Frequently Asked Questions
The following are commonly asked questions for all of the programs at the Department of Health Policy and Management. If you have a question that is not covered in this FAQ section, please check in one of the program-specific sections below. If your question still isn't listed here reach out to HPM_Admissions@jhu.edu for more info.
What programs are available in HPM?
Full degree programs include:
- Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy (MSPH-HP)
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of Health Science in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (MHS-HEOR)
- PhD in Health Policy and Management
- HPM concentration of the Schoolwide DrPH
- Tsinghua-JHU DrPH
Part-time and continuting education programs include:
Does the department offer any dual degree programs?
No. If you are interested in a dual degree program, we recommend looking at the Master of Public Health dual degree programs.
Can I complete a program part-time or online?
The MSPH in Health Policy, MHA, MHS-HEOR, and PhD are full-time, residential programs. For the first half of the 2020 academic year, all in-person courses have been moved online. If you would like to know more information on how the Department is adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the Health Policy and Management admissions e-mail.
The HPM concentration of the Schoolwide DrPH program is a hybrid program that allows its students to complete classes at a distance and come to campus 2-3 times a year for in-person classes. Classes for the Tsinghua-JHU DrPH cohort program are primarily held in Beijing, China and online with a few concentrated courses held in Baltimore.
Can I take courses online?
A small number of courses will be available to take online or at distance; however, most courses are designed to be completed in-person.
Can I visit the campus or speak with a current student?
Yes! We encourage potential applicants to visit, speak with program management, and learn more about the programs they are interested in before applying. If you are interested in taking a tour of the campus, you can sign up for one of the twice-monthly tours arranged by the Admissions Office. You can also contact HPM_Admissions@jhu.edu if you are interested in arranging a meeting wtih program management.
What are the application deadlines?
Applications for the MSPH-HP, MHA, MHS-HEOR, and the Tsinghua-JHU DrPH program are due by January 15th.
Applications for our PhD and Schoolwide DrPH are due by December 1st.
What is in an application?
For all full-time degree programs, interested applications must submit a completed online application through SOPHAS including: three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a c.v. or resume, and transcripts from any schools attended. For international applicants from countries/education programs where English is not the official language, scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam are also required.
Is an interview required for any of the programs?
Interviews are only required for admission into the MHA and the DrPH programs. For these programs, if you cannot make it to campus for an in-person interview, we will arrange for a phone or Skype interview.
Program management or associated faculty may contact applicants to the MSPH, MHS-HEOR, and PhD programs. These are informal and done at the request of the HPM representative and can take the form of an in-person conversation, phone call, Skype chat, or e-mail exchange. These are not required for admission.
Is work experience required for admission?
The Schoolwide DrPH program requires all applicants to have at least two years of work experience before applying.
The PhD program does not require a specific amount of work experience for admission, but most successful applicants have around three years of work experience.
The masters programs do not require any work experience, however many students in our programs have a range of post-baccalaureate work experience.
Are there specific course prerequisites?
The Schoolwide DrPH program has a number of prerequisite courses required for graduation.
Applicants to the MHS-HEOR should have taken a calculus course prior to applying. Additional experience in economics, as an academic course or in practice, is preferred.
The MHA strongly recommends incoming students take a microeconomics course or business accounting course during their undergraduate program. The microeconomics course is not necessary for admission, but is required for more advanced courses in the program so incoming students who have not taken the course previously will be expected to take it in their first term. Students that earned a "B" or better and pass a waiver exam do not need to take Financial Accounting at SPH.
The MSPH-HP and PhD have no course prerequisites.
Can you waive the GRE/GMAT?
In an effort to assist potential applicants who may have difficulty taking standardized tests because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health Policy and Management has elected to change our policy on standardized test scores for applicants to the 2021/2022 academic year. For all full-time Masters and Doctoral programs administered by the Department, GRE and GMAT* scores will be optional, but highly recommended. Your application will be considered complete and reviewed without judgment if it is submitted without GRE/GMAT* scores; however, we still strongly recommend applicants with valid standardized test scores include them as part of your application. If you have any questions about your application please contact us at HPM_Admissions@jhu.edu. Applicants interested in the Health Policy and Management concentration of the Schoolwide DrPH program, please contact JHSPH-DRPH@jhu.edu.
*GMAT scores only accepted by the MHA program.
What is the average GRE score and cumulative undergraduate GPA for admitted applicants?
Our programs aim to look at all applications holistically, focusing equally on academic history, recommendations, standardized test scores, the personal statement, and the circumstances of our applicants. If you have questions about your individual qualifications, please contact the degree program you are interesting in or the Department of Health Policy and Managment's admissions e-mail.
Is the TOEFL/IELTS ever waived for international applicants?
International applicants are not required to submit TOELF/IELTS if they are from one of these countries; or have received an MBBS from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and/or Sri Lanka; or received a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the United States.
