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 PennWest California. 

A recognized academic innovator, PennWest California 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.


Solid core: The 48-credit core of this doctorate in health science and exercise leadership includes online graduate degree courses in health science, adult learning, leadership and evidence-based research. Students will construct an evidence-based electronic professional portfolio as they progress through the program. This portfolio will follow a distinctive evidence-based 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 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, PennWest California 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.
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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 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
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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 Instructional Technology in Evidence-Based Practice 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* 3
Total 48

+ Dissertation

Course Credits
DHS 900  Dissertation
DHS 901  (Taken only as needed if Dissertation is not completed by end of Fall III for full-time students and of Fall IV for part-time students)  1 to 3
Total 53

* Cal U Exercise Science and Health Promotion M.S. graduates will select a PRF elective outside of the single or dual concentration of their master's program. Students who do not hold a M.S. in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from Cal U are strongly advised to enroll in PR 760 Leadership and Professional Development.

Note: August graduates of the D.H.Sc. program are required to present their research at the annual Future of Exercise and Health Science Showcase held the Friday morning of the Fall semester graduation ceremonies in December.



Admissions Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • 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
  • 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. 
  • Two (2) professional letters of recommendation are required.  The letters must be less than one calendar year old; must be on letterhead; signed in ink or signed with a verified digital signature. For these letters to be sufficient for review, they must be sent to Graduate Admissions directly from your recommenders.   Please have your recommenders email their letters directly to   
  • If an applicant has any questions about the two letters of recommendation, please contact the DHSc program coordinator, Marc Federico,
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae including personal, educational, and professional achievements. 
  • 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, includes evidence of a Master’s Thesis; and/or a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal publication; and/or a professional presentation in your field.  Please contact the program coordinator if there are any questions about the accepted type of evidence (
  • International Global Online Applicants


How to Apply:

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


  • Early/Priority Application Deadline: March 7, 2022
  • First Decisions: March 14, 2022
  • Final Deadline for all Fall 2022 Applications: May 15, 2022

For additional information:


Phone: 1.866.595.6348  

Health Science and Exercise Leadership Faculty

Dr. Carol Biddington

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Dr. Marc S. Federico

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Dr. Jeffrey R. Hatton

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Dr. Rebecca A. Hess

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Dr. Barry E. McGlumphy

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Dr. Brian Oddi
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Ellen J. West

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Dr. Tom West

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