MPH Concentration: Health Services and Policy


Health Services and Policy focuses on health care systems, governmental and organizational decisions plans, and actions that affect the health of populations. Health services concentrate on social, economic and behavioral factors affecting the use of health care services, whereas health policies focus on actions to improve health through legislation, research, direct care, community empowerment and regulations. Leading practitioners in the advancement of health services and policy lead students in examining and understanding the organization, financing and delivery of health services, offering a comprehensive and practice-based foundation for students who wish to pursue careers in management, policy and research.

Application Deadlines

Priority: December 1st
Final: April 1st

October 1st

March 1st


Concentration at a glance

MPH students in this concentration will take the public health core courses plus 24 units of concentration-specific coursework (16 units of concentration core courses + 8 units of elective courses) ranging in topics that include policy analysis, health services research methods, quality in health care, and policy and politics.

Concentration Core Courses (16 Units)

PM 508 Health Service Delivery in the U.S. (4 units)

Historical development of the American health care system; determinants of health care utilization; role of health care providers; health policy; public health services; and health care finance.

Prerequisite: PM 502

PPD 503 Economics for Public Policy (4 units)

Economic theory as applied to public policy. Concepts of efficiency and equity, analysis of market failure and policy interventions.


In addition, students will choose two of the following to complete their core coursework:

PM 504 Quality in Health Care (4 units)

Examines quality assessment at different levels of the health care system including health plans, physicians, hospital and integrated system performance.

Prerequisite: PM 502

PM 507 Public Health Services Research Methods (4 units)

​A practical examination of methods and data sources used to evaluate public health services and conduct policy research and evaluation within health care delivery systems.

Prerequisite: PM 502 and PM 510L and PM 512

PM 547 Public Health Policy and Politics (4 units)

Examination of major policy issues in the U.S. health care delivery system to understand policy options in reforming health care and reducing health care disparities.

Prerequisite: PM 502a

Electives (8 units)

Elective options can be found on the concentration Course Plan.

female doctor doing paperwork

Why study health services and policy?

  • It is one of the three core areas of public health.
  • It provides the mechanism to take what we know is important in public health and transforms these ideas into legislative action and policy at all levels of government.
  • To improve the public’s health through policy development and implementation at the local, state, and federal and global levels.
  • To improve public health, including the health care delivery system, through advocacy, education, and research.
  • To help pass and improve laws and regulations that promote health, improve access to health care, and to reduce disparities.

What types of work will students be able to do after graduating?

  • Analyze bills and other forms of legislative or regulatory actions.
  • Review and assess the impact of proposed or existing legislation on an organization or a population sub group.
  • Develop policy briefs, prepare letters or testimony, and/or brief to others on the impact of policy.
  • Form policies and help write and make comments on bills or government regulations.
  • Organize others around advocacy and policy development.

Careers in the Field

What are some job titles that graduates can seek in this field?
  • Government affairs specialist
  • Public health policy analyst
  • Community advocate
What are some agencies students could work for?
  • A state or local public health department
  • A county or a city governing body
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Hospital or physician groups
  • Advocacy organizations (i.e. American Cancer Society)
  • Governing bodies (i.e. State Legislature, congress, city council)
  • Government agencies (i.e. CDC)

Explore MPH Concentrations


In a time of ongoing discoveries in the biological sciences for new risk factors, treatments and prevention of disease, students in this concentration learn different approaches to understanding the distribution and determinants of disease in populations.

food program

Community Health Promotion

This concentration prepares community health practitioners to assess the needs of populations and to design, implement and evaluate health promotion programs for diverse audiences.

young woman in front of flags

Global Health

Students in this concentration build skills to effectively strengthen global, regional, national and local public health systems, enhance public health preparedness and emergency response, implement effective policies and programs, and protect and improve global health as a whole.

Health Services and Policy

Students in this concentration focus on health care systems, governmental and organizational decisions plans, and actions that affect the health of populations.

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