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Executive Master of Healthcare Administration



Executive MHA Program

Building on the experience and success of the full-time MHA program, the Executive MHA is designed for employed executives, physicians, and healthcare professionals.

Through the executive program, you can earn the MHA degree in 25 months with limited time on campus. The primarily online curriculum gives you the flexibility to complete your studies amidst your busy schedule.

Saudi Arabia Program

In May 2012, the Executive MHA program launched an academic program with King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Over the course of the program, MHA faculty will visit KFMC two or three times per year for classroom lecture exchanges. Course content is delivered by way of an online platform.

Executive MHA News

Rahmani elected vice president of AATM

Executive MHA student Ahmad Masoud Rahmani, MD, has been appointed to vice president of the Asian Association of Transfusion Medicine (AATM) in Asia. Rahmani speaking at 10th Annual AATM…

Executive MHA Profile: Ashton Schatz

Ashton Schatz’s career is progressing well. As a healthcare attorney and student in the Executive MHA program, she’s already noticed a difference in the way she delivers guidance, thereby…

SPH’s Saudi Success Story

Hidden within this year’s 425 School of Public Health graduates was a smaller but equally significant number: 25 The Saudi Arabian students along with MHA representatives Janet Duff, Drew Hatton,…

Executive MHA Student Profile: Erin Reinhardt

During pre-medical studies at UC Berkeley, Erin Reinhardt applied for a medical research internship in Singapore. She was accepted and spent a year researching metabolic precursors associated with the…

More ›

The Executive MHA program is designed for practicing executives, physicians, and other healthcare professionals seeking to advance their management and leadership capabilities. Specific features of this design include the following:

  • The 42-credit curriculum includes a focus on the management of complex, integrated health systems, including the expanded role of physicians as providers, managers, and leaders in those systems.
  • Program faculty are actively involved in applied research on health systems with a focus on integrated health system performance.
  • The on-campus sessions invite alumni and expert speakers to participate with students in symposia and other learning events.
  • Students complete the MHA degree in 25 months.
  • The program is designed to minimize interference with work and family: most of the coursework is online and asynchronous; students spend only 28 days on campus over 25 months; students take no more than 2 courses at a time.
  • The program builds on the practical application of learning to the participant’s organization. Students develop and introduce innovation into their organizations.
  • The program is based on a learning cohort model in which students start the program together and progress through the same curriculum, providing myriad opportunities for students to learn and work together.


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

The learning model underlying the Executive MHA is an application of the following principles, most of which derive from the Minnesota MHA programs’ 40 years of experience in adult learning in healthcare administration:

  • Healthcare professionals develop personal resilience in part through continual learning. That resilience is essential both to their continuing personal development in a rapidly changing environment and to their ability to contribute to and lead the organizations in which they work and practice.
  • Lifelong learning is essential to success as a professional. Increasing self-development of professionals includes both structured learning opportunities and a readiness to learn from everyday practice. A program of professional learning must both provide those structured learning opportunities and enhance the professional’s readiness to learn from her/his practice.
  • Because a key to adult learning is discovering the personal meaning of ideas, opportunities for applying learning to one’s experience must be meaningful, varied and frequent. Learning shared with a diverse cohort of fellow students enhances the discovery process.
  • Learning is idiosyncratic and occurs in many ways. It is most often deductive, moving from general principles to specific examples, but adults learn inductively as well, combining personal experiences into principles. Experience in transferring learning from one situation to others encourages inductive learning.
  • While learning is unique to each person, both the learner and the teacher need consistent methods of reviewing and improving learning outcomes. Both faculty and peer judgments address this need.
  • Because learning proceeds from levels of understanding already achieved to some new point of development, adult learning opportunities must anticipate the range of experiences which learners bring to their education and provide flexible means of learning that serve students at all levels of experience.
  • When the learning experience is well structured, adults can learn as much from each other as they do from formal instruction. Effective group work, diversity of perspective among both students and faculty, structured and unstructured opportunities for meaningful interaction among students, and a cohort culture that actively encourages supportive relationships among students are critical elements of the learning model.
  • Learning is enhanced when students enter the program in a cohort and proceed through the program together, growing in their abilities to communicate with, learn from and support each other. However, because experienced adults must deal with changes in their employment, their families and other aspects of their lives, the program must accommodate students who temporarily drop out of the program and re-enter at a later time.
  • The quality of the faculty, curriculum, instruction and students of the Executive MHA must be the equivalent of those of the Full Time MHA Program. Similarly, admission standards and student performance expectations must be at the same level as those of the Full Time MHA Program.
  • Because it enhances access and provides flexibility in scheduling, online coursework is essential to efficient learning for employed adults. By itself however, online learning can meet only a portion of the learning interests of employed adults. It must be supplemented with face-to-face learning and with extensive peer and group learning.

