Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Decision Analysis

USC_Doheny LibraryThe Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Decision Analysis (HCDA) is a 12-unit intensive, interdisciplinary STEM program designed to train working professionals and graduate students in technical skills and analytical abilities related to global healthcare product value, access, and reimbursement. The program is oriented to those seeking to gain practical tools, strategic insights, and a fundamental working proficiency in the emerging field of healthcare decision analysis without completing the full Master of Science Program.

Centered in the USC School of Pharmacy and Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics on the USC University Park Campus, the program is structured to easily integrate individual HCDA courses with other graduate programs, while also meeting the needs of full-time working students:

  • Each course is scheduled and delivered over two (2) weekends per semester plus assigned independent study and projects using adult education principles
  • Individual students are allowed to progress at their own pace, while building their base of knowledge from the material presented within each course, without pre-requisites or a required sequence
  • Most students should be able to complete the certificate program requirements in as little as two semesters

Target Audience

The HCDA Graduate Certificate is designed to meet the needs of global healthcare professionals from pharmaceuticals and life sciences, medical devices and diagnostics, and healthcare management and delivery systems. Students currently seeking this HCDA Degree and Certificate are targeting careers in the following industry areas:

  • Medical and Pharmacy Director, Quality and Outcomes: Payer, Health System, Group Practice, Employer, Pharma/Biotech
  • Clinical & Economic Research, Medical Liaison: Pharma/Biotech, Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes, Payers, Clinical Trials, Medical Devices, Genetics/Genomics
  • Access & Reimbursement, Product Development, and Marketing:  Pharma/Biotech, DME & Devices, Sales & Marketing, Global Product Leads, Consulting
  • Business Operations and Development: Competitive Intelligence, Mergers & Acquisitions, Legal, In-Licensing, Account Management, Contracting
  • Administrative, Business Services, Executive Leadership: GPO, Specialty Pharmacy, PBM, Diagnostic & Laboratory Services, Regulatory & Government

Certificate Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Decision Analysis requires completion of 12 units including two required courses (HCDA 506 & 507) and two electives with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for all units applied to the certificate.

Core Courses (Mandatory)

  • HCDA 506, Foundations of Insurance and Global Access (3 units)
  • HCDA 507, Foundations of Product Development and Commercialization (3 units)

Electives Courses (Choose 2)

  • HCDA 501, Fundamentals of Healthcare Insurance Design (3 units)
  • HCDA 502, Comparative International Healthcare Systems (3 units)
  • HCDA 503, Competitive Healthcare Intelligence and Pricing (3 units)
  • HCDA 510, Business Implications of Healthcare Reform (3 units)
  • HCDA 515, Medical Decision Analysis and Modeling (3 units)
  • HCDA 520, Health Economic and Outcomes Methodology (3 units)
  • HCDA 525, Healthcare Literature Analysis & Applications (3 units)
  • HCDA 530, Total Product Development (3 units)
  • HCDA 540, Executive Leadership and Healthcare Marketing (3 units)
  • HCDA 550, Healthcare Innovation: Creativity to Value (3 units)
  • HCDA 553, Advanced Pricing Strategies (3 units)
  • HCDA 560, Managing Effective Partnerships and Mergers (3 units)
  • HCDA 570, Asia-Pacific: Access, Delivery, and Reimbursement (3 units)

Note: Students may wish to customize their selection of electives to target concentrations in areas such as health analytics, global access, pricing, competitive intelligence, insurance design, or health policy based on individual preference

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply to the HCDA Graduate Certificate Program on a rolling-admissions basis and begin the program in any semester (fall, spring, or summer).

To qualify for admission to the program:

  • Applicants must have completed the equivalent of a 4-year undergraduate/bachelor’s degree
  • Two years of full-time work experience is preferred
  • Past work experience will be considered for each applicant, along with a personal interview or statement
  • Successful applicants will have a recommended minimum GPA of 3.0 in a related academic field although no graduate examinations (GMAT/GRE) are required

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted for admission for the fall, spring and summer terms, and students may enter into the program at any semester throughout the year.


  • Spring 2017: December 1
  • Summer 2017: May 1
  • Fall 2017: August 1

USC students who are interested in enrolling in HCDA courses may contact the Program Administrator, Michelle Ton, at

How to Apply

Online Application

Submit your application online using USC uniCAS application system

Any technical questions should be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions

Part 1

  • Select “Create Account”.
  • Under “Add Program” tab, select the following information:
    • School: USC School of Pharmacy
    • Program Level: Certificate
    • Department: Healthcare Decision Analysis
    • Term: Select which semester you are applying for.
    • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Go to the “My Application” tab to fill out the Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information (optional), and Program Materials quadrants.
  • NOTE: If you do not have unofficial transcripts to upload, you can override this requirement in the application system by uploading a “dummy document”. You will then be able to successfully move forward and submit your application to USC. 
  • A resume/curriculum vitae is optional
  • $90 application fee (mandatory)
    • The HCDA program does not administer the online application system and cannot comment on and/or waive the fee
    • Please direct your inquiry to the Office of Graduate Admissions

Part 2

  • Mail official transcripts(issued directly by the university) from ALL undergraduate and graduate institutions to:

USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

To facilitate the review process, we encourage you to also mail official transcripts to:

USC Schaeffer Center
Healthcare Decision Analysis Program, Attn: Michelle Ton
Verna & Peter Dauterive Hall (VPD), Suite 210
635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3333

Important: Your application cannot be reviewed without official transcripts.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Ton
Program Administrator
Academic and Student Affairs Coordinator
(213) 821-6478 (preferred)

Students will confirm their specific coursework plan in consultation with Michelle Ton before beginning the program.

We look forward to receiving your application!