Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about the HCDA program?

The Healthcare Decision Analysis (HCDA) program uniquely examines the intersection of health economics, insurance fundaments, access, reimbursement, and business intelligence. Students will be trained in technical analysis, value assessment, international payment systems, business tactics, and strategic partnering to allow them to compete in today’s healthcare environment. In addition, every course will be taught by professionals from their respective areas of expertise that will include real-world insights and examples.


How would you quickly describe the MS in HCDA program?

In a sentence, “the HCDA program is like an MBA, but uniquely focused on the global healthcare, payer, and pharmaceutical industries.”


Why is this program offered through the Pharmacy School at USC?

The USC School of Pharmacy, Department Pharmaceutical and Health Economics offers a diverse range of graduate programs, unique course work, students with diverse academic and professional experiences, and internationally recognized faculty.  The HCDA program is offered in collaboration with the USC Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, one of the nation’s premier health policy research institutions, adding to its depth of resources and national recognition.


Will I be required to take prerequisites or follow a rigid schedule?

No. There are no prerequisites for admission, and you do not have to follow any pre-set course sequence. All classes are designed to allow each student to progress at their own pace and to build their base of knowledge from the material presented within each course.


Is the program designed to accommodate working professionals?

Yes. Our schedule and courses are designed to take advantage of weekends and independent study using adult education principles including team projects, case studies, mock P&T and war games. Students will have the choice of traditional classroom or the flexible classroom participation option to allow for distance learning and time independent lectures, to better fit individual schedules and reduce travel requirements.


What if I have to miss a class or weekend?

All classroom lectures and work are recorded and posted following the scheduled class. Students are able to access all materials presented, recorded lectures, and exercise resources via Blackboard. HCDA also offers live streaming of lectures through Mediasite.


Do I need a math or science degree to succeed in the program?

No. While students should possess basic science and math competency, along with some business experience, the program is designed to accommodate and train students representing a wide range of academic experiences from across the globe, as well as business professionals seeking to improve their technical skills and analytical abilities. Once admitted to the program, all students should feel comfortable in completing the required coursework.


Is a final thesis a requirement for the Master’s Degree?

No. The degree is entirely based on the successful completion of 33 units of coursework (11-course minimum) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0.


Is financial aid available?

The USC School of Pharmacy is committed to helping all eligible students achieve their educational goals regardless of economic status. While institutional funding is not available for HCDA students, there are several need-based low-interest rate loans, non-need-based loans, and private loan programs available to eligible students. Please contact the USC Office of Financial Aid for more information.


Will you help me find a job upon graduation?

Although USC will not directly guarantee you a job, we provide several avenues to help showcase your abilities and accomplishments. The program offers you several networking opportunities, internships, and rotations along with exposure to lecturers and mentors from across the business and scientific communities. USC also has a long established alumni network offering access to successful graduates from across a wide range of potential career options.