About the Program

The Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) 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 56 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.

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

Two Paths to Admission

The DHA program consists of a single degree but offers two pathways for admission, as a Health Administrator or Health Professional. Graduates from both tracks are eligible for future careers in senior leadership, health policy, consulting, and academics. The track you select determines your coursework for the first semester. Beginning the second semester, the core curriculum for all DHA students is aligned, regardless of track.

Health Administrator

If you are applying to the Health Administrator track, you might hold a position such as chief executive officer, administrator, regional manager, program director, or department manager. This track focuses on the development of leaders in healthcare administration, health policy, strategic management, and applied research methods. Applicants are seeking to gain the skills needed to take on enhanced leadership positions and influence healthcare delivery.

Health Professional

If you are applying to the Health Professional track, you might be a practicing clinician or hold a position such as chief information officer, health information technology consultant, social worker, case manager, information systems vendor executive, quality assurance professional, and training program coordinator. This track focuses on the development of interprofessional leaders in clinical care, social work, health information systems, and healthcare quality. Applicants are seeking to gain the skills needed to take on leadership positions and influence healthcare practice. As such, students will take an Organizational Behavior course in their first semester.