Jun 20, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2023-2024 
Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Doctor of Science, DHSc

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The Doctor of Science Program was developed for the allied health professional, advanced practice clinician, or healthcare manager who has the desire to advance their education as a means of advancing their career within diverse healthcare settings. Two degrees are offered through this program—the Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) and the Doctor of Healthcare Science (DHSc).

The Doctor of Healthcare Science Degree (DHSc) was developed for the allied health professional, advanced practice clinician, or healthcare manager who has the desire to advance their  education as a means of advancing their career within diverse healthcare settings.

The 4-semester DHSc program is designed for the scholar-practitioner, and focuses on real-life application of healthcare science principles. Students in the DMSc/DHSc program will bring their healthcare practice question or dilemma to be evaluated into the program and utilize evidence-based healthcare research to develop their scholarly project. The DMSc/DHSc culminates in a scholarly project, suitable for publication or presentation in a peer-reviewed environment.

The DHSc program is ideal for those in healthcare who are interested in progressing professionally as leaders in their organizations, including practicing clinicians, healthcare leaders, and managers.  The emphasis in this program is on developing scholar-practitioners who can utilize evidence-based decision-making and application of research to address challenges and create meaningful change in their professional settings. 

Degree Requirements

4-Semester Doctor of Science Program (Doctor of Healthcare Science or Doctor of Medical Science) Degree Requirements (36 credits):

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the DHSc degree must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit proof of an earned masters or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution previously earned, OR
    • Applicants (Healthcare Leaders/Clinicians/Administrators) may submit a request to be considered for Graduate College Education Equivalency. An equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution and greater than 5 years of increasingly responsible senior healthcare leadership experience. The Committee will review the information from the essay question required below.
    • If the Admissions Committee determines that the applicant meets the criteria for a master’s degree equivalency statement on admission, the statement will read “Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted for this applicant in lieu of a master’s degree.” The committee’s decision is final.
  • Provide official transcripts from all universities or colleges previously attended.
  • The recommended minimum overall graduate cumulative GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or the equivalent of a pass in a pass/no pass system. 
  • Submit a current curriculum vitae or resume with contact information for two references from professional contacts. Pacific may contact the references during the application process.
  • Complete online application with payment of the $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • Essay questions for 4-semester DHSc applicants:

In 1,000-1,500 words, please address the following questions on the application:

  • Describe professional goals which will be advanced by the program.
  • Explain current healthcare role (health professional (licensed/certified), healthcare administrator, public health professional, or health profession educator) and responsibilities.
  • It is preferred that applicants are currently working in a healthcare role that includes direct patient/client, healthcare professional student, or public health community interaction. If not currently working in one of these arenas, the applicant will identify how they will engage with a partnering organization to complete the Scholarly Project.

Graduate Education Equivalency applicants to 4-semester DHSc program only:  In 1000-1500 words, address the following questions.

  • Describe your professional goals which will be advanced by the program and why you are pursuing a doctoral degree.
  • Provide a synopsis of professional experiences. Please describe how your work experience meets the criteria listed for graduate education equivalency. 
  • Graduate education equivalency requires a minimum of 5 years of senior healthcare leadership responsibility that must include all of the following:
    • Supervision of employees and oversight of performance evaluations
    • Approval of hiring and termination requests
    • Accountability for operations, compliance, and outcomes
    • Engagement in strategic planning and implementation
    • Development and management of department budget
  • Explain current healthcare role (health professional (licensed/certified), healthcare administrator, public health professional, or health profession educator) and responsibilities.
  • It is preferred that applicants are currently working in a healthcare role that includes direct patient/client, healthcare professional student, or public health community interaction. If not currently working in one of these arenas, the applicant will identify how they will engage with a partnering organization to complete the Scholarly Project.

English Language Proficiency Policy

A satisfactory command of the English language is required for admission to Pacific University, prior to admission. Please note that this requirement applies to all applicants if English is not their native language, including permanent residents and citizens.

Proof of English Language Proficiency

The following criteria demonstrate different methods to demonstrate English proficiency for this program.

  • Achieving the minimum required official score on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Test scores are valid for 2 years after the test date but will still be considered valid if the score exceeded the minimum requirement and you have maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date.


  • Completion of a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or professional degree at a US regionally accredited college or university.


