The Doctor of Health Administration (D.H.A.), in Latin, salutem cura administrationem doctor (Sca.D), is a research doctoral degree focused on applied application in the field of health administration and with the development of theoretical knowledge in health administration. The D.H.A. requires significant coursework beyond the masters level and a dissertation that contributes to practice.
The Doctor of Health Administration is a research degree, and is equivalent to the PhD in Health Administration. The only difference being that the DHA allows for either an applied application approach or a theoretical approach.
The Doctor of Health Administration like the Doctor of Business Administration, involves the development of business management and financial knowledge and skills; however, the D.H.A focuses and applies these skills exclusively to the health care domain.
The Doctor of Health Administration was first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1990s at the Medical University of South Carolina as an advanced professional doctorate in health leadership. Prior to this the only D.H.A. degrees awarded were in Canada and Europe. The American version of this doctoral degree focuses on advanced professional knowledge and applied research in health administration, policy, and leadership. New programs have been instituted at other universities providing substantial amounts of online coursework. Most D.H.A. students are working health professionals who seek doctoral education. Admission to the three year degree typically requires two years of coursework beyond the Masters Degree (i.e. M.H.A., M.P.A., M.S.A., or M.P.H.) and an applied or theoretical dissertation to be completed in the third year.
Most D.H.A. programs require about 70 credit hours beyond the master's degree. Students are expected to take a number of core classes, electives, research/method classes, and dissertation credits. Candidates typically work with a committee and advisors throughout the process and the dissertation eventually requires an oral defense to the student's committee. Curricula may be offered on a full-time or part-time basis. The normal duration of a doctorate should correspond to 3-5 years of full-time graduate study or 7-10 years of sustained part-time graduate study.
The Doctor of Health Administration program prepares health professionals to become innovative leaders and problem solvers within the healthcare industry. By blending the theoretical with the practical, the coursework of this advanced doctorate of health administration degree program provides students with the holistic knowledge needed to transition into careers that improve and influence healthcare administration systems.