Become a health professions educator, scholar, and leader

The PhD in Health Professions Education (HPEd) program prepares clinicians and other health professionals without a research degree to make contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning. The program meets the faculty requirement for doctoral-level expertise in numerous health professions. 

Several medical professionals wearing scrubs working with a patient

The PhD program incorporates and builds on the Institute's Master of Science in Health Professions Education (MS-HPEd) by providing additional part-time (or full-time) blended learning with outcomes commensurate with a research-based PhD. Candidates from similar MS-HPEd programs are welcome to apply.

Applicants can earn their PhD through one of two paths:

  1. Post MS-HPEd PhD: 33 credits
  2. Combined MS-HPEd and PhD: 66 credits
  • All required courses in the MS-HPEd degree: 33 credits (PhD students who have already completed this or a comparable master's degree can waive this portion of the requirements)
  • Core required doctoral courses in educational sciences, research methods, and implementation science: 18 credits
  • Online synchronous sessions: 2 credits
  • Dissertation seminar and mentored research spread over several semesters (with built-in gaps to enable IRB reviews and data collection): 7 credits

Required Courses: 60 credits
Electives: 6 credits
Curriculum Plan (66 credits)


View Curriculum Plan

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Design health professions curricula and evaluate program outcomes
  • Lead change and innovation in health professions education
  • Obtain intramural and extramural support for research projects
  • Engage in peer-reviewed scholarship in an area of expertise
  • Contribute to interprofessional education and practice leading to improved health outcomes

Students pursuing the PhD in HPEd can choose from the following concentration tracks: 

We are now accepting applications for Fall 2024 entry on a rolling admissions basis.

If you have any questions, please email us at admissions [at] (admissions[at]mghihp[dot]edu)

Applicants may apply for the PhD through two tracks for the Fall 2024 application cycles:

  1. Post MS-HPEd PhD: 33 credits

    Applicants who have a master’s level degree in health professions education from other institutions should apply through this track and include materials related to completed courses so that they may be applied toward the PhD. 
  2. Combined MS-HPEd and PhD: 66 credits

    Applicants who have very similar master's degrees or higher, should apply through this track. Some MS courses may be waived, and in other cases courses will not be waived. 

For either track each individual case will be considered on its own merits.  

Application Fee

All applicants are required to submit a completed online application. There is no application fee required for this program.


Applicants must have an earned bachelor's degree from one of the following:

  1. A regionally accredited U.S. college or university
  2. An accredited college or university (for those educated outside the U.S.)

Please refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website for additional information on regional accreditation and regionally accredited institutions.

Important: Applicants applying for the PhD in Health Professions Education program (33 credits) must have successfully earned a Master of Science in Health Professions Education (or equivalent) from MGH Institute of Health Professions, or a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.


The GRE is not required as part of the application process. The faculty will carefully consider applicant's previous academic record in the admissions decision.


The language of instruction and clinical education at the MGH Institute is English and a high level of proficiency in both written and spoken English is required.  Applicants who have not completed either an undergraduate or graduate program where English is the language of instruction must demonstrate English Language proficiency as part of your application to the MGH Institute of Health Professions.  If you have questions about the language requirements, please contact the Office of Admissions.

  • Applicants who are citizens of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  • Applicants who are candidates for graduation from an accredited degree-granting program in the United States or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above are also not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Acceptance to the IHP will be contingent upon successful completion of this degree prior to matriculation.

Please note that in some circumstances, demonstrating English language proficiency may be required by the academic program even if you are a citizen of a country in which the (or one of the) national language(s) is English. Decisions about the need for TOEFL or IELTS scores are at the discretion of the academic program to which you are applying in coordination with the department of OES.

The IHP accepts either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the application deadline and official score reports are required. The minimum TOEFL (internet-based) score accepted is 89 and the minimum IELTS score accepted is 6.5.  

  • To forward your TOEFL score please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS).  The MGH Institute of Health Professions code is 3513.
  • For IELTS, a Test Report Form may be mailed to MGH Institute of Health Professions and score information will be verified by the IHP directly. You may designate up to 5 schools to receive Test Report Forms at the time you register for the test.  To request additional Test Report Forms, contact your test center.

Please contact the Office of Admissions if you have any questions about the MGH Institute’s English Language requirements. 

Applicants are required to submit a transcript from each college and/or university attended, even if a degree was not received from that institution. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted throughout the application process, and official transcripts will only be required prior to enrolling in the program. 

