FAQs

Q: Is it possible to complete any of the graduate programs part-time while working full-time?

A: Yes. The Biostatistics & Data Science, Health Policy & Economics and Health Informatics Master’s tracks can be completed part-time (within 20 months), allowing students to work full-time.

  • The Certificate programs are a part-time curriculum. Please review each program as times for completion vary according to specialization.
  • For the EMBA/MS program, please refer to the Cornell University website

Q: Do you have residencies or fellowships?

A: The Department of Healthcare Policy and Research offers the following residency and fellowship opportunities:

  • Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP), which provides project funding support to medical professionals whose research aims to improve population health through data analytics.
  • Residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine, a two-year ACGME-accredited residency program that strives to produce leaders in modern public health, either to pursue careers in academia, healthcare policy or advocacy.

Q: Are there any available post-doctoral positions? How can I apply?

A: Post-doctoral training opportunities can vary according to division. We invite you to review our Divisions & Institutes and our Open Positions.

Q: Does a part-time student earn the same degree as a full-time student?

A: Yes, part-time and full-time students earn their degrees in Master of Science in Healthcare Policy and Research from Cornell University.

Q: Can I transfer credits from another institution? / Can I transfer any credits towards my degree?

A: Yes. Under limited circumstances, the Education Committee may permit students to apply to waive credits gained from another institution

  • To apply, a student must submit syllabi and official transcripts for the relevant coursework. The Education Committee will evaluate the request to determine whether the student has previously satisfied the requirements for a certain course. A student may be awarded up to a maximum of six waived credits toward their degree program. 
  • If the Education Committee allows credits from an outside institution to be waived to Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, the student will not be required to take the equivalent course that he or she had previously completed; however, the student will be required to complete the full number of credits to graduate by taking additional elective courses.

Q: Can courses be waived?

A: Students who have successfully completed one of the Certificate programs will be able to transfer those credits earned toward the Master of Science program, should the candidate apply and be accepted to that program. Upon entry into the M.S. program, the Education Committee will count the course requirements that were completed during the certificate program, and the student will only be required to complete the remaining courses.

Q: If admitted, can I defer my start date?

A: Please contact the Associate Director of Education, Brian Carroll, regarding a deferred start date.

Q: What is the duration of the full-time and part-time formats?

A: Full-time status students can complete the master’s program within 12 months, including the capstone. Part-time status students can complete the master’s program within 18-20 months, including the capstone.

Q: What is required for admission to the graduate programs?

A: Admission is Contingent Upon Receiving the Following Items:

Online Application

Online Application Form

Your online application also includes an application fee of $75 unless you apply early. Contact us for an application fee waiver once you are ready to submit your online application materials.

Personal Statement
Your personal statement should be no more than 2 - 3 pages in length and outline the following items:

  • Your interest in the field you are applying to
  • Any previous operational and/or research experiences you have in this field or a related area of study
  • Your career goals and how this degree will help you achieve them
  • Any skills, previous experiences, and/or other information that is not readily identified in the other items you submit that would make you an ideal candidate

Resume/CV

Three Letters of Recommendation

These letters can be from current/former academic mentors, current/former supervisors, and/or any other individuals who can speak to your capability to succeed in a program like ours, as well as your academic, research, communication and leadership skills.

Once you designate who your recommenders are in the online application, the system will automatically contact them and provide instructions on how they can submit their letters. Please make sure to contact your recommenders in advance, so they know that this will happen. Also, remind them that their letters must be on official school and/or company letterhead.

College Transcripts

  • College transcripts should be submitted for all previous colleges attended (undergraduate, graduate, and professional).
  • Official transcripts will be required upon acceptance, however students may submit unofficial transcripts with their initial application.
  • For international candidates: Transcripts that meet any of the following criteria must be translated by World Education Service (WES) or Education Credential Evaluators (ECE):
  • Transcript is not in English
  • International student's transcript is not on a 4.0 scale
  • Domestic student's transcript is not on a 4.0 scale

GRE/GMAT Scores (optional)

  • GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT test scores are not required to be considered for admission, but are recommended as they can strengthen your application overall. If you decide to submit them, please use Institution Code: 2119
  • TOEFL Scores (or TOEFL equivalent, e.g. IELTS) scores are required for all international students who have not pursued a degree at an institution that teaches their curriculum in English. To submit your scores, please use Institution Code: 2119

For more information and all required materials, please see the Admissions Information page.

