What You Need to Know About the ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health

Oct 16, 2023 9:15:00 AM | doctorate What You Need to Know About the ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health

Discover the ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health. Learn more about this interdisciplinary degree and its unique opportunities in our 3-part blog series.

Pursuing a doctorate degree is an exciting and important decision. With the launch of the new ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health degree this Fall, ACHS brings students an innovative, holistic Doctor of Science that blends core health sciences and an integrative foundation with opportunities to specialize in functional nutrition, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine, or pursue an interdisciplinary degree that combines these fields of study. 

Earlier this summer, ACHS Dean of Integrative Health and Nutrition Dr. Janet Ludwig hosted an informative webinar to introduce the degree including what to expect in the program, how the type of research students may engage in for their dissertation, and how graduates may plan to use this degree in the integrative health and wellness industry. This 3-part blog series answers the frequently asked questions about ACHS’s innovative new DSc program, so keep reading for more information and stay tuned for the next installments!

Why Choose the ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health program? 

One of the distinguishing opportunities with the ACHS DSc program is the innovative specializations available to students in addition to an interdisciplinary option that allows students to customize their degree.

The ACHS DSc program includes three primary areas of specialization: 

  • Functional Nutrition
  • Herbal Medicine (Clinical herbalism)
  • Aromatherapy (Clinical aromatherapy)

Students can also select a range of electives to complete an interdisciplinary specialization. This option allows students to combine specialties and earn a multifaceted degree. 

Each specialization covers foundational integrative health and wellness training for a holistic approach, clinical applications such as clinical aromatherapy or clinical herbalism, and the application of research through literature reviews, case studies, and the comprehensive dissertation project. 

You might be wondering, Do I have to choose a specialization when I enroll?  No, students can work with their advisor and program dean to develop their specialization as they progress through the program. First, there is a core curriculum that also exposes students to specializations. Students will work with their advisor and dissertation chair to determine the best specialization or elective courses. 

For ACHS Master of Science degree graduates, there is also an opportunity to transfer up to 9 credits of elective study toward the Doctor of Science in Integrative Health (DSc). All incoming students are eligible to transfer up to 9 credits to the DSc program. ACHS’s Registrar’s Office will evaluate transfer of credit opportunities for all students as part of the admissions process. As of the publication of this article, a dual Masters-DSc is not available, however, we will share updates if this becomes an option. 

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Program Insight: What is the Difference Between a DSc and a PhD

This is a common question when researching doctorate programs. While both a Doctor of Science (DSc) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) share some commonalities in their pursuit of advanced knowledge, it's essential to understand the distinct advantages that a DSc program can offer. While a PhD primarily centers on rigorous research, a DSc program goes beyond this by providing a more comprehensive education that includes not only research but also valuable clinical hands-on training. 

The key benefit of pursuing a DSc lies in its holistic approach to education. Unlike a PhD, which often emphasizes theoretical and research-oriented aspects, a DSc program equips students with practical skills and experiential learning. This means that DSc graduates are not only well-versed in the latest scientific theories and research methodologies but are also prepared to apply their knowledge in real-world clinical settings.




This practical training can be particularly advantageous for those aspiring to careers that require a strong blend of academic expertise and practical proficiency. DSc graduates are well-prepared to bridge the gap between theory and practice, making them valuable assets in fields where hands-on experience is crucial, such as healthcare, medicine, and various scientific disciplines.

Furthermore, the DSc program's emphasis on clinical training can lead to increased opportunities for graduates in healthcare, as it positions them to become not just researchers but also practitioners capable of directly impacting patient care and healthcare delivery. This multifaceted approach enhances the versatility of DSc holders, making them well-suited for leadership roles, teaching positions, and roles in healthcare management, where a deep understanding of both research and clinical application is highly valued.

In summary, while a PhD is predominantly research-focused, a DSc program offers a more well-rounded education that encompasses research alongside clinical hands-on training. This unique combination can open doors to a wider range of career opportunities and equip graduates with the skills needed to excel in multidisciplinary fields, ultimately making them valuable contributors to their respective industries.

Completing Your Dissertation

The Dissertation is the culminating assessment all doctorate students complete. This is an opportunity to explore research, take a deep dive into a problem facing our communities, and conduct research to contribute to the growth and development of our field. 


Students may take a few different approaches to their Dissertation in coordination with their Dissertation, including:

  • Research-Experimental Approach
  • Conducting a Literature Review
  • Developing a Healthcare Protocol


To prepare students for the Dissertation, all students in the DSc program complete an online training called Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP). This is done early in the program and can help inform the student’s approach to their Dissertation. Before conducting research, ACHS graduate students must also receive approval from the ACHS Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for ensuring that research involving humans is conducted ethically and in compliance with regulations. Students in the DSc program will submit their research protocol to the IRB outlining the purpose, methods, and ethical considerations of the study.

How Long Will it Take to Earn your ACHS Doctor of Science in Integrative Health

The ACHS DSc program is designed for students to be able to complete within three years. We also understand that each student has unique circumstances, and ACHS’s flexible, supportive program structure allows students to flex their schedule so they can achieve their education while meeting other commitments. If taking one course a time, students may need to be flexible regarding their electives as not all electives are offered every semester. 

Each student works with their advisor to design an optimal schedule to support their success. A new cohort begins each semester, Fall, Spring, and Summer. Your advisor can help you plan the best start date.

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Funding your ACHS Doctorate Degree

Information regarding tuition and fees for the Doctor of Science in Integrative Health and all of ACHS’s accredited integrative health programs is available online here. ACHS offers a wide range of payment options for students in the doctorate program from semester and monthly payment options to employer and military tuition assistance, private grants and scholarships, and federal financial aid for those who qualify. As a new program, the DSc is still undergoing the approval process for Veterans Education benefits; ACHS will announce when this funding is available. 

ACHS’s admissions advisors and financial aid team members are available to answer questions and help you find the best way to fund your doctorate degree. 

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Exploring Grants & Scholarships

There are a number of resources available for students seeking grant funding.

  • Government Agencies: Explore grants offered by government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or other relevant government bodies based on your field of study.
  • Private Foundations: Many private organizations and foundations offer grants and fellowships to support research and academic pursuits. Some well-known options include the Fulbright Program, the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellowships.
  • Professional Associations: Check with professional associations related to your field, as they often provide funding opportunities for doctoral students.
  • Scholarship Search Engines: Utilize scholarship search engines and databases, such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, or ProFellow, to identify relevant funding opportunities tailored to your research interests.
  • Corporations/Employers: Depending on your field of study, consider reaching out to companies or industry organizations that may have an interest in sponsoring your graduate studies.
  • Online Grant Databases: Explore online grant databases like Grants.gov (for U.S. federal grants) to search for funding opportunities relevant to your research.


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This article is for informational purposes only. Please contact ACHS Admissions at admissions@achs.edu or 800-487-8839 for additional information and to apply for admission. Graduation from any ACHS program does not confer a license to practice medicine. ACHS graduates do not claim to treat, diagnose, cure, or prescribe. Please note that professional success is achieved by a number of factors beyond education and experience, including soft skills, work ethic, integrity, and other skills that may not be developed through education and training alone. Not all graduates will achieve the career outcomes provided as examples in this article and other ACHS marketing materials. This information does not replace the need for legal advice. State laws vary greatly and change often. If you have a specific question about the laws in your state, check with your state or seek the advice of your attorney.

American College of Healthcare Sciences

Written By: American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS's mission is to lead the advancement of evidence-based, integrative health and wellness education through experiential online learning and sustainable practices. This includes sharing helpful, informative, holistic healthcare articles on the ACHS Health and Wellness Blog.