Healthcare Leadership

Degrees Offered: D.Sc.
Director: Dr. Robert Hernandez
Phone: (205) 934-1665

Healthcare Leadership

Prospective students should refer to the Admissions tab on the program webpage (www.uab/execdoc) to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to the program. Information about how to apply to the Graduate School is available at

Doctor of Science Program Information

The Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Healthcare Leadership program is designed for healthcare executives who are seeking to engage in a rigorous course of study that will also permit them to retain their demanding work and life responsibilities. D.Sc. students are interested in continuing a practice-focused career, as opposed to the academic career sought by most residential Ph.D. students.

The program is offered by the Department of Health Services Administration.  Faculty associated with the School of Public Health, Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education, and other national experts also contribute to student learning.

Admission Requirements

Qualified applicants will preferably have a master's degree in health administration; health informatics; business administration; or a related field. Degree(s) must be from an accredited institution. In addition, qualified applicants will have a minimum of five years of mid– to senior-level managerial experience in health management.

Students whose first language is not English must submit recent scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or IELTS. Applicants who have received a degree from an accredited U.S. institution or from institutions in countries where English is the primary language of instruction are not required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS score.

The UAB Graduate School has approved a waiver of the GRE/GMAT requirement for all applicants to the Executive Doctoral Program in Healthcare Leadership. 

The application procedure for the D.Sc. in Healthcare Leadership Program requires both an application to the UAB Graduate School as well as supplemental materials that must be submitted directly to the D.Sc. Program Office.  A full checklist of required items can be found on the “Application Process” page of the program website

Applications are reviewed by the Admissions and Policy Committee of the Executive D.Sc. in Healthcare Leadership Program.  The committee forwards a recommendation to the Dean of the UAB Graduate School who then communicates official admission decisions via written letter. 

As it is based on a cohort model, the Executive D.Sc. Program only admits for the fall of each year.  Applicants who complete applications prior to February 1 will be given priority in the admission process.  Applications received after February 1 will be considered on a space-available basis.

Program of Study

The program of study consists of four components

  1. Courses in administration and health systems,
  2. Courses in research methodology and statistics,
  3. Comprehensive examinations, 
  4. The doctoral dissertation.

Students must complete all coursework and pass a comprehensive examination before work can officially begin on the dissertation. The investigation and other special work leading to the dissertation must be performed directly under the guidance and supervision of a four-person committee of the UAB graduate faculty. The normal minimum period in which the doctoral degree can be earned is three years of full-time study.

Degree Completion

The granting of the D.Sc. degree is based on completion of all required coursework, residency requirements, a comprehensive examination, dissertation requirements, and the recommendation of the Healthcare Leadership graduate program director and the dissertation committee.

Mission, Vision, and Values Statements

The mission of the Executive Doctoral Program is to develop highly qualified strategic management practitioners and scholars.  We accomplish this mission through:  our strategic management courses, faculty/student interaction, publishing and presenting our work, and teaching others.

Additional Information

Deadline for Priority Application: February 1st. After February 1st, applications will be considered on a space-available basis.
Number of Evaluation Forms Required: Three
Entrance Tests: TOEFL required for international applicants whose native language is not English.

Contact Information

For detailed information, contact the Program Office of the Doctoral Programs in Healthcare Leadership, UAB School of Health Professions Building, 1716 9th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-1212.
Telephone 205-934-3588
Fax 205-975-6608
Web www.uab/execdoc


AHD 632. Quantitative Methods. 3 Hours.

Selected statistical methods and analytical tools for hypothesis testing and to inform evidence-based decision-making in hospitals and health care organizations, use of computer applications such as Excel and Stata for conducting analyses.

AHD 705. Health Care Finance. 3 Hours.

Financial management functions, third-party reimbursement, determination of costs and charges, analysis of financial positions, working capital management, budgeting, capital expenditure analysis, and case studies.

AHD 706. Strategic Management Theory and Research. 3 Hours.

This course enables students to become well-versed in the healthcare strategic management scholarly literature; and ultimately contribute to it. Mastering the healthcare strategy literature requires different skills than those needed to manage an organization strategically. Thus, this course focuses on the relevant literature and not on the process of strategic planning or management.

AHD 707. Research Methods. 3 Hours.

This course introduces methods and issues relevant to research in the business disciplines and in health services. The various business disciplines and the broad field of health services draw heavily from the social and behavioral sciences as the basis for much of their theoretical and empirical work. This course will focus on issues that are relevant generally to social science research, with the goal of applying that information to research in health services.

