Beyond science, healthcare is a rapidly and ever-changing field. Local, state, and federal influences on the regulation and integrity of the field requires knowledge and adaptability. A PhD in Health Management and Policy will place you in the forefront of how healthcare policy is developed and delivered in the U.S.
With an advanced, terminal degree in health management, you can be a leader in developing healthcare strategy and theory, using evidence-based research, to shape healthcare.
Our Method: Ranking the 10 Fastest Online Health Management and Policy PhD Degrees
To rank the 10 Fastest Online Health Management and Policy PhDs Degrees, Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
1. University of Mississippi
Offered through the University of Mississippi’s Medical Center, this hybrid Doctor of Health Administration can be completed in three years.
The DHA is considered a professional degree as opposed to the research-oriented PhD. Among the courses you’ll take are Foundations of Health Policy, Current Trends in Accreditation & Licensure, Health Care Law, Regulations & Ethics, Fiscal Responsibility & Accountability, Health Systems, Doctoral Project Proposal, as well as the project itself.
Admission is limited to 10-15 students a year and requires a master’s or doctorate degree. You’ll also need to provide GRE scores, CV/resume, academic transcripts, as well as an essay describing your prior healthcare employment or experience. Estimates for tuition range from $10,086-$15,129 over the three-year period.
Fast Fact: This is the only program of its kind in Mississippi
Learn more from the program site!
2. University of North Carolina
You can earn a DrPH in Health Leadership from UNC Gillings in 45 credit hours or about three years.
The curriculum covers studies in organizational theory and practice, systems thinking, public health law and ethics, global health, financial leadership, research methods and analysis, marketing, health informatics, Human Resources, and a capstone project, thesis, or dissertation. While a majority of your study will be online, you will need to visit the Chapel Hill campus, for 3-4 days each time, once during the fall, spring, and summer for a period of two years.
Online tuition cost is estimated at $1,735 per credit hour. Some prerequisites are required, along with either a master’s or doctorate degree, GRE scores, as well as other standard documentation.
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks the Gillings School of Public Health #2 in the nation
3. Colorado Technical University
This hybrid Doctorate in Healthcare Management and Leadership degree requires 100 total credit hours.
You’ll study management theory, ethics, organizational development, qualitative and quantitative research methods, strategic thinking, doctoral research principles, writing, literature review, health policy, healthcare informatics, etc. There’s also a Doctoral Symposium that will require you to attend a two-day, residential symposium in Denver. You’re given three years to complete the program.
There are multiple start dates throughout the year for this doctorate. Admission requires you to connect with an admission advisor as well as a doctoral interview, complete an application, and submit materials such as an official academic transcript, undergraduate degree, and more. Tuition is estimated at $59,800 for the program.
Fast Fact: CTU was founded in 1965
4. Central Michigan University
Here’s a Doctor of Health Administration hybrid degree which only requires 63 credit hours.
While the majority of your classes are offered online, you will need to attend six, face-to-face regional, intensive seminars. This curriculum includes core courses in topics on leadership, organizational theory, research methods, and analysis. You’ll also study health informatics, economics, and compare health systems. Seminar topics cover strategic planning, policy and politics, healthcare stakeholders, public health, current issues, etc. A dissertation is required for completion.
A master’s degree is required, along with letters of recommendation, as well as professional healthcare experience, for admission.
Fast Fact: Niche ranks CMU one of its Top Public Universities in America
Learn more from the program site!
5. University of Alabama Birmingham
You may want to explore the Executive Doctor of Science (DSc) in Healthcare Leadership at UAB, if you’re looking for a blended program to solidify your management skills.
This is a three-year program and will require you to attend three eight-day campus visits during the first two years. The third year will involve international travel to study healthcare organizations and delivery abroad. A dissertation is required. Among the courses you’ll take over the years include Strategic Management Theory and Research, Comparative Health Systems, Health Policy, Process and Issues, Healthcare Quality Improvement, Strategic Planning and Management in Health Care Organizations, and others.
Admission to this program requests a current cv/resume, personal essay, academic transcripts, as well as an organizational chart of your administrative role. You must have five years of mid-to-senior level healthcare administrative experience. Tuition costs for this program is $36,600 per year.
Fast Fact: UAB is rated one of Niche’s Top Public Universities in America
6. Regent University
This Virginia university offers a unique, online Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) degree through its School of Business and Leadership.
Developed from a Christian perspective, the DSL program concentrates on communication, leadership, team building, and organizational structure in healthcare. You’ll examine healthcare in current issues with 60 credit hours of study in core studies in leadership theory, analytics, innovation, and creativity. In addition, your concentration courses will include healthcare studies in practice, theory, leadership, and engagement, as well as professionalism. You’ll also complete two DSL Projects. There are 2 four-day, on-campus s residencies required for this program.
Regent University publishes that the program has a total cost of $59,700 and the school offers financial aid in a variety of forms. You need a master’s degree, unofficial transcripts, government issues ID, as well as completion of an admission questionnaire.
Fast Fact: Founded in 1977 by Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, Regent University is considered one of the top 50 Best Online Colleges in America by Niche
7. Franklin University
This Ohio-based university has an online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration (DHA) requiring 58 credit hours and can be completed in three years.
