Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research (HECOR) - M.S.
Program at a Glance
Per Credit Hour
Shape the future of healthcare with a Master of Science in Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research (MS-HECOR) from Xavier University. This program prepares students to use comparative research and real-world evidence to make smarter, data-driven decisions that will bring meaningful change to our healthcare systems. The program is nationally recognized, recently ranking in the Top 5 Online Master’s in Clinical Research Programs by Intelligent.com.
Designed for working professionals and people with a passion for using the latest health data to improve care, Xavier University’s 42-credit hour program features coursework that includes lectures, applied analysis exercises, group activities, discussion, and case studies led by experienced full and part-time faculty who have practiced in the HECOR field.
Graduates of the MS-HECOR program will learn to use research that generates evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options in order to make informed healthcare decisions. Our students learn the skills needed to pursue impactful careers as healthcare analysts and administrators in the private and government health services industry, including public health agencies, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies, hospital systems, and clinical research organizations.
The program is designed as an intensive part-time program to be completed entirely online. Students may complete the program in as little as 2 years with courses offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Yes. Intelligent.com recently ranked Xavier University's Master of Science in Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research program #4 in their list of Best Online Master's in Clinical Research Programs for 2020.
No. The program is entirely online. However, if you are local to the Cincinnati area or in town visiting, the faculty would enjoy meeting in person.
The tuition rate for the HECOR program is $715 per credit hour. The total cost of the degree program will vary, depending upon transfer credits awarded, additional fees, and the cost of textbooks/materials. See the Tuition page for more information about the program's cost.
Yes; however, we only schedule interviews with applicants who we feel are qualified after an initial review of their application.
Applications are reviewed as they are completed. Students will know within 2 to 3 days of filing their completed application if they are approved for an interview. Students will find out if they are accepted into the program within 2 to 3 weeks of the interview.
Students are encouraged to enroll at least 1 week before the class start date. A student can commit and hold their place by contacting their Enrollment Specialist at (513)745-1098, and by registering for classes and paying the Bursar.
Students must register 1 week prior to class start unless given special approval by the program director.
We have program start dates in August and January of each year.
Students may be able to transfer up to 6 credit hours upon approval by the program director, department chair, and university. Students desiring to transfer credit for advanced standing must meet with the program director prior to the start of their first course to review the request.
The 42-hour program is designed to be completed in 2 years with 2 to 3 courses (6 to 9 credit hours) per semester, including summer. Xavier considers full-time status to be 9 credit hours or more for graduate students.
Students can take up to 3 courses per session.
The program is designed to be completed in as little as 2 years. The program must be completed within 6 years per Xavier University standards.
Participation expectations vary by professor. Students are not required to log in at specific times during most courses. However, professors have the option of including mandatory or optional login times for online sessions in their courses.
The courses include components such as readings, activities, video lectures, discussion boards and other peer interaction, tests, quizzes, and group projects. Most courses do not include mandatory login times; however, they are synchronously paced – students progress through the course together according to the scheduled course content and activities.
Yes, HECOR students will have the opportunity to participate in interprofessional online work to gain experiential learning that complements coursework and to demonstrate mastery of project management skills that are crucial to postgraduate success.
Students must have their own PC or MAC computer with a webcam, the full Microsoft Office Suite, and a high-speed internet connection. A Google Chromebook or Tablet is not sufficient. Some courses may require additional software that, similar to textbooks, students must purchase for personal use and use on their computer. Generally, these software packages have academic pricing that is comparable to a textbook price.
Xavier University uses CANVAS.
Students should expect to dedicate about 10-12 hours per class per week on average. Please note that some weeks may require more hours and others may require fewer.
Office hours vary with each faculty member, but all Xavier University faculty members make themselves available to students through other options such as phone, chat, email, text, etc.
