Online PhD in Health Science

An online PhD in Health Sciences, also called Health Management or Health Services, is designed to help experienced professionals in the field build a solid foundation around health care administration, public health management, and even health issues as they relate to the national and global economy. Accredited online doctoral degrees in Health Sciences are designed to help students continue their work in the sector while gaining the skills they will need to find solutions to current and future health system dilemmas. The combination of job experience and advanced study will make them some of the most sought-after employees in a competitive market.

Specializations for online PhD degrees in Health Sciences might include such areas as Global Health, Organizational Behavior and Leadership, and Advanced Physician Assistant Studies. Online doctorate programs in Health Sciences usually require applicants to have a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited school. In addition, some may require proof that you are a licensed health care professional or have had previous experience in the field. Each program has different course requirements, but can generally be completed in about 2.5 to 5 years, depending on the student's course load. For example, A.T. Still University's online PhD in Health Sciences requires 70 credit hours, 64 of which can be completed through their online learning channels. The program does, however, require a one week, 6 credit hour on-campus institute.

About Online PhD Programs in Health Science

During the course of their education, online PhD health students are generally required to produce doctoral papers, excel in exams, continue with practical work in their field, and submit a lengthy dissertation. Programs like A.T. Still University’s are aimed at helping experienced health care professionals develop the necessary knowledge base to deal with the complex issues of health administration and policy. Curriculum is centered around courses to develop writing and critical thinking skills with a focus on real-world health issues. About one third of this online doctoral program in Health Sciences is focused on applied research.

Year One:

  • Writing for Health Professionals . A review of basic writing skills and grammar with a focus on the style and requirements for scholarly papers, journal articles, and clinical case reviews.
  • Principles of Management and Decision Analysis . Introduces the principles of management and decision-making theories for application in health care delivery and research.
  • Health Care Delivery Systems . Covers the history, structure, and function of the current health care system with a focus on future development.
  • Health Administration Law and Ethics. Provides an overview of law and ethics with the goal of improving the delivery of health care through critical analysis of ethical healthcare dilemmas.

Year Two:

  • Population Health and Patient-Centered Care . An in depth analysis of global health issues, including urbanization and migration, climate change, culture, and social and economic class.
  • Winter Institute . One week on-campus educational component that covers current health issues as well as the promotion and reform of healthcare on both a local and national level. Culminates in the presentation of student developed health promotion initiatives. li>
  • Evidence-Based Practice . Examines the practical application of research, clinical experience, critical thinking and patient values with the goal of improving the quality of care.
  • Proposal Development . First phase of the program’s applied research project component.

Year Three:

  • Literature Review and Sampling Methodology . Research phase of applied research project.
  • Data Collection. Collection of data for applied research project.
  • Data Analysis. Analysis of data for applied research project.
  • Dissemination. Presentation of the applied research project in the form of a publishable academic paper. Also requires that the final paper be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

The applied research project makes up about one third of the online doctorate in Health Sciences. Its key goal is to advance the practical knowledge and field expertise of its students. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor and committee for this project to oversee the project’s progress and provide mentorship from the proposal phase to dissemination. Some examples of past applied research projects include:

  • National comprehensive model in conquering infant mortality health disparities among African Americans
  • Teaching pediatric assessment skills to post-operative nurses in India
  • Student and preceptors: An analysis of values in the clinical component of physician assistant education and implications for improving student education and training

Value and Criticisms of Earning Health Sciences Doctorate Degrees Online

Pursuing an online doctorate in health science requires time and dedication. Successful PhD candidates are focused, goal-oriented and driven. An online program allows health professionals to further their education and enhance their critical thinking skills, practical knowledge, and ability to handle complex healthcare dilemmas in an ever-evolving field. For an actively working professional and online PhD program in Health Sciences might be beneficial because it can allow them to remain at work and possibly take advantage tuition reimbursement. However, for some individuals this may be too disruptive to their work life and may not be the right choice. Online PhD degrees in Health Sciences are best suited for self-motivated individuals looking to advance their careers while continuing their work in the field, but are not for everyone. For example, if you are hoping to pursue a job as a professor in an academic setting, perhaps an on-campus program would be more beneficial in order to become familiar with the traditional classroom setting at that level of education.

