submit Intent to Register - Admitted Freshman Deadline : May 1
  • Submit Intent to Register - Admitted Transfer Deadline : June 1

*Exact decision dates are given to current applicants in confirmation emails and on the student application portal (coming soon).

**Transfer students now have until Jan. 4, 2016, to submit their application for admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Students must refer to their transcript(s) as they fill out the application to ensure the information they enter is accurate.
  • Applicants should not submit transcripts at this point in the process. Please do not submit supporting documentation such as awards, photographs, poetry, etc. with the application.
  • They will not be forwarded, returned, or retained. 

Because more students apply to our campus than we can admit, Berkeley’s selection criteria exceed the UC admissions requirements. Applicants to UC Berkeley are selected through an assessment that includes a holistic review of your academic performance

We admit transfer applicants primarily on the basis of academic performance and preparation, as assessed by a review of:

  • GPA: For most majors, a minimum 3.0 GPA is required. (GPA is recalculated and based upon grades in UC-transferable courses taken by the end of the fall term prior to admission.)
  • Completion of lower division prerequisite courses for the intended major and/or college breadth requirements

Transfer Requirements
By the end of the spring term prior to fall admission you must:

  • Complete 60 transferable semester units
  • Complete courses for the major
  • Complete general education requirements

If you are an international student, you also must meet these requirements:

International students in the U.S. on a visa cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.

Please remember: In addition to meeting the requirements listed on this page, you also must meet: 

Language Requirements
Proficiency in English is critical to success at UC Berkeley.

One of the following exams is:

required for any student whose language of instruction is not English for the last three academic years of secondary school
recommended for all international applicants from non-English-speaking countries
These exams are:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - a score of 6.5 or higher on the academic module or
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - a score of 80 or higher on the TOEFL iBT or 550 or higher on the paper-based exam
  • Language exam results must be received in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions no later than January prior to the fall semester in which the student wishes to enroll.
  • Our code is 4833, same as the SAT. Please contact TOEFL to confirm when your test scores are mailed to campuses.

Financial Documentation

  • Before a U.S. consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must explain the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UC Berkeley.
  • Unless you are able to provide written evidence demonstrating you have adequate financial resources for the entire time needed to complete your degree program, the consul will not grant a student visa.
  • If your country's government limits the amount of money that may be sent to its students in the United States, you should make sure that funds will be available.

When you leave your country, you must have enough money to:

  • pay for traveling expenses to UC Berkeley
  • pay fees for the entire term
  • meet living expenses until more money reaches you
  • pay the return fare to your home

If your country's government requires verification of enrollment before money can be forwarded to you, you may request the campus International Student Advisor to provide verification after you have completed your UC registration.

Some students assume, incorrectly, that additional financial assistance or part-time employment will be available. Each year many students find themselves in serious financial difficulties because they did not arrange for adequate support.

Student Visa Information

  • All admitted international students will be required to complete a Non-immigrant Information Form (NIF). A guarantee by the applicant's financial sponsor proving sufficient funds for the first year of study is required.
  • Upon receipt of the completed NIF, the Berkeley International Office (BIO) will issue the document needed for student visa application.

Check further details on University website

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