While didactic and research training constitute the formal process of graduate student education in the HSOR program, student development is fostered through other means as well. These include teaching experience, mentorship by the major professor, professional colleagueship and collaboration with faculty and graduate students, and participation in professional meetings. Students must work with their advisor and graduate committee to identify self-development goals (See Individual Development Plan) and incorporate various experiences that will enhance (in addition to research skills) their teaching/presentation and computer-use skills. The overall result of these experiences should make the student an effective communicator both in academic and nonacademic settings and versatile in the use of computer technology in their research and communication activities. The student’s annual evaluations and progress reports must also reflect gradual progression toward acquiring writing skills.

English Language Proficiency

University policy requires all departments that employ graduate student teaching assistants for classroom instruction or laboratory assistance to certify English proficiency of those students for whom English is not the official language of their country. Certification can be accomplished by:

  1. Obtaining a satisfactory score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE), as offered by the Educational Testing Service. It is advantageous for the TSE to be taken prior to the arrival of the students at WVU. If the TSE cannot be taken prior to arrival, then students must obtain certification through one of the other methods listed below.
  2. Passing the SPEAK (Michigan Testing) test as administered by the WVU Department of Foreign Languages and scheduled at the beginning of each academic year.


      In the event that English proficiency cannot be certified, the student will be required to enroll in and pass successfully specific ESL (English as a Second Language) courses.

Graduate teaching assistants not certified as proficient in English cannot be assigned regular teaching, laboratory, or tutorial responsibilities.

Required Didactic Course Work

Prior to submission of the thesis or dissertation, the student must complete the didactic core course core requirements. Students may request credit for these courses if completed at other institutions; however, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain the necessary and official documents to demonstrate course equivalency (See Transfer of courses/credits completed elsewhere). Course equivalency will be determined by the student’s graduate committee, and must be approved by the graduate program director and Assistant Vice President for Graduate Education of the HSC. This must be completed no later than when the student’s plan of study is submitted.

Graduate Seminars

All students are required to participate in the HOR graduate seminar program. Each semester, students are expected to register for, attend, and actively participate in all scheduled presentations. In addition, students will present in the seminar each semester, beginning in their first semester in the program until they graduate. Seminar courses will be graded (letter grades) by the program’s seminar coordinator.

Teaching Experience Requirement

All graduate students are required to have completed a teaching experience prior to graduation. Students in the Health Services and Outcomes Research program are required to attend the WVU Summer Teaching Scholars Program as part of this requirement. The fees for this are paid for by the PSP department. Students are also expected to develop and present a minimum of three classroom teaching presentations in the graduate or professional pharmacy curriculum.

Publications Requirement

Students in the Health Services and Outcomes Research program are expected to publish (or have accepted for publication) at least three manuscripts (unrelated to their dissertation research) in reputable peer-reviewed journals prior to graduation. The three publications must come from work done at WVU, be a mix of manuscripts using primary data and secondary data, and at least two of these three publications must be first authored. Collaborative and team research work with other program graduate students and faculty are expected. Co-first authorship on a manuscript may be accepted. However, the manuscript will count towards the dissertation of only one graduate student. If more than one graduate student is a co-first author, the student’s major advisor will determine which student will obtain first author credit for dissertation purposes.

Additionally, students must have one first-authored manuscript related to their dissertation published or accepted for publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal prior to defending their dissertation.

Participation at Scientific Meetings

Students are encouraged to submit abstracts to local, regional, and national professional meetings. This type of experience is an important aspect of the graduate training. Such participation allows the student to meet other researchers and keep abreast of developments in their field of study and to develop a network of scientist colleagues. It is recommended that students secure the assistance of faculty to develop audiovisual aids and to review the content of the presentation. Students should also rehearse in front of faculty and peers during the graduate seminar or specially arranged sessions. Funding for attending a regional or national meeting is generally arranged through the advisor or department. In addition, the School of Pharmacy Dean’s office has a limited number of competitive travel awards for first-authored presentations at national meetings each year; application forms can be obtained from the Dean’s office.

Communication Skills

Graduate students are expected to participate as fully as possible in opportunities to develop their communication skills. These opportunities include participation in graduate seminars or journal clubs, in which candidates will be expected to develop suitable topics for verbal presentation to colleagues and members of the program. Also, students with teaching assistantship appointments will have ample opportunities to develop their teaching skills.

Computer Skills

Knowledge of and skill in use of computer applications in research and education are essential during the graduate program and for career success. All students are expected to develop familiarity with the range of software for word processing, presenting, and building data sets. Students are also expected to develop skills in applying computer applications to the analysis and presentation of data (e.g., SAS, SPSS, STATA).