Q: What are the admissions deadlines?

A: Please check Admissions Information to see the deadlines for these programs. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possibly, before the stated priority deadline, to avoid potential seat capacity or timing restrictions.

Q: What tests do you accept and can I waive test scores? Is there a time limit on my test scores?

A: The following test scores are required as part of the admissions application:

    • GRE/GMAT Scores (optional)
      • GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT test scores are not required to be considered for admission, but are recommended as they can strengthen your application overall. If you decide to submit them, please use Institution Code: 2119.
    • TOEFL Scores (or TOEFL equivalent, e.g., IELTS) scores are required for all international students who have not pursued a degree at an institution that teaches their curriculum in English. To submit your scores, please use Institution Code: 2119.

Q: What type of undergraduate degree do I need to apply?

A: While students come from various, diverse academic backgrounds, the M.S. in Healthcare Policy & Research is designed to train individuals who want to work in healthcare delivery, health insurance, health policy, public health, healthcare research and development, and other healthcare related fields. Ideal candidates will have a background in at least one of the following: biology, computational methods (programming or statistics), public health or medicine.

Q: Can I check the status of my application?

A: You can check the status of your application on the application portal site.

Q: When can I expect to receive a decision on my application?

A: Decisions for admissions into the Master’s track programs will be delivered by early May. For decision into the EMBA/MS program, refer to their admissions website.

Q: I want to take a course at HPR. How to I enroll as a non-degree student?

A: Non-matriculated students not currently enrolled in another degree-granting program at Weill Cornell Medicine may take up to two (2) Healthcare Policy & Research courses for a grade. Enrollment is contingent upon approval from the course instructor and space availability.

Non-matriculated students taking courses for a grade are responsible for the full cost of each course. All non-degree seeking students must first complete this application before attending any course. 

Non-matriculated students not currently enrolled in another degree-granting program at Weill Cornell Medicine may audit up to two (2) Healthcare Policy & Research courses for no grade. Enrollment is contingent upon approval from the course instructor and space availability. Non-matriculated students must pay half the price of each audited class.

Q: What is an appropriate length for my personal statement?

A: No more than 2-3 pages. Be sure that your statement addresses: 1) any relevant experience you have with this field, including coursework, research, and operational experiences; 2) why you are interested in studying at Weill Cornell; and, 3) what you hope to do after graduation and how this degree will help you accomplish those goals.

Q: What is the current cost of the program?

A: This information can be found on our website under the prospective student page. Review information on tuition costs.

Q: When will admissions decisions be announced?

A: After your application materials have all been submitted and verified, it normally takes 3-4 weeks for your application to go through the entire review process. Once your application is finalized, there is normally a processing time of 1-2 weeks before your application is put into the review queue. So, it should take roughly 1-2 months for you to receive a response back from us with an admission determination, unless you have applied before the first application deadline, which might cause response time to be potentially longer.

Q: Is it required to have GMAT/GRE scores?

A: GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT test scores are not required to be considered for admission, but are recommended as they can strengthen your application overall. 

How long is the GRE score valid? 5 years

How long is the MCAT score valid? 2-3 years

How long is the GMAT score valid? 5 years

How long is the TOEFL score valid? 2 years

Q: Is work experience required to apply for this M.S. program?

A: There is no minimum requirement for work experience. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, from those recently out of their undergraduate degree programs, to medical professionals, and operational and research experts who have been in the field for 20 or more years.

Q: How much does it cost to apply to the program?

A: There is a $75 application fee to apply to the program. However, if you apply before the priority deadlines mentioned on our website, if you reach out to our education team, we will be more than happy to provide you with an application fee waiver so that you do not have to pay the $75 expense.

Q: Can I apply for more than one program or more than one Master's track?

