Doctor of Health Administration

Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

The DHA program is now accepting applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year. View our admissions requirements and program FAQs for more information.

The challenge to develop cost-effective, quality delivery systems responsive to policy initiatives requires a substantial increase in critical thinking skills, evidence-based knowledge and leadership skills. The long-term success of healthcare organizations will be directly linked to highly skilled, strategic leadership. Leaders must begin to integrate evidence-based knowledge into traditional subject areas with a vision of population health and inter-organizational network relations. These challenges, along with the demand for advanced leadership skills, clearly show the need for formal and relevant education beyond the master's degree level. The DHA program has been uniquely designed to fill a gap in health administration education, which provides the participants with the cultural, humanistic, and professional background that the changing healthcare field demands. Our graduates generally intend to turn their doctoral degrees into higher education faculty positions, leadership roles in health care advocacy, or the highest levels of health care administration.

Doctor of Health Administration Program

The Doctor of Health Administration program is designed to allow ambitious health care professionals to turn their clinical or administrative experiences into opportunities to teach, shape public policy and/or lead complex organizations. Successful applicants will possess relevant post-baccalaureate professional or master's degrees and significant practical experience in the field.

The DHA program is a 54 credit-hour curriculum, with new cohorts beginning each fall. The program utilizes a blended format, combining asynchronous internet-based instruction with face-to-face meetings. Each semester students will be required to spend one long weekend on the MUSC campus in Charleston attending classes. Years one and two of the program include formal course work provided through online presentations and asynchronous discussion. Papers and other required assignments are completed during home study between on campus sessions. DHA students take a core curriculum focusing on leadership and management, applied research methods, health policy, change management, health information management, population health management, and healthcare finance with additional elective courses in advanced health information systems, leadership and operations, and telehealth. Year two also includes a week-long intensive policy trip to Washington DC, where students meet with and learn from national health policy experts. Year three of the program is devoted to individual, supervised doctoral project research. The purpose of the doctoral project is to give students an opportunity to work under the direction of a faculty member to conceive, implement, and analyze an applied research problem that generates new knowledge or adds a new perspective to existing knowledge.

Program Objectives

  • Development of leaders to fulfill new roles in the evolving healthcare arena.
  • Application of systematic problem-solving methods designed to achieve tangible, long-lasting results.
  • Development of professionals who will apply theory to real world healthcare settings.
  • Build long-term mutually beneficial professional relationships among an array of healthcare professionals and academicians.

Two Paths to Admission

The DHA program consists of a single degree, but offers two pathways for admission. Graduates from both tracks are eligible for future careers in senior leadership, health policy, consulting, and academics.

Health Administrator

The Health Administrator track focuses on the development of leaders in healthcare administration, health policy, strategic management, and applied research methods. Applicants hold positions such as Chief Executive Officer, Administrator, Regional Manager, Program Director, and Department Manager. Applicants are seeking to gain the skills needed to take on enhanced leadership positions and influence healthcare delivery.

Candidates for the Health Administrator admission track should possess the following:

  • Significant experience in a management or policy position in the healthcare field.
  • A post-baccalaureate professional degree or master's degree in Health Administration, Business Administration, Public Health, Public Administration, or in an equivalent relevant discipline.

Health Professions

The Health Professions track focuses on the development of interprofessional leaders in clinical care, social work, health information systems and healthcare quality. Applicants hold positions such as practicing clinicians, Chief Information Officer, health information technology consultant, social worker, case manager, information systems vendor executive, quality assurance professional, and training program coordinator. Applicants are seeking to gain the skills needed to take on leadership positions and influence healthcare practice.

Candidates for the Health Professions admission track should possess the following:

  • Significant experience in a clinical medical specialty, health information systems, or other healthcare related field.
  • A related post-baccalaureate professional degree or master's degree.

Job Opportunities

It’s hard to imagine a more dynamic, fast-paced and rewarding field than healthcare. Individuals who possess a doctoral degree in health administration from MUSC gain unique competitive advantages. Armed with your DHA, you can pursue a career in academe, public policy/advocacy, consulting, clinical leadership, or as an executive of a healthcare organization. Possessing a DHA degree gives you a clear, competitive edge in a dynamic marketplace.

Our focus on leadership, policy/advocacy, strategy and applied research puts our DHA graduates in high demand.

Among the positions our grads have assumed:

  • Health System President and CEO
  • Healthcare Organization Senior Vice President
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Chief Medical Information Officer
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Quality Officer
  • Consultant
  • Director of Education
  • Director of Information Technology
  • Senior Health Analyst/Policy Analyst
  • Long-term Care Executive Director
  • Medical Director
  • Senior Operations Manager

Academic leadership positions

  • University President
  • College Professor
  • Associate Dean for Students
  • Department/Division Director

For more information contact:
Jillian Harvey, MHA, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, DHA Division Director