With a four-tier curriculum structure, you’ll take core courses in research that will involve statistics, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and designs. Concentration courses include healthcare policy, economics, healthcare quality process improvement, finance, and economics, etc., in addition to electives. You’ll be expected to complete a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation. The program has a generous 24 credit hour transfer policy for previous doctoral work and promotes a step-by-step “no-fear dissertation.”
Among the admission requirements are at least 30 graduate hours in a healthcare-related discipline (in lieu of GRE scores), personal references, work history, and more. Tuition is published at $748 per credit hour.
Fast Fact: Franklin University was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1902
8. California Intercontinental University
Here’s a Doctor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership (DBA-HML) with a research and leadership focus.
This 60 credit hour degree includes core courses in business, specialization courses in healthcare, management, and leadership, and dissertation. You’ll study economics, finance, marketing, management, and research methodology. Some of the healthcare studies are Strategies for Healthcare Leadership, Healthcare Marketing: Tools and Techniques, Managing Disaster: Perspective for Healthcare Leaders, and more. Dissertation courses cover methodology, literature review, conclusions, and oral defense.
The program is 100% online and is estimated to cost $32,675 total. Admission requirements are simple, asking for an admission application, master’s degree, and CV/resume. Additional documents may be requested.
Fast Fact: AIU is a for-profit institution owned by Career Education Corporation and is regionally accredited
9. Capella University
Offered through Capella University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, this is a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) with a health policy and advocacy concentration.
Relying on case studies, consulting projects, simulations, and a practicum, this degree allows for up to 12 transfer credit hours towards the 76 quarter credit requirement. Among your core courses will be Health Care Policy Processes, Innovative Business Practices in Health Care, 21st-Century Health Care Improvement, Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice in Health Care, etc. Specialty studies include Global Health Policy, Health Policy in the United States, and Regulatory Compliance for Health Care Leaders. You’ll complete the degree with a Doctoral Capstone. A practicum experience is part of the curriculum, requiring 100 hours.
Tuition is reported at $755 per credit hour.
Fast Fact: Capella University is a for-profit school owned by Strategic Education, Inc.
10. Trident University
Part of the larger American Intercontinental University, Trident supports an online PhD in Health Sciences with a health policy and administration concentration.
This 56 credit hour program will help prepare you to be a healthcare leader through studies in healthcare law, current healthcare issues, healthcare laws, regulations, ethics, strategic planning, etc. You’ll also study qualitative and quantitative research methods, advanced statistics for research, coalescing theory with research, and coursework to assist you with your dissertation. A qualifying exam is required with both oral and written parts.
Trident has three tuition types, each at a different rate. The standard tuition rate is estimated at $3,960 per course. Tuition reduction is available for retired military/veteran/family members at $3,540 per course; and, active military/immediate family/Department of Defense employees at $3,200 per course.
Fast Fact: Niche considers Trident University #847/1,660 Hardest Colleges to Get Into In America
What are the Advantages of an Accelerated Health Care Management Doctorate?
There are several positives to obtaining your doctorate in a shorter time.
Length of Time
Obtaining a doctorate can seem like a daunting task requiring years of study and research. It’s estimated that it takes approximately eight years to obtain a doctorate, between coursework, research, and writing a dissertation. The advent of online doctoral programs has reduced that average time, depending on the amount of time you’re able to devote to study. It’s possible to receive an advanced degree in three to four years. On average, coursework can take about two years with one to two years devoted to research and dissertation. That time estimate may be longer depending on whether your program requires an internship or immersion study.
Completing online classes can be accelerated depending on the amount of time you’re able to devote to core studies. The 24-hour accessibility offered by online education can prepare you, in a shorter amount of time, for your comprehensive exam, dissertation proposal, research, and writing.
Faculty are able to reach more students than in a traditional setting through email, instant messages, video conferencing, etc.
Online doctoral programs allow you to enroll in programs that geography and your work schedule may otherwise prohibit. You’re able to schedule your time around your work and family commitments. Geography is no longer an issue with online learning allowing you to live in one state and enroll in your dream program.
Most online programs charge distance education students the same tuition and fees as in-state students. The less time it requires you to obtain your degree, the less it costs.
What Can I Do with a PhD in Health Management and Policy?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the job outlook for health manager positions to be 32% between 2019-2029, with jobs being found in government agencies, hospitals, health systems, outpatient centers, physician offices, and more.
A PhD in Health Management and Policy will allow you to plan and direct health services, work with physicians and surgeons, nurses, and other health stakeholders. You’ll be responsible for not only policies and compliance, but oversee healthcare quality, funding and budget, and community standards of care.
Not all PhD-prepared health managers work directly in healthcare, but can be found in universities, government agencies developing policy, or conducting research. Furthermore, this program is a good fit for individuals with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree.
How Much Can I Make with a PhD in Health Management and Policy?
PayScale suggests the salary for this career is averaged at $92,500 annually, depending on where you live and work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median annual salary at $100,980 with the lowest compensation at $58,820 to the highest at $189,000.
These figures don’t account for possible sign-on bonuses, employment benefits such as 401k, health insurance, paid time off, child care, etc.