AHD 710. Comparative Health Systems. 3 Hours.

This course allows students to compare the U.S. health care delivery system with approaches used in other countries and to identify health system reform efforts occuring in selected global regions. Empahsis will be placed on the role of the health system within slected forms of government and at various levels of economic development.

AHD 711. Health Systems Leadership. 3 Hours.

Evidence based materials used to teach skills to develop an understanding of leadership theories and application through the use of fundamental leadership principles proven to be successful in the healthcare industry.

AHD 714. Marketing Strategy and Research. 3 Hours.

This course will introduce the doctoral student to the study of marketing strategy through an examination of the literature in the field. The course is intended to provide a broad background for understanding and conducting research in this area. As such, it will require students to draw on their knowledge of other functional and organizational topics as well as other social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, and economics) to better understand the subject of marketing strategy from an academic and organizational perspective.

AHD 715. Research in Organization Theory. 3 Hours.

Course designed to develop the student's ability to use theory based research in health-care organizations. This course will cover the major theoretical perspectives on organizations and will link these to contemporary empirical studies. Special perspectives on organizations and will link these to contemporary empirical studies. Special focus in placed on exploring the link between theory and research exhibited in this empirical work to enable students to develop the capability of using theory to guide their own research.

AHD 716. Macro-Environmental Analysis. 3 Hours.

Macro-environmental analysis is strategic in nature and will focus on specific macro-environmental conditions or policies that may impact the delivery and financing of health care services and product. Macro-environmental analysis is traditionally the first step in the development of a strategic plan; sometiems referred to as external market analysis or political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) analysis.

AHD 718. Strategic Implementation and Evaluation. 3 Hours.

Examination of types of evaluations and evaluation designs, emphasis on application of evaluations in organizations; development of indicators; impact measurement.

AHD 722. Regression Analysis. 3 Hours.

Various approaches to regression analysis, including ordinary least squares and probability models, such as logit and probit.

AHD 727. Applied Multivariate Statistics for Health Administration Research. 3 Hours.

This is a survey course on the application of multivariate techniques in health care management research. The course focuses on application of multivariate statistical methods to health administration research questions, with emphasis on interpretation within real health care management problems.

AHD 730. Health Econ & Insurance. 3 Hours.

Development of economic principles and describes system of health care financing and delivery in the United States, providing a basis for analyzing health management and policy options.

AHD 731. Health Policy. 3 Hours.

Exploration of the health policy-making process in the U.S., the impact of policy decisions (or lack of decisions) on key stakeholders, and needed research and policy approaches to these issues.

AHD 735. Healthcare Quality Improvement. 3 Hours.

Policy issues and managerial methods related to quality and safety in healthcare organizations. Role of senior executives, board members, physician leaders in quality improvement and in creating a quality-focused organizational culture. Public and private sector approaches to quality measurement and improvement.

AHD 775. Strategic Planning and Mgt. 3 Hours.

Assessment of strategic management literature applied to health services organizations, exploration of strategy formulation, strategic content, and implementation and evaluation of topics for health care organizations.

AHD 778. Special Topics in Administration - Health Services. 1-4 Hour.

Exploration of current issues in Health Services Administration.

AHD 780. Strategic Information Systems. 3 Hours.

Examination of current research on role of information systems in strategic management and sources available to health care organizations for strategic decision support.

AHD 798. Non-Dissertation Research. 1-6 Hour.

Mentored research to design a study addressing a significant healthcare delivery problem.

AHD 799. Dissertation Research. 1-6 Hour.

Mentored research to conduct a study addressing a significant healthcare delivery problem.
Prerequisites: GAC Z


Borkowski, Nancy, Professor, 2014, DBA (Nova Southeastern)
Celaya, Leandra, Assistant Professor, 2008, MSc (University of Salford)
Hearld, Larry R, Professor, 2009, PhD (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor),
Hernandez, S. Robert, Distinguished Service Professor, Program Director, Doctoral Program in Healthcare Leadership, 1972, DrPH (UNC - Chapel Hill)
Sen, Bisakha, Professor, BCBS Endowed Chair, 2002, Ph.D. (Ohio State), Health policy, health economics, health services research, Medicaid/CHIP, social determinants of health, mental health and substance abuse, obesity, gun policy, reproductive health policy, applied econometrics