This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

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

Foundational knowledge of health care Display comprehensive knowledge of the context of health care systems, institutions, actors and environment.
Theoretical knowledge Apply organizational theoretical and conceptual models relevant to health services research.
Generate research questions and hypotheses Review, critique and synthesize a body of research, identifying significant gaps in knowledge, methods and study subjects to develop research questions and testable hypotheses.
Study design Select 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 management Sample and collect primary health and health care data and/or assemble and manage existing data from public or private sources.
Ethical conduct of research Describe procedures that ensure the ethical and responsible conduct and dissemination of research.
Data analysis and interpretation Apply rigorous quantitative and qualitative analytical strategies to specific research questions. Demonstrate ability to interpret results of data analysis.
Communication and knowledge transfer Effectively communicate issues, research findings and implications of health services research verbally and in writing to appropriate professional, scientific, student, policy and lay audiences.
Integration Develop 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 academic regulations 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 academic regulations 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 academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

All enrolled students will be provided a handbook at orientation.