This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Overview and philosophy

The Master of Health Administration program is designed to prepare persons for administrative roles ultimately leading to top-level executive positions in complex health services organizations. The curriculum emphasizes strategic and operational management, thus orienting students toward the broad spectrum of managerial problems and functions likely to be encountered by health services organizations.

The program’s educational objectives and content are based upon the premise that a large number of students who select this curriculum aspire to become senior executives of health care organizations at some point in their careers. The graduate M.H.A. program is designed for full-time students.

The M.H.A. program was accredited initially in 1968, one of the first programs in the United States to achieve that status. It has continuously maintained its national accreditation status and in 2017 the program was awarded a seven-year accreditation..

The administrative residency/internship is an integral part of VCU’s M.H.A. program. The basic purpose of the residency/internship is to provide students opportunities to apply and further develop their administrative knowledge and skills through a period of applied experience in an operational setting. The administrative residency/internship is supervised directly by experienced executives who serve as the students’ preceptors.

Through a carefully selected and organized residency/internship experience, students strengthen the foundation of general knowledge and skills gained through the core curriculum and develop further insight and expertise in their selected concentrations. Students serve their residency/internship in the type of health care organization in which they wish to gain specialized knowledge, skills and experience. Overall policies and guidance for the administrative residency/internship are established by the Department of Health Administration and are included in the administrative residency handbook.

Students become eligible for entrance into the administrative residency/internship after completing specified course work and achieving an overall GPA of 3.0. Students on academic probation or with any incomplete grades during their final on-campus semester prior to their residency may be, at the discretion of the faculty, prevented from entering their residency although their overall GPA is 3.0 or higher. In addition to meeting the academic requirements, the student must, in the judgment of the faculty, present evidence of readiness for a clinical experience by demonstrating sufficient academic proficiency in the core areas of the curriculum and by demonstrating professional maturity. The director of the M.H.A. program or designee has the responsibility to coordinate residency placements. In making these assignments, the director will consider the preferences of the students, the preferences of the preceptors and the recommendations of faculty advisers.

Program goal

The specific mission of the Master of Health Administration program is to prepare early careerists for management and leadership positions within complex health care organizations. The program is nationally accredited and has been consistently ranked in the top five programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

The overall purpose of the Department of Health Administration in which the M.H.A. is housed is to provide top quality education, research and service related to the organization and administration of health care services. The department also has a major research program and is involved in a wide range of public service activities, including professional development programs for health services administrators and other health professionals. 

The mission of the Department of Health Administration is to prepare, support and connect exceptional leaders who shape the health care industry. This is accomplished through:

  1. Educating the next generation of health administrators and enhancing the skills of the present generation
  2. Preparing a new generation of health services researchers and educators
  3. Creating and disseminating basic and applied knowledge about the management, organization, financing, function and performance of the health care system
  4. Serving people in the public and private sectors of the health care system

These activities, when mutually reinforced among all key people — faculty, staff, students, alumni — elevate the department to a premier status in the United States.

Student learning outcomes

Goal/domain Competency Description/learning outcomes
Communication and leadership management
Interpersonal communication Build collaborative relationships and negotiation skills
Writing skills Prepare business communications
Presentation skills Demonstrate effective oral communication and presentation skills
Leading and managing others Hold self and others accountable for organizational goal attainment
Change management Promote and manage change
Ability for honest self-assessment Demonstrate reflection through self-assessment
Systems thinking Be able to assess the potential impacts and consequences of decisions in a broad variety of situations
Problem-solving and decision-making Apply evidence-based decision-making techniques to health care questions
Personal and professional ethics Adhere to ethical business principles; exhibit ethical behaviors
Professional and community contribution Participate in community service; balance professional and personal pursuits
Working in teams Create, participate in and lead teams, including interprofessionalism
Knowledge of the health care environment
Health care issues and trends Demonstrate knowledge of circumstances causing major changes and reform in U.S. health care delivery
Health care legal principles Discuss and critically analyze health-related legal principles including standards, regulations and risk management.
Health policy Articulate the impact of select health policies on the delivery of health services
Population health and status assessment Understand and explain the major factors in health status to health care professionals
Business and analytical skills
Financial management Demonstrate the ability to compile and analyze financial data; develop capital, operating and cash flow budgets; analyze investment data; pro forma development
Human resources Apply methods and techniques related to the management of health care organization employees and professional staff
Organizational dynamics and governance Understand and be able to explain the roles, responsibilities, structures and influence governing bodies hold in health care organizations
Strategic planning Ability to perform environmental analysis; discern competitive strategy; formulate business strategy based on evidence
Marketing Analyze and assess markets, market segmentation, strategy, change and innovation
Information management/ understanding and using technology skills Apply techniques and methods to plan, design, implement and assess information flow and communication
Quality improvement/ performance improvement Apply concepts of process improvement and patient safety to relevant problems
Quantitative skills Analyze data and interpret quantitative information
Planning and managing projects Design, plan, implement and assess projects related to performance, structure and outcomes of health services
Economic analysis and application Analyze and apply economic theory and concepts to business decisions

