Learning Outcomes

The M.H.A. program prepares graduates for their initial positions as health care managers and provides a solid foundation for executive career development in a variety of health organizations.

Core Competencies

Leading People

  • Demonstrate effective verbal communication, including but not limited to formal individual and team presentations; and prepare effective written business communications.
  • Think critically and assess the potential impact and consequences of decisions in a broad variety of situations.
  • Commit to ethical professional behavior.
  • Commit to the personal pursuit of professional development.
Team Development
  • Use leadership practices that support team effectiveness.
  • Perform effectively on teams and in different team roles as appropriate to the situation.
  • Support effective conflict management approaches in interpersonal and team situations.
  • Integrate the knowledge and experiences of other professions, as appropriate, to inform and implement decisions.

Managing Resources

  • Interpret balance sheets and income statements.
  • Compile and analyze financial information to develop a business plan for a new service or program.
  • Explain revenue cycle and its impact on financial stability.
  • Summarize the process for strategic capital formation.
  • Distinguish different approaches to organizational design for the organization and delivery of health care.
  • Use various improvement tools to address quality, safety, and efficiency goals, including lean techniques and performance monitoring tools.
  • Develop an evaluation plan based on operational or strategic goals.
  • Use organizational behavior concepts to solve problems and make decisions in the day-to-day management of health care organizations.
  • Apply concepts and techniques related to the management of human resources in health care organizations.
  • Interpret ethical issues and legal concerns and use appropriate approaches to analyze and resolve them, including recognizing when to seek counsel.
  • Explain the roles of, and relationship between, electronic medical records and financial data systems for clinical and strategic decision-making and for evaluating the quality and efficiency of care.
  • Analyze data and use the results to address strategic, operational, financial, and quality performance indicators for health care organizations.

Setting Strategic Direction

  • Value the roles and relationships of governance, executive leadership, and external stakeholders in strategically addressing the health needs of a community or target population.
  • Conduct an environmental assessment to identify changing needs/demands of a community, including an analysis of demographics, epidemiological data, organizational capacity, competitor strategies, technological changes, regulatory issues, and payment methods.
  • Develop a business plan to propose a new service or program, addressing strategic objectives, financial analysis, structural and staffing implications, and evaluation.

Improving Population Health

  • Appreciate the impact of social and behavioral determinants of health and their interrelationships on health and health care delivery.
  • Distinguish and compare the major settings for, and types of, health care services, including individual and population health, and payers.
  • Explain the process for developing and implementing new policies and regulations at the state and federal levels.
  • Analyze new health care regulations/laws to determine the likely impact on different stakeholders, including care delivery organizations, payers, and individuals.
  • Analyze the impact of changes to payment mechanisms on health care delivery and health outcomes using economic and insurance concepts.
  • Relate the roles of health care and public health in contributing to the health of a defined population.
  • Assess health care workforce need projections and critical issues related to workforce needs for the future.

The Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) requires 60 s.h. of graduate credit earned in two academic years of full-time study. Transfer credit and course waivers may be accepted, but all students are expected to complete a minimum of 54 s.h. at the University of Iowa during their course of study. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 to earn the degree.

The program prepares students for a wide variety of positions in health care management. It is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of issues encountered by health care delivery organizations and strong business skills. Graduates are well prepared to advance to senior executive roles in a variety of health care organizations.

Students work with their advisors to create a plan of study that incorporates required and elective coursework that supports their career goals in areas such as operations management, managed care, or financial management. Required courses in management, economics, law, managerial finance, and financial accounting focus on health care applications. Students also may take coursework in other University of Iowa departments and programs, such as business, planning and public affairs, and aging and longevity studies.

During the first year, students are introduced to the social, political, economic, and financial environments of health care organizations. The concepts, tools, and techniques necessary for effective management also are presented. During the second year, courses focus on in-depth health care applications of management concepts that integrate prior coursework and develop skills in areas relating to students' special interests and career objectives.

