Make your mark in research or academic leadership

The NSU Ph.D. in Health Sciences hones the research expertise of senior-level health care administrators, clinical health professionals and public health practitioners. Build the rigorous credentials that will position you as a standout candidate for exciting research positions or academic leadership.

Your program challenges you to examine the current state of health care; apply sophisticated knowledge of research design, biostatistics and epidemiology to the literature of your core discipline; and design and conduct original health care research.

What makes NSU’s Health Science Ph.D. program so successful?

  • Collaborate with professors across diverse allied health professions, as well as national leaders in medicine, psychology, anthropology, public health, education, computer science, conflict resolution and other disciplines.
  • Customize your program and faculty collaborations to your specific interests. Our faculty team is widely published on a variety of health issues: policy, practice and research. They also serve as peer reviewers for health-related journals and sit on peer review journal editorial boards.
  • Advance your career without interrupting it. The NSU Ph.D. in Health Science program is designed for busy health care leaders. Its professor-driven, student-centered online course delivery combines with a research practicum, two one-week, on-campus institutes, comprehensive examination and dissertation with oral defense.


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Quick Facts

Delivery Options

Flexible online-based format for working professionals.

Start Dates

January and August. See Application Procedures below for specific start dates and application deadlines.


Tuition for the degree program is $692 per credit hour.

Credit Hours

The Ph.D. in Health Science program totals 64 credit hours.

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NSU Sharks are Shaping Health Care Nationwide

NSU Health Science Ph.D. alumni are university professors and deans at major universities, including Columbia and Harvard. Others lead teams at the Centers for Disease Control or hold high-level executive positions in state governments, large foundations and other health organizations.

Earning Potential

Median annual wage of health specialties teachers, postsecondary

Why Choose NSU?

  • Fully accredited programs
  • Empirically-based
  • Online delivery: won’t interrupt your career

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Prefer to speak with someone directly?

Email Brian Tachick, your Admissions Counselor, or call him at (954) 262-7496 .

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Ph.D. in Health Science Brochure

Ph.D. Health Science: Program Details

The Ph.D. Office of Admissions will admit students for the fall and winter semesters. All final documentation must be received at least 30 days prior to tentative enrollment.

Term Application Deadline Dates:

  • Fall - April 20 - July 20
  • Winter - July 21 - November 24

To be reviewed for admission, you must first submit the following:

  1. A completed application form along with a $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  2. Official GRE scores sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  3. Official transcripts sent directly from all previously attended professional and graduate institutions

    Send the official GRE scores and official transcripts to:

    Nova Southeastern University
    Enrollment Processing Services
    3301 College Avenue, P.O. Box 299000
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33329-9905

  4. An evaluation for U.S. institutional equivalence for all coursework from international institution(s), if you attended or graduated from any international institution(s)

    Coursework taken at a foreign institution must be evaluated for U.S. institution equivalence by an approved National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) organization, such as one of the services listed below.

    Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
    International Education Consultants
    7101 SW 102nd Avenue
    Miami, FL 33173
    Phone: (305) 273-1616
    Fax: (305) 273-1338

    Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
    P.O. Box 415070
    Milwaukee, WI 53203
    (414) 289-3400

    World Education Services, Inc.
    P.O. Box 745
    Old Chelsea Station
    New York, NY 10113-0745
    (212) 966-6311

    It is the applicant's responsibility to have this coursework evaluated. An official course-by-course evaluation with a cumulative grade point average must be sent directly from the evaluation service to Nova Southeastern University, Enrollment Processing Services, College of Health Care Sciences, Department of Health Science Admissions, 3301 College Avenue, P.O. Box 299000, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33329-9905.

  5. A complete resume or CV
  6. Copies of state, national, and professional certifications or licenses recognized by certifying bodies.
  7. Two letters of recommendation supporting that the applicant possesses the aptitude and determination to complete this course of study. The letters should originate from professional colleagues/supervisors or from course instructors at the last school attended.
  8. One writing sample that reflects masters or doctoral level original work.
  9. A written statement describing the applicant's interest in: pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Science, past research experiences, dissertation research interests, and career goals.
  10. Personal interview with Ph.D. Committee on Admissions (telephonic or Skype interview is accepted based on the applicant's needs).

Non-clinical applicants (health administrators) must also include a letter of recommendation from a supervisor describing their position in the organization and the scope and duration of their responsibility, a personal statement describing their career goals, and an organizational chart. (This is not required for clinically licensed, registered, or certified applicants or for public health practitioners with an MPH). Clinically-qualified applicants should include a copy of their registration, certification and/ or licensure.

Important Note: You must be accepted to the program no later than 21 days prior to the start of a semester in order to register for classes in that particular semester. If not, you will be placed on the accepted student list, but will not be able to start courses in that particular semester. In any case, you must register for your course no later than 14 days prior to the start of the course in any semester.

The Ph.D. Committee on Admission will not consider an application until all required fees, credentials, exam scores, transcripts, and documents are received by the Committee on Admissions.

Transfer Credits

Students matriculated in the Ph.D. program may petition for transfer of credits to the program. Up to and not to exceed eight credit hours may be considered for transfer from a regionally accredited doctoral program of study and only if the transferred courses meet the goals and objectives of the course in question.

The Ph.D. Program will admit health care professionals with diverse graduate education, professional level health care work history, and life experiences, who have demonstrated capacity to pursue a rigorous course of graduate study and increasingly responsible positions in health care.

Beginning Fall 2015, applicants interested in the Ph.D. in Health Science program will apply directly to the program. Prospective students will be selected by the Committee on Admissions that will consider the following qualities of the applicants and their suitability for this course of study:

  1. All applicants must hold a master's degree or a professional doctorate (AuD, DPT, OTD) from a regionally accredited college or university, prior to matriculation into the program.
  2. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative masters or professional doctorate GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Recommended official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores of 150 - Verbal, 149 - Quantitative and 4 Analytical Writing. GRE scores must be five years old or less at the time of matriculation into the Ph.D. program.
  4. Prior health care or health research experience is required and is strongly considered in the admissions process. Applicants must submit a copy of your current state license and/or professional certification or verifiable documentation regarding this experience to the Office of Admissions. The Ph.D. is a post-professional degree designed for health practitioners, public health professionals, and health care administrators from a wide variety of disciplines. Our students demonstrate expert practice of a recognized health occupation at a professional level, or five years of administrative experience in a health care organization with progressively increasing responsibilities during that time. The successful applicant's health profession may emphasize delivery of services to individual clients (e.g., AuD, PA, PT, OT, RN, LCSW, etc.) or be population-based (MPH, MHA). An appropriate level of professional practice is generally recognized by health professions licensure (e.g., AuD, RN, PT, OT, RDH), a national certification or registration (e.g., PA-C, RVT, RRT, CRNA, FACHE), a recognized health professions academic credential (e.g., M.P.H., M.S.N., M.S.W., M.H.A., M.B.A., M.A. or M.S. in Audiology, DPT,OTD), or a combination of the above. The successful administrative applicant will demonstrate at least five years of professional experience with increasing levels of responsibility in a health care setting. Professional experience will be documented by an organizational chart demonstrating the applicant's position within the organization and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor attesting to the applicant's level of responsibility within the organization. Health care administrators will also need to submit a statement concerning their career and professional goals within the health care environment. Fellowship or certification with a recognized health certifying body (FACHE, etc.) is desirable.

    All questions regarding the appropriateness of an applicant's qualifications for admission can be discussed with the department chair or program director on an informal basis, but the official recommendations are made by the Committee on Admissions to the Dean of the College of Health Care Sciences, who makes the final determination.
  5. Two letters of recommendation supporting that the applicant possesses the aptitude and determination to complete this course of study. The letters should originate from professional colleagues/supervisors or from course instructors at the last school attended.
  6. One writing sample that reflects masters or doctoral level original work
  7. A written statement describing the applicant's interest in; pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Science, past research experiences, dissertation research interests, and career goals.
  8. Personal interview with Ph.D. Committee on Admissions (telephonic or Skype interview is accepted based on the applicant's needs).
  9. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  10. Completion of the application for admission along with official transcripts from all graduate study; undergraduate transcripts are not required for review, but are required for a complete application file of accepted applicants.
  11. All applicants must show evidence of computer skills through coursework or self-study prior to the end of the first semester. Students may obtain instruction through the NSU Student Microcomputer Laboratory, the Health Science online Orientation, or other training facilities.

20 semester credit hours shared between Doctor of Health Science (D.H.Sc) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Science are required.

