HPU Continues to Grow with Three Vital Doctoral Programs

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The University’s leadership in the health professions has taken another step forward with the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Psychology and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): HPU received accreditation in June for its DNP program from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Launched in Fall 2017 as the University’s first doctoral degree program, the inaugural class of DNP students will graduate in Fall 2019. “HPU is proud of the accomplishments of these individuals and the advanced nursing practice contributions they will make as expert global healthcare leaders,” said Halaevalu Vakalahi, M.S.W., M.Ed., Ph.D., dean of the College of Health and Society.

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD): Continuing with the intent to launch a PsyD degree, HPU -- led by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Allison Gough, Ph.D., and Department Chair of Psychology Katherine Aumer, Ph.D., -- plans to enroll an inaugural class of students in Fall 2020. At the June HPU Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees approved the PsyD program, and the University anticipates receiving approval shortly from WASC Senior College and University Commission. The University recognizes that there exists a shortage of psychologists in Hawai‘i and is committed to building on its existing MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, through the offering of the PsyD degree.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT): HPU is planning to launch the first DPT program in Hawai‘i, and it will offer several distinct advantages including a pathway to licensure, as only DPT graduates may apply to become licensed physical therapists; a shorter time to earning a degree with students completing coursework in two years and beginning work in paid clinical residency positions in year three; and a hybrid, low-residency model of learning with students completing the majority of coursework online and traveling to HPU’s Honolulu campus annually for 10 to 17 days to participate in an immersive lab experience. The University will begin accepting applications in 2022, expecting to enroll its first cohort in January 2023.

Kudos to the faculty and staff in the colleges of Health and Society and Liberal Arts and the Office of the Provost for their hard work and dedication to helping HPU realize its vision of providing unique and innovative academic programs and to making higher education accessible for the people of Hawai‘i and beyond.