Health economics and clinical outcomes research is a growing, interdisciplinary field in which HECOR practitioners quantify the clinical and economic value of healthcare interventions and treatments. Graduates of the MS-HECOR program are well equipped to pursue careers as analysts, consultants, managers, and directors in the fields of health outcomes research, healthcare policy, and market access and reimbursement. The MS-HECOR prepares graduates for an evidence-driven future in:
- Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies
- Public health and government agencies
- Policy and regulatory agencies
- Insurance companies and third-party payors
- Clinical research organizations
- Consulting firms
- Healthcare providers/systems and managed care organizations
Xavier University’s 42-credit hour Master of Science in Health Economics and Clinical Outcomes Research program prepares students with strong skills in statistics, health outcomes research, health economics, and population health. The flexible program concludes with a capstone project, which demonstrates the skills and knowledge gained throughout the program’s coursework.
HECOR Core Courses (12 credits)
The core health economics courses online will expose you to a general overview of HECOR. They introduce a number of contemporary approaches to comparative effectiveness research and economic evaluation. You will be introduced to epidemiologic concepts, skills and data, the application of epidemiology to population health and health services, and to the application of epidemiologic literature in health services. The core courses conclude with a foundation of basic ethical theory and its application to healthcare and health services research.
This course will expose students to a general overview of health economics and clinical outcomes research (HECOR). The topics covered in this course represent a broad selection of major themes in the field; each topic will provide students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the field as well as learn how economists, epidemiologists and statisticians think about and conduct HECOR research.
Discusses behavioral theory and its underlying principles as applied to the development of managerial and teamwork skills for health service administrators.
Students are introduced to epidemiologic concepts, skills and data, the application of epidemiology to population health and health services and to the application of epidemiologic literature in health services management through an applied project using a health status analysis. Methods to determine risk factors for health problems are discussed and examined in this project.
Describes the legal climate within which the healthcare institutions operate particularly as they pertain to activities of healthcare administrators. Introduces the dominant ethical theories and principles in healthcare, relating them to current ethical issues (professional, clinical, social, business, and organizational). Examines the relationships between ethical and legal concepts, and how the two relate and influence each other. Provides the opportunity to begin to formulate ethical and legal positions related to contemporary issues and situations in healthcare.
Statistics & Analytics Courses (12 credits)
The first course in the statistics sequence discusses the application of various quantitative methods to analyze and improve systems and processes within healthcare. This foundation is then advanced and deepened in the context of real health-care problems in the next two applied analysis courses. These courses will allow you to focus on using real data and multivariate analyses to address current problems in HECOR. The final course covers the application of statistical quality management methods in healthcare.
Discusses the nature and application of various quantitative methods for analyzing and improving organizational systems and processes within the healthcare field.
This course builds off of HESA 521 and is the second in a 3-course series on applied statistics for health economics and clinical outcomes research. This course will delve deeper into multivariate analysis as well as methods to analyze categorical data and non-normally distributed data. A strong emphasis on applied methods of data analysis using the statistical programming software will be present.
Prerequisites: HESA 521
This course is the third in a 3-course series on applied statistics for health economics and clinical outcomes research. It will provide a survey of more advanced statistical methods with a focus on causal inference, i.e. methods designed to address research questions that concern the impact of some potential cause (e.g., a medical intervention, a change in treatment, economic conditions or policies) on some outcome (e.g., time to event, comorbidity, healthcare utilization and expenditures). Students will apply the skills learned in HESA 521 and 522 on a data-analysis project.
Prerequisites: HECO 522
Introduces the theoretical application of statistical quality management in health care as well as the practical application of quality improvement methods in health care settings.
This course provides (1) a historical perspective on the development of healthcare services in the United States, (2) a description of the key factors and issues which influence the development of the current healthcare delivery systems, (3) a description of the current healthcare delivery systems including reimbursement, and (4) discussion of the future of US healthcare system.
Focuses on how to best allocate scarce resources to optimize the provision of health services and the well-being of society and analyzes how public and private policies impact various stakeholders.
This course will examine the structure of health care systems in different countries, focusing on financing; organization of delivery systems; reimbursement of physicians, hospitals and pharmaceuticals and adoption of new technologies. Students will study the relative roles of private and public sector payers and providers and the effect of system design on cost, quality, efficiency and equity of medical services.