The Master of Health Administration requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

All of these:
HMP:5000Professional Development Seminar (taken four times for 1 s.h. each)4
HMP:5005Introduction to Healthcare Organization and Policy3
HMP:5200Healthcare Management3
HMP:5230Managerial Epidemiology2
HMP:5291Performance Improvement in Healthcare2
HMP:5310Healthcare Quality Management2
HMP:5315Health Information Systems2
HMP:5320Analytics for Healthcare Management3
HMP:5402Corporate Financial Reporting3
HMP:5410Health Economics I3
HMP:5610Health Policy3
HMP:5810M.H.A. Internship1
HMP:6055Topics in Health Administration (when topic is health care payment methods)1
HMP:6110Strategic Planning and Marketing3
HMP:6150M.H.A. Integrative Capstone3
HMP:6310Human Resources Management in Healthcare2
HMP:6315Healthcare Ethics1
HMP:6355Leadership of Healthcare Organizations2
HMP:6410Healthcare Financial Management3
HMP:6610Legal Aspects of Healthcare3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2
Total Hours51


Students choose 9 s.h. of elective coursework; they may count a maximum of 6 s.h. of elective credit earned outside the Department of Health Management and Policy toward the M.H.A. degree.

Summer Internships, Fellowships, Residencies

The department facilitates placement of M.H.A. students in required summer internships between the first and second years of study. Internships offer opportunities for practical experience interacting with executives in a health care setting. Internships are full-time positions that usually last 10-12 weeks. Students normally receive a salary or stipend, and in some cases, assistance with living arrangements.

Most M.H.A. students complement their academic training with a postgraduate fellowship or residency. Such experiences provide opportunities to observe, develop, and demonstrate management skills and to develop connections with colleagues. The department takes an active role in helping students identify and secure fellowship and residency positions.

Executive M.H.A. Subprogram

The executive Master of Health Administration subprogram (EMHA) requires 45 s.h. of graduate credit and typically is completed in two years. The plan of study is designed for working professionals who wish to advance their knowledge and skills in order to become effective health care administrators. The EMHA objectives are to:

  • provide working professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in health care management;
  • position experienced professionals to become effective health care administrators; and
  • meet the need for leadership in transforming health care financing and delivery in dynamic environments.

The EMHA's curricular emphases are administrative skills specific to health care, population health administration, and interprofessional health care administration.

Students complete three courses each fall and spring semester and one course in each of two summer sessions. Courses are taught in person on Iowa City and Des Moines campuses by combinations of expert executives and faculty. Instruction is case- and team-focused.

The Master of Health Administration (executive M.H.A. subprogram) requires the following coursework.

All of these:
HMP:5001Interprofessional Health Care Administration I3
HMP:5002Interprofessional Health Care Administration II3
HMP:5200Healthcare Management3
HMP:5230Managerial Epidemiology1
HMP:5310Healthcare Quality Management2
HMP:5315Health Information Systems2
HMP:5320Analytics for Healthcare Management3
HMP:5342Lean Six Sigma in Health Care3
HMP:5402Corporate Financial Reporting3
HMP:5410Health Economics I3
HMP:5610Health Policy3
HMP:6110Strategic Planning and Marketing3
HMP:6150M.H.A. Integrative Capstone2
HMP:6355Leadership of Healthcare Organizations3
HMP:6410Healthcare Financial Management3
HMP:6610Legal Aspects of Healthcare3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2
Total Hours45

For more information, visit Executive M.H.A. Track on the College of Public Health website.

Students interested in combining an M.H.A. with a master's or professional degree in another field should discuss their plans with both academic units and indicate their interest when they apply to the M.H.A. program.

M.H.A. (Law Subprogram)/J.D.

The combined Master of Health Administration with a law subprogram/Juris Doctor requires 123 s.h. of postbaccalaureate credit. The program allows students to gain training in both health care management and law. Students typically complete the program in four years; they enroll only in law courses during the first year.

Separate application to each degree program is required; applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the combined degree program. For information about the J.D., see Juris Doctor, J.D. (College of Law) in the Catalog.

Applicants must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) or the Health Administration, Management & Policy Centralized Application Service (HAMPCAS). All applicants also must submit the supplemental University of Iowa application fee. For detailed application information, visit HMP Degree Programs on the Department of Health Management and Policy website.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Students begin the program in fall semester. Personal interviews are required before admission; the admissions committee conducts Skype interviews with applicants unable to visit campus.

A variety of financial assistance is available, including scholarships and awards, student loans, and graduate research assistantships. Every effort is made to provide financial support to students who demonstrate need and maintain satisfactory academic standards. Some awards are offered in recognition of outstanding academic performance and experience, regardless of need.

Graduate research assistantships generally are awarded on the basis of student merit and the department's need. Assistantships afford valuable experience in health services research and management projects. Graduate research assistants work 10 hours per week and must apply for reappointment each year. Assistantships provide a stipend, some tuition assistance, and entitle students to the resident tuition rate.

Opportunities also exist for part-time employment both on and off campus. For information and financial aid application forms, contact the University's Office of Student Financial Aid.