Bellarmine adds sixth doctoral program: doctorate in health professions education

June 20, 2018


Responding to marketplace needs, Bellarmine University's College of Health Professions has created the region's only doctoral degree in health professions education.

The doctor of philosophy in health professions education is a 48-hour, cohort-based program that prepares students from diverse healthcare backgrounds to teach in colleges, universities and clinical settings, or to pursue careers in leadership and research. 

The program is designed for working professionals, with classes taking place three to six weekends each semester on Friday evenings and Saturdays. A new cohort starts in January 2019, although students may choose to start in August 2018. Coursework can be completed in eight semesters, with dissertation completion in two additional semesters.

"The leadership of the College of Health Professions recognized the expanding need for academically qualified faculty in health sciences programs and has responded with the creation of the Ph.D. in Health Professions program," said Dr. Nancy York, dean of the college's Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences. "There's a growing interest in academic doctoral degrees in health professions, but a limited number of doctoral programs in health professions education. A report we commissioned last year while developing this program found increasing employer demand for doctorally-trained health profession educators. We identified only 24 institutions worldwide offering doctoral level health professions education programs."

York said that graduates of the program will teach or lead in a variety of fields, including nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, speech-language pathology, medical laboratory sciences, imaging sciences, radiation therapy, dental hygiene and health care administration.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for other occupations.

The new program joins five other doctoral degrees currently offered by the university: doctor of nursing practice, doctor of physical therapy, doctor of education in K-12 district leadership, doctor of philosophy in leadership in higher education and doctor of philosophy in education and social change.

For more information on the program, contact Bellarmine's Office of Graduate Admission at or 502/272-7200.

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