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AbstractAbstract This manuscript presents an initial description of doctoral level core competencies for health services research (HSR). The competencies were developed by a review of the literature, text analysis of institutional accreditation self-studies submitted to the Council on Education for Public Health, and a consensus conference of HSR educators from US educational institutions. The competencies are described in broad terms which reflect the unique expertise, interests, and preferred learning methods of academic HSR programs. This initial set of core competencies is published to generate further dialogue within and outside of the US about the most important learning objectives and methods for HSR training and to clarify the unique skills of HSR training program graduates.