Graduate Program Overview

Degrees Offered

Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) Degree

  • Resident Program
  • Online (World Campus) Program

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree

The Department

The Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) at Penn State prepares students to be the health care leaders of tomorrow. The department’s research addresses preventive and chronic care for vulnerable populations, the information and incentives for high value health care, and the management and workforce challenges facing health care.

The Program

The professional M.H.A. degree provides students with the requisite knowledge, skills, and values for administrative positions in the increasingly complex health care sector.

The research-oriented M.S. and Ph.D. degrees train quantitative, multi-disciplinary graduates to meet the fast-growing demand for health service researchers in government, private industry, and academia.

The Penn State Difference

Penn State is one of the leading research universities in the United States. According to the National Science Foundation, it consistently ranks among the top 15 major U.S. universities in research expenditures in science and engineering fields. Its graduate programs attract students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and from more than 100 countries all over the world.

Penn State has an enrollment at its main campus–University Park–of nearly 45,000 students, some 7,000 of which are graduate students. The University invites students to consider its graduate programs, whether they aspire to conduct research that will contribute to global knowledge or to hold a leadership position in their field with government or industry.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree

The Ph.D. program in Health Policy and Administration seeks to train proven leaders in health services research who are poised to contribute new and important insights in health care. Students are prepared to analyze and offer valuable input and solutions to issues affecting health policy and practice.

Ph.D. students receive core training in health services organization and policy and health services research methods. They choose one of three disciplinary options: (1) Health Economics, (2) Health Care Management and Organization, and (3) Population Health. In addition, Ph.D. students may complete graduate minors in Gerontology or Demography. An option to complete a dual-title Ph.D. in HPA and Demography also is available.

Students apply their core and disciplinary training in their thesis research, guided by HPA faculty members who are leading researchers in several important areas:

  • Improving preventive and chronic care systems for vulnerable populations
  • Creating the financial incentives and information environment to support best practices in health care
  • Addressing the health care industry’s workforce challenges and the challenges in maintaining a healthy U.S. workforce
  • Assessing the impact of federal health reform

To learn more about the Ph.D. program, visit hhd.psu.edu/hpa/grad/phd.html.

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree

The M.S. degree program in Health Policy and Administration prepares individuals for research positions in academic and nonacademic settings or for further study at the doctoral level. Students are trained to participate in health services research and conduct data analyses that support planning, policy development, evaluation, and/or administration in a variety of health policy and administration settings.

The M.S. curriculum allows students to combine research training and courses in health care management, health policy, and economic and organizational theory. The flexibility of the program permits specialization in one or more of these areas.

For more information about the M.S. program visit hhd.psu.edu/hpa/grad/ms.html.

Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) Degree

The M.H.A. program prepares students for leadership positions in health care organizations. The program emphasizes a thorough understanding of the organization and delivery of health services in the U.S. health care system, as well as focused study in areas such as health care operations management, health care finance, and strategic planning and marketing. The department offers two options–resident and online–to M.H.A. students.

Resident M.H.A. Program

The resident M.H.A. program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Health Management Education, offers experiential learning through course projects, including a final capstone project, to provide students with a realistic and stimulating learning opportunity. A summer residency in a health care organization and co-curricular activities–such as site visits to health care organizations, professional development workshops from alumni and strategic partners, and participation in national case-study competitions– enhance classroom experiences. Learn more about the resident M.H.A. program at hhd.psu.edu/hpa/graduate/mha.

Online M.H.A. Program

The World Campus M.H.A. program offers the expertise and curriculum of the resident program in an online format aimed at meeting the needs of working professionals. It affords students the flexibility to study at their convenience in order to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to make critical decisions that can affect the lives of patients and employees. Learn more about the World Campus M.H.A. program at www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/health-policy-and-admin....

Funding

The department has an excellent record of funding students who make regular progress toward their degrees. Many graduate students receive funding through research or teaching assistantships. Some receive funding through the graduate school or external programs. HPA students also are eligible for funding through training and fellowship programs in demography and prevention and methodology training. Finally, some graduate students are funded through federal programs at the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.

How To Apply

The process of applying for admission to Penn State’s Graduate School requires the following application materials, some of which are submitted to the Graduate School (Part 1) and others of which are sent directly to the HPA graduate program (Part 2):

Part 1 - Apply to the Graduate School at Penn State

Every applicant is required to submit an online application to the Graduate School.

Information about fees and programs of study can be found at gradsch.psu.edu/prospective/apply.html.

The online application can be accessed through the Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal.

Part 2 - Apply to the HPA Graduate Program

In addition to the items delivered to the Graduate School, formal admission to the HPA M.S./Ph.D. program and the M.H.A. programs requires:

  1. Standardized test scores; GRE for M.S./Ph.D. or GRE or GMAT for M.H.A. (waived for online M.H.A. if applicant has worked for five or more years).
  2. Two official transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters you completed.

More information about applying to the HPA graduate program is available at hhd.psu.edu/hpa/graduate/admission.

Contact

Department of Health Policy and Administration
The Pennsylvania State University
604 Ford Building
University Park, PA 16802-6500
HPAGrad@psu.edu

814-863-9971
814-863-2905 (fax)