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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Health Administration (H ADM)

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HENGAMEH HOSSEINI, Ph.D., Professor in Charge
School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg
W160 Olmsted Building; 717-948-6049;


Degree Conferred:


Graduate Faculty

The Program

Recognizing that the national health care system is in a period of reform and redesign, the program emphasis involves design/redesign in a 36-credit curriculum. Based on eight core courses defined as the foundation of administration in health care, the degree is designed for part-time professional students already engaged in health administration careers. The mission of the program is to further student knowledge and skills in a continuous learning cycle. Students are expected not only to know the existing health system, but are to develop a capability for design consistent with demands of access to care, management, and control of costs and quality of care delivery.

Part-time students may start the program at the beginning of any semester. They usually take one or two 3-credit courses each semester. Students may also take one or two courses during the summer session to maintain steady progress toward the degree. All Health Administration courses are available during the evening for the convenience of part-time students. A student may complete the M.H.A. on a part-time basis in about two to four years.

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate degrees in any major are acceptable for admission. Applicants must have either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.. Applicants who are still completing their baccalaureate requirements at the time of the application may be admitted to the Graduate School conditional on the awarding of the baccalaureate degree.

Admission to the MHA program is based on clear suitability for the MHA program as demonstrated by the application as a whole, to include:

  • a completed online Graduate School application and payment of the application fee,
  • evidence of a bachelor's degree from an regionally accredited college as outlined above;
  • a statement of career and educational goals;
  • a successful undergraduate record with a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 (with particular attention given to the last two years of undergraduate work);
    • satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are required if the GPA is less than 3.00 (typically, applicants who have scores of 1,000 or higher on the GRE and are admitted to the program tend to be successful in the program);
  • three years of work experience; and
  • names of three references willing to provide recommendations.

The GPA requirement may be relaxed if the student has professional experience or other strong evidence suggesting likely success in the MHA program. Some applicants may be admitted on a provisional basis; the condition for removal of provisional status is obtaining a grade-point average of 3.00 in 15 credits of approved courses within two semesters.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher. The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Program Requirements

The degree requires a total of 36 credits, with a minimum of 33 credits at the 500-level, including a 3-credit capstone course (faculty-supervised paper); up to 3 credits of 400-level work may be included in the electives. An overall 3.00 (B) grade-point average must be earned in all coursework.

H ADM 539, H ADM 540, H ADM 541, H ADM 542, H ADM 545, P ADM 503, P ADM 506, P ADM 510

ELECTIVES: 9 credits
H ADM 543, H ADM 546, H ADM 548, H ADM 551, H ADM 552, H ADM 597, P ADM 505, P ADM 511, P ADM 512, P ADM 514, P ADM 515, P ADM 516

H ADM 594


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.



Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2013

Review Date: 11/19/2013

Faculty linked: 8/14/14


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