5 questions that usually don’t get answered: HEPM edition

After completing my first year of master’s in Health Economics, Policy and Management (HEPM) at Karolinska Institutet, I realized that there are some valid questions and concerns from prospective and admitted students that don’t get a straightforward answer by reading the programme’s official webpage. I collected some of the most popular questions I’ve received trough email and calls as digital ambassador, in order to help you understand a bit better our programme.

Do I need to have a background on economics?

This is definitely one of the most common questions I received. The simple answer is no. Only some of my classmates are economists, while the rest come mostly from a health related background.

We start with the basic concepts of microeconomics in the Financing health and medical care course on the first semester, and continue to increase our literacy on economics during the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes course. The extent of knowledge you might obtain also depends on you! You have a lot of material and human resources available to learn as much as you can.

Can I work while studying my master’s?

This is a tricky question for me to answer, but still very frequent. The programme is supposed to be full time, and if you comply perfectly with the schedule that includes individual and group study time, then you definitely won’t have much time left for working. The reality is that the flexibility of the schedule on the time allocated for studying makes it quite easy to adjust.

The big problem is that the schedule changes dramatically from course to course, and teachers have the right to make modifications on short notice since the programme is supposed to be full time. Therefore, it is really hard to maintain a job if your availability is going to be changing constantly. Additionally, I personally don’t recommend skipping lectures in a master’s level, since a big part of the learning process happens thanks to the interaction in the classroom.

Can I specialize/choose a track?

No. The programme is very holistic and integrates the three areas: health economics, health policy and healthcare management. Every course is compulsory to obtain the degree.

Having said that, the thesis project represents a good opportunity to dedicate more to one or two of the areas. The whole 4th semester is dedicated to the elaboration of your project, which can definitely focus specifically on one of the three areas.

Do I need to know statistical analysis softwares (SPSS, STATA, R) before starting the HEPM programme?

I had this concern myself before starting the programme since I had little previous exposure to statistical analysis softwares. The answer is that although you don’t need to know anything about these softwares before joining, having a bit experience gives you a time advantage on the computer lab sessions.

During the Epidemiology and Statistics I and Health Outcomes Measurement courses you will learn the basics on how to use SPSS, so don’t panic.

Is it difficult? Do I need to prepare anything before starting the programme?

If you are like me, you might find yourself stressing out about what to read or study before starting in September. The most appropriate answer is nothing! Just enjoy your summer and free time before starting your new journey.

Nonetheless, I would definitely suggest you to read carefully the programme structure and course syllabus that are available online. You might find some new words and concepts that could be helpful to lookout before arriving to Stockholm.

In regards to difficulty, I wouldn’t say the programme is super hard. As any other master’s, it doesn’t take too much to just pass, but if you really want to learn all the outcomes and take the most of it, you need some discipline and hard work. The best part of our programme is that we have people from so many different backgrounds that we complement each other.

For more info about the programme’s perceived difficulty, please go to my blogpost titled Summary of first year of Health Economics, Policy and Management master’s programme

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please feel free to hit me with an email if you have any questions or concerns.

Yours truly,

Julio Sosa.

email: julio.sosa@stud.ki.se

Instagram: @julio.sosam


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