Economic Evaluation and Modeling Courses (6 credits)
Economic evaluation, a core methodological foundation in HECOR, provides a methodological approach to assimilating different costs and health outcomes associated with medical treatments into a common metric that allows one to assess a treatment’s worth in relation to other possible alternatives. The course work examines the different modeling approaches and addresses the uncertainty inherent in these approaches. By the end of this sequence, you will be familiar with the basic types of economic evaluations and will understand what issues should be addressed in performing a sound economic evaluation.
This course will introduce students to the basics of economic evaluations of health care interventions or technology. This value depends not only on how effective a treatment is, but also how costly it is. Economic evaluations provide a method for assimilating different costs and health outcomes associated with medical treatments into a common metric that allows one to assess that treatment’s worth in relation to other possible alternatives. By the end of this course, students should be familiar with the basic types of economic evaluations and should understand what issues should be addressed in performing a sound economic evaluation. Through examples and applications, students should also become familiar with how specific economic evaluations are performed and what are the major challenges and limitations of these approaches.
This course will introduce the development, methodological approach and application of quantitative models used to inform healthcare decisions. The course will emphasize decision trees and Markov models and introduce agent-based modeling techniques. Approaches to uncertainty in the model will be addressed through one-way, two-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. The course will consider the application and presentation of the model to stakeholders with an emphasis on the ethical use and proper disclosure of the limitations inherent in the data and methods.
Prerequisites: HECO 674
The capstone course will allow you to integrate your coursework and apply it to a research question in a structured case study.
Prerequisites: A minimum of 33 credit hours completed in good standing, including the following courses: HESA 511, HESA 521, HESA 567, HECO 522, HECO 571, and HECO 674.
HECOR Course Sequence Example:
- HECO 571: Intro to HECOR
- HESA 511: Managerial Concepts in Healthcare Organizations
- HESA 521: Quantitative Methods for Healthcare Management
- HECO 522: Applied Analysis for HECOR I
- HESA 567: Applied Epidemiology & Population Health
- HECO 523: Applied Analysis for HECOR II
- HESA 582: Ethics & Law in Healthcare
- HECO 674: Cost Benefit Analysis
- HESA 572: Healthcare Services in the US Past & Future
- HESA 578: Health Economics & Policy
- HECO 675: Economic Evaluation & Simulation Modeling
- HESA 523: Quality Improvement Techniques in Healthcare Management
- HECO 631: Global Health Systems
- HESA 600: Capstone Project in Health Services Administration
*Note: This example is for planning purposes only and is subject to change. Students starting in January will follow a similar course sequence that is adapted for a spring start.
Applicants interested in applying to Xavier University’s online HECOR program should submit the following:
Xavier University's free online application.
Official transcripts of completed coursework from accredited colleges and universities. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university. Send to:
ATTN: Admission Processing Center
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-5131
For electronic transcripts, send to:
Current résumé of work experience.
Two letters of recommendation, preferably one from a current or former employer who can assess your potential for success in this program.
A 500-word, clear, concise and articulate Personal Letter of Intent. (Standard page margins of 1 inch, single-spaced, sans-serif font - Arial or Calibri recommended.)
Key points the personal letter of intent should address:
- What are your motivations for applying to Xavier University’s HECOR program?
- How will the HECOR degree program at Xavier University help you to accomplish your objectives in career and life?
- HECOR is a quantitative, analytic and team project-oriented discipline. How are you prepared to be a successful graduate student in this program?
- Xavier University’s mission is characterized by critical thinking to educate the whole person, with special attention to ethical issues and values. What does this mission mean to you?
Preferred (not required):
- 3 or more years of healthcare work experience.
- Grade of B or higher in any previous statistics or econometrics coursework.
- Grade of B or higher in previous microeconomics coursework.
- GRE or GMAT scores (sent directly from the testing agency) if GPA is less than 3.0.
International student requirements
Xavier University welcomes students from outside the United States to enroll in its online programs. However, some countries do not formally recognize foreign online degrees. This may have implications for enrolling in subsequent degree programs or for securing employment requiring these credentials. It is students’ responsibility to determine whether the online degree will be recognized in their country of residence or in any country in which they plan to work. Additionally, students should inquire in their country of residence how the collection of student data may be used and whether they will be subject to additional withholding taxes in addition to the cost of tuition.
