Program goal

The Ph.D. in Health Services Organization and Research program is designed to prepare individuals for careers in teaching, research and consulting at the highest level of capability in the field of health care organizational analysis and health services research. Graduates will be competitive for positions at the nation’s top research and teaching institutions, governmental agencies and health care organizations.

Student learning outcomes

Dimension  
Foundational knowledge of health careDisplay comprehensive knowledge of the context of health care systems, institutions, actors and environment.
Theoretical knowledgeApply organizational theoretical and conceptual models relevant to health services research.
Generate research questions and hypothesesReview, critique and synthesize a body of research, identifying significant gaps in knowledge, methods and study subjects to develop research questions and testable hypotheses.
Study designSelect appropriate interventional (experimental and quasiexperimental) or observational (quantitative, qualitative or mixed) study designs to address health services research questions. Use a conceptual model to specify study constructs and develop valid and reliable variables to measure the constructs.
Data collection and managementSample and collect primary health and health care data and/or assemble and manage existing data from public or private sources.
Ethical conduct of researchDescribe procedures that ensure the ethical and responsible conduct and dissemination of research.
Data analysis and interpretationApply rigorous quantitative and qualitative analytical strategies to specific research questions. Demonstrate ability to interpret results of data analysis.
Communication and knowledge transferEffectively communicate issues, research findings and implications of health services research verbally and in writing to appropriate professional, scientific, student, policy and lay audiences.
IntegrationDevelop and conduct original research that includes identifying the research question, selecting the theoretical framework, developing a study design, using appropriate methodologies, conducting the analysis and interpreting the results.

The doctoral program is designed to meet the professional development needs of:

  1. Researchers, educators and policy analysts who want to develop in-depth theoretical and research capabilities about health services organizations
  2. Clinical professionals who want to acquire a broader perspective on health care organizations and systems and to develop applied research skills in health services organization
  3. Administrative professionals who want to prepare for positions as consultants or researchers in complex health organizations

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

All enrolled students will be provided a handbook at orientation.

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Ph.D.Fall onlyMar 15GRE or GMAT
Applications received by Dec 15 are given priority for fundingInternational students: TOEFL
(Applications reviewed throughout year)

Special requirements

  • Candidates with one to two years’ experience in the health care industry preferred.
  • A part-time enrollment option, which requires three years of course work prior to the dissertation research, is also available.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Graduate degree (in an academic or professional field) with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  2. Working knowledge of college-level algebra
  3. Advanced courses in statistics and economics
  4. GRE/GMAT scores on verbal and quantitative at or above the 50th percentile
  5. TOEFL scores required for international students
  6. Transcripts and VCU application forms
  7. Three letters of reference
  8. Interview with HSOR admissions committee

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must complete a minimum of 57 credit hours of course work. This includes 48 hours in four major areas of study and nine hours of dissertation study. Students take two written comprehensive examinations, covering health services organization and theory and health services research methods. Eleven credit hours of foundation course work are required. The program director and admissions committee may waive some of these courses. However, the credit hours required for the program are not reduced.

Curriculum requirements

Foundation courses
HADM   602Health System Organization, Financing and Performance3
HADM   624Health Economics3
HADM   702Health Care Financing and Delivery Systems3
HADM   711Introduction to Health Services Organization Research I1
HADM   713Introduction to Health Services Organization Research II1
Health services organization theory courses
HADM   701Organizational Behavior for Health Services Research3
HADM   704Foundations of Health Service Organization Theory3
HADM   705Advanced Health Service Organization Theory3
Theory elective (see list below)3
Health services research methods courses 1
ECON   501Introduction to Econometrics3
ECON   612Econometrics3
HADM   760Quantitative Analysis of Health Care Data3
HADM   761Health Services Research Methods I3
HADM   763Health Program Evaluation3
Method electives (see list below)3
Specialization courses
Select elective courses that comprise an area of specialization (see list below) 27
Dissertation research
HADM   898
HADM   899
Doctoral Dissertation in Health Services Organization and Research
and Doctoral Dissertation in Health Services Organization and Research
9
Total Hours57
1

Includes content on such topics as design and analysis, research methods, causal thinking, and multivariate statistical analysis 

2

With adviser’s assistance (Courses are generally drawn from other VCU programs and independent study with department faculty.)

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 57

Elective courses

Theory
BUSN   700Principles of Scientific Inquiry in Business3
EPID   600Introduction to Public Health3
MGMT   743Organizing Systems3
MGMT   750Attitudes and Motivation in Organizations3
MGMT   757Corporate Strategy and Long-range Planning3
Methods
BIOS   524Biostatistical Computing3
ECON   642Panel and Nonlinear Methods in Econometrics3
EDUS   711Qualitative Methods and Analysis3
MGMT   691Topics in Management1-3
PPAD   722Survey of Data Analysis Techniques in Public Policy3
SBHD   610Behavioral Measurement3
SCMA   632Statistical Analysis and Modeling3
STAT   675Time Series Analysis I3
Specialization 1
BIOS   524Biostatistical Computing3
BUSN   700Principles of Scientific Inquiry in Business3
ECON   642Panel and Nonlinear Methods in Econometrics3
EDUS   711Qualitative Methods and Analysis3
ENVS   691Topics in Environmental Studies1-3
EPID   600Introduction to Public Health3
HADM   792Independent Study in Health Services Organization and Research1-3
MGMT   691Topics in Management1-3
MGMT   743Organizing Systems3
PPAD   722Survey of Data Analysis Techniques in Public Policy3
SBHD   610Behavioral Measurement3
SCMA   632Statistical Analysis and Modeling3
STAT   675Time Series Analysis I3
1

Other electives may be approved by adviser.

Graduate program director
Jan P. Clement, Ph.D.
Professor and director
Email: jclement@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-7799

Additional contact
Chuky Spivey
Program coordinator
Email: ckspivey@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-7799

Program website: had.vcu.edu/prospective/phd