The full-time Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program emphasizes mastery of leadership and management skills as practiced in healthcare organizations. The MHA is designed for students with limited healthcare management experience.
Founded in 1946, the program has served as a model for many other health care management programs. Consistently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the MHA program is accredited by CAHME, the gold standard in graduate health care education.
This program will prepare you to:
- Develop analytical and problem-solving skills
- Collaborate with inter-professional teams
- Understand complex health systems and hospital operations
- Serve as a leader in healthcare organizations
The MHA Program has lost a distinguished alumnus and friend, Elbert “Gil” Gilbertson, MHA Class of 1957.Gilbertson was a longtime administrator at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho, and laid…
David Henriksen, MHA ‘10 has learned some useful project management skills since graduating from the Minnesota MHA program five years ago. As a matter of fact, these skills helped…
Jean Abraham, associate professor, has been named the first recipient of the Vernon E. Weckwerth Professor in Healthcare Administration Leadership. More than 150 donors, alumni, students, faculty and university leaders…
Richard Drill-Mellum, lecturer, has received the Class of ’81 award for excellence in teaching as voted by the Full-time MHA Class of 2014. He received the award at the MHA…
Resources for Current MHA Students
- Curriculum Sheet
- Student Guidebook
- Course Descriptions
- Full-Time Timeline
- Sample Schedule
- 2013-14 Term A Course Grids
- 2013-14 Term B Course Grids
- Events Calendar
The Master of Healthcare Administration is built around a rigorously structured core curriculum that develops the high-level decision-making skills needed in the complex world of healthcare. The curriculum includes the classic management disciplines such as finance, human resources, information technology, operations, and organizational behavior, but stresses the unique applications of these areas within the healthcare sector.
Coursework in problem solving, innovation and design, leadership, and interprofessional teamwork are hallmarks of the Minnesota MHA.
The full-time program is designed for students with limited healthcare management experience. The curriculum features two years of classes (60 credits) and a summer residency between the first and second year. Full time students also may choose to design a subspecialty.
All students enrolled in the full-time program are required to complete a summer residency (2 credits). The residency provides students with a consolidated period of time to relate and apply what they have learned in the classroom to a healthcare organization. Students are mentored by a preceptor and introduced to the daily activities of an organization from a top management perspective.
Full-time students may choose to design a subspecialty in the following areas:
- Financial Management
- Long Term Care Administration
- Health Policy
- Information and Decision Science
- Integrated Delivery Systems
- Marketing Management
- Maternal and Child Health
- Operations Management
- Strategic Management
The MHA program maps its curricula to competencies developed by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL), a broad-based nonprofit organization representing all sectors of health care. The UMN MHA program was one of four university programs in healthcare administration that piloted the competencies in 2003.
Those competencies are now essential elements of the accreditation of graduate programs in healthcare administration conducted by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
See the competencies table.
Prospective students are encouraged to explore the field of healthcare management, learning about the field, talking with managers in the field and developing a sense of their goals. Applicants are asked in the admissions interview about their career goals. Applicants with a clear sense of career goals, and what they can contribute to the field, receive a strong recommendation.
Applicants should have a strong commitment to managing people and resources to create and sustain outstanding healthcare services and organizations. Strong quantitative and communication skills are essential.
Prior experience in healthcare is not required in the full-time program; however, the MHA program does give strong preference to applicants with health care or relevant professional work experience, superior credentials, and demonstrated leadership potential.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- GRE minimum of 300 (post-August 2011) or 1000 (pre-August 2011)
- GMAT minimum of 500 with minimum analytical writing assessment of 3.5 on either exam
- MCAT accepted from U.S. trained physicians
- Letter of intent
- Three letters of recommendation
- On-site panel interview (telephone interview for international applications)
Applicants are advised to prepare for the program’s finance and statistics coursework. The faculty highly recommend the following coursework prior to matriculation:
- Applicants are encouraged to obtain healthcare and/or relevant work experience.
In addition to the above requirements, international applicants must also submit:
- 100 on the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL test, or
- 600 on the paper TOEFL test, or
- 7.0 (total band score) on the IELTS test
Preparing to Apply
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) website is a good place to begin your research, listing both the various healthcare settings and functional areas in which managers work.
The Masters in Health Care website describes the different types of master’s degrees in the field of Health Care Services Management and Administration, and includes links to programs that offer these degrees.
Prospective students are encouraged to get experience in a healthcare setting.