- All international students are strongly encouraged to submit an official third-party course-by-course evaluation of their high school and/or college transcripts from an international credential evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
- International students must pass either the TOEFL or IELTS exam if English is your second language.
- International students may have additional application requirements. Click here for more information.
Note: International students in the U.S. cannot enroll in an online degree program to fulfill the legal requirement for an F-1 or J-1 visa.
Xavier University is authorized to offer this fully-online program in most states. View the complete list of approved states on the State Authorization page.
Students enrolled in Xavier University’s MS-HECOR program will learn from dedicated faculty and professionals with experience working in the fields of health services research, health economics, epidemiology, healthcare reimbursement, and market access. Our exceptional faculty members include:
Director of Health Economics & Clinical Outcomes Research (HECOR) Program
Peter Mallow, Ph.D. the director of the HECOR Program and Assistant Professor at Xavier University. His research interests include understanding complex healthcare systems and how decisions are made with respect to uncertainty, value, efficiency and equity. His methodological expertise is in conducting economic evaluations and outcomes research to make explicit the tradeoffs involved in these complex decisions. He has earned several awards for his research and has been published in several leading health services journals. Prior to joining Xavier, Mallow served as the Program Director, Health Economics, Market Access and Outcomes Research for Cardinal Health and Associate Director of Health Economics at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting. Mallow earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati where he served as an adjunct faculty member from 2015 to 2017.
Eileen Alexander, Ph.D. MS, BSN, RN is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University. She also serves as a Woodside Fellow in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Prior to these roles, she worked in the Department of Quality and Risk Management at Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati. Alexander is licensed as an RN in the State of Ohio and has worked in nursing at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN, and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cincinnati. Alexander completed her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Her research interests include human gene/microbiota/chemical interfaces; study design and analysis of epigenetically mediated disorders that differentially affect males/females and adults/children; education, retention and leadership development for minorities in STEM disciplines; and public health promotion.
Director of the Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA Program),
Chair of the Health Services Administration Department
Dr. Rick Browne received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University and is a licensed psychologist in the State of Ohio. He teaches courses in ethics, management, professional development and the US healthcare system. He does research in the area of health administration pedagogy and interprofessional education.
Lin Guo, Ph. D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio where he has worked since 1996. He received his M.S. in Industrial Engineering in 1991 and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering in 1995 from the University of Cincinnati. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1982 from the South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, the People’s Republic of China.
Eddie Hooker is currently a Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. His areas of expertise include: emergency medicine, epidemiology, health services management and public health. Dr. Hooker received his B.S. degree from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He earned his M.D. degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School.
He then completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville. As a full-time faculty member at the University of Louisville from 1991 until 1996, Dr. Hooker served as Associate Professor and Director of Resident Research. He was very active in brain trauma and stroke research. Dr. Hooker most recently practiced emergency medicine at a private hospital in Cincinnati where he was active in cardiac research. Since 2005, Dr. Hooker has been teaching in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University. In the spring of 2007, Dr. Hooker earned his Doctorate in Public Health from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Hooker continues to be active in emergency medicine journals, published many book chapters and continues to have an active research agenda. Dr. Hooker serves as an editor for Emedicine, and online clinical knowledge base. He is the medical advisor for Indian Hill Schools. Dr. Hooker lives in Cincinnati with his wife and four children. His hobbies include genealogy and cooking.
Associate Director of Executive Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) Program
Dr. France Weaver is the Associate Director of the EMHSA program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration. She has a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration, with a concentration in Health Economics, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on quantitative data analyses in health economics and policy analysis. She has publications in leading health economics and health services administration journals and presentations in both the US and Europe. Dr. Weaver has taught a broad array of graduate, undergraduate and online courses, and has experience mentoring students in Ph.D. dissertations, Master theses, Capstone projects, and advising graduate and undergraduate students. At Xavier University, she teaches Health Economics, Health Policy and Policy Analysis, and the summer capstone course at the graduate level.
