Graduate Degree in Health Economics: Program Overviews

Master's and PhD programs in health economics may focus on both the financing and administering functions of U.S. healthcare institutions in order to prepare graduates for careers as health economists or managers in both the public and private sectors.

Essential Information

Graduate programs in health economics can lead to a master's or doctoral degree. These programs usually last between one and two years. Concentrations and specializations are offered by some schools; in doctoral programs, students typically choose a specialization in their second year of study.

Master's degree programs may request that applicants have a bachelor's degree, a satisfactory GPA, and have completed courses in subjects such as calculus and economics. Some schools may recommend that prospective students have work experience.

Before being admitted to a PhD program, applicants may be required to have a bachelor's or graduate degree and a satisfactory GPA. Some schools request a personal statement and a resume as well.

Master of Science in Health Economics

Students enrolled in a Master of Science in Health Economics program may learn more about international health and management. Some academic disciplines concentrate on economic metrics, healthcare technology, and quality studies. Depending on the program, it could take a year to two years to earn a master's degree. Some course topics in a graduate degree program in health economics might include:

  • Analytic methods
  • Econometrics
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health policy

Ph.D. in Health Economics

Doctoral students in health economic programs may learn about microeconomic theories, research methods, and healthcare-related literature. Individuals may have the opportunity to gain a general education their first year and focus on a concentration, such as applied economics or economic evaluation, their second year. Empirical analyses, quantitative methods, and economic dimensions are areas that PhD programs could focus on. Other course topics might include:

  • Public health research
  • Healthcare systems
  • Statistical inference
  • Proposal writing
  • Systematic reviews

Popular Career Options

Health economists are eligible to work in a variety of areas, both in the U.S. and internationally. Career opportunities include:

  • State health agencies
  • Hospital chains
  • Health insurers
  • Consulting firms

Employment Outlook & Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that between 2014 and 2024 employment of medical and health services managers would grow 17%, which is much faster than the average of other occupations (www.bls.gov). As the medical industry grows, so will the necessity for managers to help with business operations, cites the BLS. Payscale.com reported in January 2016 that most healthcare administrators made a yearly salary that ranged from $31,667 to $105,060, including bonus and other perks.

To summarize, admission to graduate degree programs in the health economics field could require work experience and relevant undergraduate degrees. However, these programs can lead to very lucrative careers in the medical and health services field.

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