Health Administration

Graduate Program HeadL. Marvin Overby
Program CodeHADM
Campus(es)Harrisburg (M.H.A.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Health Administration (M.H.A.)
The Graduate Faculty


Healthcare has become one of the top three industries in the United States. As it has expanded, the practice of healthcare administration has become much more complex. Recognizing that the national healthcare system is in a period of administrative and technical restructuring and redesign, healthcare leadership is looking to its staff to meet the new challenges confronting its healthcare system. With the scope and depth of the restructuring, it will require many staff to “retool” to meet the challenges.
The Master of Healthcare Administration Program at Penn State, Harrisburg, is specifically designed to aid healthcare staff in gaining the skills needed to meet the new complexity of the healthcare system. The Program is designed to ensure that its Graduates will be fully capable of identifying and resolving new, complex healthcare system issues and seizing on latent opportunities stemming from its growth and complexity.
The 36-credit curriculum initially reviews core foundational healthcare administrative and system issues. It then covers more advanced healthcare program components, with an emphasis on currency in practice. Currency of practice in the field is focused on with the intent of elevating staff knowledge, skills, and abilities that will allow them to meet the complexities and challenges of a rapidly growing and changing healthcare system.
The degree is designed for part-time, working students already engaged in healthcare administration careers. The mission of the program is to enhance student knowledge and skills in a continuous learning cycle so that they will be prepared to address today’s healthcare system challenges. There is an expectation that students will possess a basic knowledge of existing healthcare administrative practice and be capable of developing skills to redesign and implement innovative internal systems consistent with the demands of their unit and the needs of the overall system to which they are assigned. This would include but not be limited to one or more than one of the following: issues of access to care, efficient and effective management, cost control, and quality of care delivery.
Part-time students may start the program at the beginning of any semester. Students usually take one or two 3-credit courses each semester depending on a student’s available time and their desire to finish. Students may also take up to 6 credits during a summer session to maintain steady progress toward the degree. All Healthcare Administration courses are scheduled for the evening hours for the convenience of part-time students. A student generally completes the MHA on a part-time basis in two to four years.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Undergraduate degrees in any major are acceptable for admission. Applicants who are still completing their baccalaureate requirements at the time of the application may be provisionally admitted to the Graduate School conditional on the awarding of the baccalaureate degree.

Admission to the M.H.A program is based on clear suitability for the M.H.A. program as demonstrated by the application as a whole, to include:

  • a completed online Graduate School application and payment of the nonrefundable application fee,
  • evidence of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college as outlined in the link 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 M.H.A. 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. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Degree Requirements

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

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The degree requires a total of 36 credits, with a minimum of 33 credits at the 500-level, including a 3-credit culminating experience (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 course work.

Required Courses
HADM 539Health Systems Organization3
HADM 540Health Administrative Policy Formulation3
HADM 541Health Economics and Policy3
HADM 542Health Care Politics and Policy3
HADM 545Health Financial Management3
PADM 503Research Design3
PADM 506Public Information Management and Technology3
PADM 510Organization Behavior3
Select 9 credits of the following:9
Long-Term Care Administration and Policy
Health Planning for Public Administration
Health Care Quality Assurance
Health Care Law
Health Delivery Systems
Special Topics
Human Resources in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
Organizational Change and Development
Issues in Human Resources
PADM 514
Labor Management Relations
Strategic Planning
Culminating Experience
HADM 594Research Topics (Faculty-supervised paper )3
Total Credits36


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.


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.

Health Administration (HADM) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Communication and Relationship Management
  2. Leadership
  3. Professionalism
  4. Knowledge of the Health Care Environment
  5. Business Skills and Knowledge


Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head L. Marvin Overby
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Elizabeth Jane Beckett-Camarata
Program Contact

Melissa D Forkey
School of Public Affairs
777 West Harrisburg Pike, 159W Olmsted Bldg.
Middletown PA 17057
(717) 948-6322

Program Website View