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Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

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Home » Programs » Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

Online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

The healthcare industry is massive and complex, requiring highly skilled managers to plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and group medical practices. National University’s online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) offers a rigorous curriculum designed to help you build the advanced skills necessary to solve problems and be an agent of change in a broad range of healthcare organizations. 

Diagnose Your Role in the Future of Healthcare

NU’s practice-based curriculum uses competencies from the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) that will teach you how to navigate legal and ethical issues in the industry, understand the impact of policy, and develop evidence-based strategies. The curriculum will prepare you for mid to senior executive-level positions in the private and public healthcare sectors.”

Our DHA program is offered completely online and has no GRE/GMAT requirements or group projects. Additionally, this program has weekly start dates, so you can continue your education without putting your career on hold.

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Course Details

Course Listing

Course Name

In this course, students will begin their formal doctoral journey by examining what it means to be a scholarly practitioner in healthcare administration. Students will apply relevant skills to be successful in the DHA program, including critical thinking, researching, comprehending, and interpreting complex scholarly texts and research articles, applying relevant theoretical and conceptual frameworks within the context of applied healthcare administration topics and problems, and communicating at the doctoral level. Essential resources and relevant academic support services will be introduced to guide the student toward developing professional standards and doctoral-level expectations to succeed in the program. Student’s will identify and begin to explore potential research topics for an applied doctoral dissertation and will complete the course with a roadmap to navigate the way to degree completion.

This course provides an overview of approaches and processes involved in managing the health enterprise including value analysis, financial risk and required return. You will explore the roles of prices, production of health, demand for health care, theory of health insurance, health insurance and hospital markets, the market for physician services, and the role of government in the U.S. healthcare system.

This course provides an introduction to the health sector as it currently operates in the US. Through a historical review of this industry, you will learn how it has evolved and implications for its future. The complex structure of the health sector and dynamic interrelationships between various participants will also be explored. In addition, topics such as cost, quality, access, the financing of the healthcare system, and the uses of technology and data management will be investigated.

This course provides an overview of Human Resource Management in Healthcare Administration. You will examine pertinent employment and workplace safety laws used in healthcare organizations. You also will consider the impact of employee performance on the organization and its stakeholders. The challenges of effective recruitment and retention will be explored. In addition, you will learn the management skills needed by administrators and how to implement related policies.

In this course you will gain an understanding of mass communication, public relations, and marketing principles used in healthcare organizations. You will explore management oversight as it relates to marketing projects and strategies that support an organization’s image and mission. Areas to be examined include media relations, internal communications, crisis communications, and government and community relations. You also will examine how these elements assist in developing strategic partnerships in a global health marketplace.

This course will prepare you to understand theories, and develop, implement, and evaluate quality performance strategies within a healthcare organization. You will gain insights into indicators used to measure quality, in addition to exploring how quality assurance, measurement, and continuous quality improvement is implemented in healthcare organizations.

In this course, you will critique legal mandates and subsequent managerial responses within a healthcare setting. You will build knowledge and skills required to implement and impact policy development. This course will also explore ethical and non-ethical behaviors of health administrators. Key topics include professional and institutional liability, ethical decision making, and legal issues regarding fraud and abuse.

In this course you will assess trends and issues affecting senior healthcare administration management. You will evaluate how these trends/issues affect leadership at the highest organizational levels of healthcare settings.

Applied research projects in healthcare focus on using current evidence to address an identified problem. In this course, you will gain an understanding of the process healthcare leaders use to respond to problems by learning how to integrate research skills with professional practice. This course introduces you to research processes and methods, including quantitative and qualitative designs. You will critically analyze and determine conceptual models and theoretical frameworks, as well as appropriate secondary data sources. Throughout the course, you will refine a possible topic for your applied doctoral project.

In this course, you will examine the principles of quantitative reasoning and analysis used in healthcare research. You will explore quantitative research designs and techniques that can be used to support evidence-based decision making. Topics to be covered include data presentation, statistical analysis, description and testing of relationships, and survey research. Common challenges within quantitative healthcare research will be explored.

In this course, you will engage in the process of scholarly literature reviews and academic writing. With an emphasis on how to (a) conduct effective literature searches, specifically in preparation for the dissertation, (b) develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and (c) critically review and write about underlying theory/conceptual frameworks, you will develop a foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for you to conduct an exhaustive search of the peer-reviewed research literature in your topic area and identify potential areas of inquiry for your dissertation. The Signature Assignment will be to develop a scholarly literature review manuscript suitable for publication in a professional or academic journal.

Using implementation science as a framework to disseminate research in clinical and community-based healthcare, this course you will examine study designs and methods used in this translational research approach that considers how to transfer evidence-based research into practice. You will learn how successful integration of this research, into contemporary application, requires both involvement and input from the end user.

This course examines how qualitative and quantitative research data informs decision-making in healthcare management. You will review statistical techniques used to analyze healthcare data. You will also evaluate and interpret findings of published research and technical reports to assess application in healthcare settings. Additionally, you will review the need to and methods used to protect health information when conducting and interpreting research.