Learning in the Executive MHA is supported by several factors:

  • Blended approach. During on-campus sessions, students are enrolled in one course that is taught in the classroom. Other courses are taught online over the course of the program, but are introduced in live classroom presentations during the on-campus sessions.
  • Asynchronous online coursework. Online courses are designed to be accessed at the convenience of the student, within the demands of the course schedule. Using the Moodle course technology and supporting software, lectures, readings, individual and group assignments are available to students when they have the time to engage them. Courses generally operate on schedules that require students to complete modules every week or every two weeks. Because group work is asynchronous, all group members do not have to be available at the same time.
  • Cohort learning. Since the full-time MHA program began in 1946, cohort learning has been central to its success. Each annual class develops a character of its own and each class fosters a sense of identity among its members. The Executive MHA program continues and expands that tradition. Students in each cohort start the program together and progress through the same curriculum as a group.
  • Student support. Students are supported by their peers in the cohort and by the faculty and staff of their program. All efforts will be made to keep students engaged in the program. However, when a student falls behind their cohort, she/he will be asked to cease participation in the program and then be reassigned to a following cohort.
  • Online learning preparation. All students are required to take a one-week preparatory course prior to the first on-campus session. The course familiarizes students with the learning technology, orients students to University library resources and other learning assets, and introduces students in the cohort to one another.
  • Application of learning to the student’s organization. Course assignments often ask students to apply the learning to their own organizations. This application, and the subsequent discussion of the applications across the members of the cohort or work group greatly expands the students’ learning.
  • Innovation leadership projects. Working with faculty and advisors, students in the Executive MHA 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.
  • Alumni involvement. MHA alumni have played a key role in the education of students since the 1940s. Because University of Minnesota MHA alumni occupy positions of authority in a wide variety of healthcare organizations throughout the world, their involvement in students’ learning is a real advantage. Alumni play important roles in on-campus sessions, speaking on panels, teaching in courses and reviewing student projects.

EMHA Apply & Admissions

The Executive MHA program begins accepting applications for the January start date on March 1. Contact Tom Gilliam ( with questions regarding application deadlines.

Apply now via SOPHAS or HAMPCAS
International applicants, please see additional requirements *here*.

Review & Admissions Process
Each degree and certificate program has its own admissions committee composed of faculty members from that area of study. The committees review applications for evidence of the applicant’s intent and purpose in studying public health, past academic performance, program-specific academic potential, professional and life experience, English fluency (where required), and other factors such as an applicant’s compatibility with faculty expertise and program direction.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program is decided by the Executive MHA faculty with the advice and counsel of an admissions committee. Admission to the Executive MHA requires the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 or completion of a post graduate degree.
  • At least three years management or clinical leadership experience in a healthcare organization.
  • Current employment in a healthcare organization which affords the opportunity to apply the assignments in the coursework, or an agreement with such an organization in which the applicant is not employed.
  • The program reserves the right to require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) as part of the admissions process. (Note: clinicians and administrators with extensive experience, and applicants who have achieved comparable scores on similar examinations may be exempted from this requirement.)
  • A letter of intent describing career interests and the relevance of the MHA degree to the applicant’s personal development.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

As noted in the School of Public Health Catalog, “applicants whose native language is not English or whose education was completed exclusively at an institution whose language of instruction is not English must prove English proficiency.”

Other Requirements

In addition to the requirements above, each cohort will include professional, gender, ethnic, age, geographic and organizational diversity. As there are many more applicants than slots in the program, admission to the program is highly competitive.

Each cohort will consist of 30-35 students. The cohort will generally comprise three categories of students: applicants with the MD or DO degree, applicants with other post-baccalaureate degrees, and applicants with bachelor’s degrees. Using a rolling admissions process, the program admits students into each of the categories, maintaining a minimal number of slots in each category for late applying students. Early applicants are advantaged in this process.

Cost, Deadlines & Prerequisites

The Executive MHA program begins accepting applications for the January start date on March 1. Contact Tom Gilliam ( with questions regarding application deadlines.

Tuition for the 25-month Executive MHA program starting spring 2015 is $60,775. Additional university and program fees apply. Tuition and fees cover scheduled meals and receptions during on-campus sessions as well as other aspects of program support. Students are responsible for costs of transportation and lodging.

Note: All students in the Executive MHA Program are expected to bring a portable computer to the on-campus sessions.

The U.S. healthcare delivery marketplace is consolidating. Integrated health systems are forming in rural and urban markets at an accelerating rate. “Integrated Health System” refers to a clinical care, business, and delivery model where most, if not all, physicians are required to meet a health system’s mission and clinical care goals are integrated with hospitals in a unified business structure.

As health systems reach a critical mass of integrated physicians, operating economics are changed such that more traditional hospital and medical group performance benchmarks, reference points and decision-making models become less useful to leaders. Likewise, traditional approaches to strategic and business planning and related predictive modeling are less applicable given the nature of the relevant performance metrics of integrated health systems.

The Executive MHA addresses the need for advanced leadership and management education for clinical and administrative professionals in integrated health systems. Most healthcare provider organizations face a shortage of qualified management talent. In the next decade, a significant proportion of current managers in these organizations are expected to retire. This situation is exacerbated in integrated health systems where clinical professionals will be moved into top management positions.

Therefore, the job opportunities for Executive MHA students will be good, especially for applicants with work experience in healthcare and strong business and management skills. Medical and health services managers held about 283,500 jobs in 2008. About 38 percent worked in hospitals, and another 19 percent worked in offices of physicians or in nursing and residential care facilities. Many of the remainder worked in home healthcare services, federal Government healthcare facilities, outpatient care centers, insurance carriers, and community care facilities for the elderly.

See program career spotlights

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.

Contact Info

Administrative Director
Thomas Gilliam

Stephanie Hagel

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