Here is a sampling of what students have done in the past:
- Admissions in a hospital emergency room
- Nursing aide in a long term care center
- Volunteer at local hospital – wheeling patients to and from surgery
- Assistant researcher at a cancer center
- Transcription support technician at a local hospital
- Clinic office manager
Good books and journals for prospective students to read:
- Complications, Atul Gwande
- A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, Atul Gwande
- How Doctor’s Think, Jerome Groopman
- Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America’s Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes, Robert Wachter and Kaveh Shojania
- To Err is Human, Institute of Medicine Crossing the Quality Chasm, Institute of Medicine
- A Career Guide for the Health Services Manager, Anthony R. Kovner, and Alan H. Channing, third edition 1999 IBSN 1-56793-111-1
- Careers in Healthcare Management: How to Find Your Path and Follow It, Cynthia Carter Haddock and Robert C. Chapman, 2002, IBSN 156793174X
- Healthcare Executive (ISBN 0883-5381) is published bimonthly by the American College of Healthcare Executives, 1 North Franklin Street, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60606-3491)
Websites with relevant professional associations
- Healthcare Consulting – American Association of Healthcare Consultants
- Hospital Administration – American Hospital Association
- Healthcare Finance – Healthcare Financial Management Association
- Information Management – Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
- Long Term Care – American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
- Managed Care – America’s Health Insurance Plans
- Practice Management – Medical Group Management Association
- Public Health – American Public Health Association
- U.S. Health Policy – Kaiser Family Foundation
The Full-time MHA program is well positioned to launch the careers of the healthcare leaders of the future. Most full-time students seek a one or two year administrative fellowship opportunity following graduation to bridge the gap between being a student and becoming a junior executive. Fellows work under the guidance of senior-level executives. Most fellowships lead to a permanent position in the organization.
Minnesota graduates are placed in fellowships in the nation’s leading healthcare delivery organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Cleveland Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente. The remaining students are placed in consulting firms, insurance industry, health maintenance organizations, and public health agencies.
The average salary in 2012 for administrative fellowships at graduation was $55,669. The average salary in 2012 for jobs at graduation was $86,666.
Cost of the MHA degree
The table below provides estimates of how much it costs to obtain the MHA degree. Living expenses are not included in these estimates and will vary depending on individual choices.
- Learn more about University of Minnesota Financial Aid Resources
- Learn more about School of Public Health tuition and scholarships
Full Time MHA Program
|Tuition||$25,740($858 per credit)||$33,480($1,116 per credit)|
|Student Services Fee||$859.48||$859.48|
|Total Cost Per Year||$31,779.48||$39,019.48|
|Total Cost for MHA Degree||$62,558.96||$78,038.96|
MHA Scholarships & Funding
Each year, we award scholarships to high-ability students, with substantial funding aimed at talented minority students. As a result, more than half of incoming students receive scholarship support.
Since the majority of scholarships are awarded through the MHA Alumni Association, no additional application forms are required. Scholarship awards are based on academic performance, interview ratings and letters of reference.
In awarding funds, the MHA program gives preference to new and currently enrolled MHA students. Since dual degree MBA-MHA students in their second year of study are enrolled as MBA students, they have limited access to MHA funds.
In addition to the program scholarships, students may wish to investigate scholarships offered through the Association of University Programs in Healthcare Administration (AUPHA), National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE), the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force, to name a few.
Low-interest student loans and flexible work-study programs are also available.
Dual MHA/MBA Degree
The MHA/MBA dual degree option has been in existence for more than 15 years, and is designed for students who wish to earn an MBA degree as well as an MHA degree. It is a partnership between the MHA program and the MBA program at the Carlson School of Management. Students apply to each program separately and must be admitted to both programs.
Typically, a student completes the dual program in three academic years, upon completion of the required 95 credits. The dual degree option prepares students for management careers in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries.
To be considered for the MHA/MBA Dual Degree applicants must apply to both the full-time MHA and the full-time MBA programs. The application deadline for the MHA program is March 15 with MHA studies to begin in the following fall. Deadline for application to the MBA program is Feb. 1 for those who wish to secure an admission decision to both programs prior to beginning their studies at the university.
Download the Application Supplement for the MHA/MBA or MBA/MHA Dual Degree Program.
Planning and implementing your MHA/MBA program
Once you have been formally accepted into both programs, you should use the plan of study to plot your individual program. You may use 12 credits of transfer work toward each program.
