If you think about how healthcare is delivered, it’s on an ad hoc basis. Someone comes into a hospital, someone comes into a pharmacy, someone comes into a doctor. But beyond those touchpoints, the patients are on their own. There’s no real continuity of care. Christopher A. Viehbacher – CEO, Sanofi

Best Online Doctor of Health Science, PhD Health Science, online doctorate, health science degreeHealth care settings of today are much, much more than front-line health care workers. Educators, advocates, researchers, administrators, and case managers all work in tandem in many large health care settings.

While health care workers of the past were “siloed,” often not working in collaboration with other health providers or support works, today’s innovations are interdisciplinary.

Take a serious spine surgery, for example:

  • A spinal or neurosurgeon will likely perform the operation.Healthcare Leadership Doctorate
  • A neurologist will likely perform check-ups as the nerves regenerate.
  • A rheumatologist or orthopedic doctor will likely monitor scar tissue, regrowth of bones, and related issues.
  • Pain management specialists may help manage pain through recovery.
  • Physical therapists may help the patient regain range of movement.
  • Occupational therapists may help the patient to re-learn skills.Where Can I Earn A Doctorate Degree In Nursing As A Part-Time Doctoral Student?
  • Nurse educators may provide research for the patient to read through their recovery.
  • And hosts of lab workers, supporting front-line medical workers, and insurance workers will work in tandem throughout the entire process.

This process highlights some of the key benefits of skilled interdisciplinary medical practitioners and the systems that support them.

While there are many degrees that aid in a process we’ve detailed above, one of the best ways to augment your ability to facilitate functioning medical systems, administration, research, and optimized practice is to pursue a Doctor of Health Science Degree.

Doctor of Health Science degrees typically come in two varieties:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Sciences Degrees
  • And Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.) Degrees

While both can accomplish the same goals, one of the main differences between the paid is that Ph.D. programs require students to complete a dissertation and hold the central aim of helping to facilitate original research among students. While some D.H.Sc. degrees do this, it’s not the case for all. And many D.H.Sc. are professional, not research doctorates.

At OnlineCollegePlan, we’ve covered a wide range of degree types and questions from degree seekers of every level. We use this knowledge to provide vetted guides to the best degrees of a variety of types.

online masters degree

To discern the best online doctor of health science degrees, we’ve used the following methodology:

  • Academic Quality of Parent Institution (33.3%): a multivariate metric including student success and support metrics such as acceptance rate, student-to-faculty ratio, financial aid offerings, research rank of the university, and more.
  • Academic Quality of Program in Question (33.3%): range of electives, research rank of faculty, and overall support services for careers in health science.
  • Flexibility of Program (33.3%): a measure of a variety of offering types that enable those juggling work, life, and school to obtain the education they desire.

Note: The costs below are the most recent tuition & fees reported by NCES, choosing in-state and graduate when those choices are available.

  1. MERIT: 297
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,108

    Online Doctor of Health Science and Exercise Leadership


    California University of Pennsylvania is a regionally accredited, public university with its main campus in California, Pennsylvania. Over 7,000 students attend the university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctorate degrees.

    Cal U extends its offerings through the Global Online program, which offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs digitally. For a mid-sized university, metrics related to personalized attention and student support are strong. The most recent student-to-faculty ratio reported by the university is 20 to 1. Graduation and retention rates are 52% and 73%, respectively. Of online offerings at the university, education programs offer by far the most robust coverage.

    California University of Pennsylvania offers a fully online doctoral degree in health science and exercise leadership (D.H.Sc) that places first in our ranking due to quality academic support, the academic reputation of the school, robust online offerings, and flexibility for adult learners.

    The degree program is completable in as little as two years, one of the quickest time-until-graduations among surveyed degrees. Students then have the option to complete a dissertation. This flexibility supports students that may want to graduate more quickly and enter the workplace, as well as those that may want to finish a dissertation and pursue a career in research or academia.

    The focal points of the program are also unique. With a central concentration on aging populations as well as leadership in exercise-related positions, Cal U’s program is a great fit for professionals looking to advance their career in a range of settings.

    More Information
  2. MERIT: 297
    View Profile Average Cost: $33,055

    Online Doctor of Health Sciences


    The University of Bridgeport is a private, non-religiously affiliates university with robust online offerings as well as a brick and mortar campus in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Slightly over 3,000 students attend the University of Bridgeport, which is one of the most international college campuses in the United States. Around 5% of students attending on-campus are in English as Second Language programs. This is one of the highest rates for this metric of universities nationwide.