Transfer Credit Policy:  Students may not transfer credits for the Doctor of Science Program.

Placement policy:  Students may not be granted advanced standing or placement for the Doctor of Science Program.

Program Details

Program Length:

The Doctor of Healthcare Science (DHSc) degree is typically completed in 4 semesters, with a maximum total possible time to completion of 8 semesters. 

Program Learning Outcomes

The Learning Outcomes for the Doctor of Science Program (all degrees) include the following:

  • Demonstrate scholarly inquiry skills necessary to identify and address issues within practice settings.
  • Understand how theory informs the practice of leadership including ethical awareness in decision-making and problem-solving.
  • Integrate critical thinking techniques along with advancing knowledge and skills to evaluate problems effectively and design improvement plans for professional settings.
  • Organize thoughts and ideas into appropriately written and referenced essays and research papers.
  • Develop awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts in healthcare and professional settings as demonstrated with written work.


All courses in the Doctor of Science program will be graded Pass/Fail.   A pass is considered an 80% or better of competency.   Doctor of Science students must successfully pass all courses.  If a student fails a course, they will be required to retake the course the next time it is offered. If the student does not pass one of the sequential courses (Scholarly writing series), then they will need to wait to retake the course in the series the next time it is offered.  Students who do not pass one of the scholarly writing series courses may continue the other courses while they wait for the next offering of the course they need to retake.  If the student fails to demonstrate consistent and adequate academic progress toward completing the Doctor of Science coursework, the program director in consultation with faculty members (the Academic Review Committee), will review student performance to determine if a student should be placed on academic warning.  The ARC will make a recommendation as to the student’s future in the program, which could include probation, retaking coursework, or dismissal from the program.

Incomplete Grades and Grade Changes

Instructors may issue a grade of Incomplete only when a major portion of a course has been completed satisfactorily and there are extenuating circumstances such as health emergencies, previously unanticipated demands on the job, disability, family circumstances or other emergent situations that prevent the student from completing all course requirements in good standing.  The instructor(s) and the student are required to agree upon a deadline by which all outstanding course work will be completed and submitted to the course instructor(s) for evaluation and assignment of a final course grade. The student and instructor also are required to sign and submit an Incomplete Grade Contract to the Program Director of the Doctor of Science program and the University Registrar. Once the course work is submitted and evaluated, the course instructor(s) will submit a grade change form to the Administrative Director.  If the incomplete course work is not completed by the specified deadline, the Incomplete will automatically convert to a grade of “F” and the student may be dismissed from the program.  Therefore, an incomplete contract will only be an option if the remaining work can be completed in the two weeks following the close of the course.  If more time is needed to complete the remaining course work, students in this program must remain enrolled and will be subject to the Graduate Continuation Fee.

A grade can be changed within two years of completion of a Doctor of Science course if there is an error in calculating or recording the grade. In this case, the course instructor must complete and submit a grade change form to the Director.

Academic Warning

If a student is placed on academic warning, the student will be required to complete a Remediation Plan and have it approved by the Doctor of Science faculty, in addition to correcting any professional or academic deficiencies outlined in the warning or probation letter from the Program Director.

Student Misconduct

The College of Health Professions and Pacific University policies regarding academic integrity, dishonesty, and student misconduct are described in the University’s Handbook. The Handbook incorporates College and University policies to ensure the proper handling of all academic, professional, and experiential learning issues faced by students.  All students are required to abide by all policies as listed in the University’s Student Handbook.  It is each student’s responsibility to periodically review the following website for any policy changes.

Expectations of Academic Integrity and Standards of Professional Conduct

Students must participate regularly in the online components of each course as scheduled. 

If an instructor detects instances of plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, misrepresentation, inappropriate use of data or data falsification, failure to appropriately attribute reference materials, or the reuse of a student’s written assignments or materials from other courses on any exam, exercise, assignment, or other course work submitted by a student, or the submission of the work of another student as your own work, the result will be an immediate failure of the course with a grade of “F” and referral for review by the ARC for possible institutional action, including dismissal from the Doctor of Science program.

Doctor of Science students are required to read, sign and adhere to the DSc program’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct when they matriculate and each semester thereafter.  Students are required to adhere to all Program, College, and University standards regarding academic integrity. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in immediate expulsion from the Doctor of Science program.

