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DHA Executive Program

The challenge to develop cost-effective, quality delivery systems responsive to policy initiatives requires a substantial increase in new knowledge and leadership skills. The long-term success of healthcare organizations will be directly linked to highly skilled, strategic leadership.

It is now recognized that professionals from the other disciplines such as law, medicine, labor, academics, and technology/informatics, as well as policymakers from industry and government, are playing an increasingly influential role in shaping the future of healthcare. It is important to recognize the contributions these disciplines bring to translating advances in knowledge into improved systems and outcomes for communities.

Leaders must begin to integrate this new knowledge in traditional subject areas with a vision of community health and inter-organizational network relations. These challenges, along with the demand for advanced leadership skills, clearly show the need for formal and relevant education beyond the master's degree level. Our graduates generally intend to turn their doctoral degrees into higher education faculty positions, into leadership roles in health care advocacy, or into the highest levels of health care administration.


The DHA Executive program is a three-year curriculum, with new classes beginning each fall. Courses are taught by resident faculty along with nationally known visiting scholars. The program combines face-to-face meetings with internet-based instruction. Each semester students will be required to spend one long weekend on MUSC's campus attending classes. Two years of formal course work are provided through online presentations and asynchronous discussion. Papers and other required assignments are completed during home study between campus sessions. The third year of the program is devoted to individual, supervised doctoral project research.

Program objectives:

  • Development of leaders to fulfill new roles in the evolving healthcare arena.
  • Development of leadership skills necessary to ensure responsiveness and sustainability.
  • Application of systematic problem-solving methods designed to achieve tangible, long-lasting results.
  • Development of professionals who will apply theory to real world healthcare settings.
  • Build long-term mutually beneficial professional relationships among an array of healthcare professionals and academicians.


The DHA curriculum consists of 54 semester hours: 36 semester hours of core course work and 18 semester hours of doctoral project work. Course topics include financial management, health policy, strategic management,  leadership, quality improvement, applied research, healthcare information resources, logical thinking and analysis, and topics in health administration leadership.

The curriculum features four clusters of skill areas, each of which requires its own progressive ladder of competency development:

  • Leadership
  • Applied Research
  • Health Policy
  • Strategic Management oriented toward quality improvement and change management

Admission requirements:

  • Considerable experience (5 years minimum) in a management or policy position in the healthcare field
  • A post-baccalaureate professional degree or master's degree in health administration, business administration, public health, or public administration
  • For more requirements click here

Job Opportunities:

It’s hard to imagine a more dynamic, fast-paced and rewarding field than healthcare. Individuals who possess a doctoral degree in health administration from MUSC CHP gain unique competitive advantages. Armed with your DHA, you can pursue a career in academe, public policy/advocacy, or as an executive of a healthcare organization. Possessing a DHA gives you a clear, competitive edge in a dynamic marketplace.

Our focus on leadership, policy/advocacy, strategy and applied research puts CHP graduates in high demand.

Among the positions our grads have assumed:

  • Health System President and CEO
  • Hospital Vice President
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Consultant

Academic leadership positions

  • University President
  • College Professor
  • Associate Dean for Students

For frequently asked questions click here


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