The PhD program in health professions education at Widener University provides an avenue for you to become an agent of change in an academic setting.
Designed for students who already possess a master’s degree or clinical doctorate in a health professions-related field, the program focuses on three tenets:
Community-engaged practice with a social justice lens
Leadership development at the community, classroom, and administrative levels
Interprofessional education, practice, and research
Offered in a hybrid online and in-person course format, the academic doctorate in health professions combines both a teaching and research core, giving you the unique flexibility to be equally prepared for faculty positions in graduate health education programs and research positions within your realm of clinical expertise. You'll engage in authentic application of educational and research theory, supported by faculty who bring active clinical and academic research experience to the classroom. And through our array of well-established interprofessional pro-bono clinics, you'll gain perspective on using evidence-based practice to impact the local community.
Today, health professions programs commonly require a doctoral degree beyond a clinical doctorate for tenure-track faculty. Given the expansion of health professions programs, the number of faculty retiring, and the shortage of doctorally-prepared educators, you'll graduate from our PhD in health professions well-positioned to prepare the next generation of health professionals and emerge as a scholarly leader within your field.
The PhD program in health professions education combines a teaching and research core.
As part of the teaching practicum, you'll design and deliver components of a health professions education course with the guidance of a seasoned faculty member. You'll engage in PhD boot camps that will foster an understanding of the key elements of being a faculty member, as well as practical matters such as syllabus and course design.
The research core culminates in a doctoral dissertation with the goal of launching a sustainable research agenda. You'll learn about research ethics, research design, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. You'll apply this knowledge directly to the development, execution, and defense of the dissertation. And you'll receive mentorship on the dissemination process to successfully engage in peer-reviewed presentation and publication of your research.
To qualify for the degree of PhD in health professions education, students must:
Maintain a minimum semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in all coursework
Have a cumulative overall 3.0 GPA
Complete at least 57 credits of graduate coursework in the Widener PhD in health professions education program
Complete all of the degree requirements within a total of 10 calendar years from the date of first enrollment in the PhD program
Successfully complete the academic and teaching practicum portions of the curriculum
Start by enrolling in 1 or 2 courses to get a taste of the program or advance your knowledge and skills in specific areas.
Or enroll in our 4-course health professions education certificate program in either research or teaching.
For students taking non-matriculated coursework who desire to complete their PhD, a formal application to the program must occur prior to enrollment in their third course. Students enrolled in either certificate program would be eligible to apply to the PhD program upon successful completion of the certificate program.
Master's degree in a related field
Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs
Written statement outlining your background, professional goals, prior clinical and/or academic teaching experience, and research interests
One letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your clinical and academic background and experience
Learn from faculty mentors who use their clinical and academic experience to fuel your journey. Engage with classmates who bring backgrounds in a wide range of health professions into class discussions and out-of-class conversations. Work collaboratively with professionals from neighboring fields as you focus on issues in health education, health care, and social justice. You'll graduate with an interprofessional perspective that sets you apart from your peers.
Flexible Career Path
Our PhD program will prepare you for two powerful roles at the same time: a faculty position in a graduate health education program and an educational researcher role within your respective discipline. No matter which path you take, you'll graduate ready to impact health care and health professions education.
Culture of Leadership
Develop into a leader within your respective health profession. The initial peer-reviewed presentations and publications that arise from your dissertation will serve as the starting point for lifelong scholarship. And the knowledge and experience you gain will prepare you to educate the next generation of health care professionals.
Interest in and employment of health care professions continues to grow. Your doctoral degree in health professions education will place you on the inside track to a rewarding career as an educator or educational researcher who will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the profession.
Outlook & Outcomes
Health care Employment Growth
Employment in health care occupations is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, adding about 2.4 million new jobs.