Program Information

Admission to the Program

Only full-time students will be admitted to the program. Completion of a high-quality, rigorous doctoral education in Health Services Research requires that students devote their attention to full-time study. We do anticipate, however, that students will receive graduate research assistantships during their doctoral studies (see discussion of financial support). The program admits students with diverse education, work, and life experiences who have demonstrated a capacity to pursue a rigorous course of doctoral study. Admission is limited, competitive, and open to students with clear career goals in health services research. Students are expected to live in the Gainesville area during the course of study and attend full-time.

Financial Support

The Ph.D. Program in Health Services Research makes every attempt to provide some level of financial support to students.

Such support comes in a variety of forms. Some students are appointed to positions as graduate research assistants or graduate teaching assistants. These appointments typically require work commitments at the level of .25 FTE (10 hours per week). Depending upon the source of funds, they include biweekly income and a waiver of tuition for up to nine (9) semester hours during the fall and spring semesters, and up to six (6) semester hours during the summer. For the most part, these appointments are made at the beginning of the fall semester and may be for periods of one, two, or three semesters. Exceptionally well-qualified students may be eligible for Fellowships. These awards can be made at the University, College or department level for varying lengths of time.

Preliminary Examinations

Taken near the end of the program course work (usually in the summer after the second year), preliminary examinations are intended to evaluate the student’s mastery of the field. The examinations assess the degree to which students can demonstrate (a) a thorough understanding of the body of knowledge composing the field of health services research and its practice;(b) knowledge of the methodological approaches whereby health services research is conducted; and (c) ability to integrate the material.

Qualifying Examination

Subsequent to the successful completion of preliminary examinations, students in the Ph.D. program are required to prepare and submit a formal proposal outlining their anticipated dissertation research. The dissertation proposal will be submitted to the student’s Supervisory Committee, and a meeting will be scheduled in which the proposal will be orally presented and defended by the student. Successful oral defense of an acceptable written dissertation proposal together constitute the program’s qualifying examination.

Admission to Candidacy

Ph.D. students are formally admitted to candidacy for the degree when they have successfully completed all required coursework, passed the preliminary examinations, and accomplished a successful oral defense of the dissertation research proposal.


Ph.D. students are required to prepare and submit a dissertation that demonstrates independent investigation and scholarship, meeting the format requirements of the Graduate School. The dissertation must be presented and orally defended before the student’s supervisory committee. Other faculty may also be present at the final defense. A minimum of two semesters must elapse between the successful defense of the dissertation proposal and the final defense of the completed dissertation. The semester in which the proposal is defended may count as one of the two required semesters only if oral defense of the dissertation proposal takes place prior to the midpoint of the semester.