The doctoral program in Health Services Research includes coursework in health economics, health organizational structures and processes, epidemiology, health policy, and health behavior. Students complete a series of core courses and projects sufficient to develop an individual area of emphasis and a dissertation. The dissertation is the capstone of the program and is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge based on original and independent research of sufficient quality to warrant publication in peer reviewed, indexed journals. The development of grant writing skills is also emphasized through coursework.


Students entering with a master’s degree in a field other than public health must complete the prerequisite courses in consultation with the PhD Director. Students must earn a grade of B or above to receive credit. These prerequisite course credits do not count toward the 61 post-master’s credit hours and a maximum of six post-masters credits earned from another nationally accredited university may be applied with the Director’s approval. Graduates of a CEPH accredited program are waived from the foundational public health course requirement. The prerequisite public health courses are as follows:

HLTH 6200 – Case Studies in Public Health, or other foundational public health knowledge course (3)

HLTH 6211 – Evidence-Based Methods, or other introductory epidemiology course (3)

HLTH 6271 – Public Health Data Analysis, or other introductory biostatistics course (3)

HADM 6142 – Health Policy Development, or HLTH 6213 Health Policy and Leadership (3)

For detailed course descriptions please see the Course Catalog

For program requirements please see the PhD Handbook.

Health Services Research Program Courses

Theory Courses (12 credits required)

HSRD 8201 – Introduction to Health Services Research (3)

HSRD 8202 – Healthcare Systems and Delivery (3)

HSRD 8203 – Economics of Health and Healthcare (3)

HSRD 8204 – Health Policy (3)

Methods Courses (12 credits)

HSRD 8260 – Design of Health Services Research (3)

HSRD 8261 – Healthcare Program Evaluation, Outcomes, and Quality (3)

HLTH 8270 – Applied Biostatistics: Regression (3)

HLTH 8271 – Applied Biostatistics: Multivariate Methods (3)

Professional Roles and Responsibilities Courses (7 credits)

HLTH 8601 – Ethics and Integrity in Health Research and Practice

HSRD 8600 – Seminar in Health Services Research (taken 4 semesters)

Area of Emphasis Courses (12 credits)

Students will design an area of emphasis in consultation with their advisor, subject to the Program Director’s approval. The area of emphasis should align with the student’s intended research focus. The area of emphasis must include at least two of the methodology courses listed below (or alternatives approved by the Program Director). The remaining courses should provide added depth relevant to the area of emphasis (e.g., methods, health issue, population), and maybe at the masters or doctoral level.

Selectives (choose two of the following, 6 credits):

HLTH 6260/PPOL 8665 – Analytic Epidemiology

HSRD 8262 – Large Data Sets and Health Services Research

HSRD 8263 – Advanced Data Analysis for Health Services Research

HLTH 8221 – Qualitative Research 1: Theory Generation in Behavioral Sciences

HLTH 8282 – Health Survey Design and Research

HLTH 8603 – Teaching Portfolio

Depth (6 credits)

Any relevant graduate courses

Please see the Course Catalog

Dissertation (18 credits)

HSRD 8901 – Dissertation Research (May be taken as 3, 6, or 9 credits)

All newly admitted doctoral students are required to enroll in the online non-credit course, GRAD 8990 – Academic Integrity. Students must successfully complete this course prior to registering for the next semester.

Full time status is considered enrollment in nine credit hours or more per semester. Part time status is considered enrollment in fewer than nine credit hours per semester. Dissertation Research is available in 3, 6, or 9 credits. Students will sit for the qualifying examination after completion of their Theory, Methods, Professional Roles and Responsibilities, and Area of Emphasis coursework. It is possible to sit for the qualifying examination even if one Area of Emphasis course is yet to be completed. All course selections require approval of the PhD Program Director. Students will identify a Dissertation Committee Chair during second year of full-time study; once the Dissertation Committee chair is selected, he/she will become the student’s academic advisor for the remainder of the program. All newly admitted doctoral students are required to enroll in the online non-credit course GRAD 8990 – Academic Integrity. This course must be successfully completed prior to registering for the next semester.

For more information and to view suggested course sequences in the Health Services Research Program, please click on the links below:

HSR with MPH (Full Time)

HSR without MPH (Full Time)

HSR with MPH (Part Time)

HSR without MPH (Part Time)


Ahmed A. Arif, PhD
Professor, Director of PhD Programs in Health Services Research and Public Health Sciences
Department of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223