For the 12 credits transferred from the MHA program to the MBA Program you must use: Health and Health Systems (2cr), Healthcare Finance I (3cr), Healthcare Finance II (3cr), Private Purchasers of Healthcare (2cr), and Healthcare Delivery Design and Innovation (2cr). For the 12 transfer credits of MBA coursework toward the MHA degree you must use: MBA 6210 Marketing (3cr), MBA 6220 Operations (3cr), MBA 6230 Finance (3cr), and MBA 6300 Strategic Management (3cr).
In planning your program of study, please note that:
- You must register and pay for three semesters and one summer session as an MHA student
- You must register and pay for three semesters as a Full-Time MBA student
- You must have a minimum of 51 credits of MBA or CSOM designated coursework and 48 credits of MHA designated coursework.
- You must submit two separate Application for Degree forms, one for each degree to be awarded.
48 crs of MHA courses
12 crs of MBA courses
60 crs total toward MHA degree
52 crs of MBA courses
12 crs of MHA courses
64 crs total toward MBA degree
JD/MHA Joint Degree
Developed in 2008, the JD/MHA Joint Degree program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences can be completed in four years. This option prepares individuals for a career as legal advisor or general counsel in a healthcare organization. This program is designed and administered with the cooperation of the Law School and the School of Public Health.
Law School Joint Degree Programs
N140 Mondale Hall
A student interested in pursuing the JD/MHA joint degree must be admitted separately to the Law School and to the full-time MHA program within the School of Public Health. A student may apply to both units simultaneously or in staggered fashion.
Students are strongly encouraged to begin with enrollment in the Law School, completing the Law School’s required first-year curriculum so that they may then concentrate on their MHA studies while taking upper-level law courses as they fit into the student’s program.
The Law School and SPH will defer the deadlines for registration for JD/MHA joint degree students for one year and any guarantee of financial aid for the same period. Deferral at either the Law School or SPH is conditional on the student enrolling in the other unit without deferral.
Students accepted into the JD/MHA degree combination will be considered for no more than a one year deferral of matriculation and registration. A student may decide while in the first year in either SPH or the Law School or their second year of Law School to apply to the other degree program with the assurance that the cross-crediting/double-counting of courses described further below will be available.
Law School Curriculum
Law School JD degree requirements include satisfactory completion of 88 semester credits, and six semesters of full-time enrollment (defined as 12 semester credits or more). First-year students are required to take a core curriculum totaling 30 credits and comprised of the following courses:
- Civil Procedure
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Legal Research and Writing
Beyond that, all courses are elective, except that a student must take a course in Professional Responsibility for 3 credits before graduating. In addition, each student must satisfy a second-year writing requirement (typically by participating in a moot court or serving as a staff member on one of the Law School’s law reviews), as well as a third-year writing requirement (typically satisfied by taking a course meeting this requirement, completing an independent research paper meeting this requirement, which may be an MS thesis, Plan B paper, PhD dissertation, or capstone project, or serving as an editor on one of the Law School’s law reviews).
In addition, all students in the Joint Degree program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences take a professional seminar. This 1-credit pro-seminar is taught cooperatively by faculty involved in the Joint Degree Program, offered on a pass-fail basis, and required each Fall semester that a student is enrolled in the Joint Degree Program.
Applicants to the MHA program sometimes wonder whether they should attend the full-time or executive studies program. While both programs prepare students for leadership in a healthcare organization, distinct differences exist between coursework delivery, student income, and work experience.
Full-time MHA: 60 Credits, 21 months
The full-time program is designed for students with limited healthcare management experience. Prior work experience is not required. Students are immersed in onsite classroom, teamwork and practical experiences and participate in leadership development and extracurricular activities.
A summer residency between the first and second year of studies provides real life work experience and an opportunity to apply the Minnesota Problem Solving Method to a management project. During this period students are mentored by a senior-level preceptor and introduced to the daily activities of a healthcare organization from a top management perspective.
At graduation the majority of students are placed in an administrative fellowship where they receive guided experience to strengthen their management and leadership skills and bridge the gap between being a student and becoming a junior executive. Many organizations offer full time employment upon completion of a fellowship
Executive MHA: 42 credits, 25 months
The Executive MHA program is designed for employed executives, physicians and healthcare professionals seeking to advance their management and leadership capabilities and requires limited time on campus. A minimum of three years management or clinical leadership experience in a healthcare organization is required.
