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

Health Services Learning Outcomes
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 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.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

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 702Research in Health 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 761Health Services Research Methods I3
HADM 763Applied Health Services Research 3
Method electives (see list below)6
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
Total Hours57

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


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

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 57.

Elective courses

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
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

Other electives may be approved by adviser.


Jan P. Clement, Ph.D.
Professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1886

Program website: