The Health Services Research in Pharmacy (HSRP) provides a rigorous background in a range of disciplines critical to preparing the next generation of health services researchers. The master’s degree is a non-admitting program and student interested in the HSRP program should consult the HSRP PhD program for program admissions and requirements.  The MS-HSRP degree may still be earned on the way to a PhD degree dependent on student and advisor needs.

The program's interdisciplinary approach combines theories and concepts from fields such as economics, sociology, psychology, management sciences, education, epidemiology, industrial/safety engineering, history, and law. The UW–Madison Division of Health Services Research in Pharmacy, which administers the degree, has a national reputation for its research productivity, extramural funding support, publication record, and teaching. The HRSP Graduate Program at UW–Madison has educated generations of researchers who have taken challenging leadership and advisory positions in academia, industry, and government. Our faculty members and graduates have provided influential roles in communicating research findings to the public, policy makers, pharmacists, and other health care professionals to improve health outcomes, patient care, medication use, and the healthcare system. UW–Madison's Sonderegger Research Center (SRC) is housed at the School of Pharmacy and complements graduate student interactions with faculty, enriching student exposure with other researchers in the field.

This master's degree program is offered for work leading to the PhD. Students may not apply directly to the Master of Science in Health Services Research in Pharmacy and should instead see the admissions information for the PhD.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

HSRP faculty believe in supporting graduate students in their quest for knowledge and research expertise; maintaining a range of graduate student funding mechanisms is a high priority. Graduate students are typically provided with tuition remission and stipend (salary) support as either teaching assistants, research assistants, or fellows.  The minimum graduate stipend for 2018-19 is $18,350 for the academic year (Sept-May); note that these levels are adjusted annually.  Such appointments include health insurance; see the Graduate Coordinator for details.  In addition, incoming students are provided with new laptop computers for their learning and research endeavors and access to state-of-the-art statistical software.  Travel grants facilitate graduate student participation at national meetings. HRSP graduate students who are licensed pharmacists are typically encouraged to continue practicing part-time (e.g., on weekends), to maintain ties to the profession. See the School's webpage for the latest on HSRP graduate funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement At least half of degree coursework (at least 16 credits out of 32 total credits) must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required for graduate-level courses (numbered 300 and above, excluding research) to receive a degree.
Other Grade Requirements Candidates may be dropped from the program if they receive more than 7 credits of grades at the BC level or lower. This applies to formal courses, seminars, and research credits.
Assessments and Examinations A formal master’s thesis based on original research is required and must be defended orally. For specific details, see
Language Requirements Only candidates with an emphasis in the history of pharmacy are required to attain competence in foreign language. Contact the School’s Graduate Programs Coordinator for more information.

Required Courses

At least 9 credits in core courses, 9 credits in methods of research and analysis, and 11 credits in specialty/advanced courses are required.

Core Seminar Courses
Select two of the following:4
Grant Writing for Health Services Research
Mixed Methods for Health Sciences: Purpose, Design and Approach
Community Engagement in Health Services Research
Dissemination, Implementation and Sustainment of Change in Health Services Research
Core Principles
Select one of the following:3
Research Methods for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy Research
Social Behavioral Theories in Pharmacy, Drug Use, and Health Behavior
Methods of Research and Analysis
Select from approved lists:9
Additional Research methods (3 credits minimum)
Analytic techniques (6 credits minimum)
Speciality and Advanced Coursework
Select in consultation with major professor 111
Research (credit varies)5+
Total Credits32

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 16 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions (the student must have graduate student status on the other institution’s transcript at the time the courses were taken). Such courses should be presented to program faculty prior to one’s first graduate semester and require the review/approval of at least two program faculty members. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of UW–Madison courses numbered 700 or above (earned as a UW–Madison undergraduate or professional student) toward the M.S. Such courses should be presented to program faculty prior to one’s first graduate semester and require the review/approval of at least two program faculty members. 

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 7 credits of coursework numbered 700 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Such courses should be presented to program faculty prior to one’s first graduate semester and require the review/approval of at least two program faculty members. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).


Students are required to maintain a program faculty member as an M.S. advisor through the duration of their studies. Students should select a permanent major professor before the end of the second semester enrolled in the program. Program graduate faculty monitor the progress of M.S. students annually.

Requirements for the composition of the HSRP M.S. thesis committee are presented at Guide Requirements tab.


15 credits

Time Constraints

The HSRP M.S. is designed to be completed in two years.

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that were earned before their absence. Further, that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.


Program faculty believe in supporting graduate students and a range of funding mechanisms are possible; graduate students are often provided with tuition remission and funding support either as teaching assistants, project assistants or fellows. In addition, new students are provided with new laptop computers for their learning and research endeavors, access to state-of-the-art statistical software and support, and travel grants to present their research at national meetings.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

HRSP faculty conduct comprehensive annual reviews of each HSRP graduate student, providing confidential feedback to each student's own self-assessment.  This combination provides a great launch for a meaningful goal setting.  HSRP faculty are committed to coaching graduate students to grow as instructors and to mentoring them in this dimension, complementing the wealth of campus resources for teaching and learning.    The School of Pharmacy's Sonderegger Research Center regularly hosts "Brown Bag" lunches where HSRP graduate students can interact informally with SRC staff.  There is increased emphasis to connect current students to PhD alumni (e.g. via Skype "informational interviews") for career discussions and mentoring.  The School of Pharmacy student body, along with those from other UW-Madison health professional schools, participates in a number of annual "Lunch and Learn" events throughout the academic year to build community and talk about other challenges regarding diversity, equity, inclusivity, and climate in higher education.  

  1. Demonstrate an advanced critical knowledge and in-depth application of economic, policy, and/or social behavioral analyses to the study of the interrelationships between pharmacy, pharmaceutical services, health care systems, and patients.
  2. Formulate research questions, design experiments to test hypotheses, apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods, and evaluate evidence relevant to questions in health economics, health care systems, healthcare organization and management, outcomes research, health care policy, and pharmacy services.
  3. Communicate, both orally and in writing, scientific knowledge, research findings, and/or core principles effectively to a range of audiences.

A list of Health Services Research in Pharmacy (HSRP) graduate faculty and their respective areas of research specialization is available from the division website and related links.