Most coursework is online and asynchronous allowing minimal interference with work and family. Face-to-face classroom time is limited to 28 days spread across five on-campus sessions during the 25-month program. Students work full time while completing coursework. Scholarship funding is not available but many students receive employer support including tuition reimbursement and release time.
Working with faculty and advisors, students design and conduct a project to introduce an innovation into their organization. The project provides the opportunity for students to bring together many aspects of their learning into an innovation of significant value.
Why the Minnesota MHA Program?
Founded in 1946
The Minnesota MHA is one of the first of its kind in the nation, becoming a model for other healthcare management programs.
Minnesota Program Solving Method
Students interact with top-level alumni executives to master a rigorous, practical method of solving problems.
Extraordinary Healthcare Market
A healthcare industry hub, Minnesota is home to thousands of healthcare organizations and more than 500 FDA-approved medical technology manufacturers. We balance our core academic education with instruction from talented professionals representing a broad spectrum of healthcare specialties.
Interprofessional Learning Environment
Located in the Academic Health Center, the MHA program provides a unique opportunity to education interprofessional teams for healthcare delivery.
The Minnesota MHA Alumni Association is the largest and most active of its kind connecting more than 2,500 graduates.
More than 80 percent of graduating students secure fellowships and employment by graduation.
Students are active in national case competitions where teamwork, problems solving and communication skills are applied to real life management scenarios.
Resume development and mock interviews, along with leadership assessment, feedback and coaching from an industrial psychologist, prepare graduates to succeed in the workplace.
More than 30 full-time faculty members are actively engaged health, policy and management research.
The Minnesota Leadership Edge
The MHA program, in collaboration with LeaderSource, has developed the Leadership Edge, a program to accelerate the professional development and sharpen the leadership skills of MHA students. Leadership Edge components include:
Student Assessment: Each student completes a series of assessment tools administered by Right Management to gauge the student’s leadership qualities.
Assessment Feedback: Executive coaches from Right Management interpret the results of the survey tools in a two hour debriefing process. The student is given suggestions for furthering their leadership development and directing their career interests.
Personal Coaching: Each student is assigned a personal coach who provides three hours of one-on-one coaching on the assessment results, career counseling and networking opportunities.
For its members, the University of Minnesota MHA Alumni Association/Foundation is dedicated to quality management, lifelong learning, mentorship, and leadership development. A Job Referral Service provides information and contacts for alumni seeking career changes.
Minnesota alumni lead some of the country’s most innovative healthcare organizations. Often their success is built upon a learning process involving decisions, judgments, and encounters that shape their leadership style and careers. Read MHA Alumni Reflections, a collection of distinguished alumni’s defining moments and lessons learned as they paved their way to a meaningful career in healthcare administration.
For more information about the Alumni Association/Foundation, contact Mark Reitan, the Executive
Director of Alumni Relations, at 612-625-7459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet some MHA alumni
- Rich Hastings, MHA 1977
- Edward West, MHA 1997
- Jeremy Pierotti, MHA 1998
- Janiece Gray, MHA 2001
- Kisha Hortman, MHA 2001
- Kenneth Jones, MHA 2003
- Kara Conway, MHA/MBA 2006
MHA Donor Recognition
The MHA program recognizes the generous contributions of alumni who support advancement of health management education. Distinguished donors provide scholarship funding that fosters a new generation of healthcare leaders.
The Minnesota MHA Program recognizes the generous contributions of alumni who support advancement of health management education. Distinguished donors provide scholarship funding that fosters a new generation of healthcare leaders. The President’s Club is proud to acknowledge those who have donated $25,000 or more.
Javon Bea, MHA (’78)
Through a generous donation, Javon Bea made possible the Mercy Learning Lab—a high tech classroom that promotes discussion and teamwork. Bea believes technology and interactivity promote learning and engagement, especially when an environment simulates the way problem solving occurs in the corporate environment.
As president and CEO of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wisconsin, Bea has provided administrative fellowships to more than 35 MHA students. For Bea, it feels good opening doors for graduates and providing support to the program, just as alumni did for him and his classmates.
Tim Hanson (’73)
Tim Hanson is proud to have been a part of the academic institution that is the MHA program at the University of Minnesota. In 2011 he established the Timothy and Jane Hanson Family Scholarship that is awarded annually to a deserving MHA student.
In 1973, Hanson launched his career as vice president of Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul—which became part of the HealthEast system in 1986 when it was formed. He was named president and CEO of HealthEast in 1989. Today, HealthEast is the 10th largest hospital system in Minnesota with over 7,300 employees, operating 14 primary clinics and four hospitals.
Hanson has held leadership positions at the Minnesota Hospital Association, the St. Paul United Way, the University of Minnesota’s health care administration alumni foundation, and other entities. He has also served on the boards of the Minnesota Business Partnership, the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, and the Capital City Partnership, among other organizations.
Patrick Hays, MHA (’71)
Patrick Hays is quick to credit his education for his career success. In 2009 he established the Patrick G. Hays Leadership Scholarship to give back to the academic program that grounded his success.
Hays founded Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, one of the country’s top integrated health systems. He also served as president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and in 2003 received the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Gold Medal Award.
William Kreykes, MHA (’66)
Bill Kreykes acquired a deep appreciation of interdisciplinary partnerships long before the practice was recognized a vital component of health management leadership and education. Kreykes’s wife is a registered nurse and his longtime college friend is a physician. These relationships sparked a lifetime of healthcare debates that formed his interest in physician and patient care perspectives.
As an advocate of a multidisciplinary approach to the leadership of health systems, Kreykes established the CLARION fund to provide one or more scholarships annually to new students at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Kreykes is former CEO of several academic health centers. He attributes his career success to the MHA Alumni Association/Foundation network and is passionate about giving back to the MHA program.
Lowell Kruse, MHA (’67)
Lowell and Leslie Kruse are on a mission to build healthy communities. In 2010 they established the Lowell & Leslie Kruse Scholarship for Integrative Cross-Sector Healthy Communities Leadership.
The Kruses are motivated by a vision in which collaboration among community leaders across healthcare, public health, education, business, government, philanthropy, and other sectors is the cultural norm for creating and leading healthy communities that systematically address the root cause drivers of the social determinants of health and well-being.
Richard Norling, MHA (’75)
Richard Norling recognizes the value of interprofessional education in the health professions. After serving as one of the judges for the CLARION National Case Competition, Norling established the Premier Richard Norling Scholarships for winners of this annual competition.
Norling is retired as president and CEO of the San Diego-based health care alliance Premier, Inc. He believes his contributions will provide students with the potential to make great improvements in healthcare.
Maynard Oliverius, MHA (’81)
Maynard Oliverius generously contributed to the Vernon E. Weckwerth Chair in Health Administration Leadership, an endowed fund that honors Professor Weckwerth’s legacy and provides support for improving and strengthening health care education. “Vernon Weckwerth has done more to help health care professionals in their careers than anyone I know. I can’t think of a better place to contribute and honor his devotion to the field,” says Oliverius.
Oliverius is president and chief executive officer of Stormont-Vail HealthCare. He plans to retire in June of 2012 following 43 years of service. Oliverius has been CEO since 1996. He currently serves on the boards of the Midwest Cancer Alliance, VHA Mid-America, Guggenheim Investment Funds, Fort Hays State Endowment, the University of Minnesota MHA Endowment, Go Topeka and the Topeka Community Foundation. Oliverius served as Chairman of the Kansas Hospital Association and on the board of the American Hospital Association.
Robert Spinner, MHA (’69)
Robert Spinner believes outstanding students and faculty make the Minnesota MHA a top-ranked academic program. He established The Robert and Patti Spinner Scholarship to support recruitment and retention of the best and the brightest students. Spinner explains his generosity by saying, “Our support for MHA scholarships is in recognition of the importance and need to attract the best students from across the country and the world. It is the combination of having outstanding students and faculty that has made our program the leader in the field.”
Spinner spent 33 years with Allina Hospitals and Clinics and its predecessor organizations, serving in various capacities including President and CEO of Abbott Northwestern Hospital for ten years. He retired in 2001 as President of Allina Hospitals and Clinics.
Donald Wegmiller (’62)
If it’s true, as philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said, that “it’s more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place,” then Don and Janet Wegmiller’s recent gift to the School of Public Health’s Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program would score high with Carnegie.
The couple’s decision to endow $1 million to establish the Wegmiller Professorship in Healthcare Administration, which will be awarded to each director of the MHA program, came from a deep understanding of not only how the program educates, but how it shapes lives.
With their endowment, they want to publicly support what Don Wegmiller calls “the best health care administration program in the country.”
MHA News & Executive Resources