The Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy doctoral degree program at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy offers a learning and research environment that combines the collaborative opportunities of the Texas Medical Center’s world-class healthcare and scientific community with the academic resources and award-winning faculty at Houston’s only Carnegie Institute-designated Tier One public research university.
Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy (PHOP) consists of pharmaceutical practice and policy research - a multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that examines cost, access, and quality of pharmaceutical care from clinical, socio-behavioral, economic, organizational and technological perspectives. Traditional and innovative areas of pharmaceutical health outcomes research include pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacoeconomics, comparative effectiveness research, patient-centered outcomes research, and translational research.
The graduate program offers structured learning and experiences in health care systems, health care quality, health behavior, biostatistics, multivariate analyses, research methods and design, pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacoeconomics. Elective courses such as secondary data analyses, multilevel modeling, patient-reported outcomes, and risk adjustments provide advanced learning experiences, along with the opportunities to participate in grant proposal writing and teaching and research practicums. These courses provide essential training and preparation for the comprehensive exam and dissertation defense. The course of study to complete the degree is anticipated to take approximately five years after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree.
Applicants to the Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy Ph.D. program must have either completed or expect to complete a B.S. degree in a similar area with an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale. Applicants with a pharmacy background and/or advanced training will be given preference, and prospective students with health care-related backgrounds and/or experience are encouraged to apply. A GRE score is required to apply for the PhD program. International applicants must also submit an internet-based TOEFL (iBT) score (minimum composite score: 79, with a minimum writing score of 20).
For complete admission information, please visit Pharmacy Graduate Admissions.
General Degree Requirements
The student must complete a minimum of 70 hours for the PhD degree, including 19 credit hours of dissertation research and defense and a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate or doctoral degree courses approved by the departmental faculty. A maximum of 18 hours of related graduate coursework completed while the student has been a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston may be transferred upon the approval of the Chair of the Department Graduate Studies Committee. In accordance with the University of Houston guidelines, the department may approve a maximum of 9 hours of transfer credits from another institution. Transferred credit will only be considered for coursework with earned grades of B or better. A minimum of 18 hours of elective courses are required, of which 9 hours should be 7000-level or higher.
A minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 (A=4.00) must be maintained in all graduate-level courses required for the Ph.D. degree in order to obtain an advanced degree from the College of Pharmacy. Graduate-level courses are defined as all courses required for the Ph.D. degree as defined either by the department and/or dissertation committee.
Graduate students are allowed only 3 ‘C’ grades throughout the Ph.D. program. Students will be automatically put on probation upon receipt of their second ‘C’ grade and will be withdrawn from the program upon receipt of their third ‘C’ grade. Additionally, students receiving a grade below ‘C’ in any core course are required to repeat the course during its next offering. A student with a D, F, or I as the most recent grade in a graduate level course for a degree plan will not be eligible for graduation.
Students are required to take a written comprehensive exam before taking the oral comprehensive exam.
Written Comprehensive Exam
All students will be required to pass written comprehensive exams before starting their dissertation research. The objectives of these exams are to ensure that students are proficient in the core and specific areas of their research. The written exam consists of two tests: Core and Area of Emphasis. The Core exam will include Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Statistics/Research Methods tests. This exam is administered by the Departmental Graduate Studies committee. The Area of Emphasis test is conducted by the major advisor in consultation with student’s dissertation committee.
Oral Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation Proposal Defense
All students will be required to successfully complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam should be completed within one year of the completion of the written comprehensive exam. The oral exam will be conducted during the student’s dissertation proposal by the student’s dissertation committee. During the oral comprehensive exam, students will be expected to conduct a proposal presentation of their dissertation research topic.
The defense will begin with a brief (approx. 30-45 min) presentation by the student that summarizes the research study and the proposal. The committee may examine the student to understand the student’s knowledge regarding the research topic but will not be restricted to the project. The committee may also examine the student on relevant information related to the research project, such as the literature in the area of the research project and any relevant information from prior course work that the student has completed. At the conclusion of the defense, should the committee make the recommendation to accept the proposal without modification, the student will proceed with the proposed study as outlined in the proposal.