How to Apply

This page outlines the information you'll need to apply to the Health Policy PhD program. Please also contact the program directly for additional information. Applications for the Health Policy PhD program for the 2022-23 academic year are now being accepted (due by December 20, 2021). Click here to begin your applications.

Please note there is only one admission cycle per academic year, which runs from September to August. Applicant documents are processed throughout December to February, with results typically finalized between March to May of each year.

To listen to the recording of the virtual Open House for prospective applicants held on Oct 13th, 2021 click here. Presentation slides from the Open House can also be viewed here.



Admission Requirements

Admission into the PhD program requires:

  • Previous graduate training in a relevant field, a Master's degree is preferred (for example, social sciences, health professions, policy, business, legal or administrative professions);
  • An A- or higher grade average in past graduate coursework;
  • Completion of at least one graduate-level statistics half-course. Students without this preparation are required to take a graduate statistics course in advance of admission, to ensure they can effectively focus on the required courses for this PhD program;
  • A mature intellectual interest in health policy topics and high scholarly promise;
  • Strong letters of recommendation; and,
  • Meeting or exceeding University requirements for graduate admission, as detailed in the current Graduate Calendar.
  • “The Health Policy program is the only program of its kind in Canada, not only because of its faculty members that have vast experience and knowledge in many different areas, but also the students that they attract”

    - HP PhD Student

Application Procedure

You should identify a potential faculty supervisor and contact supervisor(s) of choice well in advance of applying to the program.  This is important to establish that there is mutual interest in a supervisory relationship, to ensure that the faculty member is currently inviting new doctoral students, to get a preliminary assessment of your preparation and relevance of previously completed graduate coursework toward some curriculum requirements for the PhD.  Potential supervisors may request a telephone or in-person interview with prospective applicants.

An online application must be completed through the School of Graduate Studies at McMaster University. You can access the application here. You will be asked to submit the following support documents (do not upload additional documents not on this list):

  1. Two references. It is recommended to select individuals who are most familiar with your academic work.
    • Your reference will be promoted to complete a Confidential Application for Admission after your application has been fully submitted. They are welcome to provide a separate letter of support, though this does not replace the confidential report.
  2. A 1,000-word Research Statement of Interest
  3. Electronic copies of your transcripts.
    • Original and official transcripts from every college/university you have attended (undergraduate and graduate, including the legend) will only need to be sent directly to the program, from each academic institution if you receive an offer into the program
    • English transcripts are required
    • WES reports are not accepted
  4. A copy of your current Curriculum Vitae in a conventional format
    • Note: there is no template for this.
  5. A copy of your TOEFL scores, completed within the last 2 years, if applicable. Graduate degrees, received from an English medium university, wave the requirement for a TOEFL (or IELTS). A certified copy of your TOEFL scores are to be sent directly to the program, from the testing agency
  6. An Application for Coursework Waiver, if appropriate, along with a complete copy of the course syllabus.

Please ensure to upload your application materials electronically. Hard copy items that are being sent by surface mail, courier, or hand-delivered, can be sent to the following address:

Admissions, Health Policy PhD Program
McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, CRL-201
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada

We regret that forms and supporting materials cannot be returned.

Prospective students should ensure that their application materials have been received by periodically reviewing the checklist, as applications will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee only when your file is complete. Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed, space permitting but will have a lower chance of acceptance and be less competitive for scholarship or fellowship funding. Post-Degree applicants must follow the same online application procedure as listed above and will be informed if space is available once after all PhD applicants have been processed.

Important: The information on this website is frequently updated and may change at any time. Please consult the McMaster Graduate Calendar for policies during the current academic year. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Health Policy PhD Program directly for up to date information.


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