A: You cannot apply for more than one track or program. Please select the track or program that matches your interest and career goal.

Q: Can I visit the campus?

A: Yes, you are more than welcome to come to the campus for a tour, to meet with the education staff, to talk to current students, or meet with a program director. We offer several informational sessions on campus. More information will be announced on our website. You are also able to sit in on a current course if it works within the course’s schedule and the faculty director approves. If you are interested in having lunch with our current students, the education team may consider accommodating your needs. If you are interested in any of these items, please contact the education team hpr-education@med.cornell.edu to schedule a visit.

Q: Once I receive my acceptance letter, what is next?

A: When you receive your acceptance letter, there will be a few items that are required of you to inform the education team of your decision to join the program. You will need to submit a confirmation that you intend to join the program by the deadline on the letter and also send in your deposit check. The deposit is currently set at $1,000 and will guarantee your position in the program for the incoming cohort. The money submitted for your deposit will go toward the tuition expenses of your first term.

Q: What if I cannot enroll the program even though I receive an acceptance letter?

A: You are permitted to defer your admission by one academic year (e.g., if you were accepted for 2018-2019, you would be able to extend that offer for the 2019-2020 cohort, but no later). Deferment can only be requested by one year. If you decide that you want to wait any additional amount of time, you will need to reapply to the program.

Deposit payments are nonrefundable.

Q: Does Weill Cornell Medicine provide housing for students?

A: Housing is not provided to Master’s students. All students are responsible for their own housing. The department has a few resource documents that are helpful when beginning the housing search process. If you are interested, please reach out to the education team for these materials.

Once the cohorts have been finalized, we will also create a mailing list for the incoming cohort to be able to interact with one another. This is a great way to find potential roommates as many of the incoming students are also looking for housing.

Q: Are there any scholarships?

A: The Department of Healthcare Policy and Research gives out a limited amount of scholarship funds to incoming cohorts each year. Please note the priority deadlines on our website to find out the deadline to be considered for these funds. Please note: there is nothing additional student applicants need to do in order to be considered for the departmental scholarships. Students are evaluated on academic preparedness, previous research, operational, and academic experiences, submitted test scores and letters of recommendation.

Other than the departmental scholarship funds, there are no other scholarships that the department/Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences directly manage. There are often scholarships in the respective fields of Biostatistics, Data Science, Health Informatics, Health Policy, and Health Economics that students can apply to. To find these sorts of opportunities, a good first resource would be checking the websites of professional organizations in these fields, such as AcademyHealth, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), HIMSS, and the American Statistical Association (ASA). Various federal agencies often have funding for students to pursue as well, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Q: I am an international student. Can I work in the U.S. after graduation?

A: Yes, you can apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa after graduation. You will be able to file for additional 2 years for STEM extension since this program is considered STEM field in addition to a year from your OPT after graduation. This means you can work in the U.S. up to 3 years.

Q: How can I find Financial Aid?

A: Financial Aid is available to any domestic student, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. There are no financial aid options for international students. For a full listing of the aid opportunities available to our students, please review our financial aid information or contact the financial aid office.

Q: What is the financial verification process?

A: If you are accepted to the program, you will need to prove that you have sufficient financial means to study in our program. This financial verification process is done in conjunction with the Financial Aid and Student International Affairs Offices. You will need to provide documentation showing that you have financial means to cover the cost of tuition and cost of living expenses for a period of 12 months. Guidelines about this process will be shared with you with your acceptance letter.

Q: What is the difference between a capstone and portfolio project?

A: The overall goal of the capstone program is to help students discover and develop new and effective ways of communicating, managing, and working with all stakeholders in the healthcare field. The capstone helps trainees to develop the contextual awareness, integrative management, and industry technical skills that are needed to lead and affect change in a rapidly expanding healthcare sector.

This capstone puts you in a new organization, with a group of fellow graduate trainees, so that you get hands-on training and experience in a multitude of environments as a part of your graduate training. The technical and soft skills learned during the capstone, in addition to the coursework in the degree program, will help you advance to the next stages of your career.

