Courses

The MHA curriculum can provide you with a fundamental understanding of management and health services. The courses have been designed to prepare you for the requirements of increased accountability, organization, and management.

Inspired by the fields of health care and business management, Penn State's 49-credit online MHA program can help you gain a solid foundation of knowledge that combines both of these disciplines. The curriculum emphasizes competencies in ethical leadership, critical thought, and oral and written communication, as well as a broad understanding of the U.S. health care system. Areas of study include:

  • financing health care
  • clinical issues for health services management
  • quality improvement in health care
  • health care marketing
  • health economics
  • health law
  • information systems in health services administration

Course List - Master of Health Administration in Health Policy and Administration 

Penn State's online MHA program spans seven continuous semesters and is composed of 17 total courses, including an integrative online independent study, and two face-to-face management intensives, totaling 49 credits — designed to be completed within 28 months. An online orientation precedes the first semester of courses.

Semester 1
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Financing Health Care HPA 447 Analysis of financial flows, third party payment programs, and reimbursement practices in the health services sector. 3 credits
Introduction to Health Services Organizations and Delivery HPA 520 Introduction to health systems, health services organization, and health care delivery focused on trends, problems, and issues. 3 credits
Leadership Ethics in Health Services Organizations HPA 853 Examination of building blocks that support the ethical framework that drives decision making. Face-to face intensive scheduled in August. Begins during intensive scheduled first week of classes. 3 credits
Semester 2
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Health Services Organizational Behavior HPA 503 A systematic application of the principles of organizational behavior to understanding professional roles in health services organizations. 3 credits
Financial Management in Health Institutions HPA 835 The financial environment of health institutions; financial aspects of management decision making; emphasis on revenue sources, budgeting, and cost control. 3 credits
Semester 3
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Managing Health Care Operations HPA 527 This course is focused on understanding and overcoming the challenges associated with nurturing and managing effective health care operations. 3 credits
Management of Health Services Organizations HPA 524 A systematic study of the roles of health services managers and the organizational and environmental context within which they work. 3 credits
Semester 4
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Change Leadership in Health Services Organizations HPA 805 Exploration of diagnostic and intervention strategies employed in planned change in health services organizations and programs. 3 credits
Population Health and Quality Management in Health Services Organizations HPA 854 This course is designed to provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills for leading quality improvement, population health management, and patient safety efforts to create high reliability health services organizations that improve the overall health of the communities they serve. 3 credits
Individual Studies 
(Capstone 1)
HPA 896 
(HPA 556)
Creative projects, including nonthesis research, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. (The first of a four-semester (1 credit per semester) project developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor.) 1 credit
Semester 5
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Health Economics HPA 545 Survey of the application of economics to the roles of markets and government in health care. 3 credits

Special Topics 
(Capstone 2) 

HPA 897 
(HPA 556) 

Formal courses given on a topical or special interest subject which may be offered infrequently. (The 2nd of a four-semester (one credit per semester) project developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor.)

1 credit

Special Topics 
(Project Management for Health Services Organizations)

HPA 897 
(HPA 890)

Formal courses given on a topical or special interest subject which may be offered infrequently. (Introduction into project management; The course structure will give each student an opportunity to reflect on choices, assess progress to goals, and evaluate successes and failures in a supportive environment while striving for continual performance improvement. Organizing deliverables into a leadership portfolio will provide a vehicle to display growth and competency attainment.)

3 credits
Semester 6
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Human Resource Management in Health Care Organizations HPA 460 Foundations of human resource management applied to health care organizations, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and community health organizations. 3 credits
Health Care Marketing HPA 850 Introduction to the theory, concepts, skills, and principles of marketing applied to health related organizations and networks. 3 credits

Special Topics 
(Capstone 3)

HPA 897 
(HPA 556)

Formal courses given on a topical or special interest subject which may be offered infrequently. (The 3rd of a four-semester (1 credit per semester) project developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor.)

1 credit
Semester 7
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Health Law HPA 836 The legal process as it applies to the health administrator, health organization, medical provider, and patient. 3 credits

Information Systems in Health Services Administration

HPA 897 
(HPA 556)           

Foundations of information systems for supporting clinical services, quality improvement, and administrative functions in health services management. 3 credits

Special Topics 
(Capstone 4)

HPA 897 
(HPA 556)           

Formal courses given on a topical or special interest subject which may be offered infrequently. (The 4th of a four-semester (1 credit per semester) project developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor. The final project presentation is delivered in person at University Park, PA during the last semester of the program.)

1 credit

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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