International students who must take the TOEFL/IELTS for admission and cannot can take the J-Check. You can learn more about the J-Check here.
If you are an undergraduate student in their Senior year and you have completed at least three years of your undergraduate degree in US-based institutions, please contact HPM_Admissions@jhu.edu for advice on how to submit a TOEFL waiver.
What kind of WES evaluation is required?
SOPHAS and the Bloomberg School of Public Health will only accept WES ICAP course by course evaluations. ICAP may also be referred to as the "International Credential Advantage Package".
WES is taking longer than expected to evaluate a transcript of mine. Will you still consider my application?
Unfortunately we will not be able to consider your application if we do not have all components of an application. If you have any international transcripts, we highly recommend that you start your application as early as possible.
Is everything submitted through SOPHAS?
Yes, everything is submitted through SOPHAS. You can upload most documents directly into the application, except for official standardized score reports being sent from the test administrators, international transcript evaluations, and letters of recommendation, which are submitted to SOPHAS via a third party.
If you need to submit additional material or run into a problem uploading to SOPHAS, please contact our admissions office at JHSPH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can students transfer programs after enrolling?
No. Any student who wishes to change programs once they have matriculated must submit a new application and be considered by the admissions committee of the new program. Admission to the new program is not guaranteed.
Can students defer the start of their program?
Yes. Admitted students who wish to defer the start of their program must submit a written request to their program, Office of Academic Affairs, and the JHSPH Admissions Office. Once a request is received, a decision will be communicated within 7 business days.
Note that requests are reviewed on a case-specific basis and not all requests will be granted. If granted, the student can postpone the start of their program for up to one year. Admitted students must pay the matriculation fee to complete the deferral. Scholarship funds, if offered, may not be awarded to the student if the deferral is granted.
Can I transfer credits from a previous degree into a degree at JHSPH?
No. Johns Hopkins does not transfer credits from a program administered by another institution into a Johns Hopkins program. If you have taken an equivalent course at an equivalent level at a different institution, we may be able to waive that course from your curriculum. However, if that occurs you will need to make up that course's credits elsewhere.
Example: A student accepted in the MSPH program has previously taken a course similar to Introduction to the US Healthcare System. Their advisor recommends that they waive the Intro course and take a more advanced course related to the healthcare system or a specific aspect of US healthcare policy.
Can I transfer credits from another JHU degree to a degree at HPM?
Program management may allow previous Johns Hopkins University credits to apply to a student's current program. However, this is done at management's discretion and may not include all previous classes the student has taken.
What is the MHA?
The Masters of Health Administration (often abbreviated as MHA) is a two-year long professional degree focusing on healthcare management and administration. It consists of one year of in-classroom learning and an eleven month long field placement.
Which is the preferred standardized test: the GMAT or the GRE?
Both are appropriate for this program.
How is the curriculum structured?
The first year is the didactic year in which students enroll in approximately 6-7 courses per term. The second year is spent in an administrative residency in which students work full-time within a healthcare or healthcare related organization. There are three courses required in the 2nd year; they are offered via the Internet as our students may be working anywhere in the U.S.
Can I take electives?
Because of the heavy course load in the first year and the number of extra seminars, field trips and activities planned for MHA students, there is not much of an opportunity for electives. Students have the opportunity to take electives during the second year of their program without having to incur additional costs.
How is an MHA different from an MPH or MBA?
While there is some subject similarities between our MHA program and an MBA or MPH, there are key differences that make the MHA a better choice for some people. The MHA is designed and intended for early careerists and, as such, we admit people from all different levels of experience with the field of healthcare -- promising undergrads, professionals with 1-3 years of experience, and professionals from other fields who are looking for a career change. The MHA is an accelerated program that allows students to apply the conceptual and analytical skills learned in the first year to their eleven month administrative residency in a healthcare or related organization.
The MPH at Johns Hopkins is intended and designed for enfranchised public health professionals, people with at least two years of post-baccalaureate work experience or a terminal degree in a field related to public health. The full-time program is an intensive eleven month program that allows students to customize their coursework to best meet their individual or career goals. The Hopkins MPH prepares its students to face public health challenges through multidisciplinary approaches that apply the latest scientific knowledge, common sense and teamwork to important health problems. The program culminates in a capstone experience where students apply their knowledge to a public health problem.
An MBA is a general business degree that provides access and training in a wide variety of fields. If you are specifically interested in healthcare and related fields, the MHA offers more focused content and hands-on experience that an MBA may not be able to provide.
How large is each year's class?
The program enrolls approximately 20-25 full-time students each year. Although our class size is relatively small, it is our goal to enroll a diverse group of students from many different backgrounds.
What financial aid is available to MHA students?
Each MHA student is eligible to receive the Masters Tuition Scholarship in the second year of the program. The value of this scholarship, 75% of a student's annual tuition, for AY 2018-19 is approximately $40,000.
