Deadlines and Important Dates

We follow a cohort model, with admissions occurring once each year, in the fall. Your application portfolio, including receipt of all transcripts and references, must be received by the following deadline to be considered complete. Applicants are encouraged to submit all portfolio items as early as possible.

  • Fall DeadlineApply by March 1 to start August 23

Admissions Help

If you have any questions throughout the admissions process, please contact an admissions counselor.

How To Apply

Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

Penn State's online MHA program is designed for mid-level career professionals seeking to change positions in the health care industry or advance within their own organizations. Our cohorts are composed of individuals who typically have 8–10 years of professional work experience, and a vast majority of our students have an extensive background in health care. We encourage students to have three years or more of full-time professional work experience (preferably in health care) and to be currently employed in a health care setting before applying to the program.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript directly from each institution to the Graduate School, with no exceptions. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required. The program prefers an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.

GRE and GMAT scores are not required for admission to this program.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References (2) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.   

References should come from professional peers and/or managers and supervisors. 

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — Upload your résumé (one to two pages) to the online application.

Personal Statement Describe your personal, academic, and professional background. Why did you become interested in the health care industry? Where do you foresee yourself in the future and how will the online MHA degree contribute to your career goals? Please feel free to share any unique or distinctive details about your life story — including events or individuals who have influenced you — that will help the admissions committee set you apart from other applicants. (Please limit your answer to no more than 1,000 words.)

Essay 1 — Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What factors led to your accomplishment of each of these goals? (Please limit your answer to no more than 500 words.)

Essay 2 — Please answer one of the following questions:

Describe a time when you set aside your own priorities to help someone at work. What were the circumstances? How did you assist them? What was the result? 


Describe a time when you were supervising another person in a manner that expanded their capacity to work independently. (Please limit your answer to no more than 500 words.)

Interview — The admissions committee will review all completed application materials and determine if an applicant will be asked to participate in a brief interview, via Skype or Zoom, to assess the potential for success in an online program and the profession.

Interview Selection Process — All applications will be reviewed in their entirety by the MHA Admissions Committee. Candidates who score above an established threshold on the written application will be invited to interview via Zoom. This one-hour long discussion forms the basis for offers of admission to be extended.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.