The portfolio project follows the same format as the capstone and is good preparation for those individuals who wish to pursue a doctoral degree after completion of the masters. Instead of being part of a group of students, allowing you to choose a specific role, such as student project manager, student client liaison, or student analyst, a student pursuing a portfolio would be expected to perform all of these tasks themselves. Portfolios often follow a more traditional thesis like approach, and often culminate in a publication, which is good preparation if the student wishes to pursue training at the doctoral level or segue into academic research.

Q: How many hours are spent on capstone-related items?

A: It depends on the phases. Phase I has less of a time requirement than Phases II or III since it is about identifying a project, group and organization. Phase II’s time expectation would equate comparably to the amount of work expected in an academic course. Phase III is the culmination, which includes a substantial bit of writing your project report, preparing a final presentation, and doing analyses and literature reviews for the report. Timeline and specific tasks may vary by each track of the M.S. program. Please contact at hpr-education@med.cornell.edu for specific questions.

Q: How long is the capstone project?

A: The capstone is a one-year long project that has three phases. Phase I consists of identifying both a potential project, group of peers, and ideal organization to match you into based off of the degree program you are in and what you hope to do after graduation. Phase II will be spent integrating yourself and your team into the organization, building your project and collecting data on your project’s findings. Phase III will be the culmination of all of your hard work and integrates all of your findings into a final analysis. This phase includes a final project report and project presentation. Timeline and specific tasks may vary by each track of the M.S. program. Please contact at hpr-education@med.cornell.edu for specific questions.

Q: Mentoring

A: We keep our class sizes and student-to-faculty ratio low so that our students get the most personalized experience possible. Because of this, mentorship by a faculty member throughout the program is provided to all of our students.  Many even continue their relationship well after becoming alumni and working in their careers. Our faculty within the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research have over 170 years of combined experience and are experts in topics such as health policy, informatics, economics, health services research, biostatistics, epidemiology, cost effectiveness and comparative effectiveness.

Q: Collaboration

A: Being in New York City is a huge asset for our program. Local institutions collaborating with Weill Cornell Medical College include New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery, Rockefeller University, the State Department of Health, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and more. We have close ties to other departments within the Medical College and University, as well as Cornell Tech.

Q: Faculty specialty

A: Our faculty focus on a variety of projects related to key healthcare policy and delivery topics, developing and spreading critical evidence that can be used to improve healthcare.

Our faculty members have substantial research strengths across a variety of areas including health care policy and economics, data analytics and informatics, and comparative effectiveness and health outcomes research. Their innovative, quantitative and qualitative research addresses questions of the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and comparative effectiveness of various health care interventions and delivery models.

Q: I am interested in becoming a part-time student since I am full-time employed. Does this program require students to complete a Master’s program within 12 months?

A: Full-time students can complete the health informatics curriculum in 12 months. However, part-time students can complete the M.S. program within 18-24 months. We sometimes intentionally keep coursework during the early evenings to ensure that our full-time and part-time students attend the courses.

Q: What kinds of jobs have graduates gone into?

A: Trainees often go on to work in the healthcare field or for healthcare affiliated organizations, including start-ups, consulting firms, universities, public health offices, and local, state, and federal agencies. To share some of HPR alumni career outcomes after the program, HPR alumni work in the healthcare field or for healthcare affiliated organizations such as Healthix, EY, McKinsey, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, FDA, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, ProspHire, and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.  Moreover, several HPR alumni are currently pursuing PhD or another advanced degree programs at universities like Brown University, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.

If you are interested in learning more about specific career outcomes by track, please contact at hpr-education@med.cornell.edu.

Q: What background preparation do I need? Do I have to have medical background, education or training?

A: Students in biostatistics and data science programs often come from a variety of backgrounds. Our primary preference that we seek in applicants is experience with college level calculus, and/or a background in statistics or applied mathematics. Additionally, while not required as a pre-requisite, we do prefer our students to have some familiarity with computer programming languages, such as Python, Java, C, or others. Beyond this, students with backgrounds in public health, medicine, health sciences, biology, etc. are ideal. This program specifically teaches students how to use Python and R.