What is the administrative residency?
In the second year of the MHA program students are placed in eleven-month full-time residency positions in a healthcare management setting. A variety of settings are available including community hospitals, unviersity-affiliate hospitals, investor-owned hospitals, physicians' medical practices, consulting firms, pharmaceutical companies, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations, etc. During the administrative residency, students take on the responsibilities and benefits of an employee at their organization. This includes working on important assignments for senior management, make meningful contributions to the organization, and learn valuable lessons on how health care works. These positions involve the student working with a preceptor, typically a senior consultant or a member of an organization's executive management team. The student and preceptor regularly submit progress and goal reports, a residency critique, a summary of accomplishments, and other written assessments to the MHA program advisor. The field palcement concludes with a final capstone project.
How do I find an administrative residency?
The MHA program has relationships with several hospitals, hospital systems, healthcare consultant firms, and other healthcare-related organizations that regularly bring our students on for their administrative residency. Some students seek out other organizations to work in during their placement. We assist all students with securing positions.
Does my administrative residency have to be in Maryland?
No. The Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area has a high density of hospitals and healthcare-related organizations, but students are welcome to pursue and choose residencies in other cities and states.
Where have students spent their administrative residency?
Recent residency organizations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cigna Medical Group (Phoenix, AZ)
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center
- Kaufman Hall & Associates
- Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
- The Advisory Board Company
For a full list of participating organizations in recent years, click here.
When do students interview for their administrative residency?
Students typically interview between January and March of their first academic year.
What positions do alumni hold in healthcare today?
The MHA program regularly updates their website (link below) with information on employment for graduates.
What is the average salary of graduates?
There is a wide range of salaries in each cohort; however, the average salary of graduates, regardless of work setting, is approximately $74K. (Based on data for Class of 2015.)
Where can I find more information on the program?
You can look at the MHA's program website here.
What is the MSPH in Health Policy?
The Masters of Science in Public Health in Health Policy (commonly abbreviated as MSPH in Health Policy) is a two year professional degree offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management. It is designed to prepare students for work in health policy and related fields by providing a year of in-classroom learning followed by a nine month field placement.
Who is the program designed for?
Predominantly, the MSPH program in Health Policy is designed for individuals with little to no professional health policy experience. Recent cohorts include a mix of recent undergraduates, professionals with 1-5 years of non-health policy related experience, and individuals seeking a career change.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The MSPH in Health Policy is a two-year program comprised of one academic year and one year spent in a field placement.
What is the field placement?
The second year field placement is an opportunity for our students to apply their theoretical academic training in a professional setting. Eligible students find full-time employment at a health- or public health policy-related arenas such as: governmental agencies, consulting, advocacy, non-profit, research, and professional organizations. After an appropriate site has been identified and approved, an on-site preceptor is assigned to the student. The preceptor will act as a supervisor for the student, working with them to identify meanginful projects, set attainable goals, and evaluate the student's performance. Students are expected to chronicle their professional practice development as well as synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in coursework through the completion of two written assignments and participation in two field placement symposiums.
How do I find a field placement?
Students are encouraged to utilize existing partnerships within the Porgram, however if there is a particular organization a student is interested in working with we will assist them with obtaining an appropriate placement. Opportunities for career assistance, networking, and placements themselves are communicated to the students.
Does the field placement need to be in Maryland?
No. Field placements can be domestic or international. In cases where the field placement takes place outside of a reasonable distance of Baltimore, the Program will work with the student, their preceptor, and their worksite to ensure the student meets required assignment deadlines.
What are the field placement requirements?
The academic requirements include four assignments; two on-campus presentations and two written presentations.
What financial aid is available to MSPH students?
What is the BA/MSPH?
The BA/MSPH is an advanced degree collaboration between the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the undergraduate Public Health program at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Junior Public Health undergraduates may apply for the opportunity for early admission into an MSPH program at the School of Public Health. If accepted, students will take graduate-level public health classes during their Senior year and transfer fully into the MSPH program after graduation. All graduate-level courses taken while in the Senior year will transfer over into the graduate-level program.
You can learn more about the BA/MSPH for the MSPH in Health Policy here.
Can I take electives?
Yes. Students are welcome to pursue elective courses during the field placement year. Students can customize their curriculum with one of several elective areas, which you can find here.
Where can I find more information about the program?
You can find more information on the MSPH in Health Policy at the program website here.
What is the MHS in Health Economics and Outcomes Research?
The Masters of Health Science in Health Economcis and Outcomes Research (often abbreviated as MHS-HEOR) is an academic degree program offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management. It is designed to offer studetns a foundation in evaluation methods necessary to promote the efficient and equitable allocation of healthcare reserouces in public health. The MHS is constructed from a common core of courses and two tracks that offer futher specialization in one of two areas: economic evaluation or outcomes research.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The Masters of Health Science in Health Economics and Outcomes Research can be completed in nine months.
How does the MHS-HEOR compare to the MHS in Global Health Economics?
The Department of International Health administers a similar economics-related MHS program called the MHS in Global Health Economics. Like the MHS-HEOR, the MHS in Global Health Economics is a nine month academic degree that culminates in a research capstone project. The primary difference is focus and context. The MHS in Global Health Economics is primarily focused on international public health and the special challenges that come with working with health systems outside of the United States. The MHS-HEOR is primarily focused on the economic climate of the United States healthcare system.
I am still in my undergraduate program. Can I apply?
Yes. Seniors in undergraduate programs are welcome to apply.
What financial aid is available to MHS students?
The Department of Health Policy and Management does not offer any scholarships or tuition support for students of this program. If you are interesed in learning what financial aid opportunites are available on a schoolwide level, please look to the Office of Financial Aid.
Where can I find more information about the program?
You can visit the program website here.
What is the PhD in Health Policy and Management?
The PhD in Health Policy and Management is a full-time, residential, advanced academic degree focusing on independent research in the field of public health policy, health administration and systems management, and other related fields. Students of the PhD split their time between attending classes and earning hands-on training through research assistantships before engaging in an independent research project that culminates in a dissertation. Students are expected to live within a reasonable distance of Baltimore to attend classes and fulfill their research responsibilities.
The PhD has four distinct concentrations that allow our students to specify their specific area of interest:
- Bioethics and Health Policy
- Health Economics and Health Policy
- Health Services Research and Health Policy
- Health and Public Policy
These concentrations have distinct research foci, curriculum, and admissions committees. Applicants must select at least one of these concentrations when applying for the PhD.
What is the difference between the PhD and DrPH degrees?
The PhD is a research-focused academic degree intended for students who want to move into academia, teaching, or research. The DrPH is a professional degree designed for currently working professionals in fields related to public health. DrPH students are already in the field, acting as leaders in their organizations or on track to become senior leadership, and are looking for a terminal degree that allows for a flexible schedule so that they can continue working.
If you would like to learn more about the Schoolwide DrPH program, you can go to its website here.
How long does it take to complete the program?
On average, the PhD takes between 4-5 years to complete. Students need special permission from their advisor and the School in order to complete the program in less than 4 years.
I already have an MPH. Can I start my dissertation research right away?
No. Students cannot start their dissertation work until they have defended their dissertation proposal. This is usually done as part of the school-wide preliminary oral exams held during the second year of the program.
Do I need to have a master's degree to apply?
No. Applicants do not need to have a master's in order to apply and some are admitted with only a bachelor's degree. However, due to the limited number of spots each year and the high volume of applications we receive each year, we find that a larger number of successful applicants have a master's degree than not.
Do I need to have published a peer-reviewed paper to apply?
No. Applicants do not need to be published to apply or be accepted into the program.
Am I admitted to work with a specific advisor?
Yes. Applicants are paired with faculty members whose research interests closely relate to yours. These faculty members act as advisors and mentors, and students spend two years with them as research assistants. Once the student has passed their school-wide oral exam and have defended their dissertation proposal, this faculty member can continue to act as a thesis advisor, but if the thesis topic and research methods require an advisor with different specialities, students can receive a co-advisor who specializes in that topic.
Should I contact faculty before I apply?
Applicants are not required to contact faculty members prior to application or to identify a potential advisor. We do encourage applicants to research our faculty, their research interests, and to mention them in your application as faculty with whom you would like to work. You are welcome to contact specific faculty members to learn more about their current projects. Please keep in mind, though, that our faculty members are busy and have different policies in regards to when, who, and how they respond to prospective applicants.
What financial aid is available to PhD students?
PhD students are given an individualized support package when they are offered admission into the program. This support package is created from a combination of departmental funds, federal training grants, and other endowments. After a student has accepted the offer of admission, they can apply for more funds through endowments, training grants, and third-party sources. Starting in the third year, students receive a departmental scholarship that covers a portion of tuition expenses. Health insurance is covered by the university.
Are students given a stipend?
Yes. Students on average receive between $12,000 and $13,000 in stipend, though this may change based on available funds. Students will also have access to additional funds through teaching assistant, course assistant, and research assistant positions.
Can I work full-time while doing the program?
The School of Public Health and Department of Health Policy and Management does not forbid students from working full-time. The PhD program is full-time and the combination of classes being held throughout the day and the responsibilities associated with PhD training may be prohibitive to full-time employment. That said, we have had students who make it work and continue full-time employment from a previous employer, maintain multiple part-time positions to make up a full-time work schedule, or work as a consultant in their off-time to earn extra income.
Where can I learn more about the program?
You can find out more by going to the program webpage here.