In this course, you will begin to assimilate the knowledge and skills gained throughout your program as you formulate your applied health administration/healthcare management dissertation project. Your faculty mentor for this course will also be your applied dissertation committee chair. Working in close collaboration with your Chair, you will develop the pre-candidacy DHA prospectus. The prospectus is intended to ensure students have mastered knowledge of their discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design an applied dissertation project as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation coursework. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. A minimum B-grade is required to move to your Applied Doctoral Experience courses.

In this 12-week course, you will complete all relevant subsections of Section 1: Foundation. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. Section 1 must be completed and approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. If you do not receive committee approval of Section 1, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Section 1.

In this 12-week course, you will compose all relevant subsections of Section 2: Methodology and Design and complete your proposal. Both of these components must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. If you do not receive approval of Section 2 and the complete proposal, you will be able to take up to three 8-week supplementary courses to finalize and gain approval of Section 2 and your completed proposal.

In this course, you will prepare, submit, and obtain a determination from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application before collecting data and, if applicable, executing your project modeling. You will also submit documentation that you have closed data collection. If you are still collecting data or modeling your project at the end of this 12-week course, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to complete the required components.

In this 12-week course, you will complete all relevant subsections of Section 3: Findings, Implications, and Recommendations, finalize your manuscript, and disseminate your findings. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. The final manuscript, which includes Section 3 and the dissemination of findings, must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and be eligible to graduate. If you do not receive committee approval of all components, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize these requirements and be eligible to graduate.

Degree Requirements

This program can be completed with a minimum of 60 credit hours, but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time required to complete the applied doctoral project. If needed, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

NU’s practice-based DHA program helps you develop the highly specialized skills needed to drive change and solve problems within complex healthcare organizations. Not only will you utilize a curriculum designed by experienced healthcare professionals, but you’ll also have an interprofessional educational experience designed to facilitate teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Interprofessional education is considered the leading approach to addressing many of the issues impacting healthcare today. While the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) does not offer accreditation for doctoral programs, this program was intentionally developed to align with their high standards for graduate programs and utilizes competencies from the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL).

This program is designed to help prepare healthcare executives for a broad range of careers in a bustling, high-demand industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 32 percent from 2020 to 2030, significantly faster than the average for all occupations. You’ll also be well compensated for your expertise – the BLS also states the median annual wage for these highly skilled professionals was $101,340 in May 2021, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $205,620.*

*SOURCE: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-1

NU’s online Doctor of Health Administration will prepare you to make and inform business-related decision-making for health-focused organizations. Some of the skills you’ll accrue center around management/leadership, budget planning and finance, auditing and accounting, staffing and resource management, quality and process improvement, and operations and facility management. With these qualifications, you’ll be prepared to pursue positions* like:

  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Program Manager
  • Practice Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Directors of Operation
  • Health Systems Specialist
  • Postsecondary Teacher
  • Postsecondary Administrator

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

**SOURCEEmsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: May 15, 2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.  Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) program, you’ll be able to:

  • Assess community needs through research, collaboration, and relationship building
  • Recommend ethically sound policies that promote accountability and professionalism
  • Facilitate change by leveraging technology and human capital within the healthcare industry
  • Develop health-related organizations by using data to inform strategy and address industry problems
  • Construct and cultivate financial structures to ensure organizational viability


National University’s dedicated admissions team is here to help you throughout the admissions process. We accept and review applications year-round and, once you’re admitted, you can begin your studies as soon as the next week.

To apply to the Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree program, you must have a conferred master’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution.

Questions? Call our admissions team at 866.776.0331 or request information and an advisor will be in touch soon. Ready to apply? start your NU application today

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Weekly Course Starts
Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable by offering a rigorous, yet flexible program that works with your schedule.

Finish Your Dissertation!

Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is a 100% online pathway helping students “All But Dissertation” finish their doctoral degree.

  • Block transfer of credit from your previous institution
  • Flexible monthly start dates
  • Highly trained faculty providing feedback each week on your dissertation
  • Strategic support and targeted resources to help you finish

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We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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Doctor of Healthcare Administration Program FAQs

The DHA program provides personalized support toward a successful doctoral project dissertation that includes opportunities such as participating in optional, virtual synchronous sessions called Topic Tackle where students share their ideas for their project and discuss questions with their peers and faculty in a facilitated environment.

The DHA degree requires a conferred master’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution. Our DHA program is suited for individuals in mid to senior-level healthcare leadership roles, with a minimum of 3-5 years of industry experience.

Yes! Our DHA program participates in ACHE Higher Education Network (HEN). Student leaders are involved in a variety of activities to support their peers and the program. The DHA program is also affiliated with the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). While doctoral students are active in the DHA program, they are associate members of AUPHA. 

Yes, our DHA students have the opportunity to participate in the School of Health Professions Interprofessional Education (IPE) Speaker Series where esteemed healthcare leaders share their insights into the industry.

While there currently is no accreditation for doctoral programs, this program was intentionally developed to align with the high standards and best practices for graduate programs, as set forth by CAHME.

The DHA credit hour requirements are 60.

No, there is no physical residency requirements. The program offers unique flexibility with weekly course starts.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.