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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Health Policy and Administration (H P A)

Program Home Page

MARIANNE HILLEMEIER, Head
604E Ford Building
814-863-0873

Degrees Conferred:

 

The Graduate Faculty

 

The graduate degrees in the Department of Health Policy and Administration focus on management, policy, and research in health services, with particular attention to the recurrent problems of cost, quality, and access to health services.

The doctoral program (Ph.D.) is designed to provide advanced knowledge and skills in health services research, with an emphasis track in health policy and economics, health care organizations or population health and demography. The doctorate in H P A prepares students to become independent health services researchers in academic and nonacademic settings.

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Health Policy and Administration provides a solid foundation of knowledge and skills in health services research. The M.S. in H P A prepares students for further graduate study toward a doctorate in health services research or related fields or for research and analytic work in academic and nonacademic health services research settings.

The professional Master of Health Administration (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 decision-making, financial management, communication and detailed aspects of the U.S. health care system. These include health law, epidemiology, health insurance, government health-financing programs, ethics, managed care, long-term care, health care technology, marketing, and strategic planning for health services.

The integrated B.S. in Health Policy and Administration/Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) program allows qualified undergraduate students to earn both degrees in five calendar years of full time academic study. Students completing an integrated B.S./M.H.A. are prepared to advance quickly to positions of leadership in health care organizations.

The M.B.A. program of the Smeal College of Business and the Department of Health Policy and Administration of the College of Health and Human Development offer a concurrent degree program. The M.B.A./M.H.A. graduate will be well-grounded in both business and health management and prepared for positions in hospitals, nursing homes, managed care and health insurance organizations, health care consulting, and pharmaceutical companies,as well as for helping businesses in all sectors understand the unique features of the health care system.

Doctoral Admission and Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Satisfactory scores from either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission; the GRE is preferred. A junior/senior grade-point average of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 scale) and a well-considered statement of experience and career goals are major criteria for admission. Some work experience in health services is preferred, but not required.

The H P A doctoral curriculum includes study in three substantive areas: (1) core courses in health services organization, delivery, finance and policy; (2) core courses in health services research methods and statistics, and (3) courses and a doctoral thesis in an emphasis track approved by the doctoral committee.

M.S. Admission and Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Satisfactory scores from either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission; the GRE is preferred. A junior/senior grade-point average of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 scale) and a well-considered statement of experience and career goals are major criteria for admission. Some work experience in health services is preferred, but not required.

The M.S. curriculum in H P A includes study in three substantive areas: (1) a core set of courses in health services organization, delivery, finance, and policy; (2) courses in health services research methods and statistics, and (3) courses and a master's thesis approved by the thesis advisor. At least 15 credits of the program must be completed in H P A departmental course offerings at the 400-and 500-level. At least 18 credits of the degree must be in 500-and 600-level courses. A 6-credits master's thesis must be completed as part of the degree requirement.

M.H.A. Admission and Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Satisfactory scores from either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission; the GRE is preferred. This requirement will be waived for applicants with five or more years of relevant work experience. A junior/senior grade-point average of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 scale), a relevant personal statement and three letters of recommendation are necessary. Some work experience in health care is preferred, but not required.

The program can be completed on a full-time basis in 21 months or on a part-time basis or with the aid of technology through the World Campus in 28 months. Requirements for the completion of the M.H.A., include 49 credits with at least 39 credits at the 500-or 800-level. Included in the 49 credits is a residency in a health care setting and a capstone course to demonstrate evidence of analytical ability and synthesis of material.

Integrated B.S. in Health Policy and Administration/Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) Admission and Degree Requirements

The following credentials will be considered for admission:

  • A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, an advanced level of maturity, and high motivation to pursue a career in the health care field
  • Academic references
  • Successful completion of 60 undergraduate credits having maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better

Students admitted to the B.S. in Health Policy and Administration/M.H.A. are able to earn both the B.S. and M.H.A. in five calendar years of full-time academic study.

M.B.A./M.H.A. Concurrent Degree Program Admission and Degree Requirements

Students may apply to be admitted to either the M.H.A. or the M.B.A. program initially. During the initial year in either graduate program, students may apply to complete the concurrent degree program and must meet admission requirements for the other program. See the M.H.A. and M.B.A. degree program descriptions for further admission requirements of each program.