In cases of flagrant or intentional violations of the University Code of Academic Conduct or the University Code of Student Conduct, or the Doctor of Science program’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct or Academic Misconduct, a student may be removed from the Doctor of Science program without previous warning, at any time.

Students charged with professional or academic misconduct will have the circumstances of each case reviewed by the ARC, and also have the right to appeal the decision. For information regarding student appeals, contact: Pacific’s Dean of Students, 503-352-2254 or DeanofStudents@pacificu.edu.



Academic concerns or allegations of misconduct brought by faculty or students are submitted to the Director as they arise. Any student or faculty member who is made aware of such concerns will report the concern and also advise the person raising the concern to report the concern to the Director of the Doctor of Science Program.


Once a concern or allegation is received, it will be reviewed by the Director who will then discuss the concern with the person who raised it and the student in question. The Director may act on the basis of a single complaint or concern, or on the basis of accumulation of several seemingly minor concerns that form a pattern. The Director may also elect to discuss any concern with the Dean of Students or other campus resource.

The Director, in consultation with the Doctor of Science faculty, may take any of the following actions or combination of actions:

  • Meet with the reporting faculty to develop a course-specific remediation plan
  • Meet with the student
  • Recommend a meeting between the student, faculty member, director, or some combination
  • Document observations and resolution in the student’s Doctor of Science student file
  • Refer the student to the University Office of Student Conduct
  • Consult with the Deans, University Office of Legal Affairs, Graduate and Professional Student Support, or other relevant University personnel 

Leave of Absence/Readmission

Students may apply for a leave of absence, of up to one year, from the Doctor of Science program.  To apply for readmission after an absence of one semester or more, a student must submit an Application for Readmission along with official transcripts from all colleges attended during the absence from Pacific University. This information must be sent to the Director of the Doctor of Science program for evaluation and review.

Leave of Absence (LOA): A student has the right to request a Leave of Absence (LOA) at any time due to medical, family, or personal reasons. After consultation with the student’s academic advisor a letter requesting a LOA should be sent to the Director of the Doctor of Science Program, with a copy to the Dean of Students.

When circumstances arise that result in a student requesting a LOA, it will generally result in a single LOA being granted for up to one year. It is unlikely that the Doctor of Science Program would grant multiple or extended LOAs, but such leaves may be considered on an individual basis with the understanding that students generally must complete all academic and clinical requirements for the degree in a maximum total time.  A student requesting a LOA is required to talk with relevant University offices (Student Life, Registrar, Business Office, Financial Aid, International Programs), as appropriate, prior to requesting the LOA in order to understand the potential ramifications of taking time away from their studies. Students granted a LOA retain their admitted status; however, they are not registered and therefore do not retain the rights and privileges of registered students.

If a student requests a LOA after the university semester deadlines for course withdrawal have passed OR after the student has completed all requirements for a given course the grades for the course/s will be recorded in that semester. If the student completes the semester with academic or professional behavior concerns the student may be referred for academic or unprofessional behavior review during a LOA. This policy is in place to prevent the use of the LOA in lieu of suspension or dismissal (i.e., to avoid the consequences for substandard performance or inadequate progress).

Once the LOA is requested, a written Action Plan will be created for the student by the Director of the Doctor of Science Program in consultation with the student and the student’s academic advisor. The Action Plan will outline the length of the LOA and the plan for return to enrollment, including any modifications that might need to be made to the student’s plan of study. A copy of the plan will be sent to the student and the plan will be retained in the student’s academic file. A student on leave is required to maintain an understanding of previous course materials and expertise. Upon return, the student may be required to demonstrate levels of proficiency to aid in the determination of placement in the curriculum. Upon return from a LOA, a finalized Action Plan will be reviewed with the student and the updated plan will be retained in the student’s academic file. The student’s decision to re-enroll in the graduate programis an indication of agreement with the finalized Action Plan for degree completion.

A student who fails to return to their studies within 30 days after the planned end of their LOA and who does not contact the School to generate a revised Action Plan will be assumed to have withdrawn from the program.

Graduation Requirements

Students must successfully complete all courses within the maximum allotted time.  Additionally, students must successfully complete all elements of the Doctoral Research Project.

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