Health Science and Exercise Leadership

Health Science and Exercise Leadership Online Doctorate (D.H.Sc.)

About Health Science and Exercise Leadership

Step to the forefront of promoting health and wellness in our society.

Advance your career with your doctorate in health science and exercise leadership, an online degree program from California University of Pennsylvania. 

A recognized academic innovator, Cal U offers this distinctive graduate program:  a 100% online post-professional degree that addresses the impact of an aging population and the societal shift from treating disease to promoting wellness and health. 

Gain an excellent pathway to career advancement.

The D.H.Sc. degree program will provide you with important benefits, including:

  • Guiding your development to assume top leadership positions throughout Pennsylvania and the United States in the areas of health science, health promotion and wellness, adult learning and evidence-based practice.
  • Gaining advantages for promotion opportunities if you are already in the healthcare sector in clinical, professional, educational, managerial or research roles.
  • Enabling you to finish your online D.H.Sc. degree courses in two years and then complete an optional dissertation in the third year. Your only on-campus program requirement is to present your professional portfolio and defend your dissertation research if applicable.


Solid core: The 48-credit core of this doctorate in health science and exercise leadership includes online graduate degree courses in advanced exercise science, adult learning, leadership and research. Students will construct an evidence-based electronic professional portfolio as they progress through the program. This portfolio will follow a distinctive research thread throughout. The portfolio will broaden and deepen leadership, teaching, and advances in health and exercise science using critically analyzed evidence to result in new knowledge in the day-to-day professional practice

Research focus: The evidence-based professional electronic portfolio and the optional dissertation will create a community of practice through the integration of emerging professional trends in health science, exercise science, and wellness and fitness. The research creation and consumption within the D.H.Sc. program will address complex real-life issues with the implementation of problem-solving, and formation of solutions.

Learn more about applying.


In 2003, Cal U was the first university selected by the National Academy of Sports Medicine to become NASM's partner to develop top online exercise science programs.
1.1 million 
new jobs will be created in the exercise science career field by 2022.
icon undergrad for degree

Degree Benefits

The D.H.Sc. program will prepare you to drive the change from America's current "sickness-centric" healthcare to a preventive health and wellness focus. Your degree courses, evidence-based electronic professional portfolio and optional dissertation will position you as a leader in exercise, fitness and wellness throughout Pennsylvania and across the United States.

  • Study community and corporate wellness.
  • Explore current leadership models to enact positive health changes.
  • Investigate andragogical methods to educate variant community audiences and different settings.
  • Become a research consuming and producing professional who uses evidence-based resources to solve problems in health science, exercise science, and wellness and fitness communities.
  • Demonstrate high-level analytical skills to produce real-world health changes
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise science and healthcare will produce top jobs at above-average pay rates through 2022. D.H.Sc. degree graduates are trained for a range of career positions with employers in Pennsylvania and nationwide, including:

  • Educators in health, exercise and wellness.
  • Advanced clinical practitioners.
  • Administrators and managers of health-related enterprises.
  • Advanced professional or technical positions in healthcare.


Health Science and Exercise Leadership Courses and Admissions Requirements - Online D.H.Sc. Program



Course Credits
DHS 804  Evidence-Based Practice Theory 3
DHS 805  Health Promotion and Wellness for the Individual 3
DHS 806  Community and Corporate Wellness  3
DHS 825  Research Methods in Exercise Science I  3
DHS 826  Research Methods in Exercise Science II 3
DHS 830  Leadership in Wellness Education and Professional Practice 3
DHS 835  Values, Ethics, and the Promotion of Health and Wellness  3
DHS 845  Advanced Delivery Techniques and Technology 3
DHS 850  Theories and Foundations of Adult Learning  3
DHS 851  Learning Concepts for the Adult Learner 3
DHS 852  Curriculum and Course Design 3
DHS 899  Evidence-based Project Seminar 3
DHS 915  Evidence-based Professional Portfolio I 3
DHS 925  Evidence-based Professional Portfolio II 3
DHS 950  Evidence-based Professional Portfolio III 3
PRF Elective Course (700, 701, 705, 710, 711, 712, 713, 714, 715, 720, 760, 765, 770, 780, 781, 782, 783, 784, 800, 810, 820 or 840) 3
Total 48

+ Dissertation

Course Credits
DHS 900  Dissertation
DHS 901  (Taken only as needed if Dissertation is not completed by end of Fall IV)  1 to 3
Total 53



Admissions Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular) 

  • Official undergraduate transcripts from a regionally accredited college or university. Please provide the official transcripts for each of the undergraduate institutions attended.
  • Overall minimum graduate (master’s or doctorate) cumulative GPA of 3.50 on a 4.00 scale verified with official transcripts from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - A cumulative graduate (Master's) GPA of less than a 3.75, the applicant will be required to submit official GRE scores, which may not be more than five years old.

    However, if the graduate (Master's) cumulative GPA is a 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale, the GRE scores are not required with your application. 


Evidence of a licensed or credentialed allied health care provider; health, wellness or exercise professional, or two years of recent experience as a practitioner, administrator, educator, clinician, or researcher in health, wellness or exercise discipline. If your MS is not aligned with the allied health, health, wellness, or fitness please contact the program coordinator to determine if you fit the minimum requirements to apply to the program.   

  • Current resume or curriculum vitae including personal, educational, and professional achievements
  • Two letters of professional recommendation. Both letters must be less than one calendar-year-old, both must be submitted on official letterhead and and signed in ink or electronic signature by the author of the letter. One letter must be from a former instructor or faculty member, the other must be from a current or a former supervisor at a place of employment. If an applicant cannot collect the two specific types of letters, i.e. one from an educator and one from a supervisor, please contact the DHSc program director (
  • Submission of a personal statement that will be assessed by utilizing a standardized programmatic rubric to determine writing ability and skill at the doctoral level.
  • Some suggested additional materials to include to your application packet, which may strengthen your application, are an Evidence of a Master’s Thesis; and/or a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal publication; and/or a professional presentation in your field. Evidence must be submitted with your application. Evidence may be in the form of a copy of title page and abstract thesis, front page with abstract from the journal for publication, abstract in convention program for presentations.
  • International Global Online Applicants


How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit official transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email ( or fax (724-938-5712)


  • Application Deadline: October 1
  • Decision Deadline: November 1

For additional information:


Phone: 1.866.595.6348  

Health Science and Exercise Leadership Faculty

Dr. Carol Biddington

View profile
Dr. Marc S. Federico

View profile
Dr. Jeffrey R. Hatton

View profile
Dr. Rebecca A. Hess

View profile
Dr. Barry E. McGlumphy

View profile
Dr. Brian Oddi
Assistant Professor

View profile
Dr. Linda Platt Meyer

View profile
Dr. Ellen J. West
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Tom West

View profile