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Doctor of Behavioral Health

D.B.H. Overview

Prepare yourself with advanced training in the behavioral health field with our Doctor of Behavioral Health program at Freed-Hardeman University. This new adventure will expand upon your training and experience in the behavioral health field and equip you with advanced clinical and executive leadership skills.

Degree Type:

Doctor of Behavioral Health

Graduate Studies:

College of Education & Behavioral Sciences

Department chair name:

Mike Cravens
A.A., B.A., M.S., M.A., D.H.S., Ed.D.

Learning at FHU

Why should you pursue a Doctor of Behavioral Health at FHU?

Because being able to provide advanced-integrated care will make you more valuable to your agency and your clients. Upon completion of this program, you will be on the cutting edge of behavioral healthcare. Additionally, the executive leadership skills you’ll develop will prepare you to assume managerial positions or learn how to operate your own agency more effectively.

students hugging at commencement outside

Ready to Apply?

All current and new students applying for a Master’s or Doctorate program will use the online application process. 

Doctor of Behavioral Health Program graduate

Careers with Doctor of Behavioral Health

The majority of students in our D.B.H. program already hold promising careers in the behavioral healthcare field. Many are pursuing this program to advance their standing at their current place of employment, are seeking to start their own business or are attempting to expand their current private practice. Our students are:

  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Private Practice Owners
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Addiction Counselors
  • and more!

Doctor of Behavioral Health Degree Requirements

At Freed-Hardeman University, students enrolled in our Doctor of Behavioral Health program will gain important knowledge and skills to become an impactful and empathetic leader in the counseling field. Anticipate a comprehensive journey encompassing counseling and counseling-related activities, including executive leadership and foundational principles of owning or operating a private practice.

Degree Requirements

Freed-Hardeman University’s Doctor of Behavioral Health degree program prepares current and future healthcare providers for a transforming medical care marketplace. It is designed to produce graduates who have advanced clinical and executive leadership skills as well as business insight.

The 60-credit hour doctoral degree is offered through traditional and web-conferencing modalities and may be taken on either a part-time or full-time basis. The curriculum includes courses that provide live chat with instructors and other students, clinical rotations, real-time streaming video consultations with experts in the field and a capstone research project focused on the student’s professional career or work setting. The program is geared specifically to students who prefer an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs.

The D.B.H., one of Tennessee’s first professional doctorates in behavioral health, prepares post-master’s, licensed clinicians to offer advanced-integrated care in a variety of behavioral health settings. The executive leadership component will enable graduates to maximize earning potential by filling organizational and market demands.

Doctoral Degree in Behavioral Health

Program Coordinator: Dr. Michael Cravens

Required Courses:  
DBH 700 Residential: Orientation to Doctoral Study (offered every semester) 3
DBH 705 Suffering and the Human Condition 3
DBH 710 Bases of Human Behavior 3
DBH 715 The United States Health Care System 3
DBH 720 Advanced Research Methods 3
DBH 725 Advanced Clinical, Ethical and Legal Issues in Behavioral Healthcare 3
DBH 730 Advanced Clinical Psychopathology 3
DBH 735 Advanced Psychopharmacology 3
DBH 740 Behavioral Healthcare Executive Leadership 3
DBH 745 Evidence-Based Treatment for Clinical Practice 3
DBH 750 Complementary and Alternative Behavioral Health 3
  Treatment Strategies  
DBH 755 Integrated Behavioral Healthcare in Medical Settings 3
DBH 760 Behavioral Healthcare Administration I 3
DBH 765 Behavioral Healthcare Administration II 3
DBH 770 Advanced Treatment Strategies for Addictive Disorders 3
DBH 775 Behavioral Health Informatics 3
DBH 780 Advanced Diagnosis and Treatment Planning 3
DBH 785 Behavioral Health and Wellness 3
DBH 790A Doctoral Capstone Project 2
DBH 790B Doctoral Capstone Project 2
DBH 790C Doctoral Capstone Project 2
If Warranted: 1 hour
DBH 790D Doctoral Capstone Project 1
   (If needed for continuous enrollment)  


Admission Requirements


An earned master’s degree (a minimum of 48 semester hours) in a health-related field of study (clinical mental health counseling, alcohol and drug counseling, clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, clinical pastoral counseling, psychiatric nursing, or psychology, etc.) from a regionally accredited college/university.

Current state licensure as a practitioner in a mental-health discipline or health-related discipline.

Two years of post-licensure clinical experience.

Path to Admission

Consistent with other graduate programs offered at FHU, applicants for admission into the Doctor of Behavioral Health (D.B.H.) program must submit and comply with the following for consideration and acceptance:

  1. Complete the online application.
  2. Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  3. Provide a copy of current unencumbered license in the state in which the practice will occur.
  4. Write and present an essay providing a professional statement of past clinical and/or work experiences, scholarly activities and community service and goals in obtaining this professional doctorate.
  5. Interview in person with the current doctoral admissions committee. After the initial review of the application, applicants may be contacted for a formal interview. If the interview results in a positive evaluation, the applicant will continue to be considered for acceptance.
  6. Demonstrate good spiritual, mental and emotional health/stability consistent with the demands of the D.B.H. program and FHU’s heritage of Christian values.
  7. Present a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  8. Present a picture of Driver’s License or other government-issued Photo ID.

Note: Applicants are required to be computer literate and have a computer, printer and Internet service provider with high-speed broadband Internet access. If accepted, each D.B.H. student will be required to comply with Freed-Hardeman University’s Academic Computing Standards for Students.

Electronic documents should be sent to gradstudies@fhu.edu. Paper documents should be mailed to:

Freed-Hardeman University
Office of Graduate Studies
158 East Main Street
Henderson, TN 38340


Frequently Asked Questions About the Doctor of Behavioral Health program at FHU

Why should I get a Doctor of Behavioral Health at Freed-Hardeman University?

Because being able to provide advanced-integrated care will make you more valuable to your agency and your clients. Upon completion of this program, you will be on the cutting edge of behavioral healthcare. Additionally, the executive leadership skills you’ll develop will prepare you to assume managerial positions or learn how to operate your own agency more effectively.

What is unique about the Doctor of Behavioral Health program at FHU?

Our D.B.H. is one of only three in the nation and the only faith-based institution to offer such a degree. It is more practical in nature and will prepare those in the behavioral healthcare field with the skills and knowledge to take the extra step in their career.

What career paths can I pursue with a Doctor of Behavioral Health degree?

The D.B.H. is designed for both licensed, experienced, master’s level practitioners and those seeking initial licensure. We’ve had students in the following roles: clinical mental health counselor, clinical social worker, school psychologist, nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse, physician assistant, and more!

How long will it take me to complete a Doctor of Behavioral Health degree?

The D.B.H. program consists of 60 credit hours and can be completed in as short as about 2.5 years. However, many students complete the program in about 3 to 4 years.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes! We do offer an Organizational Scholarship program whereby we will match the contribution of your employer. To learn more about this program, submit an inquiry and speak to one of our Graduate Admissions Counselors!

Questions about the application process?

Have more questions about applying for a graduate or doctorate program? If you’d like to discuss anything further, submit an inquiry or schedule a visit and we’ll have someone from the Office of Graduate Studies contact you.