The Office of Admission strongly encourages the use of online electronic transcript ordering which can be sent directly via email to admissions [at] (admissions[at]mghihp[dot]edu). If this is not an option and your institution does not participate in electronic transcript delivery, please request official transcripts be sent to the mailing address listed below:

Admission Office
MGH Institute of Health Professions
36 First Avenue
Boston, MA 02129

Applicants that have earned a degree from a non-US institution are required to submit a course-by-course credential evaluation from one of the following NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) members: Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., SpanTran: The Evaluation Company, World Education Services (WES), or the Center for Educational Documentation. If you earned your bachelor's degree outside of the U.S. this credential evaluation must document minimum equivalency of a US baccalaureate degree or higher.

Personal Statement

All applicants are required to compose an essay that addresses the following:

In a 500-700 word statement, please discuss your academic objectives pertaining to your proposed plan of study, including contemplated research projects and professional career goals. Include evidence from your past educational, administrative, research, or teaching experiences that demonstrate your ability to succeed in the doctoral program. Applicants should include how their goals align with those of the HPEd program related to:

  • Build skills in teaching and assessment of learners in the health professions 
  • Generate scholarship to address gaps in current literature supporting health professions education
  • Develop skills to assess and advance change in education across the health professions

Diversity Statement (Optional)

MGH Institute of Health Professions is committed to an inclusive campus climate that welcomes students who will enrich the diversity of thought and perspective, and therefore, enhance the learning experiences of all. In what ways might you personally contribute to improving the experience of the campus as a welcoming and inclusive place to learn? 

Essay should be 12 pt. font, double spaced, and two pages in length.

Recommendation Letters

Applicants are required to provide two recommendation letters. All recommendations will be processed electronically through our online application. Please provide contact information for each recommender within the online application.

Recommendation letters should come from individuals who are able to address your academic ability, character and integrity, as well as your potential for graduate professional study. At least one letter should come from an academic reference. One letter is required from an MGH Institute faculty member particularly if you are IHP alumni or have previously worked with one of our faculty.

An optional third recommendation letter may be included; however no more than three recommendation letters will be reviewed as part of your application.

Resume or CV

Applicants are required to submit a current resume or CV.

The most important and exciting aspect of earning a PhD is the opportunity to master a subfield related to your work and experience while conducting original scholarship that contributes to your subfield and pushes it forward. Students come to MGH Institute from all areas of healthcare with a variety of goals. We offer students an opportunity to apply once, to our MS-HPEd program, and continue through to their PhD without another application. This is especially valuable to students with less experience in health professions education. Our faculty are available to meet with you to help you decide what path is right for you.


Schedule a Consultation

Upcoming Events

10 Jun
Jun 10 2024 12:00pm-1:00pm
Virtual - Zoom
15 Jul
Jul 15 2024 12:00pm-1:00pm
Virtual - Zoom

The IHP Advantage

Professor gestures to a student in front of a white board

Customized Program Design

You will work with a dedicated advisor and dissertation committee to conduct cutting-edge research on a topic of your choice. Contribute to the field with quantitative measures, including the number and diversity of publications, presentations, and student outcomes.

two ladies chatting on the couch

Learn on Your Schedule

Blended instruction and research balances the flexibility of distance learning with onsite instruction to develop your scholarship. We will help you plan your research around your work schedule and integrate it into your clinical setting.

researchers work together to analyze scans on a monitor

Hone Your Expertise

Take the next step to becoming a leading expert in your field. Master literature pertaining to your chosen topic, identify knowledge gaps, and conduct research to fill them. Leverage collaborations with Harvard Macy Institute, Mass General Brigham, and the Center for Medical Simulation.

Learn from Experts

View All Expert HPED Faculty
Janice C. Palaganas, PhD, RN, NP, ANEF, FNAP, FAAN, FSSH

Founding Director, Center of Excellence in Healthcare Simulation Research Principal Investigator, REBEL Lab Professor, Health Professions Education

Roger A. Edwards, ScD

Chair, Professor Health Professions Education

Anshul Kumar, PhD

Assistant Professor Health Professions Education Genetic Counseling

Anne W. Thompson, PT, EdD

Adjunct Associate Professor Term Lecturer Health Professions Education

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

The PhD in Health Professions Education was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in June 2019. The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) approved the PhD in Health Professions Education at its September 2019 meeting.