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

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of this program?

This graduate program offers advanced study in the disciplines essential to evaluating the relationship between pharmaceuticals, medical care, and health and economic outcomes. The field of pharmaceutical outcomes research is concerned with broader outcomes than simply the desired biological or physiological effects of pharmaceuticals, such as long-term morbidity, quality of life, and cost effectiveness. In addition, the need for better information about the economics and societal implications of drug therapy has fostered a growing interest in pharmaceutical policy research.

Does this program offer a Master’s degree?

This program does not have a terminal Master’s degree. Students are admitted into the PhD. program only. We offer the industry-sponsored fellowship program for PharmD graduates.

Under rare instances we will consider terminal Master’s degree applications, provided there is room in the program, and there are available advisors. In such instances, the applicants must have at least 2 years full-time relevant work experience. No funding will be provided by the program.

Is a PharmD degree required for admission?

No. Generally, a professional degree in pharmacy, medicine, or a health-related discipline is required. Students with Masters Degrees in related fields such as epidemiology, economics, or public health are also encouraged to apply.

Can I apply for the program with only a Bachelor’s degree?

Competitive applicants will have either a professional degree or Master’s degree. For an applicant with only a Bachelor’s degree to be competitive, several years of work or research experience are recommended.

Do I need to find an advisor prior to submitting my application?

No. Many doctoral programs do require applicants to secure an advisor prior to applying, but we are different in that regard. We don’t require applicants to be accepted to a lab or supervising advisor prior to applying. Once admitted, students are matched with a general academic advisor to provide support and mentorship in the first two years of the program. Beginning in year 3, students identify their dissertation advisor who will become their primary mentor for the remainder of their program.

What are the job opportunities for graduates of the program?

Our PhD program prepares students to become independent scientists and leaders in health economics, outcomes research and policy evaluation, with special emphasis on the pharmaceutical sector. Upon graduation, about one-third of our CHOICE alumni find placement in academia, another one-third are in industry and the remaining one-third are in governmental or non-profit organizations. The projection is that the field will continue to grow and that demand will remain high.

Please visit our Alumni page to learn about the current positions of our program’s graduates.

How many students are accepted each year?

3-4 students per year. The size of the class is kept small so that each student has sufficient mentoring and interaction with faculty.

How are grades and GRE scores considered in the overall admissions evaluation?

Grades and GRE scores are one of several items considered by the admissions committee in evaluation of your preparedness for the academic rigor of our program. For the Fall 2024 entry, the GRE is required. For further information, please see CHOICE PhD Admissions Considerations.

Is financial support available?

We offer two years of guaranteed stipend support to all admitted students and it is extremely rare that a student is not fully funded during their entire time in the program. This is due, in large part, to  the many funded opportunities to participate in research supported by government agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, as well as non-profit organizations and industry funders. From years 2 and 3 onward, our students typically are funded fully through Research or Teaching Assistant positions.

What is the entry date into the program?

Because of the scheduling of core courses, students are accepted for Autumn quarter only. Autumn quarter typically begins the last week of September.

What is the application deadline?

December 15 (for the PhD program). Application review will begin the first week of January, and applicants will be notified of acceptance, waitlist status, or denial by March 1 at the very latest.

What application materials are required?

See application information

I am not enrolled in a UW degree program. Can I still take the courses offered by your program?

With permission from the instructor, and on a space-available basis, graduate nonmatriculated students may enroll in courses offered by our program. For further information and enrollment procedures click here.