Diversity in health administration doctoral education: alternative scenarios for the future.

J. W. Begun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Doctoral programs in health administration are characterized by extreme diversity in focus, format, content, and market. The observed diversity reflects two key structural attributes of health administration as a doctoral field of study: 1) its multidisciplinary base, and 2) its small size. These attributes leave doctoral programs vulnerable to a host of external pressures. The field lacks structure and organizing principles at the national or international level, and students, employers, and other stakeholders suffer some damaging consequences. Pressures from the institutional environment are weak and splintered (among the constituent disciplines of health administration), while the technical environment (economic forces such as competition for students and research funding) produces a powerful set of incentives that shape the form and substance of health administration doctoral education. As alternatives to the current hybrid nature of the field, two additional future scenarios are considered: Integration with Health Services Research, and Integration with Business Administration. The future of health administration doctoral education is interdependent with 1) the continued differentiation of health administration as a master's field of study; 2) trends in research funding; and 3) economies in the delivery of small-scale or individually customized doctoral education. At the least, programs and students currently would benefit from more information classifying program breadth and goals and reporting outcomes; more adequate information on careers and placement; and a modicum of workforce planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of health administration education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001


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