    For a relatively small student body, student support offerings at the university are strong. Outcome measures including student-to-faculty ratio (16 to 1), retention rate (71%), and graduation rate (42%) are all markers of strong support services and quality instruction. The acceptance rate at the university is currently 57.5%, with the university ranked as a tier two National University by major ranking bodies.

    We’ve placed the University of Bridgeport’s fully online Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) degree high in our ranking due to flexibility, outstanding support services, and the academic quality of the institution.

    Students in this program enjoy 3 potential start terms a year, can graduate in as few of 40 months (3 years, 4 months), and may choose between three concentrations. Concentrations include a clinician track, an educator track, and a clinical nutrition track.

    The course of study is for current health professionals, with a required prerequisite that students have experience working in health care settings. Additional requirements for entry include a masters degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA.

    More Information
  3. MERIT: 296.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $53.244

    Online Doctor of Health Science


    Drexel University is a private, nonsectarian, research university with the main campus located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over 24,000 students attend the university pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral programs. The university is known for their unique “co-op” program in which students have the opportunity to pursue 18 months of paid work pertinent to their degree or career goals prior to graduation.

    Drexel is also known as an innovator in the online education space. Drexel’s online offerings helped to create National Distance Learning Week, and have been awarded the Sloan-C award, which is granted to institutions that provide demonstrably high academic standards regionally and nationally in online education.

    We’ve placed Drexel University’s online Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.) degree third in our ranking due to the quality of online offerings at Drexel University, the academic quality of the institution as a whole, and it’s flexibility. Students gain a well-rounded education that helps them specialize from master’s-level study.

    Students are required to complete courses that hone their doctoral-level research abilities, a section of courses built around original writing and scholarship, a practicum, and concentration courses. Concentration courses include neuroscience as it relates to learning, Online Neuropedagogy, teaching strategies in health education, and Assessment, Measurement, and Evaluation in education within health settings.

    More Information
  4. MERIT: 296
    View Profile Average Cost: $36,788

    Online Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences


    Rush University — originally Rush University Medical Center — is a private, nonsectarian university that has a main campus located in the West Side of Chicago, Illinois. The university is home to nearly 2,000 students and is home to four colleges centered around health and medicine related academic courses of study.

    The four colleges at the university include Rush Medical College, Rush University College of Nursing, the graduate college of Rush University, and the Rush University College of Health Sciences. Offerings at the university are built around a 664-bed hospital as well as a 61-bed health center. In recent years, distance offerings have also been made available by Rush University. Metrics including student-to-faculty ratio are quite strong at the university (currently 5 to 1).

    The fully online Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences offered by Rush University is a unique offering that places highly in our ranking due to the academic quality and support of the parent institution as well as flexibility within the program. Classes are small in the program, promoting one-on-one attention.

    The average time-until graduation for students is 4-5 years, which includes time to research and produce a dissertation. Students may elect to pursue full-time or part-time study. As one of the few fully online Ph.D. programs in health sciences, Rush University’s program provides a unique opportunity to advance original research in your field from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

    More Information
  5. MERIT: 296
    View Profile Average Cost: $30,900

    Online Doctor of Health Science


    Nova Southeastern University is a private, nonsectarian university that has a main campus in Davie, Florida as well as robust online offerings. With over 21,000 students, Nova Southeastern offers degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral levels.

    Among offerings provided by the university, the health professions division is one of the largest, as it is comprised of 8 colleges just within health care. Student support and outcomes measures are strong at the university and include a 17 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, a 79% retention rate, and a 52% first-time freshman graduation rate.

    The fully online Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.) program offered by Nova Southeastern University places highly in our ranking due to the academic reputation of Nova for healthcare-related courses of academic study, overall academic quality, and flexibility for working and adult students.

    This is a post-professional program, meaning that applicants should already be working in a healthcare-related field and hold a master’s or professional degree in their discipline. Methods of learning in the program are varied and top notch. These include a required internship, a required practicum, and a doctoral analysis.

    Four concentrations are available in the program including a generalist track, and educator track, a global health track, and a telehealth track.

    More Information
  6. MERIT: 296
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,460

    Online Doctor of Health Science


    Eastern Virginia Medical School is a public medical school with the main campus located in Norfolk, Virginia, as well as some online degree offerings. The School currently has an attendance of 1,200 students and close to 600 faculty. This makes for an extremely competitive student-to-faculty ratio (close to 2 to 1), which coupled with other student support measures ensures quality instruction to all at Eastern Virginia Med.

    Close to half of all faculty at the school are instruction-centered, meaning students are likelier to get one-on-one attention. Eastern Virginia Medical School holds the 555-bed Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the only level-1 trauma center in the region and the 212-bed Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (the only independent children-only hospital in the state).

