IHPME’s HSR PhD is designed for researchers interested in extensive training in health services research theory and methodologies. Graduates will feel prepared to take on senior leadership roles in academia, research, policy, and planning in both the public and private sectors.

Entry Term: Fall

Accepting Applications: September 23, 2023

HSR Application Deadline: November 15, 2023

Study Options: Full time, flex-time

Time Commitment: 4-6 years

Supervisor: Although it does not guarantee admission, communicating with potential supervisors is helpful in structuring the letter of intent required for your application. Review Faculty Profiles and Research and Initiatives to find potential supervisors that align with your research interests.

Fees and Funding: Accepted full-time PhD students are eligible to receive a funding package.

Studying with an Emphasis

HSR PhD researchers should select an emphasis that aligns with their professional background and interests. Students must select an emphasis in:

Faculty lead: Eric Nauenberg & Boriana Miloucheva

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of fundamental economic principles as they relate to the healthcare sector. This emphasis builds capacity in mathematical and statistical techniques while providing students with practical knowledge on how to effectively communicate research motivations, study designs, findings, and implications to various audiences including academics and decision-makers. Students will feel equipped to critically analyze health policy issues and have a deeper understanding of resource allocation, health services supply, and how healthcare markets work.

Areas of study include: 

  • Health economic theory
  • Health economic evaluation
  • Health econometrics and machine learning

Faculty lead: Nelson Shen & Emily Seto

Students will design, evaluate, and use health informatics capabilities to better manage information and improve healthcare delivery. This highly interdisciplinary emphasis tackles major issues around the design, development, and evaluation of electronic solutions in consumer, community, and acute care settings. Students will be prepared with the necessary research tools, including the use of conceptual frameworks and research methods, to investigate specific areas of interest. 

Areas of study include: 

  • Development and evaluation of digital health innovations
  • Implementation of digital health innovations
  • Health informatics theory

Faculty lead: Fiona Miller

Students will investigate the political, social, and economic conditions that produce and distribute health and illness across populations and jurisdictions, and examine the systems devoted to sustaining public health and to financing, governing, and delivering healthcare and related social services.

Areas of study include: 

  • Comparative health policy and systems
  • Public health policy
  • Healthcare policy
  • Health technology policy

Faculty lead: Whitney Berta and Liane Jeffs

Students will explore organizational behaviour, organizational theory, strategic management, implementation science, sociology, and industrial-organizational psychology to understand the organization of health services and the impact of management and organizational practices on performance. This highly interdisciplinary field will explore diverse topic areas including how healthcare organizations are managed, leadership, healthcare practitioners, patient safety and quality of care, team functioning, organizational change, inter-organizational relationships and networks, governance, and evidence-based management.

Areas of study include: 

  • Health practitioner outcomes (e.g. burnout, turnover)
  • Motivation and leadership in HSR organizations
  • Strategic decision making
  • Change implementation

Faculty lead: Kelly Smith

The Health Services Outcomes and Evaluation emphasis draws upon several academic disciplines including epidemiology, program evaluation, and economics to systematically examine the impacts of health services on the health status of various populations. Students should have demonstrated knowledge of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, primary data collection and secondary data sources, and the strengths, weaknesses and appropriate application of different research designs and data analysis strategies.

Areas of study include: 

  • Program evaluation
  • Comparative effectiveness, safety, economic and other outcomes of health systems, services & programs 
  • Methods for health services research 

Faculty lead: David Naimark & Brian Chan

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is an interdisciplinary field that advances and applies theories, concepts and methods in order to inform decision-makers on the introduction, use, and dissemination of health technology. The HTA emphasis encompasses quantitative and qualitative methods to equip students with skills within the main pillars of HTA to be able to critically analyze health policy issues related to health technology. 

Areas of study include: 

  • Evidence synthesis
  • Economic evaluation
  • Social, legal and ethical consequences of emerging technologies

Knowledge Translation

The Knowledge Translation (KT) area of study explores the broad domain of KT and implementation science in healthcare. Students will learn about theories and frameworks that help to inform KT, research approaches, methods and methodological challenges, and current and future KT and implementation science research relevant to the healthcare sector. Students interested in this area of study can add it to any of the HSR emphases (for both MSc and PhD), or the course-based MSc, by taking two of the KT courses.

See the KT courses within the HSR Course Descriptions.

Program Outcomes 

The PhD in HSR provides in-depth and comprehensive training that equips professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills necessary for senior roles in academic or within public and private sectors. HSR has cultivated collaborative research opportunities with prominent industry, government agencies, and non-government agencies. This extensive network provides students with unique research opportunities to publish in leading academic journals.

Finance Your Degree

At IHPME, we offer a variety of financial supports to help you succeed in our graduate programs.

Learn More About this Program

HSR Program Director

Katie N. Dainty
Email Address: katie.dainty@​utoronto.ca

Co-leads the management of the HSR Program.

Graduate Administrator

Zoe Downie-Ross
Phone Number: (416) 946-3486
Email Address: ihpme.grad.admin@​utoronto.ca

Coordinates student records, graduate funding, and student-related awards.

Graduate Admissions

Christina Lopez
Email Address: ihpme.admissions@​utoronto.ca

Manages admissions and responds to all related inquiries.

Graduate Assistant

Nadia Ismail
Phone Number: (416) 946-4100
Email Address: ihpme.grad.assist@​utoronto.ca

Coordinates various graduate initiatives including defences, student events, and graduation.

HSR Program Assistant

Anita Morehouse
Phone Number: 416-946-3922
Email Address: ihpme.hsr.courses@​utoronto.ca

Manages the HSR courses including enrolment, grades, and access to Quercus.