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The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute

PhD in Health Economics & Outcomes Research


Update: For the 2024 admissions cycle, GRE scores are required for all applicants.

Application Deadline: December 15, 2023

PhD Information Session

In this session, you can learn more about the application process, program structure, core competencies, career outcomes, and more. The session is led by Professors Anirban Basu & Josh Carlson. Watch the recording of our October 2023 information session here. Access the webinar slides. 


The CHOICE Institute at the UW School of Pharmacy teaches you how to influence health policy and how to advance your research all the while modeling excellence.

Our program offers an exceptional educational experience alongside highly engaged peers, faculty, and alumni. Our program is selective, accepting up to four new doctoral students a year. This allows for extraordinary access to our world-class faculty as well as peers who will challenge and engage you.

At UW, the six health sciences disciplines are co-located, allowing for innovative cross-discipline collaborations. Based in the biotech center of Seattle, The CHOICE Institute partners with numerous affiliate institutes, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, and many more. Faculty and students in pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, nursing, social work, and public health are uniquely positioned to take advantage of breakthrough research and medical technology opportunities.

Financial Support

Doctoral students admitted into the program are guaranteed to have their tuition funded for the first two years, through a combination of fellowships, research, or teaching assistantships. While students are responsible for securing the remainder of the funding for their program, funding opportunities are always available. See Funding Opportunities for more details. Research assistantship also provides health insurance at no charge for students; coverage is available for spouses and dependents for an additional fee. (You can find more information on the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program and other benefits through UW Human Resources.)


Students train in the academic disciplines essential to the comparative evaluation of medical interventions. This affects health outcomes as well as medication safety and effectiveness; students also train in the provision of economic value estimates and the applications of these to health policy. Students delve into pharmacoepidemiology and learn the importance of health technology assessment (HTA) in evaluating the consequences of different health technologies. The impact of these health technology evaluations is seen in fields across the board, from genomics to geriatrics.

CHOICE faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students conduct comparative effectiveness research, medication safety research and studies on the cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions and health insurance, allowing them to estimate value propositions and improve decision making by patients, clinicians, and policymakers, creating a more personalized medicine experience. The program is patient-centered and relies on real-world evidence and data science, allowing students to delve into the depths of pharmacoeconomics. Students learn from leaders in the field and each other, all while enjoying the vibrant Pacific Northwest as a backdrop.

Graduate training in the program prepares students for career opportunities in:

  • Academic and big data research, informatics and teaching
  • Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries
  • Professional associations, health care insurance providers, and governmental agencies
  • Health-systems and managed care organizations
  • Non-profit organizations geared toward global health or pharmaceutical policy change


  • Students with master’s degrees in related fields such as epidemiology, economics, statistics, or public health are encouraged to apply. Students with professional degrees in pharmacy, medicine, or a health-related field who have strong quantitative skills are also supported.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required, and special weight is given to exceptional scores on the quantitative and analytical portions.
  • Other admission prerequisites include meeting the minimum Graduate School requirements. 

See Application Information for more detailed requirements and instructions.

Doctoral Degree Program Requirements

Students complete courses in the fields of biostatistics, clinical trial design and analysis, health economics, epidemiology, and health policy in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the complex and interdisciplinary environment of outcomes research as a foundation.

Total minimum credits required: 115

  • Minimum of 73 credits of core coursework (47) and seminar (12)
  • 27 dissertation credits
  • 14 Elective Credits
  • Independent Study


  • Preliminary exams
  • General Exam (dissertation proposal defense)
  • Dissertation Defense

An overview of our core program can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook

PhD Program Brochure