Health Economics Degree Program Overviews

Oct 20, 2019

There are very few specific degrees in health economics, but graduate training is available through master's and doctoral degree programs in public health or health policy.

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Essential Information

Students in a health economics program learn about using economic principles to determine the best way to allocate health care resources in the United States and around the world. While there may be very few master's degree programs titled health economics, there are many options for master's-level study.

Health economics coursework is available within programs entitled Master of Public Health, Master of Health Administration and Master of Health Policy. As is the case with master's degree programs in health economics, there are very few schools that offer a designated Ph.D. in health economics program. Specific health economics coursework can be found in Ph.D. programs in health policy and economics. A Ph.D. program prepares students for research and instruction in the field. Prerequisites for these graduate programs often include a bachelor's degree with courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, calculus and linear algebra, and an economics background is preferred.


Master's Degree Programs in Health Economics

These programs offer some coursework in health economics and health care. Opportunities may be available to specialize in health economics. Courses involve the intensive study of economics and its application to health care systems. Students are typically expected to conduct research and write a scholarly paper or thesis. Some course titles may include:

  • Microeconomic theory
  • Public health economics
  • Statistical study of public health
  • Evaluating health care using economics
  • The study of epidemiology
  • Forecasting using macroeconomics

Ph.D. Programs in Health Economics

This program is an intense study into health economics, health services research, health policy and management. Courses focuses on research methods and economic theory. Most programs involve a dissertation project as well. Some course titles might include:

  • Economic evaluation of health programs
  • Advanced health economics
  • Advanced health services research
  • Research into health care outcomes
  • Public health econometrics

Popular Career Options

An individual with a master's degree in health economics may find a job studying health care services as a health economist either in the public or private sector. Other possible job titles include:

  • Financial analyst
  • Health policy consultant
  • Health economics researcher
  • Market analyst
  • Public policy consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Individuals with a Ph.D. degree can find jobs as postsecondary instructors and professors. The median annual salary for postsecondary economics teachers was $101,480 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicted that job growth for these postsecondary teachers will increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028.

Few students interested in health economics are able to find degree programs specifically for health economics; however, many are able to get the training they need from a master's degree program in public health, health administration and health policy. A Ph.D. in health policy or economics may also provide students with career opportunities in the field.

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