What time are classes normally held? Your course schedule will vary each semester, but courses generally offer afternoon or evening. There might be coursework occasionally scheduled outside of this time for a specific purpose – as an example, there is an elective course that involves healthcare providers, and this can only be done during their opening hours, which are in the afternoon.

Also, we sometimes intentionally keep coursework during the early evenings to ensure that students are able to work or pursue research/internship opportunities during the day.

Q: What background preparation do I need? Do I have to have medical background, education or training?

A: Students in health informatics often come from three large categories, which are: 1) a computational or quantitative background (e.g., applied mathematics, biostatistics, computer science, information technology); 2) medicine (e.g., nursing, pharmacy, medical school, or other medical field); or, 3) the basic and biomedical sciences (e.g., biology). Public Health is also an important field to know and understand as a health informatician. As long as the applicant has familiarity with one of these areas, the coursework you take in the program will help to fill any gaps in your training or knowledge as they apply to health informatics. While not a prerequisite for joining the program, we also do like when students have previous experience or exposure to computer programming languages, such as C, Python, Perl, Java, etc. This program specifically trains students to use Python and R.

Q: What time are classes normally held?

A: Your course schedule will vary each semester, but courses generally offer afternoon or evening. There might be coursework occasionally scheduled outside of this time for a specific purpose – as an example, there is an elective course that involves healthcare providers, and this can only be done during their opening hours, which are in the afternoon.

Also, we sometimes intentionally keep coursework during the early evenings to ensure that students are able to work or pursue research/internship opportunities during the day.

Q: What background do you require for this degree?

A: We consider applicants from a variety of backgrounds, not just those who were health policy and economics majors. Students typically enter from diverse backgrounds including sociology, population health, basic sciences, public policy, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and healthcare administration and related areas.

Q: Is this program too technical? Or require high quantitative skills? Or Econ backgrounds?

A: No, advanced quantitative skills or an economics background is not needed. Our core courses which you take in the first semester will prepare you for quantitate courses in the second and third semesters. For example, the core courses include introductory statistics and health economics. This will prepare students for more advanced courses in the program.

Q: What do you mean by hands-on experience in data work?

A: For some courses, students will be given datasets and asked to complete assignments with them. Also, our capstone project or portfolio allows you to be working on real data (e.g., EHR).

Q: What are the difference between MPH and HPE, and our program?

A: There are some differences. For example, most MPH programs tend to place greater emphasis on population health, epidemiology, and patterns of disease. MPH programs also tend to be more theoretically oriented while our HPE program is more applied with a practice-based focus. Our program emphasizes a broader policy perspective to include payment policy, health insurance coverage, and structural issues related to the health care delivery system. Our goal is to prepare our students to work effectively in organizations and in the related policy environment as well-trained health care researchers with strong analytic skills.

Q: Can the certificate be transited to the MS in HPE, HI, or BDS?

A: Yes. However, you still need to apply for the MS program. Once you are admitted, three courses that you completed from the certificate program will be transferred to the MS program.

Q: Do I need to apply the same way as for your Master’s program?

A: To apply for the certificate program, students also need follow the same way as for the Master’s program. Application materials include online application, personal statement, Resume/CV, three letters of recommendation, college transcripts, GRE/GMAT scores (optional), etc. Please refer to our application information for more details.

Q: What background preparation do I need? Do I have to have medical background, education or training?

A: Students applying to any of the certificate program tracks should have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a competitive GPA and strong quantitative skills. Standardized test scores are not required.

Please note, all accepted students pursuing the Health Analytics track who do not have previous experience with the R programming language will be required to complete a self-paced course on R during the summer before classes begin.

Q: What’s the current cost of tuition?

A: This information can be found on our website under the prospective student page. Or review Information on tuition costs.

Q: How many courses do I have to complete for the certificate program?

A: Students are required to complete 3 courses (1 course per semester) in total to get their certificate. Please review the curriculum for each respective certificate program.

Healthcare Policy & Research 402 E. 67th St. New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-8001