Health Policy and Administration

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.

M.H.A.

GRE scores are not required for admission. 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.

M.S. and Ph.D.

Satisfactory scores from either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for admission; the GRE is preferred. [The requirement to submit GRE scores is temporarily suspended for Fall 2021; however, submission of GRE scores is strongly recommended.] 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.

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 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.

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The M.S. curriculum in HPA 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 HPA 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.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The HPA 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 dissertation in an emphasis track approved by the Ph.D. committee.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration and Demography

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Health Policy and Administration and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Demography dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Demography Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Demography prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Health Policy and Administration, listed in the Degree Requirements section. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Demography, listed on the Demography Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Health Policy and Administration and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Demography program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Health Policy and Administration and Demography. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Health Policy and Administration and Demography dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Demography Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Demography, the member of the committee representing Demography must be appointed as co-chair. The Demography representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Health Policy and Administration and Demography. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs

Integrated B.S. in Health Policy and Administration and M.H.A. in Health Policy and Administration

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

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.

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 must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Health Policy and Administration graduate program for the Master of Health Administration degree, listed in the Admission Requirements section. Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Degree Requirements

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.

Students must fulfill all degree requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the Master of Health Administration in Health Policy and Administration degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.S. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Joint Degrees

Joint J.D./M.H.A. with Penn State Law

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Penn State Law (University Park) and Health Policy and Administration (HPA) 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. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are listed in the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. The admission requirements for the Health Policy and Administration graduate program are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. 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. At the student’s request, the LSAT may replace the GRE for joint degree admissions purposes. International applicants to the joint degree program who do not qualify for the TOEFL exemption must have a minimum TOEFL score of 88 on the internet-based test (with a minimum speaking score of 20), or a minimum of 575 on the paper test; 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:

  1. two M.H.A. electives,
  2. a required M.H.A. course in health law, and
  3. 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

Students enrolling 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: HPA 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: HPA 503, HPA 447, HPA 520, HPA 523 (12 crs)
  • Spring Semester: HPA 524, HPA 835, HPA 551, HPA 855 (12 crs)
  • Summer Semester: HPA 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

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 HPA 595 (1 cr) or J.D. externship (3crs).

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

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: HPA 850, HPA 805, elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for HPA 836 or HPA 556 (12 crs)
  • Spring Semester: Capstone(3), HPA 545, elective credits from J.D. Program (minimum 3), substitution credits for HPA 836 or HPA 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 HPA 595 (1 cr) or J.D. externship (3crs)

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 limits set by The Graduate School.

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.

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.

Courses

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 Policy and Administration (HPA) Course List

Learning Outcomes

Master's Degrees

  1. Graduates will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the financing, organization, and delivery of health services, along with appropriate research methods.
  2. Graduates will master the current literature on health policy, health administration, and related topics.
  3. Graduates will complete an independent research project that significantly furthers knowledge in the field.
  4. Graduates will be able to effectively communicate arguments and ideas in oral presentations and written works.
  5. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of professional standards in health policy and administration.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. Graduates will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the financing, organization, and delivery of health services, along with appropriate research methods.
  2. Graduates will master the current literature on health policy, health administration, and related topics.
  3. Graduates will complete an independent research project that significantly furthers knowledge in the field.
  4. Graduates will be able to effectively communicate arguments and ideas in oral presentations and written works.
  5. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of professional standards in health policy and administration.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Christopher Samuel Hollenbeak
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Christopher A Calkins
Program Contact

Daphne L Mark
118 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
dlm79@psu.edu
(814) 865-0631

Program Website View
Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Christopher Samuel Hollenbeak
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Christopher A Calkins
Program Contact

Daphne L Mark
World Campus MHA
118 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802-1300
dlm79@psu.edu
(814) 865-0631

Program Website View

Graduate Program Head: Christopher Hollenbeak 

Ph.D. and M.S. Program Contacts

Director of Graduate Studies/Professor-in-Charge: John Moran

Primary Program Contact: Sarah Woodward

Email: smr38@psu.edu

Mailing Address: 118 Keller Building, University Park, PA 16802-1300

Telephone: (814) 863-9971

Program Website: Ph.D. & M.S. at University Park

M.H.A. Program Contacts

Director of Graduate Studies/Professor-in-Charge: Christopher Calkins

Primary Program Contact: Aileen Galley

Email: ahs13@psu.edu

Mailing Address: 604 Ford Building, University Park, PA 16802

Telephone: (814) 873-4810

Program Website:

M.H.A. at University Park

M.H.A. at World Campus