It’s fair to say that the field of Health Science has been around for as long as humans have needed to cope with disease. The discipline deals with the improvement of human and animal health, and those working in the field can do so with an undergraduate degree or a PhD in Health Sciences.
Professionals in the field can be divided into two broad categories: those who perform research and those who work as clinicians applying their knowledge to advance healthcare, cure illnesses, and gain better insight into how humans and animals function.
What is a PhD in Health Sciences?
A PhD in Health Sciences is a post-professional degree that typically takes 4-6 years to complete. A Doctorate (PhD) in Health Sciences can help you reach your ultimate goals whether that is in the classroom as an educator or the boardroom as a manager, as a practitioner or a researcher. A PhD in Health Sciences allows professionals in the field of healthcare to specialize in a relevant line of work.
Why Study Online?
To earn your PhD in Health Sciences, you can choose the traditional route of attending an on-campus college, or instead, attend an online university. The benefits of attending an online university are vast. They include:
It’s no secret that university is expensive, costs add up quickly and there’s a reason that many students take out loans. Studying online proves to be more affordable than traditional universities. After tuition and associated fees, online programs almost always cost less than on-campus institutions, and course materials like textbooks are generally offered online at no extra cost. Additionally, most students will save on housing and/or transportation costs incurred by attending a traditional college. There are many quality programs available, and if you’re looking to save money, online university is a perfect solution.
When taking classes at a traditional college, students must show up at designated times and sit through rather lengthy lectures before running to their next class. And yet, if they somehow manage to space out those classes and have time for a short break, they likely still have to remain on campus. It can make for really long, tiring days. By studying online, students can balance their outside commitments with their education and be more flexible about getting work done in case of a family matter or a meeting at work. You get to choose your own learning time and environment.
If you live in a cold weather city, you know the frustration of dealing with a storm and the danger of navigating on snowy roads to get to class. Even if you don’t live where it snows, there are many factors that can make it difficult to commute for every class. Online courses make attending class as easy as turning on your computer or tablet from the comfort of your home or a café down the block. Usually, your options for university are naturally limited by your location. If you live in California, or abroad for that matter, it can be difficult and costly to attend school in Boston. But location is irrelevant with online courses. If you live in Puerto Rico and want to take classes in Michigan, you can! All you need is your computer. Accessibility is a major, and often undervalued, benefit of online classes.
Best Online Options
For those interested in pursuing their PhD in Health Sciences online, many quality programs exist. Here’s a look at some of the best ones.
- Boston, MA
- Online Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS): Healthcare Administration
Rather than annual residencies, MCPHS only asks students to visit campus three times during their complete length of study: orientation and two more times to work on your dissertations. MCPHS’s accredited online PhD in healthcare administration is geared towards an Academic Health Sciences concentration, so the core curriculum focuses primarily on theory and research.
- Lynchburg, VA
- Online Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) – Healthcare Management
This program’s core curriculum places a strong emphasis in business. If you’re interested in this facet of healthcare, Liberty University teaches students forecasting and modeling, supply chain management, executive coaching, and human resource management.
- Tampa, FL
- Online Doctor of Public Health: Health Policy and Administration
The University of South Florida’s Doctor of Public Health program offers courses emphasizing practice-based schooling over theory and research, making it ideal for professionals who want to work full-time while pursuing a leadership role at a non-profit healthcare organization.
- Kirksville, MO
- Online Doctor of Health Administration
A.T. Still University is the only institution ranked on this list that specializes in osteopathic medicine. Although osteopathic medicine is a notably specialized field, A.T. still offers a range of related health programs, including a PhD in Healthcare Administration.
- Charleston, SC
- Online DHA Executive Program
MUSC’s Doctor of Healthcare Administration is one of the most complete programs, allowing students to choose from three tracks: Executive, Interprofessional Studies and Leadership, and Information Systems and Leadership.
- Mount Pleasant, MI
- Online Doctor of Health Administration
CMU is the only university ranked that uses a collaborative-based system, encouraging students from a wide range of backgrounds to network and develop their skills.
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Online Doctor of Management – Healthcare Management and Leadership
The Colorado Technical University’s core curriculum balances both business and theoretical research material. CTU provides a unique opportunity for students who have yet to complete a master’s degree by completing an MBA or MSM while simultaneously working on their PhD.
- Columbus, OH
- Online Doctor of Healthcare Administration
Franklin University has earned a spot on the podium for implementing their “no fear” program to help guide students through the intense dissertation process. Students will leverage strong peer and faculty mentoring and need not worry about the stress of undertaking this degree.
- University, MS
- Online Doctor of Health Administration
The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s online PhD program is one the most comprehensive curricula, offering the widest range of courses tailored to health and management. UMMC’s degree is ideal for professionals designed for part-time students and consequently has few in-person obligations.
- Tempe, AZ
- Online Doctor of Behavioral Health with a Concentration in Management
ASU’s program is really a specialized Doctor of Behavioral Health degree with a concentration in management. However, the degree is extensive enough to be applicable in a wide range of healthcare fields. ASU encourages students to also consider courses from two of its other programs: Science of Healthcare Delivery and Healthcare Innovation.
What You Will Study
Health Sciences is a general term that includes all the applied fields involved in the delivery and development of healthcare. This means that there are various tracks available to students. For instance, the Doctor in Health Administration, or DHA, degree is ideal for those who want to advance their careers in research or policy. On the other hand, the PhD in healthcare administration is more attractive for professionals interested in capitalizing on opportunities for leadership in corporate roles.
Skills You Will Acquire
When earning a PhD, you will glean knowledge that will be useful both within the profession as well as in life generally.
Here are 10 of the most valuable transferable skills acquired by those with a PhD degree: managing your own project; performing competitive analysis; collaborating with your peers; dealing with conflict; leading a team; training, teaching & mentoring; writing and verbal communication; problem solving; understanding the big picture, and ultimately, learning how to improve health.
How Long Will It Take?
Nobody arrives at the decision to pursue a PhD easily. Ultimately, embarking on a PhD program can take many years to earn, but it will help advance one’s career in a specific field.
However, if you know where to look, accelerated PhD tracks do exist from accredited universities. Even if the right degree for you is not listed above, this list is a great starting point for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level in less time, on a budget and with a more flexible schedule.
Two-thirds of the programs ranked and available to students will cost less than $20,000 annually.
Career Options & Salary
A Doctorate in Health Sciences opens doors for teaching and leadership positions in the healthcare field. With such an advanced degree, one can build a career in several high-level health-related professions.
Graduates will enter one of three categories: Health Specialties Educator (~$91k median salary); Clinical Researcher (~$83k median salary); Medical and Health Service Manager (~$95k median salary)
How to Get Started in Health Science
If you know that Health Sciences is the right path for you, then you can get started by earning your Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in the Health Science – Community and Public Health Track at the University of the People. The tuition-free and fully online program is designed to prepare students for the complex and evolving healthcare landscape.
For example, our Bachelor of Science in Health Science is an online, 39-course degree program, providing a comprehensive understanding of industry health principles and standards. Full time students can complete the program in four years.
The road to earning your PhD in Health Science may be paved with challenges, but once you have the degree in your hands, you will broaden your horizons to be able to lead teams, teach others and hold high-level positions in a field that does so much to better support humanity and overall health and wellbeing.