Doctor of Health Sciences Online Degree Program | University of Bridgeport
The online Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) degree at the University of Bridgeport is a 61-credit program that prepares health care professionals with the tools needed for administration and scholarship.

The program is offered through online courses and one week-long residency course on the University of Bridgeport campus. Courses are offered throughout the year and candidates can begin the program in fall, spring or summer. The program can be completed in 40 months. The degree is made up of core coursework, a specialized track, electives, and a graduate project or dissertation.

There are two 12-credit tracks to choose from: Health Care Clinician and Health Care Education. In addition, there are 8 unique electives.

D.H.Sc. Course Requirements

Core Courses

Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System (3 credits)

This course is a broad survey of the various components of the U.S. health system, emphasizing the historical development of the various institutions which make up the system, and financial analysis of those institutions as they currently exist. This class will not address health care systems of countries outside the U.S.  This course will include the status and implementation of the new reform legislation at the state and federal levels and to the budgetary implications of health care spending more broadly.  There will also be a focus on the major health policy institutions and important issues that cut across institutions, including private insurers and the federal/state financing programs (Medicare and Medicaid/SCHIP). Attention also will be given to mental health issues, disparities in access to care, the quality of care, structure of the delivery system, the challenges of long-term care and the aging of the population, and the drivers of cost growth.

Global Health Issues (3 Credits)

This course examines contemporary issues in global health policy, delivery and discusses major global health challenges. Students will be introduced to the world’s vast diversity of determinants of health and disease. Students will analyze current and emerging global health priorities, including emerging infectious diseases, poverty, conflicts and emergencies. The course will also review health inequity, health systems reforms, and major global initiatives for disease prevention and health promotion. The course will consider how inequalities in education, income, and occupation influence health status. The public policy process will be explored using a variety of contemporary global health case studies which focus on content areas such as maternal health, HIV policy, refugee health and global healthcare delivery. The course will also examine the global health workforce and the impact of widespread global migration of health professionals on receiving and sending countries.

Healthcare Informatics (3 Credits)

This course is designed to explore the healthcare information technology (IT) planning and management issues associated with decision making in healthcare organizations. IT provides a framework to understand the types of information systems prevalent in healthcare organizations, evaluate specific strategies related to healthcare IT investments, and understand the ramifications of health data standards and privacy concerns on information management policy. In this course, students will learn how the core competencies of healthcare informatics can be developed and applied using real-world case studies. Students will be exposed to specific concepts related to electronic medical records (EMR), health data and standards, sourcing, and IT investments in healthcare. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to explain the key information requirements for effective health information management and decision support, plan and develop the governance and oversight requirements of healthcare IT projects, understand the specification and selection process of healthcare projects, and apply these competencies to real-world problems.

Research Methods for the Health Sciences (3 credits)

A comprehensive exploration of research methods used in the health sciences, with an emphasis on selecting and applying appropriate research designs. This course includes an overview of the scientific method and the various research paradigms in current use; research ethics and the protection of human subjects; the role of theory in problem formulation; internal and external validity; variable measurement and reliability, and generalizability of findings. Specific approaches covered include experimental and quasi-experimental treatment designs, epidemiologic methods (cohort and case-control studies), survey research, evaluation and outcomes research, methodological studies and qualitative research.

Data Analysis and Interpretation (3 credits)

This course covers the selection, application and interpretation of basic statistical tests and procedures used in the health sciences. Topics include data and variables, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, t test, Fischer’s F test and the one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).

Fundamentals of Clinical Trials (3 credits)

This course is designed to teach the fundamentals of a good clinical trial in the evaluation of a new drug or device, be it industry, federal or philanthropic sponsored. This course begins with the evaluation process leading up to human volunteer trials, through elements in designing a trial, writing the scientific protocol, considering regulatory issues and human subjects’ protection, through elements in protocol development/implementation, and quality assurance.

Dissertation Seminar (3 credits)

This course is designed as a general seminar for all doctoral students in the D.H.Sc. Program. This seminar does not focus on a specific content area but instead is designed to provide students with an overview of the requirements for completing a doctoral dissertation, and provide a forum for discussing dissertation-related concerns and issues with other students. In particular, the seminar emphasizes the development of the conceptual and research skills necessary for the completion of the doctoral dissertation, including the formulation of the dissertation proposal (selection of an area and topic, formulation of appropriate research questions/hypotheses, rationales etc.), the development of the skills necessary for identifying and critically evaluating published research relevant to the chosen dissertation topic, as well as an appropriate research methodology for empirically evaluating the hypotheses proposed. Designed in a seminar format, this course guides students through the formative stages of proposal development in which constant, critical thinking is required. Interaction among the instructor and students is important to transform ideas into a doctoral dissertation project.

