Below are answers to questions that students frequently ask when considering whether to apply to the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research program.

If you have APPLICATION specific questions that are not addressed below, please email

If you have PROGRAM specific questions that are not addressed below, please email

Questions About the Application:

When is the application deadline for the PhD in PHSR?

The application deadline for the PhD in PHSR program is December 2, 2024. Please note that the University is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and admissions staff are not available from November 27, 2024-December 2, 2024.  You are encouraged to submit your materials as soon as you are able. 

Can I have the application fee waived?

If you are experiencing hardship and would like to request a fee waiver, please email Dr. Wendy Camelo Castillo, graduate program director, to request the waiver.

When is the best time to apply?

The deadline to submit your application with supporting materials is December 2, 2024. However, if able, you are encouraged to submit your application early to ensure all your materials are ready for review.

Am I required to submit official transcripts?

Due to the difficulties ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may submit unofficial transcripts for consideration in admissions. If you are offered admission to our program, you will be required to submit official transcripts before an official offer is made. If the academic transcript is not in English, you will be required to include a translated copy from either your University or a service (examples of such services include or in your application.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required for consideration for the PhD program. You will be given the opportunity to send out three (3) requests. If three (3) letters are received then all three (3) will be included with your application.

Can I change information in a letter of recommendation to someone else?

You may not edit information in your letter(s) of recommendation after submission. If you need to update recommender information, you must reach out to so that we may enable you to add new recommender information.

What if my letters of recommendation are not in by the submission deadline?

Two (2) letters of recommendation should be received by the deadline. If you are having trouble securing letters, please reach out to us at to inform us of circumstances.

Should I submit the GRE score if I have one?

We are NOT reviewing GRE scores this year as part of the application review and admissions process. You may submit your scores at your discretion, but the admissions committee will not review GRE scores.

Should I declare a major or track on my application?

You should speak to your general interests in the field of PHSR and areas of interest within PHSR (e.g., pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacoeconomics, comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research, and/or pharmaceutical policy). You are not committing to a major or specialization in your application, but speaking to your interests within the field.

Should I identify an advisor in my application?

You are not expected nor encouraged to identify an advisor in your application, as our training program centers on engagement with many faculty in the first year. However, you are encouraged to note faculty in the department who are engaged in the type of research in which you are interested.

Can I go back to my application to update materials?

You may not edit your application after submission. If you would like to update any materials, you must reach out to for further information.

When are the interviews and are they required?

If selected to move on to the next phase of the admissions process, you will be contacted via email to schedule a virtual meeting. If selected to proceed from there, you will be contacted via email with an invitation to attend an interview. Interview dates will be announced later in the Fall semester and interviews will most likely be in person. It is required that you attend the interview. The application deadline is December 2, 2024. Please note that the University is closed and admissions staff are not available between December 24, 2024 and January 5, 2025.

Do you offer conditional acceptances?

Unfortunately, the program does not offer conditional acceptances. No exceptions are made.

When will I hear back regarding an admissions decision?

Most candidates will receive notification between mid-February and mid-March (or earlier) of the final admissions committee decision. 

How many students are typically admitted each year?

The precise number of students admitted varies from year to year. Generally, four to six students are admitted.

Do you admit students in the Spring semester?

Unfortunately, students are admitted in the Fall semester only. No exceptions are made.

I am an international applicant. Do I need to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo?

The policy regarding language requirements states, "Applicants whose native language or language of the home is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or the Duolingo English Test." The minimum acceptable TOEFL score for admission is 80 for the internet-based test (IBT). IELTS test takers must score no less than Band 7 (total). Duolingo English Test takers must score no less than 115. Exemptions from the English Language Proficiency Requirement are granted for those individuals who have received a degree from an accredited institution in the U.S. or other nationally recognized university in a country where their education was conducted in English (see the list of approved countries on the Graduate School website under "Exemptions from English Language Proficiency Requirement"). Students who receive an exemption are not required to submit an English proficiency exam.

Is there any special information for international applicants?

International applicants are encouraged to have studied for at least one year in the United States and preferably have received an undergraduate (BA, BS) or graduate (MA, MS) degree from a U.S. institution of higher learning before applying to the program. Additional information for international applicants may be found through the Graduate School.

If offered admission to the PhD program am I able to request a deferral?

Only in very exceptional circumstances (major life event or illness, mandated military service, etc.) will PhD admissions deferral requests be considered. The final decision is left to the admissions committee, the graduate program director, and the department chair.

Questions About the GRE Exam:

My GRE scores have expired. Can I send you my old report?

GREs are not required and the PHSR Admissions Committee will not be considering GRE scores for the incoming class of Fall 2025.

Do I need to take the GRE exam if I have been out of school for several years?

GREs are not required and the PHSR Admissions Committee will not be considering GRE scores for the incoming class of Fall 2025.

Questions About the Program and Financial Aid:

Is the program online?

No. The PhD in PHSR program is in-person. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, some courses may continue to be conducted online.

Do you offer an MS degree?

Yes, the Master's in PHSR program will be accepting applications for the 2025-2026 academic year. For more information, please visit the MS in PHSR page.

Do you offer a dual degree program?

PhD PHSR/MS Epidemiology - Yes, there is an option to pursue a dual degree program between the PHSR PhD graduate program in the P-SHOR Department, and the MS in Epidemiology program in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (DEPH). This dual program provides an opportunity for students in PHSR to augment their skills by adding more extensive training in epidemiologic methods and earning both a PhD in PHSR and a MS in epidemiology. PharmD/PhD PHSR - While the School of Pharmacy does not offer a combined PharmD/PhD program, PharmD students interested in pursuing a PhD in PHSR may expedite their training by pursuing PharmD electives aligned with PHSR competencies, completing PHSR graduate level courses, and pursuing independent research projects under the guidance of faculty in the PHSR program. Students interested in a PharmD/PhD dual degree program must apply to and complete the PharmD program before applying to the PHSR PhD program. You must be accepted into each program independently.

Is there funding available for graduate students in the program?

Yes! Full-time graduate students enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research PhD Program are fully funded. Financial support, usually in the form of teaching and research assistantships, is provided for students accepted into the program. This support includes an annual stipend increasing effective 9/1/2024 to $34,325/$36,325 (post-candidacy), tuition remission, health insurance, and student fees. The total support is valued at over $50,000.