Careers in Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research

A specialization in pharmacoeconomics provides students with the knowledge and skill set needed to actively participate in studies that describe the cost, utilization, and economic efficiency of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and related services in the delivery of health care and the development and application of health care policy.  While program coursework represents a strong methodological focus on the conceptualization, design, and conduct of formal pharmacoeconomic analyses, these techniques can be readily applied to the economic assessment of non-pharmaceutical technologies.

Individuals interested in pursuing a specialization in pharmacoeconomics may include:

  • Recent graduates in economics, the health sciences, or related disciplines who desire a research career in academia or the private sector
  • Practicing clinicians with a desire to conduct pharmacoeconomic 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
  • Individuals with previous training in health economics or related research methods who would like to advance and focus their training on pharmaceutical research

Graduate Degrees

M.S. Degree

The M.S. degree, with a concentration in pharmacoeconomics, 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 other 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 outcomes scientists.

Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree, with a concentration in pharmacoeconomics, is the terminal (highest) degree offered in the field. The doctorate provides individuals with the training needed to conceptualize, direct, and conduct high-quality research. The ability to establish an independent research program is the primary distinction over the M.S. degree.

As with the M.S. degree, Ph.D. graduates are suited to careers in both the private and public sectors.  In academia, Ph.D.-level graduates typically begin their careers at the assistant professor level, in both tenure-track (usually teaching plus research) and non-tenure-track (usually only research) positions.  Private sector companies such as contract research organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers and public sector employers such as the federal government, non-profit organizations, think tanks, and non-government organizations typically hire new Ph.D.s at mid-level scientific positions.  In many instances, the Ph.D. degree is required for advancement to upper management and other leadership positions.