Doctor of Philosophy in Social Policy

NIAAA Fellowship

Funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the NIAAA Training Program is a three-year, full-time PhD program offered by the Institute for Behavioral Health of the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy. Each fellowship includes full tuition support for three years, an annual stipend, and individual Brandeis University health insurance coverage. A fourth year of funding is available through the Heller School.

Program: Alcohol-Related Health Services Research

The focus of the program is the study of the impact of the organization, financing, and management of alcohol prevention and treatment services on quality, cost, access to, and outcomes of care. The primary objective of the program is the focused and rigorous preparation of doctoral students for research careers in universities, governmental agencies, or other research settings devoted to alcohol-related services research.

The NIAAA program builds on the multidisciplinary social science education and research opportunities offered at the Heller School. It offers doctoral students a core curriculum stressing conceptual models and research skills, while emphasizing the social context for alcohol treatment and prevention services and the relationship of these services to behavioral health, general health care delivery, and other service systems.

Key Areas of Study

The NIAAA Fellowship Program is designed to produce researchers with expertise in state-of-the-art concepts and research methods in health services research and health policy analysis with a focus on alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The focus of the curriculum and faculty research expertise address the following key areas:

  1. Organization and management
  2. Finance and reimbursement
  3. Outcomes and quality of care
  4. Cost and utilization; and
  5. Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis

Curriculum Requirements

The training program is sequenced to provide a doctoral education that includes the development of broad substantive knowledge in major policy areas, advanced training in the principles of research design and statistical reasoning, and experience in the conduct of research. Students must complete Heller PhD course requirements, including two content courses on alcohol, drug and mental health prevention, treatment and policy. In addition, each doctoral candidate must successfully complete an integrative comprehensive paper and obtain approval of a dissertation by a four-person committee. The dissertation must be on a topic relevant to the field of alcohol-related health services research and must use quantitative methods.

Research Opportunities

Trainees must participate in an existing research project during their training periods. All NIAAA trainees have opportunities to work with experienced researchers who are engaged in a wide variety of studies addressing alcohol-related services and policy concerns. At a minimum, each fellow is expected to be involved in an existing research project for approximately 8 hours per week for one full semester. This may take place at Brandeis or at an outside research setting. This experience will prepare students to undertake an independent research project, as required for the dissertation.

Stipends and Awards

Each fellowship includes full tuition support and an annual stipend (currently $27,144), as well as Brandeis University health insurance coverage.

Information and Application Procedures

Individuals interested in the NIAAA Fellowship Program apply directly to the Heller School at Brandeis University and must comply with the specific application and admission requirements of the Heller School. Applicants for the NIAAA Fellowship must be U.S. citizens. For further information about the NIAAA program, please contact one of the following:

Applicants must be accepted for the PhD program at the Heller School/Brandeis University before they can be considered for an NIAAA fellowship. There is no separate application process for the training grant. However, the Statement of Purpose from the admissions application may be used in the selection process and candidates are encouraged to discuss their interest in the training grant in their statement. We encourage inquiries regarding the NIAAA program prior to the submission of the Heller application. Inquiries regarding the PhD program should be directed to the Admissions Office at 781-736-3820 or

The deadline for submitting applications is January 4.

IBH Faculty and Senior Research Staff