Dr. Steven Szydlowski, Director
Today’s healthcare managers and leaders need special knowledge, abilities, and perspectives to work in complex healthcare systems and organizations. Courses in the nationally accredited graduate health administration program prepare people for challenging, dynamic management careers in the healthcare sector. The MHA program enables full-time and part-time students to acquire academic knowledge and competencies, develop practical skills, examine professional points of view, and engage in personal growth. Students are encouraged to work in healthcare settings during their academic studies so that they can connect classroom learning with real-world work.
The Graduate Program in Health Administration was established in 1987. It has grown steadily and has graduated alumni who work in a wide range of positions and organizations. The program is designed to: 1. Prepare individuals to enter healthcare management and leadership positions; 2. Enhance the performance of individuals employed in healthcare management and leadership positions but who lack academic training and credentials; 3. Prepare individuals to enter or advance in a variety of healthcare staff positions; and, 4. Prepare individuals to advance in senior healthcare management positions.
Healthcare managers, administrators, and executives work in a variety of health related organizations and service delivery systems such as hospitals, long-term-care facilities, ambulatory care settings, physician group practices, social service agencies, rehabilitation centers, home health organizations, managed care organizations, insurance companies, and various planning and regulatory agencies. Depending on the position, they may be engaged in organizational management, strategic planning, community relations, education, finance, internal operations, corporate development, marketing, information systems, or other responsibilities. The MHA program can help people prepare for these and other healthcare administration jobs. Faculty mentors help students plan their careers and evaluate career and job opportunities.
The MHA program requires 44 credits plus field work for the degree. The curriculum consists of 41 core credits, 3 elective credits, and fieldwork. Students entering the program take early foundation courses HAD 500 , HAD 501 , HAD 505 , and HAD 519 . These courses serve as prerequisites for more advanced courses in the curriculum and establish basic skills, competencies, and core knowledge. Healthcare management requires practical applied experience, so students do field work under the guidance of a preceptor as part of their graduate studies. An 8-credit 6-month administrative residency (1,000 hours) is generally required for students with no prior applied healthcare management experience. Other types of fieldwork include an internship (3 cr.), externship (1 cr.) or directed study (1-3 cr.). Prior to starting the fieldwork, students must meet specific requirements mandated by the host site. The specific fieldwork requirement for each student is discussed during the admission interview and during the student’s studies.
There are six non-credit requirements, which help prepare people for health care administration jobs and must be completed to graduate. First, all students are expected to join the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Program’s Student Chapter, ACHE Higher Education Network, or join a comparable professional association. Second, students must have and interact regularly with an identified external mentor. Third, all students must demonstrate personal computer skills. Fourth, all students must perform 24 hours of community service with healthcare or related organizations. These requirements are further explained in the separate Non-Curriculum Requirements Manual.
Fifth, students must complete the University’s online academic integrity tutorial. Sixth, students who lack prior clinical experience should make rounds with medical residents through the program’s arrangement for this at a local hospital.
In addition to academic competencies, the student is continuously evaluated on commitment to the program and the profession, and on personal and emotional characteristics and qualities related to successful professional performance. The program adheres to the American College of Healthcare Executive’s Code of Ethics, available at http://www.ache.org/ABT_ACHE/code.cfm. To quote from the Code’s Preamble, “The purpose of the Code of Ethics of the American College of Healthcare Executives is to serve as a standard of conduct for members. It contains standards of ethical behavior for healthcare executives in their professional relationships. These relationships include colleagues, patients or others served; members of the healthcare executive’s organization and other organizations; the community; and society as a whole.” Feedback on progress is provided by the student’s mentor on a regular basis.
The graduate health administration program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This accreditation reflects the commitment to and achievement of national standards for graduate healthcare administration education. Further, the program maintains full graduate membership in the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA).