Healthcare Policy and Research Ph.D.
One of two doctoral training programs offered by the Department of Health Behavior and Policy, the Ph.D. in Healthcare Policy and Research (HCPR) equips students with an understanding of economic, political, and social factors that affect healthcare equity as it relates to access, costs and outcomes.
Student learning is focused in the following areas:
- Content and theory: Students will critically articulate how health policies are developed, implemented and evaluated.
- Critical and analytical thinking: Students will accurately analyze and synthesize health policy research.
- Research methods: Students will demonstrate proficiency in designing, conducting and interpreting health policy research. Students will write and submit a manuscript and grant proposal.
- Effective communication: Students will communicate effectively to translate and disseminate research findings for health policy audiences.
Graduates of the program will be able to:
- Synthesize health policy research to identify critical gaps in knowledge.
- Translate and disseminate health policy research evidence into practice through multiple channels to diverse audiences.
- Design and execute a research study in health policy, health services, or related areas, utilizing advanced analytical techniques and data.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the major health policies, identify policy problems, formulate, implement, analyze, and evaluate health policies.
Alumni of the Healthcare Policy and Research program work successfully in a wide variety of areas and sectors including academia, government, and the private sector.
About the Program
Under the guidance of faculty mentors, doctoral students develop portfolios by conducting independent, original research. Students also contribute to faculty-led research projects during their time at VCU.
Andrew J. Barnes, Ph.D.
Askar S. Chukmaitov, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.A.
Peter J. Cunningham, Ph.D.
Bassam A. Dahman, Ph.D.
Anika L. Hines, Ph.D., M.P.H.
April D. Kimmel, Ph.D.
Morgan Snell, Ph.D.
Emmanuel A. Taylor, M.Sc., Dr.PH.
Students complete a minimum of 59 graduate credit hours in subject areas such as the following:
- Data analysis
- Health services research
- Health disparities and health inequity
Learn more about the program’s curriculum and other degree requirements in the VCU Bulletin.
Life in Richmond
Urban life with a small-town feel
We encourage our students and researchers to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and Richmond is a wonderful place to engage in that well-rounded lifestyle. As the capital of Virginia since 1779, Richmond attracts students, faculty and staff from around the globe. The city’s location affords easy day trips to destinations like Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge Mountains, among others.
As a mid-sized city with a metropolitan population of 1.3 million, Richmond provides stimulating activities while maintaining its intimate feel and unique vibe. Vibrant neighborhoods offer distinct, diverse experiences, with no shortage of art galleries, museums, music venues, restaurants, breweries and parks. For the outdoor enthusiast, you can’t beat the offerings in the city’s riverfront parks and urban wilderness areas such as white-water rafting, hiking, mountain biking and festivals.
Applicants for this doctoral program must have a master’s degree in a related discipline from an accredited program and a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 to be considered for admission.
Please see the VCU Bulletin for more information about graduate admissions.
The Healthcare Policy and Research Program admits students in the fall each year. The 2023-24 Admissions Application for matriculation in fall 2024 opened in late August 2023. The deadline for applications is January 1, 2024.
Faculty with availability to take new students beginning in Fall 2024:
Please submit your application through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).
Applicants must supply the following:
- Academic transcripts from all levels of study. Applicants who hold an international degree must submit their qualifications to World Education Services (WES) for evaluation. The degree must be equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree, as determined by WES.
- Three letters of recommendation from instructors or professional references in your field of study
- A personal statement addressing your reasons for pursuing graduate education at VCU, describing your background, passion for public health, research interests and other information you think the admissions committee might find relevant that isn’t asked for elsewhere in the application. This is also an opportunity to identify the faculty member(s) with whom you’d like to work.
- A first authored writing sample. This can be something published or submitted for publication or a paper from previous education work.
- A statement of quantitative research experiences.
International applicants must also provide evidence of proficiency in the English language prior to admission or full-time enrollment at VCU and an external credential evaluation of academic transcripts. Accepted tests include TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or Duolingo. The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based). The university minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.5. The PTE is also accepted with a minimum score of 65. Duolingo score minimum is 120.
GRE scores are not a required component for the PhD application.
A supplemental application is required upon completion of the application in SOPHAS. Fee waivers are available for those that qualify. There are no fee waivers available for the application in SOPHAS.
Please be cognizant of application deadlines and apply early if possible. SOPHAS requires four to six weeks to verify an application. While we only require that the application be submitted by the deadline, it is encouraged that you apply early enough for all of your application materials (transcripts and credentialing evaluations, letters of recommendation, test scores, etc.) to be complete and included in your application.
The department currently provides support for all full-time Ph.D. students in the form of a graduate research assistantship for up to four years. This includes both a stipend and tuition support, and it’s contingent upon availability of funds and student performance.
Graduate research assistantships require full-time enrollment (9-15 credits in the fall and spring and three credits in the summer) and up to 20 hours per week of work for a designated departmental faculty member.
More information about financial assistance is available at finaid.vcu.edu.
For more information about the Healthcare Policy and Research Ph.D. program, please contact:
Nerice Lochansky Luu