Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Preparing to Apply

Q: I have not taken any economics before. Do I have to have microeconomics before I apply?
A: You are encouraged to have completed an upper-division course in microeconomics for admission to the program. You should also have taken calculus and have a research design background.

Q: Can the master’s program be used as stepping stone for the PhD program?
A: The master’s program can be used to start the PhD process; however if you are interested in the PhD program, it is recommended that you apply for it directly. The master’s program is oriented toward the application of pharmacoeconomic analytic methods, while the PhD program is oriented toward the development of new theory and empirical research in the field. Up to 20 units or credit from the MS program can be applied toward the doctoral degree.

Q: Are there a lot of PharmD students in the master’s program?
A: Many entering students have a PharmD or other clinical degree.

Q: I have a strong research background. Will that help me in the program and in my future career?
A: Your research background would provide you with some excellent credentials, which should help you both in the program and after graduation.

Q: Do students have opportunities for internships?
A: Students may be placed in internships with managed care and drug companies during their first summer.

Q: Do you have an extension program where I can just take one or two classes before taking my GRE to see if I really like the program?
A: Although the School does not have an extension program, students are welcome to take a couple of classes before officially enrolling. You would be able to transfer the credits (up to 12) into the MS program (as well as the PhD program).

Q: Would it be possible to use any of the MS classes toward a PhD?
A: Twenty courses in the MS program are transferable to the PhD in Pharmaceutical Economics.

Q: What is the difference between your MS and PhD programs?
A: The MS is more applied, while the PhD is more theoretical in orientation. The PhD takes four to six years to complete while the MS takes two years to complete as a full-time student.

Q: Do you have minors in the MS program (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics?)
A: The program does not include any minors, but most students take additional coursework in biostatistics, which is taught in the same building.

Q: What are the job prospects after graduation?
A: Most alumni work in either the pharmacy industry or managed care.

Q: May I begin the program in the spring?
A: Students are not admitted in the spring semester.

Q: Where can I find out more about progressive degree programs at USC?
A: For more information on progressive degree programs visit Progressive Degrees on the USC Undergraduate Programs website.

Fees/Tuition/Financial Aid

Q: Do you offer any fellowships or support to students in the master’s program?
A: No.

Standardized Tests

Q: I took the GRE exam some time ago. Are my scores still valid for admission to this program?
A: Your scores are considered valid only if earned within five years to the month of your intended first term at USC (for example, no earlier than August 1 five years prior if applying for the fall term).

Q: Does the admissions committee accept both GRE and GMAT scores?
A: No, the committee only accepts GRE scores.