Careers in Pharmacoepidemiology and Safety Services

This specialization provides students with the knowledge and skills set to conceive, design, and conduct studies that describe and evaluate the utilization and effects of pharmaceutical products, other medical technology, and related services in human populations. It offers a strong methodological focus on the application of observational research methods in phase IV studies and other related applications of translational clinical sciences.

We especially target clinicians who discover needs for research every day in their clinical practice but lack the formal training to answer these questions in an adequate scientific framework. Since pharmacoepidemiology employs quantitative methods, students will learn to measure phenomena such as drug utilization, its quality, and sequelae on patient morbidity or mortality on a population level. Applicants with a non-clinical but strong methodological background such as formal training in epidemiology may wish to pursue this degree to specialize in the evaluation of pharmaceuticals.

Individuals interested in pursuing a specialization in pharmacoepidemiology and Safety Services include:

  • Practicing clinicians with a desire to conduct pharmacoepidemological research;
  • Individuals working in research settings (e.g., academic, pharmaceutical, or government organizations dealing with drug evaluations) who wish to formalize and extend their training in order to advance their careers in these settings;
  • Recent graduates in the health sciences who desire a research career;
  • Individuals with previous training in epidemiology or related research methods who would like to advance and focus their training on pharmaceutical research.

M.S. Degree

A M.S. degree, with a concentration in pharmacoepidemiology, provides individuals with the credentials to serve as entry- or mid-level research associates in contract research organizations, academic and clinical research units, pharmaceutical companies, and government organizations. Typically, these individuals work under limited direction as part of a multi-disciplinary research group. Examples of such positions include research associates, program managers, and health scientists.

For individuals with clinical background who oscillate between a more research-oriented or clinical specialization (e.g., residency), the MS degree offers the opportunity to explore a research career while maintaining clinical involvement.

Ph.D. Degree

A Ph.D. degree, with a concentration in pharmacoepidemiology, provides individuals with the credentials to develop and direct clinical research units in universities, pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations, and government organizations. Successful graduates have a range of technical and disciplinary competencies in research design, measurement, inferential statistics, the communication of research results, the evaluation of research, research ethics, healthcare delivery and the medication use system, the drug product, and behavioral issues surrounding medication use. Specialization in Pharmacoepidemiology enables individuals to conduct and evaluate phase IV (e.g, drug safety or comparative effectiveness) and drug utilization studies, and develop pharmacovigilance programs.