First introduced in the late 90s, the doctor of health administration degree is an advanced professional doctorate in health administration, management, or leadership. The goal of a DHA degree program is to prepare health professionals to become leaders and problem solvers within the ever-changing healthcare industry. Most doctoral programs require a master’s degree in healthcare administration, business, or related discipline.
Curricula may be offered on a full-time, part-time, or online basis. To accommodate industry professionals who desire returning to school to acquire advanced skills in health administration, some institutions offer online DHA programs. Many of these programs, such as the schools highlighted here, require minimal on-campus visits, often attendance to regional seminars or symposiums, while other programs are offered exclusively online.
10 Best Online DHA Programs in 2021
A.T. Still University's College of Graduate Health Studies offers an online doctor of health administration program that is designed to prepare professionals to transition into careers that advance, improve, and influence healthcare administration systems. Fourteen courses, a competency examination, and dissertation are required to successfully complete the doctoral program. Course topics explored in the program include health organization governance, quality improvement and performance excellence, population health, and strategic change management for healthcare organizations. The required dissertation is a cumulative project that includes the completion of several preparation courses. These courses are taken while the student works on their project. The dissertation must be completed within seven years of starting the program.
The online DHA program at Capella University includes two integrated components – online coursework completion and dissertation. The program prepares doctoral candidates to advance and improve health systems. Curriculum adheres to the NCHL Health Leadership Competency Model, which features an action-oriented, evidence-based approach. Students participate in consulting projects, give presentations, and conduct research studies, all in an online format. The school reports that recent graduates have secured employment as executive officers, health information managers, nursing directors, and hospital administrators. Typical courses taken for the online DHA program include contemporary leadership roles in health care, evidence-based leadership in health care, innovative business practices in health care, and strategic financial management in health care.
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
Central Michigan University offers an online DHA program designed for industry professionals to acquire additional skills that make them valuable to the health care system. Doctoral degree candidates expand their knowledge in health communication and human interaction, healthcare economics, leadership planning processes, and models in healthcare delivery systems including acquisitions and mergers. While the coursework is delivered online, regionally located seminars are required. The final portion of the program involves a 12-credit individual dissertation. The university has earned rankings with U.S. News and World Report. The publications lists Central Michigan as the 194th Best National University in the country.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
The online doctor of health administration degree program at Colorado Technical University combines management and leadership studies with a concentration in healthcare administration. The program is designed to prepare students with the skills needed to take key leadership roles in a healthcare setting or system. The program offers courses that explore topics in health policy and regulations, healthcare economics and finance, informatics, and improvements in healthcare systems. Courses are taught online but students are required to attend a residential symposium, often offered on campus. Throughout the doctoral program, three sets of competencies are assessed: research and writing, leadership and change management, and specific concentration discipline – such as health administration.
The online doctor of health administration degree program at Grand Canyon University combines education with health care management and leadership. Successful completion of the program earns a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Health Care Administration. The program may be completed entirely online with a required residency. The on-campus residency allows students to work directly with faculty and staff who are experts in dissertation processes and research. Online coursework includes studies in health care regulation, foundations of research, progressions in leadership thought, and sustainability of health care organizations. Required courses that assist with the dissertation include developing the research proposal and dissertation planning and research.
The online doctor of health administration program at Liberty University emphasizes business administration with health management. Successful completion of the program earns a doctor of business in healthcare management. The program covers topics in contemporary legal and ethical issues often encountered in the healthcare industry, as well as management in global health systems. Typical courses include business forecasting and modeling, healthcare administration, healthcare informatics, legal and ethical issues for health professionals, and managing human capital in healthcare. The courses are offered entirely online with off-campus intensives that take place in various locations. U.S. News and World Report ranks Liberty as the 80th Best Regional University in the South.
The School of Business at Northcentral University offers a doctorate in business administration with specialization in health care administration. This online DHA degree program prepares graduates to secure positions in financial management, health care education, health care policy, and research within health and medical settings. The doctoral program is entirely online so that students may balance their career and life obligations while attending school. Doctoral candidates receive the university's one-to-one mentoring approach, which provides individualized teaching instruction and direct access to faculty members. The program is regionally accredited with no required physical residency. All instruction is conducted online.
University of Mississippi
The online PhD in health administration is a blended degree program designed to prepare professionals to lead and manage the direction of health care. Courses range from epidemiology to health policy, and emphasize leadership roles and communication in various health care settings. The primary method of content delivery is online, with minimal required face-to-face on-campus sessions. The program is designed to be completed within three years. The University of Mississippi has earned rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the institution as the 140th Best National University in the country.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University is a nationally ranked institution that offers an online DHA degree program for health industry professionals. The PhD program in health related sciences allows doctoral candidates to specialize in various areas of study, including health administration. According to Virginia Commonwealth's website, the mission of the program is to equip a new generation of health researchers and educators. Admission to the program is highly competitive and open only to candidates with clear career goals in health care administration and research. At least two years' experience in the health care industry is required for acceptance. A master's in health, public health, or business related programs is required for acceptance. The university is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 156th Best National University in the United States.
Walden University offers a fully online PhD in health administration program that is designed to prepare students to become leaders and social change agents in today's healthcare settings. Qualifying students may participate in the accelerated program track, offered to individuals who possess a master's in healthcare administration. Courses are flexible and taught in 11-week stretches with a two-week break before the next course begins. Two on-campus residencies are required, which equal a minimum of eight days. Typical courses cover topics in global health and issues in disease prevention, healthcare quality management, and trends and issues in executive-level management for healthcare administrators.
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