    The fully online Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc.) offered by Eastern Virginia Medical School places highly in our ranking due to the academic and support metrics surveyed at the institution, as well as the flexibility-enhancing elements within the program.

    Flexible program components include the fact that the course of study may be completed in 8 consecutive semesters, a wide range of coursework topics are available, and a great deal of coursework may be completed asynchronously. Students within the program take 1-2 courses per semester throughout the 8-semester track, allowing students to balance busy work and life schedules with schooling.

    Score: 296/300 || View Profile

    More Information
  7. MERIT: 296
    View Profile Average Cost: $33,620

    Online Doctor of Health Sciences


    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) is a private university that has a primary focus of medical-related degrees. MCPHS currently has three campuses throughout Massachusetts as well as some online academic offerings.

    The university has an attendance of over 7,000 students, making it quite a large provider of health care-centered degrees. The university is known for a high percentage of international students, as well as agreements with international institutions in a range of nations. Fourteen distinct schools within the university offer academic offerings as varied as nursing, optometry, occupational therapy, and acupuncture.

    The fully online Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS) offered by MCPHS places in our ranking due to the quality of academic offerings and support offered by the university. Additionally, flexibility for adult learners is central to their DHS program.

    Students may choose from a number of concentrations in this part-time program. Current concentrations include global health, educational leadership, as well as health systems administration (a unique offering among other programs in our ranking).

    The part-time course of study may be completed in 9 consecutive semesters. Regardless of the track pursued by students, an evidence-based capstone project is required for graduation.

    More Information
  8. MERIT: 295.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,061

    Online Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences


    The University of South Dakota is a public, flagship, research university with the main campus in Vermillion, South Dakota. Attendance at the University of South Dakota is presently close to 10,000, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. As one may expect for a large state research institution, a massive range of academic topics may be pursued at the bachelor’s, master’s, professional, certificate, and doctoral levels.

    In recent years, the University of South Dakota has also expanded their online offerings dramatically for students not living in the region or out of state. Besides many research opportunities, the University of South Dakota is known for quality student support measures. Metrics associated with student support are strong at South Dakota including a 72% retention rate and a 55% graduation rate.

    The fully online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in health sciences places highly in our ranking due to the academic quality of the parent institution and program, as well as flexibility to tailor the program to fit your own professional goals and interests. Four content theme areas resonate through the program no matter how you tailor it: teaching, leadership, advanced practice, and scholarship.

    As a Ph.D. program, the degree is a research doctorate, one of only two in our ranking. This means that students will be required to craft an original research document in the form of a dissertation (and defend that dissertation). A one-week dissertation boot camp helps to prepare students for this process.

    More Information
  9. MERIT: 295
    View Profile Average Cost: $8,580

    Online Doctor of Health Sciences


    Indiana State University is a publicly-funded research university with the main campus is located in Terre Haute, Indiana. A top 75 ranked national university, Indiana State University has been ranked as one of the best universities in the Midwest for over a decade.

    Current enrollment is over 12,000 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 21 to 1. Other metrics related to student outcomes include a retention rate of 68% for first-time freshman. Degree programs are offered at the bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral levels at Indiana State. While a majority of students study on campus, recent years have seen Indiana State’s online degree offerings expand.

    The fully online health sciences doctorate (D.H.Sc.) places in our ranking due to the academic quality of the parent institution and individual program. Students in the program work through a variety of career and research centered components to health science including a group of core health courses, a group of health education courses, a research core, an internship or practicum, as well as a dissertation. The program is geared towards students seeking both clinical positions as well as positions within academia.

    Score: 295/300 || View Profile

    More Information
  10. MERIT: 293.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,886

    Online Doctor of Health Sciences


    Jefferson College of Health Sciences is a private, health education-centered college that has a main campus in Roanoke, Virginia. Close to 1,000 students pursue health-related degrees at the associates through doctoral levels at the school.

    Twenty-five degree programs are offered at all levels including courses of study in nursing, community health, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and the arts and sciences. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Jefferson College of Health Sciences will merge with Radford University. Though as of now it appears they will continue to offer the same academic programming. Academic quality indicators at the college are high quality and include an 8 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 68% retention rate.

    The online health sciences doctorate (D.H.Sc.) offered by Jefferson College of Health Sciences places in our ranking due to flexibility-enhancing program components as well as the overall quality of the academic instruction and support in the program.

    Students in the program may choose from a variety of in-demand industry-centered concentrations including tracks in health care administration, community and public health, or education and academia related to health sciences.

    For regional students, Jefferson College of Health Sciences is partnered with Carillion Clinic for practicum hours completion. Carillion Clinic is a 17,000 person health care system spanning several hundred miles.

