PhD Requirements

The core curriculum for the PEP-Track consists of a total of 48 credit hours of didactic course work which includes 36 credit hours of core didactic courses as listed below, and 6 semesters of seminar (1 credit hour each semester). In addition, students must take at least 6 credit hours of elective courses in an area of concentration of the student’s choosing and with consent of their major advisor. Areas of concentration allow the student to establish a depth of knowledge in an area of interest related to their dissertation topic.  Concentration areas include, but are not limited to epidemiology, health services research, statistics, and informatics.

In addition to the didactic course work, students must enroll for 18 to 24 hours of dissertation credits.  In total, students without a prior Masters degree (M.S., M.P.H., M.B.A., etc.) must successfully complete a minimum of 72 credit hours of study to fulfill the requirements for a Ph.D. degree. Students with a prior M.S. degree must successfully complete a minimum of 66 credit hours of study. Students must also successfully complete and defend a dissertation for degree completion.


PEP-Track Curriculum*

Year 1

Fall Semester
PSGP 5116 Foundations of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Research Methods (3 hrs.)
BIOS 5013 Biostatistics I (3 hrs.)
BIOM 5173 Epidemiology I (3 hrs.)
PCOL 5117 Scientific Communication and Ethics I (1 hr.)
PSGP 5109 Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Seminar (1 hr.)

Spring Semester
BIOS 5212 Biostatistics II (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5118 Applied Research Methods using Retrospective Data (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5123 Patient-Reported Outcomes Measures (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5121† U.S. Healthcare System (3 hrs.)
PHSC 3612‡ Drug Information (2 hrs.)
PSGP 5109 Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Seminar (1 hr.)
Additional course in area of concentration, or required course not completed, or PSGP 5113 Research

Summer 1
PSGP 5113 Research (1 hr.)

Year 2

Fall Semester
PSGP 6113 Pharmacoepidemology (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5120 Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy Evaluation (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5122 Applied Health Econometrics (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5109 Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Seminar (1 hr.)
Additional courses in area of concentration, required courses not completed, or PSGP 5113 Research

Spring Semester
PSGP 5119 Pharmacoeconomics and Health Technology Assessment (3 hrs.)
PSGP 5109 Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Seminar (1 hr.)
Additional courses in area of concentration, required courses not completed, or PSGP 5113 Research

Summer 2
PSGP 5113 Research (1 hrs.)

Year 3

Fall & Spring Semesters
PSGP 5109 Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Seminar (1 hr./sem.)
PSGP 6201 Dissertation (9 hrs.)
Requirements or courses in area of concentration not completed.

Summer 3
PSGP 6201 Dissertation (1 hr.)

Year 4

Fall & Spring Semesters
PSGP 6201 Dissertation (10 hrs./sem.)

Summer 4
PSGP 6201 Dissertation (1 hr.)


*This is a typical sequence, but several PEP-Track courses are offered every other year. Thus, the actual sequence may vary.
indicates didactic course required for non U.S. trained health care professionals
indicates didactic course required for students without prior degree in any health field (pharmacy, medicine, nursing, etc.)

Core Course Descriptions


Electives by Area of Concentration


HPMT 6011 Mathematics and Statistics Primer
BIOS 5111 Biostatistics Computing with R I
BIOS 5200 Biostatistics Computing with R II
BIOS 5233 Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials
BIOS 5313 Nonparametric Methods
BIOS 6223 Biostatistics III


BIOM 5183 Epidemiology II
BIOM 5193 Epidemiology III

Health Policy/Health Services Research

HPMT 5104 Introductions to Health Economics
HPMT 5334 Methods and Applications of Health Analytics
HPMT 6114 Advanced Public Health Policy & Management
HPMT 6313 Advanced Methods in Health Services Research
HPMT 6315 Advanced Methods for Quality & Health Outcomes Research
HPMT 6329 Advanced Topics in Implementation Science

Patient Reported Outcomes and Qualitative Methods

HBHE 6325 Survey Research Methods
HBHE 6212 Applied Behavior Research Methods
HBHE 6120 Introduction to Mixed Methods Research Design


BMIG 5002 Biomedicine for Informaticists
BMIG 5001 Data Information and Knowledge Representation
BMIG 5003 Computational Methods in Biomedical Informatics
BMIG 5013 Health Information Systems
BMIG 5017 Clinical Data Standards
BMIG 5102 Foundations of Biomedical Informatics – Clinical Information
BMIG 5103 Foundations of BMI: Population Health Information
BMIG 5112 Introduction to Human Computer Interaction
BMIG 5211 Scientific Data Visualizations
BMIG 6011 Clinical Research Informatics
BMIG 6012 Data Warehousing, Aggregation and Reporting
BMIG 6013 Healthcare Informatics of Quality and Patient Safety
BMIG 6110 Clinical Decision Support
HPMT 5583 Advanced Applications in Healthcare Management

Note: this is not a complete list of electives. Additional electives may be taken with the consent of your advisor. 

See the Graduate School Catalog and COPH Course Catalog for elective course descriptions


Doctoral Advisory Committee

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed by the PEP-Track director in consultation with the student and must consist of five faculty holding graduate faculty status at UAMS. A minimum of three members must be from the PSGP graduate faculty and the at least one shall be a member from another graduate program on campus or outside UAMS.

Candidacy Exam

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on all required course work and for those students without a prior M.S. thesis degree, the completion of a research practicum (defined below) is required to be eligible for the candidacy exam. Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must pass a candidacy examination. This examination will be expected to be administered after approximately two years of graduate study but before the fourth year of study. The exam will be graded on a Pass/No-Pass basis. Should a student receive a No-Pass they will be allowed one additional attempt to repeat the exam.

Research Practicum

The research practicum is a customized mentored research activity to familiarize the student with the mechanics of the research process including study implementation, data acquisition and analysis, and dissemination of research findings at conferences and the peer-reviewed literature. The research practicum is a completed research project and will be required prior to the candidacy exam for all students that have not successfully completed a M.S. thesis degree. Research experiences gained in the course work are encouraged to be developed into a research practicum. Ideally, the research practicum is expected to be completed during the first two years of the students study and will be supervised by their advisor or a prior course instructor in the PEP-Track. Successful completion of the practicum will require at least one manuscript approved by their advisor submitted by the student as lead author to a peer-reviewed journal.


Once the student has passed the candidacy exam they are considered a Ph.D. candidate. The students then is required to register for at least one credit hour of Dissertation credit (PSGP 6201) each semester until they have successfully submitted and defended their dissertation work. A total of 18 credit hours of Dissertation (PSGP 6201) are required for graduation. The student will be required to successfully defend their dissertation and must provide the Graduate School Office at least 30 days’ notice of the dissertation defense date, time and location.