The degree track in Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy consists of core courses in pharmacy administration, research methods and statistical analysis and specialty Ph.D. level Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy courses. These courses provide essential training and preparation for the comprehensive exam and thesis defense. The course of study to complete the degree is anticipated to take approximately five years after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree.
The student must complete a minimum of 70 hours for the Ph.D. degree, including 19 credit hours of dissertation research and defense and a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate or doctoral degree courses approved by the departmental faculty. A maximum of 18 hours of related graduate coursework completed while the student has been a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Houston may be transferred upon the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. In accordance with the University of Houston guidelines, the department may approve a maximum of 9 hours of transfer credits from another institution. Transferred credit will only be considered for coursework with earned grades of B or better. A minimum of 18 hours of elective courses are required, of which 9 hours should be 7000-level or higher.
A minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 (A=4.00) must be maintained in all graduate-level courses required for the Ph.D. degree in order to obtain an advanced degree from the College of Pharmacy. Graduate-level courses are defined as all courses required for the Ph.D. degree as defined either by the department and/or dissertation committee.
Graduate students are allowed only 3 ‘C’ grades throughout the Ph.D. program. Students will be automatically put on probation upon receipt of their second ‘C’ grade and will be withdrawn from the program upon receipt of their third ‘C’ grade. Additionally, students receiving a grade below ‘C’ in any core course are required to repeat the course during its next offering. A student with a D, F, or I as the most recent grade in a graduate level course for a degree plan will not be eligible for graduation.
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Students are required to take a written comprehensive exam before taking the oral comprehensive exam.
Written Comprehensive Exam
All students will be required to pass a written comprehensive exam before collecting data for their dissertation. Students will be eligible to take the comprehensive exams after completion of all courses in the core curriculum and at least 12 credit hours of electives of which 6 credit hours should be at the 7000-level or higher. Students should inform their major advisor at least a semester in advance when they are ready to take their comprehensive exam. Comprehensive exams will be offered during the second week of the fall and spring semesters.
The written exam consists of three exams, each encompassing: pharmacy administration, statistics/research methods and area of emphasis. Two exams will be 4 hours in length and one exam will be 6 hours in length. Students will have to complete all three exams within a one week period. Students will be required to pass each exam with a minimum of 80% competency to be considered to have passed the comprehensive exam. Students that do not pass a specific exam or the complete exam will be requested to take a similar exam or the exam again, but within 2 months of receiving their results. If the student fails the second attempt, the student will be asked to withdraw from the program. The student, along with the faculty advisor and the dissertation committee may petition to allow the student to sit for the exam a third time. The third attempt will be the final opportunity for the student to qualify to conduct the dissertation. Failure to pass the exam during this third and final attempt will result in automatic expulsion from the program.
Oral Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation Proposal Defense
All students will be required to successfully complete an oral comprehensive exam. This exam should be completed within one year of the completion of the written comprehensive exam. The oral exam will be conducted during the student’s dissertation proposal by the student’s dissertation committee. During the oral comprehensive exam, students will be expected to conduct a proposal presentation of their dissertation research topic. During this proposal defense, students will be tested on the proposal as well as topics in pharmacy administration, statistics/research methods, and the students selected area of emphasis. Students that pass the oral comprehensive exam will receive an official communication allowing them to proceed with their dissertation research. Those that do not pass the oral comprehensive exam will be provided a maximum of two more opportunities. If the student is not able to defend the proposal after the thirdand final opportunity, the student will be requested to discontinue with the Ph.D. program.
The defense will begin with a brief (approx. 30-45 min) presentation by the student that summarizes the research study and the proposal. The committee may examine the student to understand the student’s knowledge regarding the research topic but will not be restricted to the project. The committee may also examine the student on relevant information related to the research project, such as the literature in the area of the research project and any relevant information from prior course work that the student has completed. At the conclusion of the defense, should the committee make the recommendation to accept the proposal without modification, the student will proceed with the proposed study as outlined in the proposal.