MHA in Health Administration

About the MHA 

The HMI Deptartment's MHA degree is designed for students from a range of educational backgrounds and provides the knowledge and skills necessary to function effectively as a healthcare executive. The curriculum includes such competency areas as health systems operations, organization theory, information management, financial management, strategic planning and marketing, human resource management, health economics, managerial epidemiology, leadership, and ethics. By combining basic and advanced course work with an internship and executive management study (an applied management study that replaces a thesis), the student may develop expertise in a focused area. Professional elective course selection is a mutual decision between the student and advisor, and in all cases, the intent is to tailor the degree program to the student’s interests. The goal of the graduate program in health administration is to prepare professionals for leadership roles in health care. Students develop an excellent applied knowledge in such areas as clinical decision support systems, risk assessment and management, clinical outcomes assessment, managing interdisciplinary teams and integrated health systems.

Degree Requirements

The residential MHA degree requires a total of 54 credit hours, which includes 39 hours of core coursework, three credit hours earned for a required 12-week summer internship, a three-credit hour capstone group management project, and nine credit hours of professional electives.  Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative MU graduate grade point average to earn the Master's degree.

The professional elective requirement, which comprises three courses, allows MHA students the opportunity to concentrate in a particular area of study if they choose.  They may take courses in health informatics or health ethics within the HMI Department, pursue graduate certificates in areas such as health informatics, public health, or geriatric care management, or complement their MHA coursework with classes in business administration, public administration, industrial engineering and public health, to name a few.

MHA students must complete a 12-week administrative internship at an approved integrated managed care system, group practice, hospital or other healthcare organization under the guidance of a qualified preceptor (often a HMI alumnus/a). The internship is designed to incorporate the academic training students receive in their first year of the master’s degree with practical applications within the host site. The students receive hands-on exposure to health care management in a real-world environment and experience first-hand the dynamics of a career in health care. The intern should have the opportunity to observe their mentor and other professionals in the work environment, as well as opportunities to discuss their experiences. 
Specific general skills to be developed include: 
- Leadership 
- Strategic decision making 
- Project management 
- Teamwork

HMI's executive-in-residence works individually with students to place them at internship sites.  For a list of recent internship placements, please see http://hmi.missouri.edu/prospective/educational_partners.html.   

Required Courses
HMI 7410Introduction to the US Health Care System3
HMI 7430Introduction to Health Informatics3
HMI 7471Introduction to Accounting and Finance in Health Care (HMI 7471 Introduction to Accounting and Finance in Health Care)3
HMI 8453Executive Management Studies3
HMI 8460Administration of Health Care Organizations3
HMI 8461Managing Human Resources in Health Care Organizations3
HMI 8470Strategic Planning and Marketing for Health Care Organizations3
HMI 8472Financial Management for Health Care Organizations3
HMI 8524Health Economics3
HMI 8544Managerial Epidemiology (Population Health Management)3
HMI 8571Decision Support in Health Care Systems3
HMI 8573Decision Making for Health Care Organizations3
HMI 8574Health Care Law3
HMI 8575Health Policy and Politics3
HMI 8689Field Experience in Health Management and Informatics3
Students must complete nine credit hours of professional electives
Students must satisfy a pre-requisites in microeconomics

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Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
HMI 74103HMI 84613HMI 86893
HMI 74713HMI 85243 
HMI 84603HMI 85733 
HMI 85443  
 12 9 3
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
HMI 74303HMI 85713 
HMI 84703HMI 85743 
HMI 84723HMI 85753 
 HMI 84533 
 9 12  
Total Credits: 45

In addition to the basic plan of study outlined above, all MHA students must complete at least nine credit hours of professional electives during the course of their degree, bringing the total required credit hours to 54.  Microeconomics is a prerequisite for the MHA degree, and may be fulfilled through prior coursework or by completion of an online microeconomics module, which is available free of charge to admitted MHA students.

