DHSc Frequently Asked Questions

Can I start any semester?

New students begin the Fall semester of each year. A student can petition to start early, but this decision would be made by the Program Director on a case by case basis.

How many students are accepted each year?

The program is highly selective. Currently, we cap the number of entering students at 12 per year.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 30th.

What are the tuition costs and fees?

The DHSc program is housed at Radford University Carilion (RUC). View the tuition and fees for RUC.

Do you accept transfer credits?

We do accept up to 12 transfer credits; however, there are a number of conditions about courses a student would like to transfer in: (1) must be a doctoral level class; (2) must be from an accredited institution; (3) cannot have been used in obtaining another degree; (4) must have been completed within the past 5 years; (5) must have a B or better grade; and (6) we must review the syllabus to see if the proposed transfer class can be substituted for a class in our program of study.

Can classes be taken in any order?

The program is indeed fairly flexible, but there are some areas where order is mandated. For example, the communications class (which covers scholarly writing) is in the first semester. This should be taken then. Students taking the Education concentration must take those classes in a set order. The research classes must be completed before starting the capstone. Finally, students taking the Public/Community Health concentration should take the basic community health class (PBHL 702) prior to the two 800 level classes in that concentration.

Do you have a residency requirement?

Although many of our students do visit the campus and meet with their instructors in person, there is no residency requirement. You can complete the degree 100% online.

Is the GRE required?

We do not require the GRE. However, applicants should pay close attention to crafting the essay and the CV/resume. These, and the interview (should be applicant be invited for a virtual interview) weigh heavily in the acceptance decision.

What if my GPA is a little low? Do you make exceptions?

If your application passes the initial screening, we will review the transcripts in great detail to better understand your past grades. Please note however that there are many applications for a relatively small number of openings.

Do you offer any special financial assistance (stipend, assistanceships) to your DHSc students?

At this time, RUC does not have stipends or graduate assistanceships for our DHSc students. Most of our students are working professionals and therefore would not have time for a part-time assistanceship.

Do students go to school the entire year?

We have classes Fall semester, Spring semester, and the full summer ("Summer III" semester). This is a full-year schedule.

The website says if I attend two classes per semester year 'round for a total of seven semesters, I can be finished in two years and one semester. What if, due to family/work/financial constraints, I cannot manage two classes per semester?

You are not required to take two classes per semester. Note however that classes are generally offered once per year and always in the same semester. That is, a Fall class is offered fall only, and not Fall and Spring. Therefore, if you miss a Fall class you need, you must wait a year to take the class. Most students, with good planning with their academic advisor, have not found this to be an issue.

Is there an overall deadline of how long I get to finish the program?

You must complete the program in six years from the date you started your first class.

What is the capstone like?

The capstone is an independent research project patterned after a Ph.D. dissertation model. The student will create an advisory committee with a lead advisor (the chair), from RU and RUC faculty. There is a proposal phase and a research phase, culminating in a defense of the project. Unlike a dissertation, the student may use secondary data, a regional population, or may do a heavy analysis task such as a business plan or health promotion program. It is possible to complete the capstone in two semesters if the quality is acceptable. The capstone process generally takes about 450 hours of outside work. It is not unusual for a student to need additional semesters to complete the capstone. This acceptable as long as the student is making sufficient progress.

Do students "do something" with the capstone once they graduate?

Yes! Our students have published their capstone, used the capstone to help them in the interview process for a job promotion, used the knowledge from the capstone to improve situations in their home area or place of work, used the information to apply for grants for their work, or developed an entire future research program.

Does the student select their capstone topic or are they given a topic?

The student picks their topic. We want them to work on something that lights their passion. The committee will help the student crisply define the topic so it can be completed within two semesters.

What is your graduation rate?

As with most doctoral programs, the rate varies from year to year. A high percentage of our students graduate. The ones who have not completed the program generally falter in the capstone phase since that project requires a large amount of time, planning and self-discipline.

What is the best way to find out more?

Contact Program Director Kim Baskette, PhD, CHES® at by email at kgbaskette@radford.edu with your list of questions and, if you wish, some days/times and contact information for a follow-up telephone call. We will get back to you quickly.