Specialization in Health Policy

Health policy has monumental impact on societies, locally, nationally and around the world. Policymaking in this field must weigh factors ranging from child welfare to employment law, the national economy to breakthroughs in medicine and care. The Harris Health Policy Specialization is designed to provide students with the background, concepts and tools necessary to understand and address pressing health policy problems.

Students who complete this specialization will be able to:

  • Understand the economic, human capital and governmental inputs forces that influence the production and consumption of health resources
  • Articulate how regulatory bodies affect decisions by individuals, providers and payers
  • Analyze the efficacy of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion, medical savings accounts, medical specialization, pharmaceutical innovations, health maintenance organizations and behavioral nudges.

The specialization's menu of electives is designed to allow students to explore the multiple disciplines and fields that speak to domestic and international health challenges, such as the organization and regulation of health care provision, influential international actors such as the Gates Foundation, public finance, behavioral science and program evaluation. In addition, we encourage students pursuing this specialization to participate in events sponsored by the Center for Health and the Social Sciences and the Harris Health Policy Student Association that bring scholars and practitioners to campus.

Harris specializations function as areas of specialization within the degree. Specializations assume knowledge of the 6-course Harris Core and build upon that foundation with coursework in specific policy areas or technical skills.

Application Process

The specialization is open to any University of Chicago graduate student. Harris students please indicate your intent to pursue this specialization using the Harris Specialization Declaration Form. If you are a non-Harris student and intend to complete the requirements for the Health Policy specialization please submit the Harris Specialization Application for Non-Harris Students to indicate you are pursuing this specialization.

For specialization registration questions, please reach out to harrisregistration@uchicago.edu.

Planning for the Specialization

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by specialization. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter(s) offered has been indicated.

Specialization Requirements

The specialization requires completion of three specialization courses. Students must achieve at least a B- grade in each course. No specialization course may be taken on a pass/fail grading basis. Students should complete the formal signup process to indicate their intention to pursue the specialization.

Required courses

Students must complete one of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

Elective courses

Students must complete two of the following courses to fulfill the requirement:

Specialization Contacts

Kelsey Bogue, Administrative Director

David Meltzer, Specialization Director

David Meltzer


David Meltzer

David O. Meltzer is currently leading a Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation Challenge award to study the effects of improved continuity in doctor patient relationships on the costs and outcomes of care for frequently hospitalized Medicare patients.