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Graduate Programs

Masters Programs

Masters of Arts in Economics – Health Economics Concentration

The masters program in economics provides a thorough grounding in modern economic analysis. The program blends theory and quantitative methods.

Canadian students are expected to have an honours BA in economics, including the advanced microeconomics and macroeconomics courses (that is, one course in each beyond the full-year intermediate courses) and some econometrics. The university requires students to have maintained a B+ average in the final two years of their undergraduate programs, but it practice, students with less than an A- average are seldom admitted.

Students from foreign universities are expected to have equivalent backgrounds. Although equivalency is difficult to determine, here are some guidelines for a few countries:
India: First class standing in the bachelors degree and upper second class standing in the masters degree.
Bangladesh and Pakistan: First class standing in both the bachelors and masters degrees.
China: A four-year degree with an average of at least 85%. The subject area should be economics, not business. Strong skills in both mathematics and statistics/econometrics are expected.

Students concentrating in health economics are required to take two graduate courses in health economics

For more detailed information regarding general program requirements and features, please see:

This program is appropriate for individuals who are seriously contemplating continuing on for doctoral studies in economics.  
Master of Arts in Economic Policy – Health Economics Concentration

The program is designed to develop economists with a solid knowledge of economics, skill in using economic ideas and methods, and a strong policy orientation.  The objective is to provide students with graduate-level economics training that has clear policy application. The program differs from a typical masters in economics program in that it provides more experience applying analytical tools to policy problems, greater emphasis on the institutional features and policies of relevant sectors of the Canadian economy, an understanding of the strengths and weakness of alternative policy evaluation methods, more interaction with policy-makers, and more emphasis on writing and presenting policy analyses.   The program will differ from public policy programs by emphasizing relevant graduate-level economics training.   

Applicants will normally be required to have an honours bachelors degree in economics or its equivalent. However, the program will also be open to students who do not have an economics major but who have sufficient training in economics and statistics (for example, students with a minor in economics).

Students concentrating in health economics are required to take two graduate courses in health economics and undertake the required policy project in the area of health economics.  

For more detailed information regarding general program requirements and features, please see:

This program is appropriate for those who seek a terminal masters degree that prepares them for work in the public service, industry or other relevant research and policy organizations.

Master of Science in Health Research Methodology – Health Technology Assessment or  Health Services Research Fields   

The M.Sc. Program in Health Research Methodology is designed to provide the opportunity for advanced education and research in research methodology used to understand and improve the effectiveness of health care and its delivery, the health of the population and health professions education. The program is divided into two admissions streams: Health Professionals (Stream I), and Background in Health, Social, or Biological Sciences (Stream II). Stream II students often come from backgrounds in health, social or biological sciences. The training received by these students is intended to provide the skills necessary for them to function as researchers in the health care system.

Applicants must have completed a four-year honours university degree with a B+ average (75-79% equivalent to a McMaster 8.5 grade point average) in the final year. Meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission. Prior training in mathematics, statistics or the biological sciences is not a prerequisite. Students with background in health studies, kinesiology, health economics and other social sciences are encouraged to apply. Applicants with previous experience in health-related research settings tend to have an advantage over other applicants.

Students specializing in the field of health technology assessment are required to take . . .  Students specializing in the field of health services research are required to take . .
For more details regarding the program please see:

This program is appropriate for those who seek interdisciplinary training in health research with an opportunity to concentrate in health technology assessment or health services research.

Masters in Business Administration – Health Services Management Stream
The Health Services Management (HSM) Specialization at McMaster is the only MBA program of its type in Canada.  It combines expertise found in McMaster University's renowned Faculty of Health Sciences and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business with hands-on training gained through work experience in health care organizations. The competent professional health services manager is a critical element in the framework of effective and efficient delivery of health services. Such individuals need solid management grounding in the fundamentals of planning, operations, and evaluation as well as a broad orientation to the realities and inherent growth potentials of our health system.   
This program produces graduates who have the specific capabilities which the health industry is seeking and who have developed their networking skills to take advantage of the new opportunities being generated in this challenging and rapidly changing field.
The underlying assumption of this stream is that it will produce a unique graduate with accelerated capabilities in the health services field. This solid MBA training includes selected graduate courses from the health sciences and is coupled with a range of work term experiences in the health sector designed with specific educational objectives.
Students in the HSM specialization are required to take at least one course each in health economics and health policy analysis, and depending on their interests and background, can expand this aspect of their training.

For more information regarding the HSM stream within the MBA program, see:

PhD Programs

PhD in Economics – Health Economics Field
The PhD in economics with a specialization in health economics provides advanced training in economics designed to produce economists capable of original, innovative contributions to the field health economics.  A student in the doctoral program must successfully complete three sets of requirements: coursework, comprehensive exams, and thesis. These stages should be completed in 4-5 years.
A doctoral candidate must complete the micro- and macro-economic theory sequence, econometrics requirements, and eight one-term electives. The electives must be chosen so that the student satisfies the coursework requirements for the health economics field:  
A doctoral candidate must also pass comprehensive exams in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory and two fields. In addition to health economics, the available fields are:  Econometrics, Economic planning and development, Growth and Monetary Economics, International economics, Labour economics, Population economics, Public economics
The theory comprehensives are normally written after the first year of coursework; the field exams are normally written at the end of the second year of coursework.   The comprehensive exams must all be completed within two years of a student’s admission to the program.
Students are given wide latitude in their choice of thesis topic, but each topic must be approved by a supervisory committee consisting of three faculty members. Students who have reached the thesis stage of their program must attend the graduate students’ workshop and give several presentations on their research. Once a thesis has been submitted, the student must defend his work at an oral examination.

For additional information, see:

PhD in Health Research Methodology – Health Technology Assessment Field
The main objective of the HRM doctoral level program is to provide students with a broad perspective and advanced skills for in-depth exploration in focused areas of research methodology, and to prepare students with a capacity for independent scholarly work in health care research or population health. Specific objectives include:
to undertake scholarly enquiry of the theoretical bases for the design of studies, measurement of health care and health status, and analysis and interpretation of the data derived from such studies
to make original contributions to knowledge in the development of new methods or techniques of design, measurement or analysis which can be used in the evaluation of health and health care at the level of the individual, group, program, community, and population
to advance existing methods or techniques applied to health care research or health care problems in a unique way
to prepare students to contribute to the solution of problems in the Canadian health care system
Those specializing in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) focus their training on the evaluation of the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and broader impact of drugs, medical technologies, and health systems, both on patient health and the health care system. The goal of the HTA field specialization is to train individuals who, upon graduation, will have acquired sufficient skills to be actively involved in independent and collaborative research in the field of HTA. Graduates will be expected to:
• acquire a strong foundation in the basic principles of HTA
• develop skills in advanced decision analysis
• apply research methods derived from health economics
• understand and use basic and advanced biostatistics
• utilize health services research and health policy analysis concepts and methods.
HTA students will be expected to collaborate with one of the many research groups conducting HTA at McMaster University.

PhD in Health Policy – Health Economics Field

The PhD in Health Policy is a new interdisciplinary, inter-departmental, inter-faculty Ph.D. at McMaster University that offers health economics as one of its areas of specialization.  Health policy is an interdisciplinary field that investigates how health policy is made, what it is, what it might become, and its impacts.  Graduates of this program will have advanced understanding and analytic skills for understanding and making leading contributions to health policy, both as academic scholars and as professionals engaged by governments and other health sector organizations.

The curriculum includes both interdisciplinary breadth and field-specific depth. All students must enroll for the first 3 terms in a doctoral seminar dedicated to the advanced study of health policy problems, ideas, and analytic approaches.  In parallel, all students will receive core training their chosen area of specialization.   All students develop competence in quantitative methods, including multivariate statistics and research design, as well as basic qualitative methods. These breadth competencies create a basis for interdisciplinary collaboration, critical appraisal and use of diverse research information, and new skill acquisition as necessary throughout the career.  Students may further specialize in either quantitative or qualitative methods, establishing the foundation for leading an independent empirical research program.

Admission requirements include graduate training in a relevant field; a Master’s degree is strongly preferred.An A- or higher grade average in past graduate coursework is required, as is at least one graduate-level statistics half-course.