Application & Admission Requirements

There are different requirements for applying to online doctoral programs in Health Sciences, please be sure to check the specifics of the program you are considering. Here is an example of the requirements for A.T. Still University's doctorate in Health Sciences:

  • Master's or doctorate from an accredited school with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This ensures that candidates meet a certain academic standard and are prepared for the rigors of a PhD program.
  • Proof that you are a licensed health care professional or have experience in the field. Selecting candidates with adequate experience in their industry improves the quality of discussion and research conducted within the program.
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the quality of your past professional or academic experience.
  • Application form and a non-refundable fee of $60.
  • Short phone interview to give the selection committee a chance to get to know you as an applicant.

Career Options & Job Market

A student graduating with an online Health Sciences PhD from an accredited school can consider a wide spectrum of careers as options. Some popular career opportunities for online PhD in Health Science are:

  • Professor . Graduates with an online PhD in Health Sciences will almost always have the option of going into academia. Health Science professors work to both prepare materials and deliver class lectures in health science topics. They also grade student work as well as prepare syllabi. Health science professors generally make between $55,930 and $135,660 yearly .
  • Advanced clinical practitioner. Nurses, physicians’ assistants, and other medical professionals often pursue doctorates so that they can serve their patients in the best ways possible. Online doctoral programs in Health Sciences give you the option of staying on the floor and working with patients daily, knowing you are organizing resources and time in ways that benefit them the most. A clinical practitioner with a PhD can make $68,210 or more .
  • Health Services Manager. These managers help guide institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, research centers, and political centers. Online doctorate degrees in Health Science help you understand both the day to day realities of health care and the long-term implications of those realities. The median salary range for health service managers is $80,240 .

Health care is a growing field, and all indications are that this field will need strong, well-educated leaders to guide it. With the right online Health Science PhD, you could be one of them.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Federal and institutional financial aid are available for most programs. Check with the specific school when you are considering pursuing a Health Sciences PhD online to assess the total cost for the program and see what type of aid you might qualify for. The cost of tuition varies between schools. For example, A.T. Still University's tuition is $415 per credit hour. This totals to $29,050 for the entire program, but does not include the cost of books and reference materials. Comparatively, the online PhD in Health Sciences at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is $585 per credit hour, with a 60 credit hour program, for a total of $35,100.

Also, keep in mind that some employers might offer tuition reimbursement for further education in your field. Contact your employer’s human resources department for more information.

  • FAFSA. Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Student Aid on the Web. Free information from the Department of Education about how to apply for federal aid.
  • FastWeb. Search a variety of different private scholarships and awards.

Essential Advice

  • Check Requirements. The majority of online PhD programs in Health Sciences require applicants to have at least a master's degree. Other requirements may include minimum GPA standards, proof of being a licensed health care professional or adequate experience in the field, and letters of recommendation.
  • Evaluate on-campus components. Most online doctoral programs in Health Sciences have at least some component that requires you to come to campus. However, this is usually just one course or semester, or in the case of A.T. Still University's program, a one-week institute. Factor this into your educational planning, both for cost and time management purposes.
  • Explore federal and institutional financial aid options as well as the possibility of employer reimbursement. While typically earning your Health Sciences PhD online is less costly than a traditional on-campus program, you should always look to see which program offers the best aid packages. Think twice before considering a program that does not offer many options for financial assistance. Also, check with your employer’s human resources department about the possibility of tuition reimbursement.
  • Look for the best program to meet your needs. Keep in mind top online Health Sciences doctorate programs incorporate both theoretical and applied education and are aimed at taking real-world professional experience to the next level.