vcu banner

Graduate Programs in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes


Graduate Degree in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes

Graduate degrees in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes are designed to prepare students for pharmacy career opportunities in industry, government, and academia. It focuses on the study of economic, social, and administrative problems in pharmacy. Previous graduates from this and other Pharmacoeconomics Programs typically take non-traditional career paths working in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Federal and State Government, Professional Associations, Health Care Systems, Managed Care, Consulting, and Academia.

Combined PharmD/Graduate Degree

The combined Pharm.D./Graduate Programs in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes are designed to prepare students for pharmacy career opportunities in industry, government, and academia. It focuses on the study of economic, social, and administrative problems in pharmacy. Previous graduates from this and other Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes Programs typically take non-traditional career paths working in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Federal and State Government, Professional Associations, Health Care Systems, Managed Care, Consulting, and Academia.

Educational Options in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes

Students can enroll in either the Masters of Science or Ph.D. programs. Enrollment into the program can either be after graduation from a professional pharmacy degree or other similar program or as part of the combined Pharm.D./Graduate program. This document will focus on the post graduation option.

A Masters of Science (M.S.) degree in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes is a graduate degree designed to provide advanced study within a specialized area of pharmacy. Students develop the ability to study drug use problems in-depth and design strategies to solve them. These problems can cover a wide range of topics including clinical, managerial, and practice related issues. Students develop a broad range of skills by taking graduate classes and working closely with clinical and pharmacoeconomics faculty. Students demonstrate their mastery of these skills by completing a major research project called a thesis. The thesis can be about interesting questions in pharmacy practice, pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, clinical practice, and marketing.

The Ph.D. Degree in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes is a research degree that is the highest educational degree possible. It trains students to answer complex research questions and develop high levels of research and analysis capabilities. Like the M.S. program, students can study in a broad range of areas relating to pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes. Unlike the M.S. program, however, students complete more complex research (i.e., a dissertation). This education prepares individuals for career opportunities at the highest levels of government, academia, consulting, and industry. Career opportunities with this degree are global.

Who Should Consider the Graduate Program in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes?

A graduate degree in Pharmacoeconomics and Health Outcomes may be appropriate for students who:

  • Wish to differentiate themselves from others
  • Are dissatisfied with traditional career opportunities
  • Want to pursue nontraditional career opportunities
  • Have a desire to learn and explore new ideas
  • Desire intellectual stimulation and challenge.

Program Goals

  • To give students a greater understanding of problems and issues in Pharmacy.
  • To teach students to apply research principles and problem solving skills to clinical and practice related problems.
  • To provide a series of practical research experiences that permit a student to develop skills and knowledge that will be of value to employers.
  • To participate in scholarly research in collaboration with pharmacists and other health care professionals.
  • To prepare graduates for a variety of career opportunities in settings such as managed health care, institutional pharmacy practice, the pharmaceutical industry, government, and academia.

Program Description

This Program prepares graduates to apply methods from clinical, managerial, economic, and social sciences to problems associated with the distribution and use of pharmaceutical products and the provision of pharmacy services. Students can specialize in a broad array of disciplines that permit them to develop a theoretical foundation with which to approach these problems. Some possible areas of specialization are listed below.

  • Pharmacoeconomics
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Sociology
  • Health Services Research
  • Education
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Care Policy
  • Gerontology

Methods from these disciplines are incorporated with knowledge from the pharmaceutical sciences to provide a unique perspective when addressing problems that impact the use of pharmaceuticals.

The following are a small sample of questions that might be of interest to people in the discipline of Social and Administrative Sciences.

  1. Which drug is most cost effective for a population of patients suffering from a given condition or disease?
  2. What is the distribution of adverse drug events across the United States?
  3. What are the consequences of direct-to-consumer advertising on prescription drug prescribing and utilization?
  4. How can pharmaceutical prescribing and distribution systems be improved to reduce medication prescribing, dispensing, and administration errors?
  5. How can pharmacists help patients to better adhere to their prescribed medication regimen?
  6. Why do patients choose alternative medicines and what benefits do they receive?
  7. How can professionalism best be instilled in pharmacy students?
  8. How can Internet and other technologies be used to increase access and quality of pharmacy services?
  9. What are the consequences and costs of the Medicare prescription drug benefit? 

Other Helpful Links

Pharmaceutical Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a concentration in pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes

Pharmaceutical Sciences, Master of Science (M.S.) with a concentration in pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes

Pharmaceutical Sciences Application Process