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Explore our PhD in Health Services Community Health specialization

Examine the leadership principles, health education policies, and social and behavioral change theories that guide effective community health education and advocacy. The Community Health specialization will help prepare you to promote health, reduce risk factors, and influence community leaders in supporting a healthy environment for diverse populations. Explore the planning and organization of health programs and how media and marketing strategies can support your efforts.


Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on August 29, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (30 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (20 cr.)
  • Electives (8–10 cr.)
  • Completion of Doctoral Capstone
    • Dissertation Preparation course (5 cr.)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

Please refer to Walden’s catalog for more information about degree requirements.

This represents the minimum credit requirement for program completion. The number of credits for completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.


Course Code Title Credits

Doctoral Writing Assessment

DRWA 8880
Doctoral Writing Assessment

This course is part of Walden's commitment to help prepare students to meet the university's expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.

(0 cr.)

Foundation Course

HLTH 8003
Building a Multidisciplinary Approach to Health

In this course, students will explore the multidisciplinary nature and integration of professional practice in the health field. Students will have the opportunity to utilize their scholarly voice with diverse audiences and with academic integrity to assure academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and social change agent. As leaders in their profession, students will discuss critical health services in the health field utilizing a response to a natural disaster, review of emerging topics in the health field, and what it means to be part of a multidisciplinary team to develop community partnerships with key stakeholders to address health issues impacting their communities, agencies, and/or organizations.

(3 cr.)

Core Courses

HLTH 8051
Contemporary Topics in the U.S. Healthcare Delivery

Students in this course are provided with the opportunity to gain thorough insight into the current structure and components of health services and delivery. Students identify and describe components of the system, including patients, healthcare professionals, public and private third-party payers, regulators, reimbursement methods, and technology. They engage in activities and discussions focused on the continuum of services related to healthcare, such as hospitals and hospital systems, ambulatory care, and long-term care. Students also explore issues related to these services, such as wellness, prevention, and community and public health, for a comprehensive understanding of the system. Students contextualize their study through the examination of current factors and challenges as well as the impact these challenges have on delivery and management.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8201
Principles of Population Health in Healthcare Administration

An increasing need exists for healthcare administrators to address population-wide health issues. Developing evidence-based health programs enables healthcare to be addressed on a preventive basis at the community or service area level. In this course, students utilize clinical datasets and combine this knowledge with public health datasets concerning socioeconomic and behavioral influencers of health. Students analyze these influencers to determine effective, appropriate services, programs, and solutions to benefit the population as a whole. They discover health issues facing special populations, respond to case studies, and create program plans to improve population disease outcomes.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8300
Law, Ethics, and Policy in Healthcare Administration

The rapidly evolving healthcare system presents the healthcare administrator with complex challenges and risks. Healthcare administrators must possess the skills needed to assess external and internal healthcare polices to influence organizational design and delivery of healthcare services. Students assess and discuss key policy initiatives from the diverse perspectives of policymakers, interest groups, and other stakeholders. Coursework focuses on required knowledge of laws and regulations developed by policymakers that impact the healthcare organizations and students will review key laws that govern patient care delivery, employee relations, contracts, and fraud. Emphasis will be placed on legal and regulatory failure points that administrators must avoid in designing and implementing policies and practices within the healthcare organization. To help frame these concepts, students examine the ethical underpinnings and principles that healthcare organizations and administrators follow in the delivery of services to patients.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8401
Healthcare Financial Management and Economics

In this course, students gain knowledge of economics principles such as cost, quality, and access as they relate to the healthcare world. The principles of healthcare financial management, including accounting and finance, are vitally important to the viability and ongoing operations of a healthcare business. Students have the opportunity to interpret and analyze the financial statements of a business, use and analyze financial ratios, utilize variance analysis, understand and implement operating and capital budgeting, and develop knowledge of the business planning process. Students create portions of a business/financial plan using these techniques and analyze the viability of their plan using accepted financial management tools.


  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8500
Human Resources Management and Organizational Development and Leadership for Healthcare Administrators

Students in this course examine organizational behavior as well as the roles and responsibilities of management and leadership within healthcare organizations through the macro (organization-wide) and micro (individual and team performance) perspectives. Students also focus on understanding organizational values, mission, and vision; management and leadership principles to help manage change; and effective delivery of services in an increasingly global environment. They also learn and apply theories of organizational design, governance, and alternative organizational structures, and they consider the theory and practice of managing individuals and groups through motivation, communication, teamwork, leadership, organizational change, coalition building, negotiation, and conflict management and resolution. Through group assignments and personal assessments, students work toward developing self-awareness and effective management styles and strategies.


  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8800
Marketing Management and Business Communication

Students in this course analyze the four Ps of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion and how they affect the five Ps of healthcare marketing— physicians, patients, payers, public, and politics. The interrelationship of a healthcare organization's strategic plan, business plan, and marketing plan is analyzed and social marketing will also be an area of focus. Students will practice effective oral and written business communication skills.


  • RESI 8402

(5 cr.)

Research Courses

RSCH 8110
Research Theory, Design, and Methods

In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.


  • RSCH 8110 prerequisites by program 

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8210
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

In this research course, students are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing and carrying out quantitative research at the doctoral level, including the application of statistical concepts and techniques. Students explore classical common statistical tests, the importance of the logic of inference, and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. Students approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to derive statistics from quantitative data and interpret and present results.


Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110
  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8310
Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop basic knowledge and skills for conducting qualitative research at the doctoral level. Students explore the nature of qualitative inquiry, how theory and theoretical and conceptual frameworks uniquely apply to qualitative research, data collection procedures and analysis strategy, and how the role of the researcher is expressed in the ethical and rigorous conduct of qualitative research. Students practice collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, and they develop a detailed research topic for conducting a qualitative study.


  • RSCH 8310 prerequisites by program 

(5 cr.)
Choose one course from the following courses:
RSCH 8260
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

Students in this research course build upon knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite quantitative reasoning course and are presented with opportunities to apply them. They are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for conducting quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts, such as factorial ANOVA, mediation, moderation, logistic regression, ANCOVA, and MANOVA. Students explore existing datasets and apply suitable statistical tests to answer research questions with social change implications. In this course, they approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate statistical tests for more complex research questions and social problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. They will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by carrying out a quantitative research project.


  • RSCH 8260 prerequisites by program 

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8360
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

Students build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. and have experience applying them. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical antecedents and practical applications of eight contemporary qualitative approaches. Students gain experience developing qualitative interview guides, collecting data, and managing the process from transcription through analysis. The unique challenges of confidentiality and ethical issues are explored as well as implications for social change. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan using a topic relevant to their capstone.


  • RSCH 8360 prerequisites by program 

Note: This course was previously RSCH 8350.

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8460
Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis

Students build upon knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis for more specialized knowledge and skills to design mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. Students are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for designing mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. They gain an understanding of the types of mixed-methods designs and how to select the most appropriate approach for the research question(s). The emphases of this course are on integrating quantitative and qualitative elements into true mixed-methods studies, practice in data analysis, and integration of qualitative and quantitative data within a research write-up. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a mixed-methods research plan that incorporates qualitative and quantitative elements appropriately.


  • RSCH 8460 prerequisites by program 

Note: This course was previously RSCH 8450.

(5 cr.)

Specialization Courses

HLTH 8440
Application of Public Health and Behavior Change Theories

Students in this course are presented with a comprehensive look at public health and behavior change theories that apply to community health education. Students review and assess predominant social and behavioral principles at the individual, interpersonal, and community levels. They discuss examples of how others have harnessed social marketing and communication technology to effect positive health behavior change in individuals and communities. Students learn to apply theories to public health research and practice.


  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8450
Community Health Assessment

Community health assessment and its application to program planning are covered in this course. Students learn to identify and prioritize problems, then assess and utilize community resources to address these problems. Topics include measuring selected determinants of community health status and health services use, classifying community assets, identifying data sources, and applying certain methods to maximize community participation. Students synthesize the results of a community health assessment to create a community diagnosis that serves as the basis for program planning and research design.

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8050
Global Health and Issues in Disease Prevention

An in-depth review of how population-based strategies are used in the prevention of disease and disability is provided to students in this course. Students explore the topics of population health and disease prevention from the perspective of understanding the determinants of health. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, students examine how economics, social factors, health policy, urbanization, globalization, the environment, and other factors influence disease. Students consider how research in disease prevention, health determinants, and population health apply to public and community health efforts.


  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
HLTH 8142
Communication and Social Marketing Strategies for Public Health Leaders

This course provides to students an overview of communication and social marketing strategies as they relate to public health, highlighting theoretical concepts that are commonly used in health communications and research. Topics include using communication theory, social marketing techniques, promoting health literacy, developing community partnerships, and creating culturally sensitive and appropriate promotional materials. Students focus on developing, implementing, and evaluating an abbreviated Public Health Communication Campaign by applying basic social marketing principles, such as the use of social media techniques, to identify and advance public health interests and address public health problems. Through their Public Health Communication Campaign, which is this course's Scholar Practitioner Project, students examine how they can use marketing and communication practices to translate health research into social action and behavioral change.

(5 cr.)

Elective Courses

Health Elective 1

Select a course offered within all specializations

Health Elective 2

Select a course offered within all specializations


HLTH 8551
Preparing for Dissertation

The focus of this course is on the process of writing the doctoral dissertation premise and prospectus. The premise will guide students through their committee selection process. The prospectus will guide students through the stages of writing a dissertation—conducting a literature review, developing a problem statement and research questions, and evaluating research designs, methods, and types of analysis. The premise and prospectus that students write for this course will be for a possible dissertation topic. This exercise is the cornerstone of this course and will prepare students for working with their chosen dissertation topic.


  • RESI 8402

(5 cr.)
HLTH 9001
Health Services Dissertation

In this course, doctoral students have the opportunity to integrate their program of study into an in-depth exploration within an interest area through the completion of a research study. Students complete the dissertation independently, with the guidance of a dissertation supervisory committee chair and committee members. They must also participate in an accompanying online course and complete a prospectus, proposal, Institutional Review Board application, and final dissertation paper and presentation. Once students register for HLTH 9001, they are registered each term until successful completion of the dissertation.Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.To complete a dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.


  • Foundational and core curricula
  • Appointment of an approved dissertation committee chair
  • RESI 8403

(5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms until completion)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition-Coursework 88 quarter credits  $605 per quarter hour for coursework credits $53,240^
Tuition-Dissertation  20–115 quarter credits $605 per quarter hour for dissertation credits $12,100$69,575*
Technology Fee $165 per quarter $2,145$5,280*
Residency Fee Four Residencies $1,375 each (virtual)
$1,475 each (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)
Estimated Range:     3.25-Year 8-Year

These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.

Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic such as tuition and fee increases and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.

^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.

Based on a 3.25-year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.

*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.

+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-642-0198.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more


Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on August 29, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A master’s degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.



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