Program goal

The doctoral program in healthcare policy and research trains students to understand the economic, political and social factors that affect access to care and the quality and cost of health care. Graduates of this program will have strong methodological and theoretical skills that will prepare them to make important contributions to the fields of health care policy and public health. Their training will enable them to add to scientific knowledge about how health policy, social factors, financing systems, organizational structures, care processes, health technologies and personal behaviors affect health care outcomes.

The program is structured to provide progressive mastery of the design and analysis of health services research. Program graduates will be able to formulate health care policy; to plan, implement and evaluate health programs and policies; and to interpret research findings in ways that are practical and policy-relevant to a variety of audiences. Trainees obtain experience working with colleagues in public health, medicine, psychology and other disciplines and to advance to positions as health policy researchers in academia, government or the private sector.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Content and theory: Students will critically articulate how health policies are developed, implemented and evaluated.
  2. Critical and analytical thinking: Students will accurately analyze and synthesize health policy research.
  3. Research methods: Students will demonstrate proficiency in designing, conducting and interpreting health policy research. Students will write and submit a grant proposal.
  4. Effective communication: Students will communicate effectively to translate and disseminate research findings for health policy audiences.

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

Enrolled students may access the program handbook on Blackboard.

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on doctoral programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.