DHS Core Courses

All of the following general core courses and the two summer institute courses are required.

Course Name Semester Hours
DHS 8030: Community Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to work with communities to improve health status of the community. Major topics will include health promotion and disease prevention. Special emphasis will be placed on the Healthy People 2010 initiatives.
DHS 8071: Conflict Resolution for Health Care Leaders
This course examines and analyzes the nature and dynamics of human conflict within healthcare leadership and management. Various methods and theories of leadership and management, both in and out of healthcare, and their impact on productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction will be explored. Learners will acquire and engage practical strategies to improve leadership skills applicable in a variety of settings. Additionally, critical analysis of the different types of approaches to mitigating conflict in healthcare leadership will be required to research, develop, and evaluate diverse practice environments and their role in health outcomes. Through the completion of various assignments, the learner will be expected to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter via application of the theories and information presented in the assigned readings, participation in the discussion board and other learning activities.
DHS 8090: Health Policy, Planning and Management
This course critically examines the dynamics of healthcare in the U.S. The student is expected to analyze the healthcare industry and contrast non-profit and for-profit healthcare delivery systems. A critical exploration of the ramifications of healthcare reform and the impact on institutions and individuals will be undertaken. The concepts of cost containment, and long-term care will be analyzed.
DHS 8810: Global Epidemiology
This course emphasizes the underlying concepts of the epidemiologic approach as it relates to pertinent global health issues. The student will be introduced to principles and methods of epidemiologic research. These include study designs, measures of frequency, association, impact and sources of error. Application to global health and public health strategies for disease prevention, surveillance and control are discussed.
HSP 9006: Evidence-Based Medical Practice
This course provides a working knowledge of evidence-based medicine. Cases will be used as the backbone of this course to assist the student in analyzing data to justify the treatments used in clinical practice. Students will also learn to critically appraise the literature, evaluate diagnostic test performance, design clinical pathways and standard of care, and implement evidenced based medicine findings in their own clinical or administrative setting.

HPD Research Core Courses

18 semester credit hours are required.

Course Name Semester Hours
HPH 7300: Biostatistics I
The application of quantitative techniques has expanded rapidly in medical decision-making. The emphasis on evidence based healthcare means that health care workers must be able to evaluate the results from published health care research studies. This course is the first of two courses designed to provide students with the knowledge of quantitative techniques. The course will cover descriptive statistics, parametric group comparison statistics, basic non-parametric statistics, and provide an introduction to linear modeling.
HPH 7310: Biostatistics II
The aim of this course is to enable students to appreciate the richness of statistical science and to invite them to the concept of probabilistic thinking. Statistics is the science of the future. Any technique that they are going to learn will help them to understand the unknown better, and in turn it will increase their success in other courses and in future professional careers. Principles of statistical inference build upon the course Fundamentals of Biostatistics. As such, a prerequisite for enrolling in this course is satisfactory completion of Fundamentals of Biostatistics. The goals of this course are threefold: (1) introduce the basic concepts of probability as well as methods for calculating the probability of an event, (2) assist students in developing an understanding of probability theory and sampling distributions, and (3) familiarize students about inferences involving one or two populations, ANOVA, regression analysis, and chi-square tests.
HPH 7400: Research Design
The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the basic methods and approaches used in health care research. A major emphasis of the course will be on the conceptualization and design of research studies. The course will cover ethics, formulation of research questions, study design, reliability, validity, sampling, measurement, and interpretation of research findings. It will prepare students to critically evaluate published literature, and to design sound research studies. The course will be both theoretical and applied. Students will be challenged to apply the theoretical concepts presented in the classroom and in the readings to design a study to address a health related issue of their choice.
HPH 7410: Qualitative Research Design
This course will focus primarily on the knowledge and skill competencies needed to conduct qualitative research successfully. In this pursuit students will immerse themselves in the epistemological, theoretical, ethical, methodological, and procedural understanding of qualitative research, apply this knowledge to the conceptualization and conduct of qualitative research, report the findings of the research in the form of a research article, and appraise the quality of such qualitative research products. Upon completion of the course students will demonstrate that they have mastered the basic competencies needed to create, plan, and complete a qualitative research dissertation.

