Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) Program
Our professional Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) degree provides students the requisite knowledge, skills, and values for administrative positions in the increasingly complex health care sector.
Penn State's Department of Health Policy and Administration prepares students for leadership positions in health care organizations, the nation's second largest and fastest growing industry. M.H.A. graduates become administrators in hospitals, health systems, skilled nursing facilities, insurance companies, consulting firms, home health agencies, federal regulating agencies, medical group practices, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, mental health agencies, and clinics.
The M.H.A. program prepares students for the complexities they will face in managing organizations that plan, finance, and deliver health care. The curriculum emphasizes strategic thinking, financial management, communication, and a broad understanding of the U.S. health care system. Areas of study include health law, epidemiology, insurance, government programs, ethics, managed care, long-term care, health care technology, marketing, and strategic planning. Course teaching is generally case-based emphasizing the application and synthesis of material. For the past five years, 96% of M.H.A. graduates have secured jobs in the field within three months of graduation, many in administrative fellowships within organizations such as The Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Duke Medical Center, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and other organizations.
Faculty members possess strong ties to health care leaders. They have experience in the field and serve on advisory boards and committees of leading agencies and health care organizations. Many alumni hold top executive positions and maintain working relationships with the department.
Our Board of Visitors (est. 2009), comprised of Alumni and area leaders in the Health Care Industry, provides advice on the most current issues challenging healthcare organizations.
Organizations who wish to establish a stronger link to the department, faculty, and students can become a strategic partner of the department. Strategic partners may provide summer residency or postgraduate fellowship opportunities to students, host a site visit for students and faculty, partner with students and faculty on course projects or support our efforts to enhance student learning and faculty research in other ways.
Residency and Capstone Experience
Students are required to complete a ten-week residency in a health care practice setting. For full-time students, this is completed during the summer between their first and second years of academic study.
Additional practical experience is acquired by students during their last semester with the completion of a capstone project. These team-based, semester-long projects are provided by a healthcare organization partner, such as Susquehanna Health System. Students work with an organization to define and deliver the project, usually presenting the work to the senior leaders. Recent projects include: devising a re-branding strategy; analysis and proposal of a test pilot for a re-imbursement model; examination and recommendation of an implementation/execution plan for a “Patient Portal;” and examination of best practices for seamless EMR adoption and working with the proposed EMR vendor to devise implementation for same. Organizations who want to be contacted about becoming a capstone project partner can contact Dr. Deirdre McCaughey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penn State MHA graduates are highly competitive in the workplace, with 96% of domestic graduates placed in positions within 90 days of graduation for the last five years.
Our students come from a variety of backgrounds. They enter with average undergraduate GPAs of 3.6 and solid performance on the GRE or other standardized test. Over 98% of students completed the program within the appropriate time frame.
Apply to the M.H.A. Program
- Penn State Graduate School
- If you are currently employed in the healthcare field and want to obtain an MHA degree but are not able to commit to a full time residential program, consider our on-line WC MHA Program offered through the Penn State World Campus.
- Graduate Degrees in Health Policy and Administration viewbook
- Vision, Mission, and Value Statements
- M.H.A. Degree Handbook
- M.H.A. Residency Manual