    More Information

Online Doctor of Health Science Degree FAQs

Even with all the information on the high-quality doctor of health science degrees to explore above, we realize many future students will have additional questions on the degree. Below we’ve tackled some of the most common questions future applicants have about online Doctor of Health Science degrees.

What does DHSC Stand For?

As opposed to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in health sciences degrees, DHSC (or D.H.Sc.) degrees are professional doctorates in health sciences.

Healthcare Leadership DoctorateIn short, DHSC stands for Doctor of Health Sciences. Doctor of Health Science degrees are professional doctorates, meaning not all programs will require a dissertation or have a central goal of helping students to perform original research. In contrast to research doctorates like a Ph.D. in Health Sciences, professional doctorates focus more on immediately applicable career-centered knowledge.

While some DHSC degrees also require a dissertation, many rely on practicums, internships, or capstone projects to showcase the newly acquired knowledge of soon-to-graduate students.

Healthcare AdministrationDHSC degrees are interdisciplinary, drawing from a number of graduate-level disciplines including advanced clinical practitioner courses, research methods in health settings, health education courses, and applied courses in health delivery optimization. Most DHSC degrees require students to have already completed a terminal master’s or doctorate in another discipline.

What is your title if you have a doctorate in health sciences?

Doctor of Health Sciences, PhD, MDAll recipients of a doctoral degree may elect to include “Dr.” in their official salutation. This is the case whether you gain a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, a professional doctorate like a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.), or a medical doctoring degree (M.D.).

To differentiate between types of doctoral degrees, salutations of doctoral degree recipients commonly end with the specific degree they have obtained.

Some examples include:

  • Dr. Joe Smith, O.D.
  • Dr. Jan Smith, D.Eng
  • Dr. Jason Clark, Ph.D.

As with the above example, those pursuing a doctoral degree in health sciences will end up with the following titles upon graduation (depending on their degree path).

  • Dr. Joe Smith, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Joe Smith, D.H.Sc.

While all doctoral degree recipients are doctors, one should note that doctor of health sciences are not medical doctors just because of their D.H.Sc. degree. Some D.H.Sc. degree recipients may already hold an M.D. However, just because D.H.Sc. recipients have a doctorate degree in a medical field does not make them medical doctors.

Advanced Nursing Career, Nurse Educator, D.H.ScSecondly, if by title one is wondering what role a recipient of a Doctor in Health Sciences degree performs, the answer is ‘it varies.’ Most Doctor of Health Science degrees offer multiple specializations that may lead to advanced medical practitionership for a nurse or doctor, an education track for nurse educators, public health educators, and professors, and a research track.

How long is a post-doctorate in health sciences?

Though you sometimes see “post-doctorate” mentioned in relation to doctorates in health science, a more typical occurrence is that doctorates in health science are post-professional degrees.

Professional degrees occur at the master’s and doctoral levels. They are typically terminal degrees that prepare recipients to practice one particular career type. In the case of a doctorate in health sciences, applicants are almost always required to have a professional degree upon entrance.

This degree can be a Master of Science in Nursing, a Ph.D., a doctor of medicine degree, or another. Regardless, the length of time required to complete a doctorate in health sciences is typical for other types of doctorates. The quickest programs may be completed in 3-4 years, with some programs taking closer to 6 years for completion.

The reason we mention the above post-professional requirement is that very few health science doctorates (if any) include a postdoctoral component. Some future students confuse postdoctoral with post-professional, which is the common entry requirement for a doctor in health sciences degree.

The amount of time required to complete a doctorate in health sciences in typical of other doctorate types: 3-6 years depending on the program and its requirements.

What can I do with a PhD in health science?

Health science doctorates come in two varieties: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Sciences degrees and Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) degrees. Both can be quite similar. Though there is one difference.

D.H.Sc. degrees are often professional doctorates, geared towards providing career knowledge. Some D.H.Sc. degrees require dissertations and support original research, but some do not.

Doctoral Student In the Public Health FieldOn the contrary, Ph.D. programs in the health sciences always hold an original research component. The writing and defense of dissertations is a central component to achieving a Ph.D. and a central goal of Ph.D. programs is to prepare students to teach at the university level.

With this said, both Ph.D. programs and D.H.Sc. programs can lead to the same careers. Most health science doctorates have specializations in education, research, and advanced clinical knowledge. These specializations can advance careers as:

  • Healthcare AdministrationMedical Practitioners (of a variety of types)
  • Researchers
  • Medical Educators
  • Leaders within Health Care Organizations
  • Professors

While the above careers are achievable with both Doctor of Health Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Health Science degrees, students should be aware that Ph.D. programs do have a greater emphasis on original research. This can help to prepare students even better for careers centered around research.