HPH 7500: Philosophy of Science
This course covers schools of thoughts in philosophy of science. To address the need of laying the foundation for the generation and expansion of new professional knowledge that will guide evidence-based practice for the health professions, this course also covers topics on the acceptance of theories in the scientific community and epistemology of applied scientific inquiry. This course is designed to allow PhD students in the health professions to gain appreciation for the philosophical underpinnings of unity in science, to be able to apply philosophical frameworks and epistemological paradigms in their future research, and to eventually become a creative researcher in his or her area of practice.


HPH 7600: Grants and Publications
This course is designed to provide writing experiences which prepare the learner for manuscript and grant proposal submissions. This introductory experience into the grant process from proposal to funding to management will include project management, funding sources, and funding challenges. Other course requirements include a research proposal (manuscript) that is ready for submission for publication and development of a dissertation proposal.
HPH 7700: Test and Measurements
The course provides a foundation in the basic principles of measurement with a focus on how to assess and control for error through research design methods and statistical analysis. Students will explore test construction and parsimonious data analysis methods to develop an understanding for designing instruments and assessment tools. A focus on issues specific to measurement error in the medical science will also be examined throughout the course.

Health Science Research Core Courses

Course Name Semester Hours
HSP 9001: Behavioral Theories in Health Science
The purpose of this course is to understand health behavior theories to make decisions on appropriate theories that will guide dissertation research questions and methodology, data analysis, and interpretation. This course presents behavior theories commonly used in the analysis of health care sciences research data. Emphasis is on understanding and applying these concepts and techniques to dissertation and other research data through writing in APA style.
HSP 9002: Survey Methodology
This course introduces students to a set of principles of survey methodology that are the basis of standard practices in the field. The course provides guidelines for developing survey objectives, designing survey studies, sampling respondents, and administering surveys. Emphasis is on the skills and resources needed to design and conduct a survey.
HPH 7220: Research Ethics
This course introduces students to ethics concepts as they apply to questions and challenges in conducting research with human subjects. The aim is to increase students' awareness of and ability to reason through ethical issues that arise in human subjects research. The course will draw upon historical examples, codes, declarations, and other sources of ethical guidance including discussions of contemporary controversies in human subjects research.
HSP 9007: Research Practicum
This is a required winter institute course. Research Practicum requires students to conduct a research activity under faculty member supervision. Objectives include ability to critically review literature, to abstract salient points from literature and present them cogently, to summarize conceptual and methodological issues in the literature, to formulate a research problem derived from the literature, to derive research hypotheses from research questions, to develop a research methodology, to test stated hypotheses, to implement research methodology, to analyze and interpret data, and to write research in APA style.
HSP 9010: Research Practicum Continued
Students who do not complete HSP 9007 in the required 16 weeks, must enroll in HPH 9010. A continuing services charge will be made to maintain the student's full time status in the program. Students who do not complete HSP 9010 in one semester may be dismissed from the program.
2 credit cont. service charge
HSP 9008: Comprehensive Exam
The comprehensive examination is a written examination that students take after the completion of all Ph.D. in Health Science course work, and before beginning the dissertation phase of the Ph.D. program. It is designed to evaluate a student's ability to demonstrate that they are a suitable candidate for a Ph.D. degree. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is required for students to move to advanced standing and begin dissertation research. The comprehensive examination is given two times per academic year during the summer and winter semesters.
HSP 9011, 9012, 9013, 9014, 9015, 9016: Dissertation
The dissertation is scheduled as 6 courses over 2 years. This includes the dissertation preparation seminar, proposal, dissertation, and oral defense. Students will conduct original research in an area of the student's expertise or concentration, as approved by the program chair and dissertation committee, with verification of presentation or publication. The dissertation will culminate with an oral final defense, which will occur in person at the summer or winter institute, or on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus. For more information, check out Health Professions College of Health Care Sciences Dissertation Guide.
HSP 9017: Dissertation Continuation
For any additional semester after the initial 6 courses, students will register for a dissertation continuation course with a continuing service charge to maintain the students' full-time enrollment. At the end of each semester, students who demonstrate forward progress on their dissertation will earn a PR (in progress) grade. Students who do not demonstrate forward progress will earn an  F (fail) grade. Students who earn an F grade in any dissertation course may register for the next semester, although they may not be eligible for Federal funds. Students' progress through dissertation continuation may increase their total number of degree credits beyond the required 64.
2 credit cont. service charge

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