Principal, One Tall Tree Consulting, Adjunct Faculty
Eric Bell, MBA is a Principal of One Tall Tree Consulting. He has worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices field for over fifteen years, developing numerous decision-support tools such as budget impact and cost-effectiveness models, using a variety of techniques including decision trees, Markov modeling and Monte Carlo simulations. Fluent in numerous programming languages, he has more than thirty years of experience writing software in a variety of contexts, including avionics, text editing, device drivers, stock market trading, workflow management, databases and database-driven web applications. Eric has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, graduate study in computer science and an MBA.
Senior Director, Health Economics & Market Access, Adjunct Faculty
Diane Francis, MPH is Senior Director, Health Economics & Market Access for Ethicon US, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company. She has worked in various roles related to health economics and reimbursement for Johnson & Johnson since 2000. Prior to 2000, Francis served in administrative roles with hospital systems, including as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer for Health Care Network of New Jersey, LLC, and as Primary Care Network Coordinator for The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Francis received her Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University’s School of Public Health. Francis has been recognized through several awards, including a Johnson & Johnson Innovation Award in 2014; Johnson & Johnson Standards of Leadership Award in 2008, 2010 and 2015; and Trinitas Regional Hospital Center Humanitarian Award in 2010. Her recent publications and presentations focus on analyzing data associated with bariatric surgery outcomes.
Principal, Candace Gunnarsson Consulting, Adjunct Faculty
Candace Gunnarsson, Ed.D. is the founder and principal of Candace Gunnarsson Consulting. She actively participates as a Principal Investigator in the areas of scientific and regulatory affairs, project management and biometrics. Gunnarsson played an essential role in developing and launching the new Master of Science program in Health Economic and Clinical Outcomes Research (HECOR) at Xavier University. She has considerable expertise with large-scale databases, such as electronic medical records, commercial payer, hospital, pharmacy, government and physician databases. Gunnarsson received her Doctorate with Data Sciences Certification from the University of Cincinnati. Her research has appeared in leading health services and medical journals. She has authored a vast portfolio of publications and presentations and has received numerous industry and teaching awards throughout her career.
Principal Clinical Research Scientist, Adjunct Faculty
Paul Niklewski, Ph.D. is Principal Clinical Research Scientist for Ethicon Inc., a Johnson and Johnson Company. In addition to teaching in the HECOR program at Xavier, he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cell Biophysics at University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. Niklewski has approximately 20 years of industry experience, both in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. During his career, he has worked on both the design of medical products and outcomes in the healthcare industry. He has developed a comprehensive understanding of both the clinical and economic needs over his career for companies, hospitals and payers. This includes understanding the current changes in health care driven by the affordable care act and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Niklewski completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Recent publications focus on patient safety during procedural sedation. He has been recognized with the Johnson and Johnson Standard of Leadership Award in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Health GIS Research Specialist, Adjunct Faculty
Michael Topmiller, Ph.D. is a Health GIS Research Specialist at HealthLandscape, a division of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He serves a variety of roles at HealthLandscape, including leading multiple geospatial and population health research projects, developing prototypes and configuring web-based mapping tools, and providing support and webinar training for HealthLandscape’s suite of online data visualization tools. In addition, Michael is a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program, where he is working on a community-based participatory research project focused on early childhood wellness in two Cincinnati neighborhoods. Michael’s educational background includes undergraduate degrees in mathematics and secondary education from the University of Kentucky, an MA in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Cincinnati.
Director of Patient Experience, Adjunct Faculty
RaNae is the Director of Patient Experience at TriHealth, Inc. Her background includes operational leadership and executive coaching. With 34 years of healthcare leadership experience and 10 years of higher education academic experience, she has demonstrated success in operational excellence and cultural transformation. She has worked with over 200 healthcare CEO’s in her consulting career, and her passion is driving results through collaborative relationships. RaNae has a deep background in working with rural and community hospitals to achieve quality and service outcomes. Her expertise in working with senior leadership groups includes a focus on results with an emphasis on effective communication skills and leadership accountability.
RaNae earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Health Services Administration from Xavier University.