Students complete 88 credits associated with both the M.H.A. and M.B.A. degrees. Included within the required credits is a 10-week integrated residency during a summer. The time required to complete the M.B.A./M.H.A. can be as much as 34 months.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 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.

HEALTH POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (H P A) course list

Joint Degree Offering with Penn State Law

Degrees Conferred:
J.D. (Penn State Law)
M.H.A. (Health Policy and Administration)

Joint Degree Programs

Penn State Law (University Park) and Health Policy and Administration (HPA) will offer coordinated programs of studies leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Health Administration (M.H.A).

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the joint degree program must be admitted separately into both Penn State Law and HPA. Students must first be admitted to the law school and must complete the required first-year curriculum in the J.D. program before commencing the M.H.A. component. Application to the MHA program must take place through the Graduate School Application. Formal admission to the M.H.A. program would normally take place during the student’s first year of law, but HHD may extend provisional admission to the M.H.A. program at the time an applicant applies to Penn State Law particularly where an applicant’s law school choice depends upon admission to the J.D./M.H.A. joint degree program.

College Specific Admission Requirements

Penn State Law: The Penn State Law admissions process considers academic transcripts, leadership activities, community activities, work experience, personal background, letters of recommendation, the personal statement, LSAT scores and the LSAT writing sample. An admissions committee identifies candidates who are academically prepared for law study and who will contribute to the promotion of diversity and excellence in the student body and the legal profession. There is no standard prescribed undergraduate curriculum. The following are required of J.D. degree applicants: a completed application form, an LSAT score, an LSDAS report, a one-page personal statement and two letters of recommendation.

Health Policy and Administration: The HPA M.H.A. admissions process is guided by a selection committee, which seeks students with the greatest potential for success, based on academic performance (a bachelor’s degree is required), GRE or GMAT scores, motivation and leadership potential. All applicants must submit a completed graduate school application, including three letters of reference, a statement of purpose, current resume, standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT), and a transcript from each institution attended. Official transcripts showing degree conferral will be required when the applicant is recommended for admission and accepts the program offer. At the student’s request, the LSAT may replace the GRE for joint degree admissions purposes.

International applicants for the joint degree who do not qualify for the English exemption will also need to provide a satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS score. All joint degree applicants will be required to achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 575 on the paper test, 230 on the computer-based test or 88 on the internet-based test (with a minimum speaking score of 20); a minimum of 6.5 on the IELTS will also be acceptable.

Residency: Students in the program will spend six semesters in Penn State Law and two to three semesters in HPA.

Liaisons: The director of the HPA M.H.A. program and the Penn State Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs are designated program advisors and liaisons between the programs. Students will need to work with these designated program advisors and their individual faculty advisors from both programs to build an individual program.

Inter Program Transfer of Credits

Courses cannot be transferred or shared until the applicant is officially admitted to the joint program.  Retroactive transfers of courses taken prior to admission to the joint program are not permitted.

Penn State Law: Penn State Law will accept the transfer of twelve (12) credits from the M.H.A. program's required core curriculum as elective credit towards the J.D. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to the program in order for the credits to be transferable.

Health Policy and Administration: HPA will accept the transfer of twelve (12) credits from the Penn State Law curriculum towards the M.H.A. in lieu of (i) two M.H.A. electives, (ii) a required M.H.A. course in health law, and (iii) one other required M.H.A. course as determined by the student and their advisors. Specific law course selection for transfer to the M.H.A. will be dependent on course offerings available at Penn State Law. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to the program in order for the credits to be transferable.

Course Sequencing: Studentsenrolling in the joint degree may choose to conduct their study in either of two sequence options below. Each "Year" refers to the traditional academic year beginning in late August and concluding in May. In compliance with ABA Standards and Rules law students may not enroll for more than 17 credits per semester at Penn State.

