The nursing profession has a growing role in the health policy arena. Nurses with policy expertise are assuming leadership roles in advocacy, research, analysis, and policy development, implementation and evaluation.
They work in health services research firms, legislative and regulatory offices, health maintenance organizations, advocacy organizations, or health care provider associations. Some hold elective office.
The Health Policy specialty focuses on preparing students to provide policy leadership in a variety of settings. Graduates learn to identify and critically analyze laws, regulations and policies at the institutional, local, state, and national levels.
They prepare to use their in-depth knowledge of the history, structure, theory and process of health policy-making in the United States to plan, implement, and evaluate policies. Additionally, they will understand the economic, ethical, and social implications of policy decisions, and devise and use strategies to effectively advocate for policy change.
Course of Study/Curriculum
All students will complete courses in Communications and Policy Leadership, Ethical Dilemmas & Nursing, Health Care Economics and Policy, Health Economics, Health Policy Research, Policy Proseminar and Practica, Policy Residency, Policy Research Utilization, Race and Class Factors in Health Care, and Theories of the Policy Process.
Students may also take electives that include Comparative Health Care Systems, Economics of Managed Care, Ethics and Policy in Genetics, Health Care Institutions, Long Term Care Policies, Perspectives on Social Policy and Health, Social Policy and Aging, and Tobacco Control Policy Issues.
In addition to coursework, master's students complete a 10-week health policy residency.
This may involve working in policy settings that include: legislative and regulatory offices, advocacy organizations, foundations involved in setting agendas for funding policy-related research and programs, health care organizations, community organizations, and professional associations.
Residencies emphasize the application of policy skills in real-world settings.
Past students have completed residencies in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and Geneva at the World Health Organization in addition to numerous San Francisco-area placements. You can watch podcast reviews of prior student residencies at the UCSF Podcast library.For more information, please contact: Brandee.Woleslagle@ucsf.edu
last updated 3/7/2013
Nursing Health Policy program links:
- MS specialty in Health Policy
- PhD specialty in Health Policy
- Minor in Health Policy
- Post-Masters Health Policy specialty
Frequently Asked Questions
Each applicant is reviewed as a whole.
Goal statement, letters of reference, extracurricular activities, language skills, activities on-the-job, research activities, work experience, professional organization activities, and Grade Point Average (GPA) are ALL considered when the application is reviewed.
List all of these aspects.
Be sure to ask colleagues to review your goal statement. Include examples of on-the job activities. Describe any volunteer and professional activities. Make sure to ask your colleagues for "excellent" references and have them give specific reasons why they believe in your success.
Masters Programs: An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on the 4.0 maximum scale) is expected for admission into the School of Nursing, although special circumstances can be discussed.
Doctoral Programs: an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.2, and, if a graduate (master's) degree has been earned, a Grade Point Average of 3.5 is expected, verified by official transcripts.
Caution: transcripts from outside the USA require special handling.
Non-English transcripts or international transcripts (especially transcripts using different grading systems) should be submitted for translation and/or evaluation to a transcript evaluation agency.
The purpose of the evaluation is to verify that your degree/coursework is the equivalent to that of a US Bachelor or Master's degree.
Evaluation agencies provide a variety of services. Be sure to request an evaluation that provides the following:
- Lists all subjects/courses completed at the post-secondary level
- Provides a U.S. semester credit and grade equivalent for each course
- Provides a U.S. grade point average (GPA) for the Bachelor's degree or its equivalent on a 4.0 scale, and
- Designates the level (upper or lower) of each undergraduate course
Un-translated non-English transcripts will not be accepted.
Many of our students find that sharing housing is a good approach to solving both the availability and cost issues. Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area may be expensive, but help can be found with the campus Housing Office, the Student Affairs Office, and previous graduates can often give advice.