Students in the microeconomics track will complete the microeconomic theory and econometric sequence and course work in health economics. They will receive focused training and mentoring in health economics through collaboration on research projects.
Foreign Language Requirement
There is no formal foreign language requirement. However, competence in the use of one computer programming language is required for the graduate degree. Such competence can be demonstrated either by course work or examination.
Grade Point Average
A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 and typically considerably higher (on a scale of 4.0) must have been achieved on all graduate work at USC for the passing of the screening procedure. The Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all course work taken as a graduate student at USC.
The PhD in Health Economics requires a minimum of 64 units of graduate-level courses numbered 500 or higher (excluding 794) and a minimum of 4 units of 794. A maximum of two full courses (eight units) or their equivalent may be PMEP 790 (research) since directed research will generally be incorporated into most 500- and 600-level courses. Exceptions will be considered on an individual basis. Normally, a full-time graduate student course load is three full courses or their equivalent per semester, with a four-course maximum. Students may transfer and substitute up to 24 units of graduate course work from other universities to fulfill the required 64 units of graduate credit subject to the approval of the department.
The student’s progress will be reviewed after each semester and before registration for any additional course work to determine if progress has been satisfactory. The screening procedure will include satisfactory performance on written screening exams covering the major topics covered in the recommended coursework for each track.
Upon successful completion of the first two years of course and grade requirements, and following passing of required screening procedures, the student takes a general written and oral examination on the chosen area of research emphasis after presenting a detailed written dissertation proposal. After passing these examinations, the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree.
The student will select a member of the graduate faculty who will serve as his or her adviser and chair of the student’s qualifying exam committee. The student should consult the director of Graduate Studies for the Health Economics program on the selection of his or her adviser and chair of the PhD qualifying exam committee after taking the written screening examinations. The chairman of the student’s PhD qualifying exam committee advises the student on matters of curriculum and graduate opportunities. The qualifying exam committee is composed of five members. The committee chair and at least two additional members must have appointments in the student’s program. Faculty eligible to serve as committee chairs and members include tenured, tenure-track, and research faculty, teaching faculty, practitioner faculty or clinical faculty (RTPC) faculty. The committee chair and at least three members must be research active in a field relevant to the research thesis and one member of the committee must be tenured or tenure track; and the committee membership requires approval by the dean of the school. Visiting faculty may not serve on qualifying exam committees. The vice provost for graduate programs is an ex officio member of all qualifying exam committees.
The composition of all PhD qualifying exam committees must be approved by the director of Graduate Studies for the Health Economics program. The student must form his or her qualifying exam committee soon after passing the departmental screening procedure.
Dissertation Proposal Preparation
The student is required to register for two units of PMEP 790 and write a research paper on a topic suitable for a dissertation. Typically, the chair of the student’s guidance committee directs this work. The resulting essay becomes part of the student’s written dissertation proposal which constitutes the written portion of the qualifying exam. This proposal is presented and critiqued during the oral portion of the qualifying examination.
After admission to candidacy, the student forms a dissertation committee comprising three faculty members, one of whom can be from an outside department. The chair of this committee is the dissertation supervisor. The student must register for PMEP 794a , PMEP 794b , PMEP 794c , PMEP 794d , or PMEP 794z each semester, excluding summer sessions, until the dissertation and all other degree requirements are completed.
The student is expected to complete a dissertation based on an original investigation. The dissertation must represent a significant contribution to knowledge and must be defended in an oral examination administered by the dissertation committee (see the section on Theses and Dissertations).
Teaching experience is considered an integral part of the training of graduate students. As part of the general requirements for the PhD, all students are required to undergo training as an educator. This will include participating in seminars on educational techniques and hands-on teaching experiences through participation in didactic and small group teaching in the School of Pharmacy or the USC Price School of Public Policy.
Every student is recommended to take and satisfactorily complete 4 units of research seminars chosen from ECON 693 , PMEP 698 or the equivalent. At least one of these seminars must be related to the student’s major field, and the same seminar may be taken more than once. Before completing the dissertation, it is recommended that the student present at least one original research paper in a seminar of his or her choice. This paper should typically consist of original results contained in the student’s dissertation.
Three electives at the 500 level or higher from the School of Pharmacy’s Health Economics Program and from the departments of economics, mathematical statistics, biometry, epidemiology, public administration, computer science or other relevant fields are required.
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