Joint J.D./ M.H.A. Degree Program OPTION 1

Year 1

J.D. Required First-Year Curriculum (32 crs)
Summer Semester: H P A 595-M.H.A. Residency Requirement. This requirement may be satisfied with a J.D. externship, as coordinated between Penn State Law and the M.H.A. program. (1-3 crs)*

Year 1 total credits is 32-35*

Year 2

Fall Semester: H P A 503 (3), H P A 447 (3), H P A 520 (3), H P A 523 (3) (12 crs)
Spring Semester: H P A 524 (3), H P A 835 (3), H P A 551 (3), H P A 855 (3) (12 crs)
Summer Semester: H P A 595 -M.H.A. Residency Requirement, if not fulfilled between year one and two of program. This requirement may be satisfied with a J.D. externship, as coordinated between Penn State Law and the M.H.A. program. (1-3 crs)*

Year 2 total credits is 24-27*

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Year 3

Fall Semester: H P A 850 (3), H P A 805 (3), H P A 556 (3), elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for H P A 836 or H P A 556 (12 crs)
Spring Semester: Capstone (3),
H P A 545 (3), elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for H P A 836 or H P A 556 (12 crs)

Year 3 total credits is 24.

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Year 4

J.D. Upper Level Coursework: If not already satisfied, student must successfully complete Professional Responsibility (CORE 934) and the seminar requirement, both J.D. degree requirements at Penn State Law.

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Total credits required for the J.D. degree is 88.

Total credits required for the M.H.A. degree is 49-51.*

*Variable credit totals depend on which year M.H.A. Summer Residency requirement is met and whether it is met with H P A 595 (1 cr) or J.D. externship (3 crs).

Joint J.D./ M.H.A. Degree Program OPTION 2

Year 1

J.D. Required First-Year Curriculum (32 crs)

Year 2

J.D. Upper Level Coursework: Student should consider taking Professional Responsibility (CORE 934) and a seminar course, both J.D. degree requirements at Penn State Law.

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Year 3

Fall Semester: H P A 503 (3), H P A 447 (3), H P A 520 (3), H P A 523 (3) (12 crs)
Spring Semester: H P A 524 (3), H P A 835 (3), H P A 551 (3), H P A 855 (3) (12 crs)
Summer Semester: H P A 595-M.H.A. Residency Requirement. This requirement may be satisfied with a J.D. externship, as coordinated between Penn State Law and the M.H.A. program. (1-3 crs)

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Year 3 total credits is 25-27*

Penn State Law does not have a required number of credits for the second and third year of the J.D. degree program. Students are required to complete 88 credits to earn the J.D. Twelve (12) credits is full-time. J.D. students may enroll in a maximum of 17 credits per semester. J.D. students will complete a minimum of 56 credits their second and third year.

Year 4

Fall Semester: H P A 850 (3), H P A 805 (3), elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for H P A 836 or H P A 556 (12 crs)
Spring Semester: Capstone(3),
H P A 545 (3), elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for H P A 836 or H P A 556 (12 crs)

J.D. Upper Level Coursework: If not already satisfied, student must successfully complete Professional Responsibility (CORE 934) and the seminar requirement, both J.D. degree requirements at Penn State Law. Total credits required for the J.D. degree is 88

Total credits required for the M.H.A. degree is 49-51.*

*Variable credit totals depend on which year M.H.A. Summer Residency requirement is met and whether it is met with H P A 595 (1 cr) or J.D. externship (3 crs)

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

The director of the HPA M.H.A. program and the Penn State Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs are designated program advisors. In addition, students will have individual faculty advisors in both programs. Periodic interaction between the two advisors will be encouraged. A program of study will be developed for each student.

Tuition

Students will be charged the applicable Penn State Law tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the M.H.A. degree program. Penn State Law tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for Penn State Law courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses in the M.H.A. program. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the program where the student is not primarily registered without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the program that the student is not primarily registered if he or she wishes to take additional course work pursuant to that program during the semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

Decisions on financial aid and assistantships will be made by each school according to that school’s procedures. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load policy listed in the Bulletin.

Information on Graduate Assistantships

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements and Graduation

A student in the program may complete the requirements for one of the degrees and be awarded that degree prior to completing all the requirements for the other degree; provided, however, that the student shall have successfully completed at least two semesters of work towards the other degree. All courses in one program that will count towards meeting the requirements of the other must be completed before the awarding of either degree. Students will be required to fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the inter-program transfer of credits.

 

 Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2015

Blue Sheet Item #: 44-01-000

Review Date: 8/25/2015

Faculty linked: 6/20/14

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