Dissertation I (3 credits)

This course is designed to synthesize the knowledge and skills developed in previous research courses and apply them to the doctoral dissertation process. Students learn about all aspects of the process of developing and carrying out the doctoral dissertation, and they gain an understanding of standards and expectations that students need to meet to be successful in completing the dissertation process. Throughout the course, students are required to work closely with their dissertation advisor, as appropriate. Student performance in the course will be assessed by their advisor. To make substantial progress, it is essential that students set and meet goals and have regular contact with their advisor to ensure the dissertation is progressing in a focused and high quality manner. Students will also prepare a dissertation proposal presentation. The course concludes with scholarly discussions and critique of peer presentations.

Dissertation II (3 credits)

This course focuses on the completion of the doctoral dissertation. Emphasis is placed on understanding and defining the logical relations between elements in a proposal including the problem statement, conceptual/theoretical framework, literature review, research design and methodology. Students will work closely with their advisor throughout this process.

On Campus Seminar (4 credits)

An intensive one week on campus seminar is the culmination of the Doctor of Health Sciences degree program. This seminar will provide students with a unique on-campus learning experience. Health care professionals who are established and leaders in their fields will be recruited as guest lecturers. In addition to the lectures, students will have the opportunity to hone their skills by attending workshops led by experienced clinicians. Topics such as improving patient care and interviewing techniques will be featured. Finally, students will be required to present their dissertations and submit a report of their experiences at the seminar.


Health Care Clinician Track

Advanced Disease Processes and Treatment (3 credits)

This is an advanced course providing detailed information about systems physiology and pathophysiology, as well as the epidemiology, etiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, prognosis and treatment of disease, particularly pharmacotherapeutics. Topics covered include cardiopulmonary diseases, infectious diseases, gastroenterology, urology, endocrine and oncology. Lab and specific diagnostic tests will be reviewed.  Cultural and ethnic approaches to health care and prescription drug use will also be explored. Special attention will be placed on recognizing drug-drug, drug-nutrient, and drug-exercise interactions.

Lifestyle and Health Issues (3 credits)

Crucial health issues with an emphasis on the relationship between lifestyle and health. The course enables students to deal more effectively with the health problems faced throughout life. These issues may include stress, sexuality, nutrition, mental health and illness, aging, chronic and communicable disease, drug and alcohol use, and dealing with death, and other selected topics.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of the major issues in health promotion and disease prevention. This course will explore the possible association between nutritional status and premature mortality and morbidity. Strategies for risk reduction and the development and implementation of interventions will be presented. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the role nutrition plays not only in health but also in disease prevention.

Integrative and Complementary Medicine (3 credits)

This course will provide students with a working knowledge about integrative and complementary medicine and clinical applications for patient/client care and research. Federal regulations, cultural beliefs, scientific research and perceived benefits and risks will be explored. The appropriateness of integrating these therapeutic modalities into conventional medicine will also be explored.


Health Care Education Track

Teaching in the Health Professions (3 credits)

This course provides an analytic and developmental approach to the roles and functions of the health professional teacher. Discussions will focus on teaching roles, style and philosophy and the application of learning theory to instructional design and lesson planning. Emphasis will be on selection and application of appropriate teaching strategies and assessment methods according to the goal(s) of instruction and identified learner characteristics. Other issued that will be addressed are student problem management, key ethical and legal responsibilities, and the incorporation of research evidence into teaching practice.

Educational Assessment (3 credits)

This course reviews the types, purposes, procedures, uses, and limitations of assessment strategies and techniques. The use of standardized testing and implications for current practice is also discussed. Topics such as creating and using assessment tools that improve instruction (formative assessments) as well as gauge its success (summative assessments) will be reviewed. Learning to design assessments that are carefully aligned with educational objectives is another component of this assessment course. This course will explore aspects of developing objective and subjective exams. Another topic involves the methods of developing and revising assessment tools such as rubrics, checklists, and scoring guides.

Curriculum and Syllabus Development in Higher Education (3 credits)

This course will explore the various types of curricula that exist within organizations as well as goals and philosophical orientations to education. The course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to fulfill leadership positions as enlightened educators. Students will gain a broad understanding of the curriculum development process. Topics will include translation of societal and community expectations into theoretical curricular frameworks for application to problem solving and initiatives for change. Discussions will revolve around what knowledge is most worth learning, why it is worthwhile, and how it will be delivered. Topics will include the effect of internal and external forces on the curriculum. The course will also cover creation of syllabi with a description of the required components.

Pedagogy and Teaching Strategies for College Instructors (3 credits)

This course describes the theoretical basis of pedagogy and explores the foundations of teaching in higher education. Issues such as: how students learn, motivating students, and matching teaching methods with learning outcomes are topics designed to improve the quality of higher education. This course not only covers how to connect with students in the learning process, but also how to determine if students are learning. Using active techniques, encouraging classroom participation, motivating students, and various learning styles are examples of topics that will be covered. This course provides practical suggestions to implement the methods discussed.



Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)

This course introduces practitioners to principles of evidence-based practice (EBP), policy, practice guidelines, and information utilization for practice modeling. Increasingly, health care practitioners are presented with new information about recent findings from research and professional consensus statements regarding best-practices and practice guidelines. This course focuses on preparing students to engage in evidence-based practice, providing the skills needed to critically evaluate new information that is available from research findings and professional consensus statements. Furthermore, the course provides skills for integrating this new information into the students own, personalized approach to practice.

Principles of Health Policy and Management (3 credits)

This course discusses the general principles of planning, management, evaluation, and behavior of public and private health care organizations at the local, state and national levels. The course examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health and personal health services, with emphasis on major current health policy and management issues related to access, quality and cost.

Comparative Health Systems (3 credits)

This course examines health systems from a comparative perspective in order to understand how various countries address similar problems. This course begins by discussing global health themes, including: international health organizations, right to health, access to medicines, significant international health issues, women’s health, children’s health, and the environment and health. The course includes a discussion of the different approaches and methods used in comparative health care systems and examine some of the key concepts that will allow for meaningful policy comparisons across countries. The course explores what healthcare systems do and how they have evolved. Different frameworks for healthcare delivery, financing, coverage, and allocation of resources are examined. Students will learn to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of various ways of organizing and financing health care and to evaluate health policies according to a range of criteria for cost, quality and equity. The focus will be on select health care systems around the globe and review the structure and functioning of their health systems.

Principles of Environmental Toxicology (3 credits)

Environmental toxicology is the study of the nature, properties, effects and detection of toxic substances in the environment and in any environmentally exposed species, including humans. This course will provide a general understanding of toxicology related to the environment. Fundamental toxicological concepts will be covered including dose‐response relationships, absorption of toxicants, distribution and storage of toxicants, biotransformation and elimination of toxicants, target organ toxicity and teratogenesis, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis and risk assessment. The course will include an overview of chemodynamics of contaminants in the environment including fate and transport. The course will examine chemicals of environmental interest and how they are tested and regulated.

Medical Toxicology (3 credits)

This course covers the adverse health effects of exposure to drugs or substances of abuse. The principles of toxicodynamics, toxicokinetics, biotransformation, diagnosis and treatment will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on mechanism(s) of action of the various drug classes, body system(s) affected, clinical manifestations of problems and the resulting adverse effects on human health and society. Methods of treatment and client education will also be addressed. Laws controlling and governing the use of these drugs/substances and the agencies responsible for them will also be covered.

Infectious Diseases (3 credits)

This course provides a detailed examination of emerging and reemerging infectious disease, focusing on significant illnesses found in various regions of the world. Topics include information on the underlying mechanisms of microbial emergence, the technology used to detect them, and the strategies available to contain them. Discussion will involve diseases and their causative agents that are major factors in the health of populations the world over. This course will provide a clear understanding of factors associated with disease emergence and re-emergence can help medical and public health professionals to identify, study, and control new and renewed epidemics and outbreaks. Epidemiological characteristics such as incubation period, infectious period, and means of transmission, the immune response, treatment, prevention and surveillance of these infectious diseases will be evaluated. Up-to-date selections from infectious disease journals as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, MedLine Plus, and the American Society for Microbiology will be included to insure that topics are kept current.




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