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Thesis/Non-Thesis Requirement

All MHA students must participate in and complete an Executive Management Study (EMS) project during the second year of the degree.  The EMS is a group project, and fulfills the thesis/independent research project requirement for a Master's degree.  Each group of students is assigned a client (typically within the University of Missouri Health System), and asked to research and address a particular problem and provide recommendations.  Recent EMS projects have included:

  • improvement of patient experience of wait times in the Orthopaedic Clinic at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute
  • surgical site infection reduction informed by NSQIP resources for UMHC
  • system-wide urinary catheter reduction for UMHC
  • improving screening and follow-up for students with substance use and/or mood disorders at MU Student Health

Students have also completed projects for Express Scripts and the Adair County Health Dept.  All MHA students must pass an oral comprehensive examination during their final semester. Discussion of the EMS project is a component of the oral exam.

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Financial Aid

Applicants to the Residential MHA cohort who wish to be considered for financial assistance from the HMI Department should apply by March 1, the priority deadline.  Those who apply by the deadline and meet academic requirements (see Admissions Requirements section below) will be considered for available scholarships and assistantship positions.  All financial assistance is awarded on the basis of merit, availability of funding, and alignment of student and faculty research interests and skills.  Further information about costs, financial aid, and external scholarship opportunities is available on the HMI Department's website at: http://hmi.missouri.edu/prospective/financial_aid.html.

Executive MHA Degree

In addition to the residential (on-campus) MHA, the degree is offered in an alternative format to healthcare professionals who have significant clinical or administrative experience in health care. HMI accepts an executive MHA cohort to begin in January of each year.  The Executive MHA combines monthly on-campus weekend sessions, independent study, and online interaction in an innovative two-year course of study, and requires 42 credit hours of health services management coursework.  Students are required to complete a substantial independent research project, which they present during their oral comprehensive examination in their final semester.  For additional information about the Executive MHA, please visit http://hmi.missouri.edu/prospective/emha_description.html, or call: (573) 884-0698.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission:  the requirements of the MHA program and the minimum requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies.  Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program’s graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process.  Before official admissions to the University of Missouri, your application materials will be reviewed by both the degree program to which you’ve applied and the Office of Graduate Studies.

HMI Admissions Information

Deadline for Fall entrance: Rolling; priority deadline is March 1

A minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution

Undergraduate GPA: 3.0 during the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and any subsequent graduate course work

Minimum TOEFL scores:

Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
100 603
  • Minimum Academics IELTS scores: 
Item Score
OVERALL 7.5
  • Minimum GRE Scores: 
When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative
Prior to August 1, 2011 50th percentile
On or After August 1, 2011 50th percentile
  • In lieu of GRE, minimum GMAT score: 50th percentile.  HMI also accepts LSAT and MCAT scores.

Required Application Materials

Master's program applicants should apply online through the Office of Graduate Studies application system. When completing the online application, you will have an opportunity to upload/attach additional documents. Please include the following documents:

  • an updated résumé or curriculum vitae;
  • personal essay that:
    • outlines your professional plans and career objectives;
    • explains how you became interested in health services management/health informatics and how your prior training and experience would help your career;
    • includes specific issues and problems in health care you consider challenging and why;
    • indicates if you intend to apply to the traditional (residential) on-campus degree program or the distance education (executive) format

Other required documents:

  • Official transcripts of all coursework from all colleges, technical schools and/or universities attended
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted through the Graduate School application system)
  • Official GRE/GMAT score report (Residential Students only)

You may also be required to submit other documentation and in some cases complete prerequisite courses. Below is a checklist to help make sure your application is complete:

  • Request to re-enroll form (for previously admitted students only)
  • Application for Change of Degree form (for students already enrolled in a Master's degree or Graduate Certificate program)
  • Letter of support from your employer (Executive Students only)
  • Official TOEFL report (for international applicants only - have official results sent to us: institution code is 6875, our department code is 25 - minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based exam required)
  • Prerequisites - links to information about prerequisites for each degree program are available at http://hmi.missouri.edu/prospective/rmha_description.html 

Admissions Contact 

Veronica Lemme, MPA
CE740 CS&E Building, DC006.00
One Hospital Drive
Columbia, MO 65212
http://hmi.missouri.edu
(573) 884-0698
lemmev@health.missouri.edu

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