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

All enrolled students will be provided a handbook at orientation.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.H.A. Fall Apr 1 (Applications received by Jan 1 are given priority for funding.) GRE/GMAT waived; English language proficiency for international students

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA for all undergraduate work completed
  2. A working knowledge of college-level algebra
  3. Transcripts and VCU application forms
  4. GRE/GMAT scores (currently waived by admissions committee)
  5. English language proficiency scores (if international applicant)
  6. Professional resume
  7. Three letters of reference
  8. Present evidence of personal achievement, scholarship, intellectual ability and professional promise (personal statement)
  9. Response to DEI prompt
  10. Invited interview with M.H.A. admissions committee

International applicants must submit evidence of a preapproved residency site in the home country and evidence of financial responsibility.

Candidates with one to two years of experience are preferred.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete a total of 59 credit hours (including transfer credit hours, if any) to qualify for the Master of Health Administration degree. This requirement includes 48 credit hours of core course work plus at least three credit hours of elective studies in health administration and related disciplines, such as business administration, urban and regional planning, public health and gerontology. In addition, eight credit hours of practicum course work are required as a part of the administrative residency. The graduate program is designed to provide a balanced combination of academic studies and field experience to enable students to achieve the program’s educational goals and become well-prepared to enter the field of health administration.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
HADM 602Health System Organization, Financing and Performance3
HADM 603Data Basecamp2
HADM 606Health Care Managerial Accounting3
HADM 607Financial Management in Health Organizations3
HADM 608Seminar in Health Care Finance3
HADM 609Population Health Management3
HADM 610Health Analytics and Decision Support3
HADM 611Health Care Law and Bioethics3
HADM 612Information Systems for Health Care Management3
HADM 614Health Care Marketing2
HADM 615Health Care Politics and Policy3
HADM 624Health Economics3
HADM 646Health Care Organization and Leadership3
HADM 647Management of Health Care Organizations3
HADM 648Strategic Management in Health Care Organizations3
HADM 649Human Resources Management in Health Care2
HADM 681Clinical Concepts and Relationships2
HADM 682Executive Skills I1
HADM 683Executive Skills II1
HADM 694Practicum in Health Administration I5
HADM 695Practicum in Health Administration II3
Select at least one of the following: 12
Social Gerontology
Social Equity and Public Policy Analysis
Problem-Solving in Health Care Organizations
Foundations of Health Equity
Reducing Health Disparities
Independent Study in Health Administration
Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command
Public Health Preparedness
Information Systems for Managers
Innovation, Design Thinking and Change Management
Advanced Human Resource Management
Principles of Public Administration
Institutes and Workshops in Rehabilitation
Quality Management and Six Sigma
Total Hours59

The list is suggestive. Other graduate-level courses may be selected by a student, though they should be approved by the program director to ensure they meet requirements. 

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 59.

Sample plan of study

Year one
Fall semesterHours
HADM 602 Health System Organization, Financing and Performance 3
HADM 603 Data Basecamp 2
HADM 609 Population Health Management 3
HADM 646 Health Care Organization and Leadership 3
HADM 682 Executive Skills I 1
Elective 2
 Term Hours: 14
Spring semester
HADM 606 Health Care Managerial Accounting 3
HADM 610 Health Analytics and Decision Support 3
HADM 647 Management of Health Care Organizations 3
HADM 648 Strategic Management in Health Care Organizations 3
HADM 683 Executive Skills II 1
 Term Hours: 13
Year two
Fall semester
HADM 607 Financial Management in Health Organizations 3
HADM 612 Information Systems for Health Care Management 3
HADM 615 Health Care Politics and Policy 3
HADM 624 Health Economics 3
 Term Hours: 12
Spring semester
HADM 608 Seminar in Health Care Finance 3
HADM 611 Health Care Law and Bioethics 3
HADM 614 Health Care Marketing 2
HADM 649 Human Resources Management in Health Care 2
HADM 681 Clinical Concepts and Relationships 2
 Term Hours: 12
Year three
Fall semester
HADM 694 Practicum in Health Administration I 5
 Term Hours: 5
Spring semester
HADM 695 Practicum in Health Administration II 3
 Term Hours: 3
 Total Hours: 59

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 59.


Paige Powell, Ph.D.
Program director

Additional contact
Cameron Parkins
Graduate student services administrator

Program website: